As Hurricane Sandy approaches New York City, all eyes are fixed on a partially collapsed crane dangling precariously from the top of a luxury high-rise building in midtown Manhattan. The arm of the massive crane is hanging at least 75 stories in the air, off the side of the One57 building on West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. One57 is set to reach 90 stories and will become the tallest residential building in New York City when construction is finished.
With no way to remove the crane — and with winds expected to reach up to 95 m.p.h. at that altitude — officials have closed down the surrounding streets and are evacuating the occupants of the upper floors of nearby buildings out of fear that the crane will fully collapse, according to Reuters. Construction workers ceased operations on the site at 5 p.m. on Saturday in preparation of the storm, according to the Associated Press.
One57, which will host some of the city’s most expensive apartments when it is completed, has met with several construction complaints before today’s incident, according to the real estate website StreetEasy. The site’s listing on the building reveals that One57 has received numerous complaints from the Department of Buildings since construction began in May 2010 — some of which have been related to their construction cranes. At least one of the complaints is apparently still active, according to the site. Dated Sept. 15, this complaint states that the building was shaking and vibrating during construction, and that its structural stability was affected. No other details are available at this time. The report also indicates that during the course of two years of construction, the building has received a total of 11 partial or complete stop-work orders. The report is below, or click here for the PDF.
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TIME called the offices of the building’s developer Extell Development for comment, but none was forthcoming. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said on Monday evening that Extell was cooperating with the city. Over the weekend, Bloomberg had stated that all the cranes throughout the city were inspected prior to the storm. “We have visited every crane site and every construction site in the city, and with the winds that are expected, we think they have appropriately tied down all of the equipment. But if there’s a gust that’s a lot more than anybody had counted on, things could start to blow.”
At the Monday evening news conference, the mayor said the One57 crane had been inspected on Oct. 26 and that he doesn’t believe a malfunction caused the collapse. “There’s no reason to think that the inspection wasn’t adequate,” he said. “We don’t know what happened, but so far the crane hasn’t fallen.”
Check back for more details as this story develops.