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Stuck crane dangles load near NYC's Carnegie Hall

Verena Dobnik, Associated Press

A load is suspended above the street in New York, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. Officials have closed West 57th Street between 6th and 7th avenues in Manhattan after a tower crane hoisting a load apparently got stuck about 20 floors up. A construction supervisor says the crane is the same one crane whose boom dangled dangerously nearly a year ago during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A crane lost power in midtown Manhattan on Monday, leaving its load dangling 40 floors above a construction site and forcing the closure of a busy street amid the threat of heavy rains and wind forecast for New York City.

The load dangled near a luxury high-rise going up near Carnegie Hall — the same construction site where a crane's boom collapsed and dangled dangerously during Superstorm Sandy.

This time, the crane is merely frozen with its load suspended in midair, but the threat of bad weather that could send it spiraling has officials worried. City engineers are working with the contractor to secure the site, said buildings department spokesman Tony Sclafani.

City emergency managers said the load would be lowered manually, which could take hours.

The crane lost power around 7 a.m. while it was moving construction materials to the roof, said Mike Lucas, a construction field supervisor. The generator that powers the hoist mechanism stopped working.

"With no power from this generator, it wasn't going to fall — and it wasn't going to go up, either," he said.

The closure of 57th Street, a major east-west thoroughfare, created gridlock in parts of Manhattan.

Construction cranes have been a source of safety worries in the city since two giant rigs collapsed within two months of each other in Manhattan in 2008, killing a total of nine people.

Those accidents spurred the resignation of the city buildings commissioner and fueled new safety measures, including hiring more inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists.

Another crane fell and killed a worker this April at a construction site for a new subway line. That rig was exempt from most city construction safety rules because it was working for a state-overseen agency that runs the subway system.

The high-rise where the crane is stalled was dubbed a "global billionaires' club" by The New York Times after nine full-floor apartments near the top were sold to billionaires. Two duplexes in the building, called One57, were being sold for more than $90 million each.