Friday, May 30, 2008

another DoB-approved crane collapse

It was not but 12 hours ago that I suffered through a special meeting of Community Board 2 in Manhattan where I heard a representative of the city’s Department of Buildings tell us that they had just finished a citywide inspection of every construction crane of every type now in operation. This was supposed to reassure us that all of the cranes were found to be safe.

About an hour ago, in a scene eerily reminiscent of the March disaster that killed seven, a tower crane at 333 East 91st Street (at First Ave.) partially collapsed, the cab falling over a dozen stories. NY1 is reporting that emergency personnel have pulled people from the wreckage, but their conditions are not yet known.

So much for the credibility of the new, post-Patricia Lancaster DoB. Who is Mayor Michael Bloomberg going to get to take the blame for him this time?

I am writing all this from my apartment, which is next to a construction site where at this moment a two-story-high jackhammer attached to a backhoe is crushing reinforced concrete with such force it causes my entire building to shake violently. Such shaking has caused things to fall from shelves on many occasions over the course of this development—but not to worry, the DoB tells me that this shaking is within permissible limits.

Update: NY1 has reported that acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri just last week lifted the emergency regulation that required a city inspector to be on site whenever a tower crane is “jumped” (raised higher).

NY1 also reports that this crane is the same model of crane as the one that collapsed in March. Both of these cranes were owned by the same company—New York Crane.

NY1 is now also reporting at least one fatality.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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