Hurricane Sandy and One57 Collide, Crane Collapses

One57 crane collapse in ManhattanWhen you’re 1,004 feet in the air, the slightest gust of wind can feel like a hurricane. One57, currently the tallest Manhattan apartment building, fared well considering the damage that Hurricane Sandy incurred on Manhattan, including ripping the facade off of a four story Chelsea apartment building. LendLease’s construction crane at the uppermost stories of the building, on the other hand, didn’t manage to survive the 50 mph gusts of wind. Within hours of the crane’s collapse at 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30th, wreckage rubberneckers took to the internet. Nearby onlookers released a video of the actual collapse and a sassy One57 Crane twitter account surfaced, humorously documenting its own absurdity. It’s easy to brush over an incident of wreckage when it looks like performance art, but if a massive piece of damaged construction is dangling precariously between blocks of billions of dollars worth of investment, the situation becomes less comical.

The worst case scenario--damaging the blocks of nearby midtown apartment buildings--has been deterred due to the crane’s overall stability and evacuation of the area, but the incident has provoked finger pointing among those in charge of One57’s construction. Tom Barth, crane expert, reported to New York Magazine’s Daily Intel that the collapse was “absolutely avoidable”. Fortunately, Mary Costello of LendLease, the contracting firm overseeing One57’s site, reports that the Department of Buildings and structural engineers are working to temporarily secure the crane before definitive action can be made on replacing it and resuming construction. Costello adds that the crane was inspected on the Friday before its collapse, but LendLease is waiting until Tuesday to release more information. According to Barth, Pinnacle Industries, the operator of the crane, “has the final say” concerning the next steps.

Ultimately, construction on One57 is rushed now more than ever before. Pinnacle Industries is in charge of rebuilding the crane, but LendLease will likely focus on finishing the top stories of the building. In the fragile and turbulent luxury real estate market, buyers can potentially give up their deposits in lieu of other options; however, One57 remains the most visible and publicized Manhattan apartment building of its kind in a market of heated demand that is already extremely exclusive. Until concrete progress is made on 432 Park Avenue, One57 reigns supreme over the city’s trophy towers.

As of now, evacuated neighbors can’t return to 57th street yet. Building a new crane is projected to take about three weeks and Extell Development has declined to comment so far. As One57 has already proved with its record setting heights and sale prices, the building can’t help but attract fanatic media coverage, and it’s crane seems to have picked up on it just as construction on Manhattan’s most publicized building finishes up.