NEW YORK—Stopping dead in their tracks and pausing to take in the scene unfolding above them, the entire country reportedly came to a halt Thursday morning to watch an industrial crane move a massive concrete tube across a construction site.
The dumbfounded populace, staring up with their mouths agape at the extended arm of the yellow, 200-foot-tall Liebherr tower crane as it moved the building component slowly through the air, reportedly followed the huge cement tube’s progress unblinkingly for the nearly 10 minutes it took to transfer it to the spot where it would be secured into place.
“Whoa,” said 46-year-old bank manager Alex Horn while standing in the middle of the sidewalk, pointing into the sky and gazing wide-eyed at the 30-foot-long, steel-reinforced concrete tube as it was hoisted approximately 75 feet above the ground. “That thing’s big.”
“Really big,” he added.
According to reports, upon spotting the 9-foot-diameter cylinder suspended in midair, the nation’s 320 million citizens paused what they had been doing and placed a hand on their brow to shield their eyes from the sun, with many reportedly tugging at a nearby acquaintance’s sleeve to alert them to the sight above. Sources confirmed that, after several moments of gaping, a few million Americans opted to cross the street to get a closer look through the chain-link gates at the construction site’s entrance.
Throughout the tube’s transit, many of the onlookers were said to have briefly turned to the friends, family members, or strangers standing next to them and mouthed the word “wow” before returning their gaze skyward.
“Look how far up it is,” said pastry shop worker Kevin Jordan, 29, speaking to reporters without breaking his line of sight with the large tube. “That thing’s gotta weigh, like, 100 tons.”
“Oh, look, you can see through it now,” he continued, as the tube slowly rotated at the end of its tether.
Though completely captivated by the activity, many Americans reportedly took a moment to speculate what the big crane would pick up next, imagining that it might subsequently lift a humongous steel beam, or perhaps a giant bucket of cinder blocks. Others, however, were quick to point out a large pile of identical concrete tubes at one end of the construction site and suggested these would likely be moved next, in a similar manner.
“It’s going real slow—they probably have to go so slow because it’s so big,” said 38-year-old Gabrielle Cook, a mother of three, who, along with the rest of the nation, wondered aloud at one point why the process had momentarily halted. “Oh, it stopped. Why’d it stop?”
“There it goes again,” Cook added.
According to an informal poll of onlookers, 73 percent of the nation said they had never seen a tube that big before, while 24 percent said they’ve seen bigger. The remaining 3 percent either grumbled indecipherably or shushed reporters.
Amid audible “oohs” and “ahhs” as the crane began to lower the massive object into place, the nation admitted it was still unclear as to the exact function of the tube, though many commented that it looked like “a big sewer pipe or something.”
“It’d be crazy to be the guy steering that thing,” said accounting clerk Jeff Merriwether, 26, staring at the cabin sitting atop the body of the crane. “Think how far he has to climb to get up there.”
“I bet he’s used to it by now,” Merriwether continued.
At press time, the nation was distracted by a big machine scooping dirt nearby.