Crowbar crashes on cab, setting off NYC DOB safety inspections for contractor

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200 E 59
Construction site at 200 E 59th (Google Maps image)

There are construction risks, and then there are problems like the errant crowbar.

The New York Daily News reports that the risks have been especially severe at a Gilbane Residential Construction condominium site at 200 E. 59th St.

Mohammad Razza, a 50-year-old cabbie, told the newspaper that he was waiting at a red light on Third Ave. next to the site the morning of May 11 when out of nowhere came an explosion above his head.

“It felt like a missile came down,” he told the newspaper. “For 30 seconds I was totally shocked, traumatized, because I didn’t know what happened.”

It turns out a four-foot crowbar had fallen from the 32nd floor of the job site, crashing down upon his cab, landing squarely on the front of his roof and his windshield. The published report continued:

The roof caved in and the windshield shattered. The roof struck Razza’s head, the rear view mirror flew off and whacked his right arm. His left knee crashed into the driver’s side door. Glass from the windshield flew into his left eye.

“I’m still not working,” he said. “Right now, due to this, I still feel numbness in my head. Sometimes I … feel dizzy. If you drive, you’re supposed to be perfect. I don’t want to take a chance on the road right now.”

The News says his experience was the third such incident in a two month span at the Gilbane site. “Razza’s attorney Neil Kalra said he’s notified the contractor he intends to sue,” the published report said.

200 e 59
Rendering/image from the 200 E . 59 condo developer’s site

Gilbane is currently building at several sites, including Hudson Yards on the far West Side and an expansion of New York-Presbyterian Hospital on the Upper East Side.

After the crowbar incident, the Department of Buildings searched its internal system to locate every Gilbane site in the city, The News reported:

They found 14 sites, and over the span of four weeks, inspectors were able to gain access to 12. There they uncovered 49 hazardous violations and issued 13 partial or full stop-work orders at four locations.

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