Damaged crane blocks off 57th Street in Manhattan
It was déjà vu at 57th Street Monday as construction work at the building where a crane dangled during superstorm Sandy was halted with another mishap involving the damaged machine's replacement.
The street was blocked off between Sixth and Seventh avenues for most of the day as first responders and crews dealt with the malfunctioning equipment that left a nearly 7-ton concrete block dangling 430 feet above the street.
Unlike the Oct. 29 incident during the storm, in which the entire block was shut down for a week while crews tried to stabilize the crane atop a 75-story luxury skyscraper, life was pretty much uninterrupted Monday.
Workers slowly brought the massive concrete block to ground level about 3:30 p.m. and the street reopened shortly afterward.
"It's not as bad as last time. It seems like it's really under control," said Alizah Alle, 34 of the Upper West Side, who was in the area as crews and first responders worked.
The city's Office of Emergency Management said it got a call about 9:20 a.m. that the crane, which is a replacement for the one that was damaged during Sandy, had a mechanical failure as the block was being lifted. As a precaution, students at a nearby elementary school were evacuated and tenants of nearby buildings were asked to remain indoors.
Chris Miller, the Office of Emergency Management's spokesman, said the cause of the malfunction was under investigation, but Monday's stormy weather was most likely not a factor.
It prompted the city to bring the concrete block back down to the ground with a mechanical break, much to the amusement of people who passed by.
For hours, tourists and interested New Yorkers snapped photos and recorded the operation.
"This is too cool," said one tourist, who uploaded her shot to the Web.
The Department of Buildings said it was investigating the incident, the latest in a list of problems the building has faced during its long construction.
Several complaints have been filed against the construction company, which the city agency did not identify, and the city has issued violations including a stop-work order in May to correct an issue that led to debris falling to the ground, according to Department of Buildings online records.