According to New York City's Department of Buildings, last year, the agency issued approximately 21,000 permits for new housing units. Residential condominiums, hotels and mixed residential and commercial spaces are among those sectors to experience the most growth within the last decade. While the city's current building boom is viewed by many as a sign of financial security and prosperity, a string of recent accidents has many concerned about safety.
On Sunday, May 31, a 375-foot crane was used to hoist an air conditioning unit up to the top floors of a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. According to a news report in the New York Daily News, the hulking metal unit crashed to the ground when a "rigging strap broke" on the crane.
A total of 10 people suffered injuries when debris from the damaged building and air conditioning unit rained down on the streets below. Among those injured, were eight pedestrians who were walking or located near the building when the accident occurred. While thankfully none of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening, one 20-year-old building security guard reported to being hit in the head by falling concrete.
The crane accident remains under investigation as officials attempt to determine whether mechanical or human error was at fault. While the city instituted new safety measures for cranes in 2008, a city official reported last year that only eight percent of such safety improvements have been widely implemented.
Given the significant number of high-rise buildings in New York City, it's impossible for individuals who live or work in the city to avoid being in their vicinity. As more buildings continue to be constructed and renovated throughout the city, it's likely that more pedestrians will be involved in construction-related accidents.