The Crane Collapse in Tribeca: A Community Q&A

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Workers from Bay Crane on Saturday continued the lengthy process of disassembling the fallen crane so that it can be removed, in pieces, from Worth Street. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
Workers from Bay Crane on Saturday continued the lengthy process of disassembling the fallen crane so that it can be removed, in pieces, from Worth Street. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
The parapet and roof of a New York Law School builidng were heavily damaged by the impact of the crane, where workers on Saturday were making emergency repairs. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
The parapet and roof of a New York Law School builidng were heavily damaged by the impact of the crane, where workers on Saturday were making emergency repairs. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
On Sunday night, following the removal of the crane from Worth Street, crews from the city's Department of Environmental Protection worked at repairing two water main leaks. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
On Sunday night, following the removal of the crane from Worth Street, crews from the city's Department of Environmental Protection worked at repairing two water main leaks. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
On Friday, the fallen crane crushed several parked cars when it fell along Worth Street. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
On Friday, the fallen crane crushed several parked cars when it fell along Worth Street. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
As snow falls, the crane's twisted wreckage lies on Worth Street. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
As snow falls, the crane's twisted wreckage lies on Worth Street. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
An injured person is removed from the scene. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
An injured person is removed from the scene. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum
A portion of the crane lies across Worth Street, near Church. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
A portion of the crane lies across Worth Street, near Church. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
 The crane's undercarriage lies upside upside down, as seen from Hudson Street. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
The crane's undercarriage lies upside upside down, as seen from Hudson Street. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
Many people were evacuated from surrounding buildings following the crane collapse. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
Many people were evacuated from surrounding buildings following the crane collapse. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
The #1 station at Franklin Street was temporarily closed because of a gas leak. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
The #1 station at Franklin Street was temporarily closed because of a gas leak. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
City agency officials, including Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler here at the microphone, give an update on work being done to restore the two blocks of Worth Street following the collapse of the crane. Photo: Carl Glassman
City agency officials, including Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler here at the microphone, give an update on work being done to restore the two blocks of Worth Street following the collapse of the crane. Photo: Carl Glassman
Posted
Feb. 05, 2016

UPDATED SAT. FEB. 6, and SUN. FEB. 7.

Officials on Saturday gave an update on recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Friday crane collapse on Worth Street between Hudson and Church that killed 38-year-old David Wichs, on his way to work at Tower Research Capital, 377 Broadway, and that seriously injured two others.

At least until Monday, they said, Worth Street is expected to be closed from Church to Hudson. As of Sunday night West Broadway was closed from Thomas to Franklin.The crane by Sunday night had been carted away and trenches had been dug on Worth Street two leaks in a water main. Only after the water main is repaired, officials said, workers and residents will be allowed back into buildings on the street. Joseph Esposito, commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, said on Sunday that he expected on rupture to be fixed on Sunday and the other by Tuesday.

In the meantime, sidewalk sheds have been erected on Worth Street, near Church, where there was danger of falling chunks of masonry from buildings that had been struck by the crane. On Saturday, workers were atop a New York Law School building, where part of the crane tore off a large section of the parapet, and where a two-ton piece of the crane’s counterweight crashed into an office.

What are the details around the accident?   

Beginning Jan. 30, a crawler crane, which can extend up to 565 feet and lift 330 tons, occupied the two blocks of Worth Street between Church Street and Hudson Street for the purpose of bringing generators and air conditioners to 60 Hudson Street, the former Western Union Building, according to officials. The operator, Galasso Trucking and Rigging, had obtained a Buildings Department permit the morning before to add an extension to the crane’s boom. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the accident occurred at 8:30 a.m. as the crane—yet to begin operation for the day—was being lowered in an effort to secure it due to wind conditions. Officials say the cause of the collapse is under investigation. “We have full permits for the crane itself,” said Buildings Department Commissioner Rick D. Chandler. “We are further investigating what might have been required for the equipment that was being installed on the roof.”

What is 60 Hudson Street?

It is a major telecommunications hub where equipment-cooling air conditioners and backup generators have been hoisted into the building for many years.

What did people see when it happened?

Vivian Collens, who along with her neighbors at 11 Worth Street were evacuated, watched the crane collapse from her fourth-floor apartment. She said she saw a crane operator get in the cab of the crane and then get out.  Workers, she said, “placed at least three, maybe four sheets of plywood in front of the treads.  The crane was facing east. As soon as they finished that, the man got into the cab and shut the door and the next thing I saw the [undercarriage] of the crane started to do like a somersault. The back part went up in the air and it somersaulted and the cab was on the bottom and the treads were on the top and the crane came down in the process.”

“You heard it and you felt it,” said Michael Dajor, who was working on the seventh floor of 60 Hudson Street.  

What is the impact to the neighborhood?

Here is what de Blasio said today: “For people who live or work along Worth Street between Hudson and Church this area will be cut off for several days. We will make every effort to accommodate people. [The area] between Canal on the north, Chambers on the south, Hudson on west and Broadway on the east, that box we will see a lot of disruption in the coming hours and probably next few days as issues are resolved and addressed.” He added: “If people need access to a building to get their belongings or for something urgent they will be escorted by NYPD at the appropriate time and in a safe manner into a building.”

What was the physical damage to the area?

Officials say there was damage to the parapets of four buildings, including New York Law School, east from Worth and Church, addresses 47 to 55 Worth. As a result, they say, there is the danger of falling debris and a sidewalk shed will be erected for protection.

The impact of the crane hitting the street caused a 12-inch water main break, which was brought under control but leaving about 100 people without water service. It also caused a gas break and all gas service along Worth Street between West Broadway and Church has been turned off. The Department of Transportation closed southbound West Broadway from Canal Street and Worth Street in both directions from Church to Hudson.

Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes has often raised concerns about the amount of construction in Lower Manhattan. What was her reaction?

“In December, Community Board 1 unanimously passed a resolution about the continuation of the Department of Transportation’s Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner’s office which [is being phased out and] is assisting in construction coordination and oversight. There are roughly 90 major construction projects in 1.5 square miles in a very densely populated residential and commercial area. We saw today the tragic consequences.”

“There [was to be] an opportunity for the public to engage with the city agencies at our Quality of Life Committee on Feb. 18 and we just learned a couple of days ago that they canceled coming to the meeting. The community needs to have answers on what happened here.