Friday, May 30, 2008

Another crane collapse?!

Let's get the important things out of the way first. I'm OK. My apartment is OK. My cats are fine.

Another Manhattan construction crane collapsed this morning around 8 AM. The last one was in east midtown back in March, but this time it was at 1st Ave and 91st Street, which is two blocks north of my apartment. I didn't hear anything so it must have happened while I was in the shower. But I heard the sirens and saw the traffic outside. My first thought was "this is why I need to move to Brooklyn: less traffic and fewer sirens in Park Slope." Then a friend texted me asking if I was OK after the crane collapse. I turned off last night's Colbert Report and turned on the Today show and watched a few minutes of Matt Lauer before they switched to the local news which showed the live footage from the helicopters I could hear hovering over the accident. I called my girlfriend and my parents to let them know I was OK, then I finished getting ready for work and went outside. 1st Avenue was a mess. There were emergency vehicles everywhere and people like me gawking at the disaster. I thought the city inspected all the cranes after the last crane fell down a few months ago. Maybe they didn't check them all, or maybe they didn't check the connections between the cab and the base (which looks like what broke in this case). Or maybe it's just an accident.

I can't help thinking that the demand for new high-rise apartment buildings for rich people who want to live in Manhattan is driving fast construction which leads to sloppy work and accidents like this. We have cranes falling on city streets killing people. I hope this collapse leads to a larger-scale reevaluation of the pace of construction in Manhattan but I doubt it will. It's a business. Who cares if a few construction workers or a couple of people on the street get killed? That's just the cost of doing business in the city. Besides, those people wouldn't have been able to afford to live in the new building anyway, so what do their lives matter?

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