If They Can Break It There...
NEW YORK DISASTERS IN THE MOVIES
One of Godzilla’s better jokes has French spy Philippe Roache (Jean Reno) posing as an insurance investigator evaluating the damages. If the cover’s suspicious, it’s because disaster-movie New York was a bad risk long before Godzilla and Deep Impact took vicious bites of the Big Apple. Tidal waves, freaks of nature — no wonder this is the city that never sleeps. Those claims would keep insurance adjusters up nights, too.
— Tom Russo
MOVIE KING KONG (1933)
PROPERTY The Empire State Building
DAMAGE ASSESSMENT Giant ape’s rampages leave piles of rubble, downed biplanes, and a few unlucky (but oh-so-thin!) pedestrians.
ADJUSTER’S REMARKS Flagrant leash-law violation voids policy. Claim denied.
[MOVIE] WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951)
[PROPERTY] Entire island of Manhattan
[DAMAGE ASSESSMENT] A runaway planet bears down on Earth, churning up tidal waves.
[ADJUSTER’S REMARKS]Policy covers comp but not collision. Claim denied.
[MOVIE] The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
[PROPERTY] Wall Street, Coney Island
[DAMAGE ASSESSMENT] Time-lost dinosaur is thawed out by atomic testing in the Arctic; heads to New York to thank America for the wake-up call, chewing up lower Manhattan and snacking on a roller coaster.
[ADJUSTER’S REMARKS]No provision in policy for creatures considered fossils at time of issuance. Claim denied.
[MOVIE] Fail Safe (1964)
[PROPERTY] Entire island of Manhattan and outlying areas
[DAMAGE ASSESSMENT] Total annihilation, as the nuclear bomb is loosed on an unsuspecting populace, an act of self-inflicted retribution ordered by the President (Henry Fonda) after we accidentally — oops! — nuke Moscow
[ADJUSTER’S REMARKS]Massive filings exceed funds available. Seek federal disaster relief. (Then again, maybe don’t.)
[MOVIE] THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN (1976)
[PROPERTY] The United Nations Building
[DAMAGE ASSESSMENT] Unhinged former Parisian chief inspector lays his hands on a doomsday weapon that makes the U.N. vanish.
[ADJUSTER’S REMARKS]Due to inordinate number of prior filings, all claims involving one Inspector Jacques Clouseau are to be summarily denied.
[MOVIE] METEOR (1979)
[PROPERTY] The World Trade Center
[DAMAGE ASSESSMENT] A chunk of space detritus plummets from the heavens and — what are the odds? — slams into the Twin Towers, shattering them into so many 110-story splinters.
[ADJUSTER’S REMARKS]Fact that object ”plummeted from the heavens” not proof in itself of ”act of God.” Claim denied.