Wind blows debris off buildings in Manhattan

January 26, 2010 4:42:06 AM PST
High winds blew debris from a construction site to the streets below in Lower Manhattan on Monday, forcing street closures near City Hall Park. Centre Street from Chambers to Frankfort Streets are closed, as well as Frankfort Street to Ann Street from Broadway to Gold Street.

The closings forced Pace University to cancel daytime classes. The front entrance of City Hall was also closed. Visitors and workers used the back door instead.

The first incident happened at 8:00 a.m. Monday. Closing Spruce Street between Park Row and William Street. The Office of Emergency Management said some "relatively small" debris had fallen off a 72-story building under construction at 8 Spruce Street.

There were no reports of injuries.

About two hours later, OEM said several more streets in the City Hall Park area were affected.

The Department of Buildings issued a Full Stop Work Order at the construction site. The DOB also issued 2 violations to the building's contractor, Kreisler Borg and Forman, for failing to safeguard "persons and property affected by construction operations," and for storing material at the edge of the building.

Inspectors and engineers from the DOB are doing a full inspection of the building, starting from the 77th floor and working their way down, and more violations are possible. The New York City Police and Fire Departments were also on scene.

All of the streets were reopened in the early evening.

The wind also caused falling debris along Broadway. The street was closed between Chambers Street and Liberty Avenue by the New York City Police Department. All local and express buses were detoured as well.

The wind brought down trees and power lines throughout the area, from New Jersey to Long Island. A tractor-trailer blew over onto the guardrail on the Newbught-Beacon Bridge. There was also a ban on commercial traffic over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge earlier in the day. A crane had to be brought to get it off. Suffern High School was dismissed early because of a power outage.

Long Island and the northern suburbs were the hardest hit area by power outages. The outages as of 11:00 p.m. are listed below:

  • Long Island -- 2,868
  • NYC -- 2,270 (mostly in Howard Beach)
  • New Jersey -- scattered
  • Westchester --2,088
  • Rockland -- 4,371
  • Orange -- 343
  • Connecticut -- 4,533