“We’re like refugees,” said Chris Ryan, 28, one of an estimated few hundred residents forced to evacuate seven Upper East Side buildings this morning following the collapse of a crane that killed at least two people.
Mr. Ryan, temporarily wallet-less, lives at 1748 First Avenue, between 90th and 91st streets. But this afternoon he was inside Richard R. Greene High School, on 88th Street, where officials had set up a First Aid center.
The Observer fanned out this morning and afternoon to interview people directly impacted by the collapse. The overwhelming emotion? Anger.
Marianna Tauss, who lives on East 90th Street, woke up to ambulance and fire engine sirens and the whirr-whirr of helicopters. “We are furious,” Ms.Tauss said.
As she spoke, four helicopters circled overhead. Debris hung over 91st Street, at First Avenue, the construction site for the Azure condop development. It was from there, this morning, that the crane toppled, scraping down the the Electra, the white balconied building across the street. Fire trucks blocked off the area between Second and York avenues, 89th to 93rd streets.
Mayor Bloomberg and city officials became a target for residents’ ire.
“The mayor doesn’t do anything,” said Eulania Stack, 71, a resident of the Knickerbocker Plaza on Second Avenue, as she stood at a police blockade. “They don’t care about the working-class people. Nobody cares about the tenants.”
“Bloomberg is in cahoots with developers,” complained an elderly gentleman in a faded orange Clemson University cap, as he watched Fox News conduct an interview.
Local City Council member Jessica Lappin, who spent much of the day at the scene, said assigning blame would have to wait until more details emerge. Until then, she said her primary concern was to help her constituents, like the woman she found crying because she had had to leave her pet behind.
Jacob Kriegler, 23, who lives on the eighth floor of the Electra, the damaged building, exercised no such restraint.
“[Mayor Bloomberg] needs to get his cranes under control,” Mr. Kriegler said.