Crane Collapses in Manhattan Killing Seven People
Breaking News: Around 2:30 PM a crane about 15-25 stories high collapsed killing seven people and hitting several buildings completely crushing one building. The crane located at 305 East 51st Street killed six members of the construction crew and one pedestrian. A total of three buildings have been damaged and one five story brownstone was completely destroyed. The incident occurred in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan at 51st Street & 2nd Avenue. Emergency vehicles have been dispensed evacuating residents of the area.
Mayor Bloomberg who is enroute to the scene is part of the problem not the solution. I witnessed one of the bodies being taken away by ambulance workers but out of respect for the families I did not photograph. Construction site had about 13 prior violation citations as of January 2006 and seven funerals so far. Gas lines are being shut off in the area causing people to go to Wendy's for supper. Most of the evacuated residents will be temporary relocating to their summer homes in the Hamptons. Buildings 300, 301, 305, 308, 310, 311 East 50th Street have been evacuated as well as 300 East 51st Street, and 954 2nd Avenue. The company who built the crane is an Australian company called Favco. Rescue dogs and thermal devices are being brought in to search for survivors or bodies. There have been an unestimated amount of people to consist of possibly 10 injured who are presently contacting their attorneys via cellphones. The incoming Governor Paterson who is replacing the disgraced Eliot Spitzer is legally blind but will attempt to reach the scene of the accident. The local bar known as Fubar has been completely destroyed causing people to go to other neighborhood bars such as PJ Carney's located at East 56th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue as well PJ Clarke's located on the North East corner of East 55th Street & 3rd Avenue. Being that today is Saint Patrick's Day Weekend it is not believed that alcohol was involved in the tragedy(It was later discovered that a 28 year old Cuban immigrant named Odin Torres was in town from Miami to celebrate St. Patrick's Day when hunks of metal and concrete poured down thus killing her. Torres another victim of The Potato Famine took 48 hours to unearth. The body was eventually sent to a funeral home in Flushing Queens while the family who resided in Cuba obtained the law services of Edward Steinberg of Leav & Steinberg). There is a shelter available for those who have been evacuated or homeless at 228 East 57th Street. Firefighters are still going into the area which is very dangerous and could get hit in the head with falling debris or trip over something while searching for survivors and attempting to stabilize the buildings. One woman is unaccounted for. The crane is still unbalanced on the building and the recovery effort is extremely dangerous. The incoming Governor wasn't informed of the incident till 5 PM. New York City Fire Fighters are among the most prepared and bravest of men and will prevail in this dire situation to prevent further injuries, damages, or deaths.
22 MAY 08 UPDATE: A letter was sent to James Kennelly, the developer of the crane collapse condo at 303 E. 51th street by Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri that according to the building and zoning regulations the building's plans must be changed or the project will be shut down due to failure to comply with numerous provisions.
The construction for the 43 story building has been halted as of March 15, 2008 and gives the developer 10 days to show why all the permits shouldn't be revoked. It mostly stated that of the 28 problems cited the base of the tower is not broad enough for a building with residential units only. In order to comply with zoning plans it must be changed to include a wider base to combine community use or commercial space.
The building was approved prior to the accident by former Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster who resigned last month after admitting it was approved in error.