Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri: ‘We Knew the Crane Wasn’t Going to Fall’

Before Hurricane Sandy even reached the Five Boroughs, the city was thrown into chaos when its prevailing winds knocked over the boom of the crane hanging off the side of the billionaire-beloved One57 condo tower. In our oral history of Hurricane Sandy, Fire Chief Sal Cassano told The Observer that was the moment the storm got serious. “That was pretty much the start of a very, very active and serious night,” Mr. Cassano said. “We had a four-alarm assignment for an incident that wasn’t even a fire.”

Yesterday, The Times had a harrowing account of the moments surrounding the crane snapping. It includes the main city engineer on the scene saying he gave the boom a 20 percent chance of breaking off entirely and falling earthward. His boss, Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, felt more secure, as he told The Observer during our interview for the oral history that, following some initial panic, he felt confident the boom would hold through the storm and the days ahead.

“We had made an estimate that, at the time, we knew the crane was not going to fall,” Mr. LiMandri said. “We felt very comfortable that the ties that held the mast up were intact, and that was a very good sign, knowing that the mast had not been compromised. We had some estimates on the iron chords that were holding the mast together to the balloon, so we were fairly comfortable that that part was secure.”
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