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Second Crane Accident Left 7-Ton Block Dangling Over 57th Street

By  Alan Neuhauser and Aidan Gardiner | October 7, 2013 12:03pm | Updated on October 7, 2013 5:36pm

 A crane lifting material up to 157 57th St. stalled Monday morning.
Crane at ONE57 Stalls, Officials Say
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MIDTOWN — Officials shut down part of West 57th Street temporarily after a crane stalled Monday at the same luxury tower where a crane boom snapped and dangled precariously during Hurricane Sandy, according to the Office of Emergency Management.

The crane was lifting a 13,500 pound counterweight up the side of the 90-story building, ONE57, at 157 57th St., causing it to dangle precariously some 429 feet up as forecasters predicted severe storms with high winds for the area.

The crane company, New York Crane, of Maspeth, is owned and operated by James Lomma, who was acquitted last year on charges that he was responsible for a 2008 crane collapse on the East Side that killed two people.

No injuries were reported in Monday's malfunction, an FDNY spokesman said. It was not immediately clear if any violations were issued, but the Department of Buildings issued a partial stop-work order on crane operations.

Danny Vally, 27, a construction worker with Local 580 who works at the luxury building said he saw the failure occur.

"I was up on 70 when I saw the whole crane shake," he said.

Vally said the cable whip back and forth. "I saw the guys scattering...I knew something was wrong," he added. "It's pretty crazy."

A man who answered the phone at the crane company said that they were using a manual brake to slowly lower the load.

"It was going up when there was a mechanical failure at the top of the crane," OEM spokesman Christopher Miller said.

The street was closed and steam service from Con Edison was shut off to nine buildings between Sixth and Seventh avenues from 11:20 a.m., officials said. The block was lowered to the ground about 3:30 a.m. and the block was opened back up about 4 p.m.

One building, the Geneva School, was evacuated and workers in surrounding office towers were advised to stay away from windows until the weight was lowered.

The One57 crane involved in the Hurricane Sandy incident, which was not owned and operated by New York Crane and Equipment Company, snapped and dangled atop the building until crews secured it about a week later. City officials said that 110 mph winds caused the failure.

On Monday, the city was under a tornado watch until 5 p.m., with weather forecasters predicting 34 to 74-mph winds, according to the National Weather Service.

"Any time there's a 7-ton brick hanging over head, there's cause for concern," Miller said. "It would be good to get it down before the storm."

The crane incident disrupted plans for tourists and residents alike.

Lighting designer, Gail Simone, of Virginia Beach, had her planned shopping day thrown into disarray. She arrived to the city a day early for a business class she's taking Tuesday to get some shopping done, but couldn't check into her hotel because the street is shutdown.

"I'd like to go shopping, but I can't go shopping. I don't know what I'm going to do with this luggage," she said.

Larry McIntyre, 65, who works in the restaurant business, had come to Midtown to see an early screening of the new Sandra Bullock movie "Gravity" at the Directors Guild of America on West 57th Street.

"I wouldn't live in that building if you paid me," he said. "It's doomed. It's got bad luck."

Construction contractor Lend Lease said that something broke as the company attempted to remove the crane from the building.

"We apologize to the community for the inconvenience," a company spokeswoman said.

The building owner, Extell Development, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One57 was being touted as the tallest residential tower in the city.