Collapsed crane threatens luxury block
Updated: 2012-10-30 11:34
By Ariel Tung in New York (China Daily)
A man photographs a partially collapsed crane hanging from a high-rise building in Manhattan as Hurricane Sandy makes its approach in New York on Monday. Brendan McDermid / Reuters
As New York braced itself for Hurricane Sandy's landfall on Monday night, Manhattan residents were already worrying over a partially collapsed crane dangling 75 stories over West 57th St.
The crane, which sat atop a luxury Manhattan skyscraper called One57, collapsed around 2:30 pm on Monday.
The cause of the accident was not immediately identified. Construction work had ceased on the site at 5 pm on Saturday.
No injuries were reported in the collapse, city officials said.
Police have shut down 57th St near Sixth Avenue and surrounding streets, and have evacuated the occupants of the upper floors of nearby buildings. With winds expected to reach up to 95 mph, there is no immediate plan to remove the crane.
"Due to a crane collapse at 157 West 57th St in Manhattan, all occupants of buildings on West 57th St between 6th and 7th Avenues must immediately move to the lower floors of your building and make contact with your building safety representative," city officials said in an email alert.
"Citizens are advised to avoid this area."
One57, which will be the city's tallest residential building upon completion, has received much publicity because of the apartments' worth. Dubbed "the global billionaires' club", the 90-story building overlooking Central Park offers nine full-floor apartments being sold for $45 million to $90 million.
One57 is one of the "trophy properties" favored by cash-rich Chinese buyers, according to Sotheby's International Realty. Nikki Field, senior vice-president at Sotheby's, told China Daily that her team has sold a number of units at One57 to high-net-worth individuals from China. One of her Chinese clients, who has bought a $6.5 million unit, said she aims to send her daughter to school in the city.
But the crane accident may unnerve some Chinese buyers who have had a history of consulting feng shui to determine if a site is auspicious or not.
Over the weekend, the city's Department of Buildings stated that all cranes throughout the city needed to be inspected prior to the storm. It was not yet known whether an inspection was done at One57.
Field said that the building has earned its reputation as the tallest and best-built iconic New York residence.
"We hope this is a good omen about the resiliency of the building and the quality of the construction. The crane has not fallen as it was meant to do in severe winds. It bent rather than broke," she said.
"We are hopeful that the crane will be secured without damage to life or property and the construction will continue on schedule."
Wendi Deng Murdoch, Chinese-born American businesswoman and wife of News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, earlier in the day tweeted her concern for the plight of the fallen crane at One57 via Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese micro-blogging website. She was worried that the crane might crash down to the Carnegie Hall at 57th Street, where Lang Lang, a renowned Chinese concert pianist, is to perform on Tuesday night.
However, Carnegie Hall announced on Monday that the "Lang Lang and Friends" benefit concert has been postponed.
At about 7 pm on Monday night, weather forecasters said Sandy was no longer a hurricane but was still a threat, especially in New Jersey and Delaware.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy is a post-tropical storm and losing strength but still has sustained winds at 85 mph. Earlier in the day, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 1.5 million people. Over the next two days, flooding will be a big threat in many areas in the East Coast.