Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In uptown Manhattan, storm leaves a hanging crane and minor damage

The damaged crane, part of construction on the One57 building, on West 57th Street (Allison Joyce/Getty Images??

Monday's giant storm inflicted the greatest damage on the lower half of New York City, but uptown, on West 57th Street, a massive, dangling crane is drawing crowds.

At a thousand feet above the ground, the 80-ton swing arm dangles next to the tallest condominium under construction in the city, located between 6th and 7th avenues. Bovis Lend Lease, the company managing the building's construction, is waiting for the last winds to die down before it scoops up the hanging hulk of metal.

"All I'm doing today is watching that crane," said a company employee, who asked not to be named. Wearing a muddied yellow raincoat, he leaned against a nearby shop on the corner of 56th Street, on standby.

"The only reason they haven't taken it down is because of the winds," he said. "Once they die down, they'll rig it up from the air. Right now it's no danger."

His remarks echoed the statement of the tower's developer, Gary Barnett, who told Crain's New York Business, "Everything that can be done is being done." In the meantime, metal gates and police tape block off access to the surrounding areas, as crowds of people stand along 57th Street and 5th Avenue taking photos and chattering as the crane's arm sways in the wind.

The crane is the most conspicuous damage up here resulting from the storm, but nearby, more destruction can be seen: On a building at the corner of Park Avenue and 59th Street, the facade of one floor about 20 stories up tumbled down during the storm, leaving a mass of debris on the now closed-off section below.

But for most who live around here, the most common word to describe the storm has been "boring." There have been few power outages, and the worst symptoms of the storm have been the gusts of wind. In nearby pubs like the Carriage House on 59th Street, people are hanging out, glancing at the images on TV of? more serious disorientation in lower Manhattan.

"It's honestly been a little boring," said Alana, who lives a few blocks away by the U.N. headquarters. She said she's chiefly been preoccupied with taking in her friend from Brooklyn, where winds were felt as early as Sunday night. "No power out, I've still got Internet. It hasn't been very exciting."

Others living uptown have also concentrated chiefly on coming to the aid of their friends, and checking on their work spaces downtown.

"I'm at a small tech company in Union Square, so I swung by to check on any leaking or flooding," says Brian, playing darts with a friend at the Carriage House. "Otherwise, it's mainly been working from home and helping out the people I know."


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