A load is suspended above the street in New York, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 after a tower crane hoisting a load apparently got stuck about 20 floors up. A construction supervisor says the crane is the same one crane whose boom dangled dangerously nearly a year ago during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NEW YORK — A concrete weight that dangled for hours Monday from a crane 40 floors above a Manhattan street, leading officials to close a long swath of a major thoroughfare as a precaution, finally made it to the ground just before the evening rush hour started.
The heavy cube made it to the pavement around 3:30 p.m. on 57th Street after workers spent hours lowering it inch by inch. The crane had been frozen with its load in midair since about 7 a.m., when a generator stopped working, said Mike Lucas, a construction field supervisor.
The street's closure created gridlock in an especially bustling part of Manhattan and raised fears that the weight could spiral out of control amid a forecast of strong storms that hit the city shortly after the weight reached the ground. The street reopened to traffic and pedestrians afterward.The crane was being used in the construction of a luxury high-rise going up near Carnegie Hall and was the same site where a crane's boom collapsed and dangled dangerously during Superstorm Sandy.
The high-rise was dubbed a "global billionaires' club" by The New York Times after nine full-floor apartments near the top were sold to billionaires. Two duplexes in the building, called One57, were being sold for more than $90 million each.
Building department records show the crane is owned by Queens-based New York Crane & Equipment Corp. The company is one of the most widely used crane providers in the city, but its equipment has been involved in some notable accidents, including a May 2008 crane collapse that killed two workers on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
The company and its owner, James Lomma, were acquitted of manslaughter and other charges in that collapse; a mechanic pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
This January, a rig leased from New York Crane collapsed at a Queens construction site and injured seven workers. The city Buildings Department cited the crane operator, a construction contractor and others — but not New York Crane — in that incident.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Cranes have been a source of safety worries in the city since two giant rigs collapsed within two months of each other in Manhattan in 2008, killing a total of nine people.
Those accidents spurred the resignation of the city buildings commissioner and fueled new safety measures, including hiring more inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists.
Another crane fell and killed a worker this April at a construction site for a new subway line. That rig was exempt from most city construction safety rules because it was working for a state-overseen agency that runs the subway system.
Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.
MORE: Winter Storm Atlas' Wrath
iWitness Guzva84 captured this photo of mailboxes encased in snow in Spearfish, SD.