Monday, March 17, 2008


Crane Collapse at 303 East 51st Street in Manhattan...

To enlarge images simply click on them .

All pictures of the crane collapse on 51st street were taken between the hrs. of 10PM 08 03 15 and 12AM 08 03 16 .

Above : The 3 mooring collars stacked one on another .

To the right note the orange handled "come-alongs" with chain still attatched to the upper-most collar . Note also the frayed yellow straps , the remains of a rigger's "sling" , hanging from the orange "come-alongs" . Apparently these are the straps that failed and allowed the upper-most collar that was being installed to fall , sliding down the tower like a curtain ring down a curtain rod , shearing all of the tower tie-beams or struts from their respective mooring collars below on it's way down , sending all three collars and most of the tie beams to the base of the tower . .

To the left note the dark grayish struts used to connect the collars to the building that have fallen from their positions above at the 9th and second floors .

One of the remaining struts at the 9th floor. This strut was connected to a collar at the level of the 9th floor . The falling collar from above severed the connection of this strut to its collar sending the collar to the base of the tower .

Considerable energy was required to shear through this connection and also crack and permanently deflect the section of concrete slab which supported this strut .

At the tip of the strut it can be seen that connection holes have simply been torn out .

View west down 51st street .

Remaining strut on deflected slab at site of 9th floor connection to building .

At the top of building note 3 struts that were intended to be connected to the upper-most collar that fell during installation procedures.

View east down 51st street .

The portion of the tower that was immediately below the crane operating machinery resting where the small building at 305 west 50th street once was .

A tower crane of design similar to the one that collapsed . This crane is properly rigged and secured to a building now under construction at 20 east 23rd street .

Typical mooring collar, tower and strut details at 20 east 23rd street . The collars in combination with the struts secure the tower to the building . This mooring assembly transfers horizontal loads generated by the eccentric loading of the operating machinery above and by winds . The collars and strut assemblies also resist torque , that is twisting , in the tower generated by the rotation of the operating machinery above as it rotates with suspended loads .

A Favelle-Favco crane very much like the one that collapsed on 51st street .This crane failed at 110 3rd avenue in late September of 2006 . This crane was also owned by New York Crane and failed during the process of changing the height of the crane . In this case lowering rather that elevating the crane as on 51st street .
Above it can be seen that the restraining pocket for 40,000 pounds of counter weights has been severely damaged , crumpled and torn , during 4 foot drop in crane height .
If this pocket had torn completly through the counter weights would have plummeted to ground leaving the crane , with a 14000 pound concrete cube at the end of the boom , severely out of balance . In such a condition the crane could possibly have toppled into buildings along 3rd avenue .

Above and 2 Below : The massive and extravagant half-block of an edifice known as the Bear Sterns building at 383 Madison Avenue . Though this building will survive well into the 21st century , Bear Sterns as we have known it in the past will not . This company which survived the "Great Depression" was bought this last weekend for $2/share by JPMorgan Chase .

At around 2 PM Saturday afternoon , 15 March 2008 , a Favelle-Favco tower crane owned by New York Crane collapsed at 303 east 51st street .
The details of the collapse have been adequately reported in the local papers ; the NY post , the NY Daily News and the NY Times ; so we will not make an attempt to exhaustively cover all the details here .
At least 7 people died because of this event . More than 24 people were injured . As of this writing 300 residential units have been vacated , 17 buildings , by the Dept. of Buildings . 7 buildings were damaged , one of which was completely destroyed .
The immediate area around the collapse is still inaccesssable to the general public .
Much has been made of the 40 complaints to the DOB and the 13 violations issued . Anyone can go to and look at the DOB building profile for this building and reveiw all complaints and violations .
We have looked at the profile and found nothing there that can point to anyone as being responsible for this collapse . The crane perhaps ideally should have been supported with a tie a little lower than where a tie was ultimately attempted . This , though , did not cause this crane to collapse .
Someone perhaps made a mistake , or perhaps some chain or some nylon composite strapping failed . Why ? Today we do not know . Perhaps the only ones that do know are dead.
NYPD has siezed a large part of the crane as evidence and finally the District Attorney has begun an investigation . It simply required a construction disaster that produced some dead people for the DA to get involved in investigating a chaotic , too hurried , recklessly negligent and deadly construction industry ...and perhaps here we also should recommend that the DA's office take a look at the DOB's policies and personnel too .
Today everyone in the developement and construction industries is in a hurry . Construction costs are rising significantly every month .If a contractor is behind schedule a few months he can lose any hope of a profit simply because material prices have risen high enough to eat-up his hoped for profit .Even if the contractor is not behind schedule , construction materials costs are rising so rapidly that by the end of the job the rising costs have eaten much or all of the profit
Quality is down because really good experienced workers are few and far between .Work is being done in such a hurry that it is impossible in many instances to do a job right . A significant number of those that are doing a significant portion of the work are simply incompetant .... and to an experienced eye , indeed to any eye , it shows all over the place in this city today .
Developers are looking at a very uncertain future . With large financial intitutions that provide for market liquidity , readily available credit , such as seemingly rock-solid and venerable Bear Sterns falling in value from $170/share a year ago , to $80/share last Wednesday , to $30/share last Friday , to a sale price of $2/share on Sunday last , what credit will be available to anyone ? .Who knows whats next ? What will fail next ?...and how many upscale potential condo purchasers will still have a job and any wealth by the end of the year . The market for condos and rentals according to the predictions of many analysts will quite likely shrink considerably by the latter part of this year .
So ...everyone's in a hurry to get their buildings built and sold or filled with renters . Did this mad rush have anything to do with this crane collapse ? Who knows ...perhaps . Today we simply do not know who or what , in any reliable detail at least , is responsible for this tragic event .
The hurry-up attitude though did play a part in another crane failure . At 110 3rd avenue in late sept. of 2006 a crane of the same manufature , Favelle-Favco , and owned by the same company , New York Crane , failed during an attempt to change the height of the crane ; in this case lowering the crane. (Please See the posts on this blog NMNL pertaining to the crane failure at 110 3rd avenue for details ....use the Blogger search feature at the left top of the page.)
The crane's owner was in a hurry to get the crane to another location . Allegedly the crane's owner being short of experienced workers put inexperinced personnel on the job of bringing down and disasssembling the crane . The job by law required that a licensed rigger be on the site supervising the lowering procedure ...there was no licensed rigger at the site . The inexperienced crew did not use the proper manufacturer supplied fixtures to attach the hydraulic jacks to the tower . The crane dropped several feet in free-fall damaging the crane to the extent that it came very close to toppling onto buildings along 3rd avenue .
Tishman Construction and others are still awaiting hearings on this failure at 110 3rd avenue which resulted in a crushed cab and several injuries .According to the DOB building profile for this building , Tishman to-date , a year-and-half later , has been fined $1500.
Perhaps more later .

This doesn't surprise me:

With the vacancy rate in Manhattan at less than one quarter of one percent, there has been too much of an urgency of late to get these buildings done. This is the second major tragedy this winter at a construction site, the other most notbale one being Trump SoHo in January (notable because that was the site "Apprentice 5" winner Sean Yazbeck chose when he won that season of "The Apprentice" by Donald Trump).

I suspect this accident will somehow wind up being turned into an episode of "Law & Order" early next season (as this is the kind of headline that will be ripped from).
Very interesting .I had no idea that reality and television merged so often and so readily ....I just never watch it these days .
ABC news reported tonight this crane horror may have been in part due to a "sling" and the same problem presented itself with the new Goldman Sachs building and one person had been badly injured in that crane incident and it was the architect.

I am really concerned for the safety of New Yorkers and all that come here to visit and work because there have been way too many incidents related to construction, scaffolding above ground and infrastructure below resulting in deaths and or injuries of construction workers and civilians and I believe that statistics and the families and friends mourning is very high because the Bloomberg administration pushed this tsunami of development -- way too fast-- way too many permits beyond what DOB could keep up with, same I fear with Con Ed and our bills rise to pay for the rapid expansion and mostly likely law suits....
but the saddest most horrifying part if the people paying with their lives.

To see the horrifying crane incident in the East Village type the word crane in the blog search engine for this blog. You will see a taxi cab crushed like an accordian and many were injured but they lived.

Also type in the word Mercedes and see the mercedes toasted like a marshmallow by Tompkins Square Park.

Remember Jodi Lane that died death by Con Ed and googling her I found 2 Con Ed workers died the same way she did.

It is frightening and I believe the mayor has no choice but to finally adopt SAFETY first -- the safety of the people of New York must be the first priority.

The rescue workers of this city deserve a raise and they should be the highest paid after front lining 2 terrorist attacks and 2 tragedies - one construction -- one infrastructure that looked like terror attacks.
My heart goes out to all people grieving and it just seem more and more people are...

To date the mayor still refuse to give our Fire Police and EMS their rank, a simple honor due on the 9-11 memorial. This was the largest loss of rescue workers in our City's and Nation's history and should have always been recognized down at the site.
Miami now
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