Monday, October 7, 2013
Part of Midtown Manhattan was shut down and a school evacuated after a malfunctioning crane left a 7 ton load suspended high over the sidewalk amid warnings of impending storms today.
The menacing load dangled from the same construction site where a crane twisted by superstorm Sandy menaced the street a year ago.
Officials today closed 57th Street between 6th and 7th avenues after a mechanical error stalled a crane hoisting building materials onto the One57 building.
The construction company led operations alongside the Buildings Department, Office of Emergency Management (OEM), police and the fire department in a race to manually lower the 14,000 pound concrete load back to the ground before storms hit.
The block was intended as a counter-weight for a crane high above the street so when the huge crane's boom picks up a load it doesn't topple over.
"There was a mechanical failure at the top of the crane," an OEM spokesman said at the scene. The spokesman said a call about the crane came in at 9:24 a.m. and that "a physical break in the crane, on the wire" had halted the load at 429 feet above ground level.
The utility Consolidated Edison was also at the scene and shut down a gas line that runs underneath the block as a precaution while the nearby Geneva School of Manhattan evacuated the entirety of its pre-school to eighth grade students.
It took crew until nearly 3:30 p.m. to successfully get the load back to street level. The street is currently being reopened to pedestrian and vehicular access.
One longtime local resident told ABC News she is "furious" with the developer, Extell, over this latest incident.
"This is the second time they've endangered 57th Street and they're doing it again," said Olivia Grayson who has lived on 58th Street for 10 years. "They're not proving themselves at being very good at building. They're very good at selling and publicity, although this may not be good publicity."
In October last year, a different crane atop One57 buckled under high winds from Hurricane Sandy, prompting the evacuation of guests at a nearby hotel and shutting the street for several days until the crane's mishapen boom could be securely lashed to the crash.
"I'm sitting here for the second time and I hate it. It is awful... It's scary. If the darn thing falls down, it's really scary," Grayson said.
Upon completion of the 90 story luxury high-rise, the building will be the tallest residential building in Manhattan.
The privately owned building will boast nine full-floor luxury apartments, including two duplexes under contract for more than $90 million each and seven others ranging from $45 million to $50 million, according to the New York Times, which called One57 "the global billionaires' club."
ABC News' Lauren Effron contributed to this report.