The Washington Post cries "Dramatic Rescue follows massive watermain break!" I watched this on CNN from my father's apartment in New York. The most dramatic part to us was the fact that they seemed fixated on using boats to rescue people, rather than the obvious step of stretching ropes across the road and strapping the people to them to walk out. Nor did anyone mention the seemingly even more obvious step of shutting off the water main for an hour, or at the very least, dropping sandbags over the break--though the Post claims crews found the water too turbulent to get to the valve.
Methinks the emergency responders may have had a lot of shiny new equipment, funded by the federal government's post-911 spending spree, that they wanted to try out. But maybe there was something I was missing.