What do historians do on Saturday night? Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. went with his wife, Alexandra, to see the movie "Barcelona" on a recent Saturday, but they were suddenly called outside with the news that their Upper East Side brownstone was on fire.
"My stepson, Peter Allan, was home and summoned the fire brigade," Schlesinger said. "Then he came to get us out of the movies."Bob Broderick, a spokesman for the New York Fire Department, said there was nothing suspicious about the fire and that it may have been caused by cigarettes or matches. There were no injuries, he said.
With all its windows punched out and boarded up, the brownstone "looks like a bombed-out house at the moment," Schlesinger said.
But things could have been far worse if the firefighters had not confined the blaze to the lower floors.
"My study is on the third floor, so my papers and most of my books were saved," Schlesinger said. "I am in the middle of writing my memoirs, so I don't know what I would have done."