Friday, May 30, 2008

Back From Scene Of Crane Collapse


photo by Flickr/Seth Holladay via Curbed

By Andrew Fine, 5/30, 10am-

Shortly after getting out of the shower this morning around 8 30am, I noticed an overabundance of sirens from emergency vehicles. Being a New Yorker, having lived through 911, you have an innate ability to differentiate between the normal amount of fire engines and when there are way too many. Before I could even think I heard a swarm of helicopters which are always the tell tale sign that something bad has happened. Instinctively, you wonder if something tragic might have occurred on the trains, then you turn to other horrific scenarios. Before thinking all of those through, you turn to the tv and flip through the news channels. Seconds later, you find the news of a potentially fatal crane collapse. In a sad twist of irony, the reflex is some sense of relief that it wasn't something magnitudes worse. Shortly thereafter there is worry for those that might have died in the ordinary course of trying to make a living or simply walking down the street. The last in the very short course of emotions is anger and outrage that such a tragedy is preventable and should never happen in a civilized society.

I went to report and document this tragedy. Crowds had gathered and word had quickly spread that there was indeed at least one, possibly 2 fatalities already reported. The scene that most sticks in my mind was the image of the 3rd and 4th floor apartments penetrated and cratered by the falling tons of street. Looking into somebody's living room or dining room that no longer has a wall or part of the floor, yet a painting on the back wall seemingly undisturbed. You can only hope that the damage to those apartments and others, like the penthouse that was decimated, was merely material and not physical. We all hope and pray that to be the case.

Neighbors who heard the crane fall initially believed that a tremendous bomb had gone off. We can only imagine the sheer terror which these thousands of people experienced this morning. Hopes and prayers will help those traumatized or directly effected by this tragic travesty, but it will not change the circumstances that lead it happen. Action, real, powerful, and politically and economically inconvenient action is needed. Something must be done. The city must get it's shit together pronto and not allow another crane to operate until they do so.

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