Teetering on the brink

Tuesday 30 Oct 2012

A crane dangles off a skyscraper in New York as Hurricane Sandy hits Manhattan

The storm engulfing New York has ripped a crane off the top of a 90-storey luxury building and torn the face off an apartment in the West Village, leaving the insides of several homes exposed. The construction crane was left dangling precariously over the edge of a building on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, while nearby streets and buildings were cleared as a precaution. The fire department reported that it had responded to a multiple-dwelling building collapse at Eight Avenue and 14th Street.

The New York City subway system - completed in 1910s - has never experienced such a devastating disaster before. The whole transportation system has been greatly influenced, in every borough and county of the region. Trees were brought down and the hurricane has ripped out power lines and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots.

The call over the crane collapse came in around 2.30pm yesterday as conditions worsened and Hurricane Sandy approached. Meteorologists said winds atop the building could have been close to 95mph at the time. New York City evacuated neighbours of the nearly completed luxury apartment building after the collapse prompted fears the crane's boom could crash to the ground. The buildings that were evacuated included the Parker Meridien hotel with 900 guests. The crane's upper arm dangled over the street near Central Park from what should eventually become the city's tallest residential building.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the crane had been inspected on Friday, as other construction cranes had ahead of the storm, and that the cause of the accident remained unknown. Engineers went to the top of the building to examine the crane but stopped short of attempting any repairs, officials said. The New York City Buildings Department suspended construction work at 5pm Saturday in anticipation of the storm. The government body reminded contractors and property owners to secure construction sites and buildings. A spokeswoman for Lend Lease, construction manager for the project, said the company was working with city officials to secure the structure but the weather remained severe. Passers-by stared in apprehension, while some stopped to take pictures of the building that will feature $90m duplexes.

One57, New York's tallest residential building-to-be, has been under construction since 2009 and is set to open in 2013. The New York Times recently called the building a 'global billionaires' club' because the nine full-floor apartments near the top have all been sold to billionaires. Full-floor apartments start at floor 77, with the Park Hyatt Hotel at the base, and the starting price for a space in the tower is reportedly $45m.

The tower, designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, will offer luxury amenities like a full service spa, a screening room, private dining room, a full spa and even a pet wash room. Ninety-two luxury condominiums will sit atop a five-star Park Hyatt hotel. Two of those units were under contract for more than $90m each, The New York Times reported last month, citing the president of building developer, Extell Development Company. Extell, which did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, announced in May it had reached $1bn in sales and that half of its units had sold in six months. Occupancy was set for 2013.

Jake Ganymede

Key Facts:

United States

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team