A crane attached to One57, the luxury apartment tower under construction in midtown Manhattan, partially collapsed amid gusts from Hurricane Sandy.
A “number” of buildings near the site at 157 W. 57th St. have been evacuated, including a hotel, and city officials have been told not to attempt to secure the crane in the middle of the storm, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference. The main part of the crane appears to be well-secured to the tower, he said.
“We just don’t want to risk the lives of anybody trying to be a hero and securing it at the moment,” he said. “With the winds as they are, we just can’t secure it now. The best thing we can do is take precautions. When the winds die down, the engineers will find a way to secure it.”
The street below is being kept clear in case something falls, and underground pipes are being shut off to prevent a fire, according to the mayor. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.
One57, poised to be the tallest residential property in Manhattan at 90 stories, is being developed by Extell Development Co. A penthouse at the building went under contract earlier this year for more than $90 million.
Jeff Dvorett, vice president of development at Extell, declined to comment.
The crane was inspected on Oct. 26 and “has been used for a long time by a very reputable company,” Bloomberg said.
“We just have no idea why this happened,” he said. “It’s possible that nobody did anything wrong whatsoever and it was just a strange gust of wind.”
The top of the bent crane swayed over 57th Street as winds picked up. Chris Trela, 40, a film producer who lives at 60 W. 57th St., one block away from the site, said he was worried about the crane before it fell.
“I said this morning that I bet that crane is going to fall because it looked precarious just with the wind and the rain,” he said.
Guests at the West 57th Street by Hilton Club were being evacuated, said Garry Poulson, 49, in town on vacation from West Palm Beach, Florida. He passed the time at Chom Chom, a Korean restaurant one block south, drinking sake with his wife, Donna.
Poulson pointed out the crane to his wife when they arrived at the hotel this weekend.
“I said this is not good, this is going to go,” he said. “I lived in South Florida my whole life so I know. They should have taken them down.”
At One World Trade Center, the office tower rising in lower Manhattan that’s poised to be the tallest building in the U.S., cranes are properly secured and staff members are at the site to report on any potential problems, according to a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the site’s owner.