The Aftermath of the Upper East Side Crane Collapse


Because the crane collapse on First Avenue and E. 91st Street occurred on Friday morning, the majority of the hard news about the horrific incident appeared in the papers on Saturday and Sunday. (If it had been a weekday, there probably would have been more outrage about the Post‘s rather insensitive front page featuring the body of collapse victim Donald Leo covered in a sheet.)

The papers continue to cover this story rigorously, and today’s tabloids feature numerous stories about the victims. The Daily News covers the wake of Leo, who was supposed to get married on June 21. The photos accompanying the story include several of Leo’s fiancée Janine Belcastro in happier times (wedding shopping and in a snapshot with Leo) and the contrasting shot of the distraught woman leaving the funeral home. The News reports that Belcastro is so distraught that she has refused to eat since she learned of Leo’s death. The Post devotes its coverage to victim Ramadan Kurtaj, an Albanian who was working to bring his parents to the United States so that they could undergo medical treatment. Kurtaj’s body was being flown back to Albania today.

The other angle pursued in today’s papers is continuing to delve into the whys and wherefores and consequences of this event: Why did the crane collapse? What can be done to prevent such a tragedy in the future? Who is ultimately responsible? The Daily News looks at the “why” question through the lens of how wary city residents are when they approach cranes. The Post exposes the city’s “dirty little secret” that it owns the land on E. 91st St. that was being developed. Let’s hope that the press continues to perform its watchdog function with this case. There are too many burning questions that need to be addressed.