NYC crane’s ‘headache ball’ smashed into building, causing debris to fall

A “headache ball” attached to a crane atop a Midtown skyscraper crashed into the building while the equipment was spinning in the wind Thursday night, causing glass and debris to rain down on the street below, the Department of Buildings said.

The heavy metallic ball, which was attached to the end of the crane’s cable, swung into the under-construction building on West 57th Street near Sixth Avenue as the crane was “weathervaning,” or spinning along with the wind, the DOB said.

After the impact, “large sections of glass and aluminum debris [fell] off the building and [landed] in the street below,” the agency said.

A headache ball, also known as a lifting ball, is attached to a crane’s hoisting cable and used to attach loads for the device to lift.

Officials from the Buildings Department are investigating what caused the accident, the agency said.

They also issued a violation for the construction subcontractor that was operating the crane for failing to safeguard the equipment. A full stop-work for the site and a cease-use order for the crane were also issued by the agency.

“Our technical engineers are back on scene today, working to determine exactly how this incident occurred, and who is responsible for this serious safety lapse. New York City has the strongest crane regulation in the country in place to protect the public, and an incident like this is unacceptable,” a DOB spokesperson said in a statement.

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