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Collapsed Midtown Crane is Stable, But Block Still Closed

By  Mary Johnson and Murray Weiss | October 31, 2012 10:11pm 

MIDTOWN — The crane that has dangled from the top of ONE57, the swanky tower rising on West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, since Hurricane Sandy began pelting New York City with wind and rain has been deemed stable for now, officials said.

But the block remains closed to businesses, traffic and residents and won’t be reopened until the crane can be secured to the side of the building, which likely won’t take place until some time this weekend at the earliest.

“Engineers have been in the building since yesterday and have determined that the ties that bind the crane down to the building are secure,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a press briefing Wednesday. “The fact that those connectors withstood the pressure just testifies to how well they were put in and how stable that tower is.”

Bloomberg said that in the next day or two, workers would set about trying to lash the boom of the crane to the side of the building, which is slated to become a 90-story tower filled with luxury condos and high-end hotel rooms.

Once the boom is secured to the building, Bloomberg said the city could begin opening the street.

The process of dismantling the crane, however, will be a much more prolonged and complicated process.

A team of about a dozen engineers has been working on the problem for days and have floated the possibility of putting a crane on the top of the building at 157 W. 57th Street that could reach down and pull the toppled crane arm onto the roof, where workers could begin to take it apart, sources said.

If that option isn’t possible, the engineers have also considered building another crane alongside the damaged one and taking it apart that way — a process Bloomberg said could take weeks.

Investigators do not believe that human error was responsible for the partial collapse, sources said. Rather, they said the incident was likely caused by the sheer force of high winds that may have exceeded 110 miles per hour near the top of the 90-story building.