For those who live, work, or happened to be visiting in Midtown Manhattan today, you’re probably well aware of the crane situation at the construction site for the tower on West 57th Street (under control, as of the late afternoon). These types of situations—and this was the same site where an earlier crane memorably dangled 1,000 feet in the air for several days after Hurricane Sandy almost exactly one year ago—rightfully gain nationwide attention for the dramatic scale of the dangers posed, in a line of work that we so often take for granted.
But today we are reminded by City officials that such dangers are potentially much more far-reaching, and even as today’s earlier Tornado Watch was downgraded to a warning for Severe Thunderstorms, the Department of Buildings issued an inclement weather advisory, reminding all property owners, contractors and builders to secure all construction sites as well as to take precautionary measures to secure outdoor furniture, umbrellas and other lightweight and potentially loose objects that could be at risk in high winds. The Department advises that 40-mph winds are possible through the evening (Category 1 hurricane wind speeds are a minimum 74 mph) but could also be higher. And for good measure, the Department reminds everyone that these advisories are a courtesy notice only, explicitly invoking the City’s Administrative Code, which says that property owners are legally required to maintain their properties in a safe condition.