Peak Performance

A crisp December morning in Midtown, 34° F, calm winds, is exactly what the crew of Enclos superintendents, engineers, and Local 580 Ironworkers had ordered. At 7:30 am, the team gathers in preparation to execute a plan that was months in the making. The challenge: lifting a 44,000 lbs metal- clad wedge known as Apex 1 to 1,100´above Midtown Manhattan, and ultimately into its final crowning position at 1,050´ atop Jean Nouvel’s 53W53 tower. Due to its size, Apex 1 was shipped from Texas in two preassembled sections, merged on 53rd St, and staged for its big day.

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Enclos crews safely install the 44,000 pound Apex 1 atop Jean Nouvel’s 53W53. The monumental capping at 1,100´ above Manhattan required intense coordination, communication, and precision.

First things first—SAFETY. The crew rallies to discuss the plan for rigging, lifting, installation, and communication between crew members on the ground, 77-stories up, and in the crane operators booth. It is a highly choreographed sequence with no margin for error. Safety; stretch; now time to get to work

By the time 8:20 am rolls around, the ground crew has successfully attached the lifting tabs of the 40´x20´x9´ mass to a custom spreader bar, as well as the secondary safety straps. It is common practice for Ironworkers to lift the final topping structure accompanied by a flag, fir tree, or both. On this day, the stars and stripes of Old Glory fly above Apex 1; what will surely be a welcomed sight for the crew of six taking their positions up top.

Given the unique geometry of the supertall structure—a bundle of variant height, sloping faces that taper towards a series of points resulting in the apexes—field crews were faced without having the luxury of a roof surface from which they could work. Instead, the final apex would require the Ironworkers to work from beneath, and within, to guide the mass towards its anchorage points. This precarious position was only magnified by the presence of the large building maintenance unit in-place atop the structure, limiting their room to operate, and furthering the need for precise coordination between trades.

By 11:30 am, the 22 ton apex was nested and fastened into its anchor points, the rigging was released to untether it from the crane, and the peak of 53W53 was made whole. The crew takes a sigh of relief: execution of the plan was complete.

Another day, another glistening addition to the skyline. A great example of pride-filled teamwork at its finest.

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