It’s always sad when New York City politics and bureaucracy kill an entrepreneur’s dream. But one such story, recounted by our Peter D’Amato in last week’s Crain’s, is especially infuriating because the innovator, crane operator Dan Mooney, wasn’t the only victim. The whole city lost.
Mooney invented a crane that is cheaper, faster and safer than the tower cranes dominating the city’s skyline. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to see why his Skypicker is superior. Much smaller than a tower crane, it has a boom affixed to a solid column that is bolted to each floor of the building it is erecting. Immune to the deadly collapses caused by wind or the raising and lowering of other cranes, it doesn’t require the $80 million liability insurance policy that tower-crane projects do.
As a building goes up, the Skypicker can climb to the next floor in minutes, rather than half a day, controlled by a single operator, not the highly paid crew that tower cranes need. Nor does the Skypicker require Class A-licensed operators, whose compensation packages cost $106 an hour. Not surprisingly, when the Skypicker was first used four years ago to construct a 34-story midtown hotel, it was picketed by Local 14-14B of the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents virtually all Class A crane operators in the city. Anonymous complaints targeted the machine, but inspectors always found it working exactly as designed.
Read more from Crain’s New York Business…