IT was a special delivery that brought a New York sidewalk to a standstill.
The wife of an Irish corporate lawyer has given birth to their baby daughter on a sidewalk in New York – with the help of a team of Good Samaritans.
Polly McCourt went into labour in the couple's apartment in the city's Upper East Side and only made it as far as the street outside before giving birth.
Her husband Cian (40), from Dublin, was stuck in the 2.4km-long Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River when he got the call to rush back.
He arrived on the scene three minutes after his daughter came into the world.
And the sight of a large group surrounding his wife made Cian think something awful had happened.
"I saw a crowd on the corner, and I feared the worst," he said.
Among the crowd was a woman, Isabelle, who had given her coat so Polly could be more comfortable.
"She had to go home without a coat on. She gave my husband her phone number and he lost it in the commotion. We want to be able to contact her and say thanks," Polly (39) said.
The couple called their daughter Ila Isabelle McCourt, choosing the middle name in honour of the stranger's kindness.
The birth was captured by a passing news van and has now made headlines around the world. Mother and daughter were rushed to hospital a short time later where Ila Isabelle weighed in at over seven pounds.
Cian, who attended secondary school in Gonzaga College in Ranelagh and went on to study at DIT and Trinity College, is resident partner in New York with Irish law firm A&L Goodbody.
He has been based in the city since 2011.
Polly had been volunteering for a spring fundraiser at the school of their two other children when she started to fell unwell.
She sent six-year-old son Conor to the playground with a friend and called the babysitter to take care of four-year-old daughter Adele.
She then rushed home at around 3pm to call her obstetrician who told her to get to the hospital immediately.
"I called my obstetrician and he said I think you need to get to the hospital as soon as you can because you can't wait for your husband," Polly said.
"I went down to the foyer and the doorman took one look at me and said let's get you a cab, and my lovely doorman Anton (Rudovic) walked me to the corner of the street and I turned around to him and I said 'I'm in trouble, I'm not going to make it, I'm not going to make it'.
"He was trying to hail a cab on 68th and 3rd and I was on the street and I went 'uh oh, I'm not going to make it, I need to sit down', so Anton propped me up, a number of people came around to help me. I want to thank them very much for giving their sweaters and their coats," added Polly, who gave birth in front of a HSBC bank.
"I'm getting emotional just thinking about it," she said.
"There were about 40 or 50 people there, I think. There were a lot of people who gave their sweaters. I want to thank them," she told the 'New York Daily News'.
The doorman, Mr Rudovic, said: "I did my job. (Polly) needed to be rushed to go to the hospital. She said, 'the baby's coming! I need to lie down'.
"And that was it. It was so fast – one, two, three. Mom and baby were fine, that's the most important thing."
Cormac Murphy and Orlaith Farrell