TWC roof; Photo: NY Post

Mayor Bloomberg and the city's Building Department shut down construction work at the Time Warner Center, after Sunday's sheet-metal-falling incident. Apparently four summons have been given the builders, the Related Companies, during the skyscraper's construction (a man was killed in 2002 when debris hit him), and the sheet metal hit a 60 year old man's arm on Sunday (he was not seriously hurt).

The Mayor is angry, saying, "They just pay the summonses and they go on and they continue to jeopardize everybody in this city. We are not going to have to walk down the streets and look up all the time at a building and wonder if something is going to come off it." The builders released a statement saying the three acres (!!) of roof work space was clear, but a Post reporter spied that there were still materials there. Note: Do not go near Columbus Circle.

The Times explains the wind tunnel effect:

In fact, New York City experiences equally forceful winds only 15 days a year, on average, said Jeff Warner, a meteorologist at Pennsylvania State University. The strongest gust reported yesterday, as of the late afternoon, was 37 miles an hour in Central Park. Sunday's high was the same.

The force of such winds can double as they pass through city streets lined with high-rise buildings - what is known as the wind-tunnel effect. When the wind gets funneled into a corridor between tall buildings, it is forced to accelerate, Mr. Warner said.

On the ground, such gales often send pedestrians lurching into alcoves for cover, but up higher, the effects are even more hair-raising: newer buildings will sometimes tremble because they tend to be built with lighter, more economical materials.

This must be why Gothamist was pushed literally two feet when we turned a windy corner this morning.