Bomb scares have become a fact of life in New York, but it was a wind scare that shut down part of Lower Manhattan yesterday.

 

The NYPD blocked Broadway in front of City Hall to cars and pedestrians after gusts up to 70 miles per hour blew debris off nearby Beekman Tower, an under-construction high-rise designed by architect Frank Gehry.

 

The city warned people in the area to stay inside their buildings yesterday morning and Pace University was forced to cancel all classes.

 

“When I got into [City Hall] around noon, there were branches off the trees, newsstands knocked down,” said Councilman Robert Jackson, peering up at Beekman. “Mother Nature is a powerful force.”

Witnesses said debris flew off the 77-story building around 8 a.m. and police said one piece smashed through the front windshield of a car in the City Hall parking lot.

The Buildings Department issued violations to the general contractor at Beekman, for failing to secure debris and for storing materials at the edge of the building. The fines can cost up to $10,000.

The wind also sent a newsstand flying through the window of a Citibank.