The Wall Came Tumbling Down
And the Insurance Companies Copped Out
Have you heard the difference between an accountant and an actuary?
An accountant is the person who goes onto the field of conflict after the battle and bayonets the bodies. An actuary is someone who does not have the personality to be an accountant.
The only job in this world that is worse than being an actuary is that of an insurance adjuster. It is an entire life spent explaining to badly hurt people why the insurance company does not have to pay a claim in full--or at all--because the small print says so.
The wall was built around 1908 to act as a buttress to the land on which the 16-story Castle Village Apartments were built. When the wall collapsed, it caused a 25-foot high pile of rock, trees, earth and rubble roughly the length of a football field across a very busy highway.
In a story the following day, Douglas Montero, Lisa Marsh, Mark Bulliet and Bill Sanderson wrote in The New York Post:
Before the collapse, engineers had an appointment to meet at the site with city officials to discuss their plans, said Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.
Residents said it was easy to tell something was wrong. "There was a big fault going through it. You could see it," said L. Turner, who has lived for 15 years at 1380 Riverside Drive, at the bottom of the collapsed wall's south end.
The New York Times story, describing how hardworking, caring people from Queens and Manhattan, whose cars were buried and crushed under tons of debris, had their lives turned upside down, was Kafka-esque.
Quite simply the insurance companies, to whom these folks presumably paid thousands of dollars a year--as required by law--are stonewalling.
New Jersey medical student Steve Wang, who used his Ford Taurus to commute to New York, had no choice but to move to Manhattan.