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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Emergency crews Tuesday evening were sent to a luxury high-rise under construction in Midtown, after a crane collapsed during in the storm winds and was left dangling.
The call came in around 2:30 p.m. Monday at the One57 Building, a luxury condo tower under construction at 157 W. 57th St. The top of the crane, about 75 stories up, could be seen dangling precariously down from next to the luxury building.
As of about 8:30 p.m., the dangling arm of the crane was moving significantly from left to right. While there was not much wind right on 57th Street, winds were significantly higher at the top of the building.
The city has decided not to send up any engineers or fire inspectors until winds die down – which means Tuesday morning at the very earliest. Crews did go up after the crane buckled to check out the stability of the crane and the building.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported that while Mayor Michael Bloomberg said while every effort was made to secure all the construction cranes in the city in advance of the hurricane, and the Department of Buildings actually said it went out to inspect every construction site in the entire city, the crane atop the One57 Building has had a very troubled history.
“We have worked very hard to make sure all cranes and construction sites are battered down,” Mayor Bloomberg said at an earlier news conference before the One57 crane tipped over.
But when the crane at the One57 building was left hanging over the street, police and fire crews rushed to scene to keep traffic and people away from the building.
It was unclear, sources said, whether the crane was improperly secured or whether the hurricane bent it. Meteorologists believed the wind speed might have been as high as 95 mph at that height.
Meanwhile, questions were raised about the crane’s safety history. It has a questionable past, and eight complaints:
• On Sept. 21, the safety manager at the site complained to the Buildings Department that the crane was leaking oil onto an adjacent building;
• On May 18, the safety manager said while the crane was moving a panel, a gust of wind rotated it and the panel crashed into a 10th floor window.
• On April 19, the ball on the end of the crane came loose;
• On March 14, allegations were of misuse were issued when the crane was lifting beams over the sidewalk.
• On Feb. 27, unsafe crane conditions were reported;
• On June 15, 2011, there were reports that the crane was not installed properly.
At his late afternoon news conference, Mayor Bloomberg addressed the crane issue, but did not assess blame. He said he was working with the building owners.
Bloomberg said all buildings on the north and south sides of 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, and all exposed buildings on 56th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, were evacuated.
Steam was also shut off in the vicinity of the crane, and water and gas shutdowns were in progress Monday evening “as a preventive measure to mitigate damage if the boom from the crane were to collapse and fall to the street,” Bloomberg said.
All construction work in the city was suspended by the Department of Buildings at 5 p.m. Saturday in anticipation of high winds from Hurricane Sandy. Contractors and property owners were told to secure construction sites and buildings.
The One57 is a 1,004-foot tower that once completed, will be New York City’s tallest residential building.
One57 is touted as an ultra-luxurious tower, with one penthouse selling for $90 million.
So far, no word of any injuries.