City engineers are devising a method for removing or securing the dangling boom of a construction crane, work that may take weeks, following multiple trips to the the top floors of Manhattan’s luxury One57 condo development.
“They’re formulating a plan to remove the boom or fasten the boom to the building,” Anthony Sclafani, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings, said yesterday in an interview. “This process is still in its early stages. There’s no complete plan on how to remove it. It’s being formulated as we speak.”
The crane partially collapsed on Oct. 29 as gusts from superstorm Sandy pounded Manhattan. Buildings near the site at 157 W. 57th St., including Le Parker Meridien hotel and the Salisbury Hotel, were evacuated, and nearby streets remain closed as the boom of the crane hovers like a dagger aimed at 57th Street.
The street will remain closed and people won’t be able to return to their homes until sometime this weekend at the earliest, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday at a news conference. Sporadic street closings may continue for weeks, as parts of the crane are removed and new components hoisted.
“We’ll do the best we can,” Bloomberg said. “We do expect the weather to cooperate and we’ll be able to tie it down, which will allow us to dramatically reduce the size of the area that you can’t go in.”
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
The 90-story tower, being developed by Extell Development Co., is poised to be New York’s tallest residential building. One57 set a price record for a single Manhattan residence in May when an 11,000-square-foot (1,000-square-meter) unit, spanning the top two floors, sold for about $90 million. The building, located between Sixth and Seventh avenues, is scheduled to open in mid-2013.
At the height of Sandy on Oct. 29, engineers from the Department of Buildings ascended to the 74th floor to inspect the crane. They returned the next day, climbing to the top of the project and reviewing the crane floor by floor, Sclafani said.
Securing the dangling boom will require assembling another crane or derrick that can grab hold of the hanging piece from above, detach it and either lower it to the ground or secure it inside the building, according to Gary Panariello, a managing principal at Thornton Tomasetti Inc., a New York engineering firm that isn’t involved in the project.
Assembling a derrick would involve bringing it up the tower in pieces, some of which are not readily available or located in Manhattan, Panariello said.
“It’s kind of like fixing the Hubble telescope,” he said. “It’s a long way to get out there and do it.”
Extell said it’s working under the supervision of the city fire department and the Office of Emergency Management, among others, to plan a “recovery procedure” for the crane.
“As soon as the fire department deems it safe, that procedure will begin,” Extell said yesterday in a statement.
Lend Lease, the construction manager for One57, “took all recommended measures to position the crane in anticipation of a hurricane,” Extell said in its statement. “This was inspected and approved by the Department of Buildings and is the standard for hurricanes.”
In anticipation of the storm, the crane operator followed procedures laid out in the design plans, according to Mary Costello, senior vice president at Lend Lease.
The crane was left in a “free slewing” position, Costello said yesterday in a statement. That allows it to move with the wind like a weather vane, and is the proper procedure for enduring a storm, said Panariello of Thornton Tomasetti.
The evacuation of streets surrounding the project are “hurting us,” said Steven Smith, manager of Rue57, a restaurant at the corner of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue, which opened yesterday for the first time since the storm.
As soon the boom is removed, Smith said in an interview yesterday, “it sure will help our business drastically.”