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BREAKING: Crane Collapse on Upper East Side

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A crane has collapsed at a construction site on East 91st and First Avenue, which looks to us like the location of the 34-story Azure condo building at 333 East 91st Street. Initial reports say two people were killed in the accident, and the crane operator was injured. 1010 WINS reports that the crane fell on a building below.

8:45am: From a tipster, "Looks like the Azure on 91st & 1st has decided to share its lovely new crane with the rest of the neighborhood. Other buildings have been hit and emergency vehicles are EVERYWHERE!"

8:55am: Gothamist writes, "The FDNY is reporting two fatalities at this point. Apparently the top of a crane--including the cab-- fell off (possibly 20-25 stories) and hit a building across the street (it looks like a penthouse across the street has a corner taken out of it)." [Gothamist]

WABC 7's live shot shows FDNY hauling a body away. It is unclear of this is a third fatality or one of the reported two.

9:01am: On May 20, a 311 caller reported unsafe conditions at the crane. A DOB inspector was dispatched, and the report states "NO ACTION NECESSARY NO UNSAFE CONDITIONS." According to news reports, an inspector was last at the site on Wednesday. [DOB]

9:17am: Numerous on-the-scene photos are flooding in. Broker-blogger Andrew Fine is at the site, and some of his camera-phone shots can be seen above. ANIMAL and New York have some dramatic close-up photos as well. The building that took the brunt of the damage appears to be 1749 First Avenue, with numerous damaged terraces (Andrew Fine says 10 or so) and what looks like, yikes, a partially crushed penthouse. A corner of the building near street level has been ripped out.

City Room is now reporting, "A law enforcement official confirmed that appeared at least one person, the cab operator, was killed in the collapse." [City Room]

9:27am: A neighbor tells us, "My roommate called 911, she was the first there b/c she was going to work. I heard a noise but it sounded like the guys down at eli's vinegar factory had lost a load of bread or a huge car garage door fell or something. Glass littered the streets, there was a man bleeding next to me. Within minutes i got phone calls from people as far away from texas wondering if i was ok. I'm still in shock. I tried to get a cab to go to work but all the streets to Lex were crowded with ambulences. Can you believe they tore down a public school to make this luxury condo? I heard they're rebuilding it but still..."

9:37am: NY1 reports that Mayor Bloomberg was in the middle of his radio show when news of the crane collapse broke. He said, "You know, we have inspectors out. I mean, it’s – construction is dangerous, but this is just unacceptable and intolerable. What happened in this case, I have no idea. We're going to find out." [NY1]

9:48am: NYPD is confirming one fatality, and several critical injuries.

9:50am: Just what is the Azure? Designed by SLCE Architects and marketed by Brown Harris Stevens, the 34-story condo development is being pitched as "The Elegant Choice," with apartments priced up to around $5 million. [Curbed]

10:16am: First Avenue between 86th Street and 94th Street is closed, and the M15, M31 and M86 buses are being diverted. A few new photos have been added to the gallery.

10:34am: The Times now reports that "Two people were killed, including the operator of the crane, who was sitting in the cab as the structure fell, officials said." One person died at the scene, and the other casualty died at Metropolitan Hospital. Mayor Bloomberg's press conference is coming up in the next 15 minutes or so. [NYT]

11:11am: The mayor will speak at 11:15, and in the meantime, here's a recent history of complaints regarding construction at the Azure. [Curbed]

11:29am: In his briefing, Mayor Bloomberg said one person was killed and two were seriously injured. All three are construction workers, and one pedestrian had minor injuries. No one is still trapped in the wreckage, and the cause of the crane break is still unclear. The crane was jumped over the weekend, and a DOB employee was there to oversee the work.

11:42am: And wrapping up a bad morning for the Buildings Department... [Curbed]

3:15pm: A second person has died as a result of this morning's crane collapse at the Azure Condominiums at 333 East 91st Street. City Room reports that 27-year-old Bronx resident Ramadan Kurtij "died of cardiac arrest after being taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center." The other victim was a Staten Island resident named Donald Leo. [City Room]


333 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128