When Superstorm Sandy blew into New York City in October 2012, it caused a dramatic scene at a luxury high-rise under construction when a crane boom collapsed in the storm. Wreckage from the collapse dangled in the wind during the storm. Nearly one year later, officials were dealing with another serious crane mishap at the same building, a 90-story residential tower across from Carnegie Hall.
In this case, there was no storm. Instead, a tower crane hoisting a load became stuck. The breakdown left a 13,000-pound box dangling about 40 stories above the street. The box, which was a concrete counterweight, was finally lowered after about six hours West 57th Street was closed between Sixth and Seventh Avenues for several hours as a safety measure. Fortunately, the construction accident resulted in no injuries or fatalities. But New York City has had several serious crane accidents in the last five years.
In March 2008, a crane collapsed in midtown Manhattan, killing seven people. May 2008, a crane owned by the same company involved in the recent breakdown collapsed on the Upper East Side. Two workers were killed. In that case, a mechanic pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The company and owner were acquitted of manslaughter and other criminal charges.
These two accidents contributed to new safety measures, including the addition of more inspectors and new training requirements. Crane accidents have continued, however.
In April 2012, a crane fell and killed a worker at the construction site for a new subway line. In that case, most city safety rules did not apply because the rig was working for a state agency that runs the subway system. In January 2013, a crane collapsed at a Queens construction site. Seven workers were injured.
Source: CBS New York, “Crews Safely Lower Crane’s 13,000-Pound Load Stuck Above 57th Street,” The Associated Press, Oct. 7, 2013