A legacy as tall as a skyscraper
by Salvatore Isola
Aug 02, 2019 | 2437 views | 0 0 comments | 121 121 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James F. Lomma was responsible for building modern New York City, and while his untimely passing last week surprised all who knew him, he leaves behind an impressive life with skyscrapers as testaments to his legacy.

Lomma owned numerous successful crane companies, including J.F. Lomma Inc., TES Inc., and the Maspeth-based New York Crane.

He was born on November 24, 1945, to Anthony and Lillian Lomma. Lomma passed in his home at age 73 on July 14. He is survived by his children Jennifer Gabel, Lauren Lomma, and James B. Lomma; his son-in-law Steven Gabel; two grandchildren; his siblings Gail and Patrick; and nephews Jessie and Patrick Lomma.

Lomma began as an independent truck driver when he bought his own tractor-trailer in the late 1960s. He connected with people from his native Staten Island to start a trucking company in the early 70s.

He kept expanding, buying new trucks and hiring new drivers, and eventually joined the Specialized Cranes and Rigging Association (SC&RA), an advocacy group for the specialized transportation, crane, and rigging industry.

Lomma was a member for over 35 years and served for a time as its president.

He eventually bought his first crane, and did rigging jobs throughout New Jersey. As work increased, he bought another crane.

“As he got more and more into it, he got to love it,” said an employee at New York Crane.

In 1990, Lomma bought Santora Crane in Corona, which became New York Crane. At time, there were only three players in the crane industry in the city: Bay Crane, Cranes Inc., and New York Crane.

Lomma entered the tower crane business, purchasing machines that few had, and constructed skyscrapers throughout the city.

On September 11, Lomma dispatched cranes to Ground Zero. Lomma stayed at the site for three months, day and night. Eventually, cranes that bore his name would help build One World Trade Center.

Among Lomma’s recent projects is the ongoing construction of Hudson Yards, 432 Park Avenue, and One Vanderbilt near Grand Central Terminal.

Lomma also oversaw the removal of the Enterprise space shuttle from the plane that carried it into New York for permanent exhibition at the Intrepid Museum.

Lomma and his cranes helped on projects at Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Tennis Center, and Kosciuszko Bridge.

In his private life, Lomma was a lover of motorcycles, muscle cars, fishing, and aeronautics, even earning a pilot’s license.

Without James F. Lomma, there would be no modern New York City, and when New Yorkers look up at the skyline and see cranes with the name Lomma written large yellow letters, they are reminded of the man whose legacy will stand tall as a skyscraper.
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