O’Donnell: Lifting Stop Work Order on 808 Columbus Avenue Crane Endangers Public

June 18, 2008
Today Assembly Member O’Donnell decried the decision by the Department of Buildings to lift the Stop Work Order for the Kodiak crane at 808 Columbus Avenue and urged Mayor Bloomberg to overturn the decision and order the crane dismantled.

The Stop Work Order was imposed shortly after the Kodiak crane collapse at E. 91st Street. O’Donnell accused the Mayor and Department of Buildings of endangering the welfare of the public. From the letter:

“Dismantling this crane, in operation at a site with a shocking history of safety violations, is the only precaution sure to protect the safety of neighbors, construction workers, and passers-by.” . . . “The public is desperate for your administration to demonstrate leadership in the oversight of construction sites and place public safety first.” . . . “This crane is a looming symbol of anxiety for so many who deserve a measure of relief from the seemingly constant stream of negative impacts construction has brought. Lifting the Stop Work Order on this crane is tantamount to endangering the safety of the public.”


“The New York Times poll released just yesterday indicated 4 of 5 respondents believe the Mayor should be doing more to protect their safety. The public is crying out for bold leadership on their behalf and their pleas are met with silence and indifference. The Mayor has a moral obligation to ensure the public’s safety and yet, too often, decisions are made that absolutely counter this idea,” Assembly Member O’Donnell said. “There is no question in my mind that the decision to lift the Stop Work Order for the crane at 808 Columbus Avenue endangers the public.”

808 Columbus Avenue, part of a massive-scale development along Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues between W. 97th and W. 100th Streets, was the site of the collapse of a retaining wall that caused the evacuation of hundreds of neighboring residents. Just last week, unsecured lumber and building materials at the site were scattered into the street and sidewalks by high winds. Neighbors of the site recently filed a lawsuit seeking a more thorough review of the development’s plans and community impacts. Assembly Member O’Donnell has signed on as a plaintiff in that suit.


Assembly Member O’Donnell has represented the 69th Assembly District since 2003. His district includes portions of the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Manhattan Valley, and West Harlem. He currently also serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Trial Procedures, and as a member of the Education; Codes; Environmental Conservation; Judiciary; Oversight, Analysis & Investigation; and Tourism committees.