Crane malfunction shuts down midtown block
It was déjà vu at 57th Street Monday as construction work at the building where a crane dangled during Superstorm Sandy was halted with another mishap with the hoisting machine.
The street was blocked off between Sixth and Seventh Avenues for most of the day as first responders and crews dealt with the malfunctioning equipment that left a nearly seven-ton concrete block dangling 429 feet above ground.
Unlike the incident during the Oct. 29 storm, in which the entire block was shut down for a week while crews tried to stabilize the crane at the top of 75-story luxury skyscraper, life was pretty much uninterrupted yesterday.
Workers slowly brought the block to ground level around 3:30 p.m. and the street reopened shortly afterward.
"It's not as bad as last time. It seems like it's really under control," said Alizah Alle, 34 of the Upper West Side, who was in the area as crews and first responders worked.
The city's Office of Emergency Management said it got a call around 9:20 a.m. that the crane, which is a replacement from the one that was damaged during Sandy, had a mechanical failure during mid hoist. As a precaution, the students at a nearby elementary school were evacuated and tenants of nearby buildings were asked to remain indoors.
Chris Miller, OEM's spokesman, said the cause of the malfunction was under investigation, but yesterday's stormy weather was most likely not a factor.
It did however prompt the city to bring the concrete block back down to the ground with a mechanical break, much to the amusement of people who passed by.
For hours, tourists and interested New Yorkers snapped photos and took videos of the operation. s.
"This is too cool," said one tourist, who asked not to be named, as she uploaded her shot to the web.
The Department of Buildings said it was investigating the incident, the latest in a long list of problems the building has faced during its long construction.
Several complaints have been filed against the construction companyand the city has issued violations including a stop work order in May to correct an issue that led to debris falling to the ground, according to Department of Buildings online records.