GREEDY DEATH BLOW TO NEIGHBORHOOD
by Linda Stasi, NY Post
KATHARINE HEPBURN must be turning in her grave.
Shoddy construction by greedy moneymen is destroying the whole Turtle Bay area around Second Avenue, filling the neighborhood she loved with countless world-class-ugly buildings.
What they've done to Second Avenue in the last few years is criminal. Yesterday, it turned deadly.
Second Avenue from East 53rd Street to Dag Hammarskjold Park came under invasion by these animals about five years ago with the cooperation of the city, and what seems like rampant incompetence. Are there no rules that apply? No aesthetics, no safety that won't be overlooked? Apparently not.
Contractor warned city about crane but was blown off
by Rich Shapiro
Daily News Staff Writer
A retired contractor warned the city 12 days ago the doomed crane on E. 51st St. wasn't properly braced, but the Buildings Department blew him off after making a cursory check.
"I think the Buildings Department is grossly negligent because they had been warned. They sent an inspector and they brushed it under the rug, so to speak," said Bruce Silberblatt, an 80-year-old former contractor.
"Now, I'm sitting here and, at last count, four people are dead and a couple buildings on 50th St. are completely wrecked. ... It looks like Baghdad over there."
'HALT' ORDER IS LATE
By DOUGLAS MONTERO and BILL SANDERSON, NY Post
On March 4, someone complained to the city by telephone that the crane that collapsed yesterday was not properly braced to the building.
"There are only tie backs on five or six floor[s], but upper part which is 100 feet up is unsecured," the caller said, according to the Department of Buildings Web site.
An inspector visited the site later that day and decided the problem didn't violate the rules. "No violation warranted for complaint at time of inspection," the inspector noted.
Crane tragedy is just latest in a string of disasters at construction sites
BY GREG B. SMITH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Once again the complaints poured in. Once again inspectors wrote up the violations. And once again there was death at a New York City construction site.
Since December, the city Buildings Department has received a stunning 32 complaints about site safety at the ill-fated 43-story tower under construction on E.51st St.
Since Jan. 17, the department has repeatedly visited the site, issuing 13 violations to contractors and owners. That's about one violation every five days.
On March 4, a retired engineer specifically warned the city that the "crane does not appear to be braced to the building" and that the upper part 100 feet up "is unsecured," records show.
An inspector found no violation, writing, "Crane is erected according to approved" plans.
On Friday, a city inspector making a scheduled inspection found no problem with the crane.
And yesterday, about an hour before the 2:20 p.m. crane collapse, a city building inspector was on site, answering yet another complaint about "hazardous conditions" at the job site, records show.
"Enough is enough," fumed Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "We've closed restaurants that have fruit flies, but we don't close construction sites that have major safety violations. We have to revamp the construction protocols."
"We have failed this borough and the people of the city. It is unacceptable and it has to be stopped."
The Daily News - in stories and editorials - has documented the dark side of the dramatic 12% jump in high-rise development last year that has resulted in a staggering 83% spike in construction accidents.
Yesterday's accident brings to 16 the number of construction deaths in the past 12 months.
Photo from NY Post