Metal plate falls from construction site in Manhattan

COLUMBUS CIRCLE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A large metal plate being installed on a building near Columbus Circle fell and landed on the sidewalk on a busy in Manhattan Wednesday.

The streets around the Midtown mega construction site remained closed for hours as the FDNY assessed how to secure a two-ton load of glass, straddled between the 17th floor and a construction elevator, had gotten stuck.

"It was not fully in still on the floor and partially in the elevator and it raised up so it's between the floor and bottom of elevator on an angle," FDNY Manhattan Bureau Commander Roger Sakovich said.

Fortunately the 4,000-pound load of glass held steady, but a large metal plate and pieces from the hoist did fall 17 stories to a traffic-filled West 58th Street. The pieces somehow missed people and cars below.

The close call is the first at 217 West 57th Street. When completed, it will be 99 stories high and house condos, a hotel and a Nordstrom's.

Extell, the project developer, and Lend Lease, the contractor, also built this super skyscraper next door. They had a close call during Super Storm Sandy. The crane was not properly secured. High winds snapped the crane, leaving it dangling 90 stories above the street for several days.

Wednesday's mishap was not as serious but did make for some tense moments 17 stories above one of Manhattan's busiest streets.

So what's the challenge?

"To secure the 4,300 pounds to pull it back in on the floor and lower the elevator back so they can get load on floor," Sakovich said. "Once it's on the floor our job is done."

Buildings Department inspectors also responded to the scene.
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