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New York Contractor Splits Stone for Manhattan Job

John Civetta & Sons is now using a radically different product to break down the tough granite located beneath Manhattan.

Mon August 26, 2013 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The granite that is located beneath the streets of Manhattan has a reputation for extreme hardness.

Over the years Ted Civetta Jr. of John Civetta & Sons Inc. has used many different approaches to breaking this granite, including blasting, using hydraulic hammers, and at times using chemicals to break up the rock. Over the past few years all three approaches have become less desirable due to environmental dust and noise restrictions on projects in Manhattan.

John Civetta & Sons is now using a radically different product to work around these issues on its most recent job site: The Manhattan West Project.

In southwestern Manhattan, in the area of 33rd Street and 9th Avenue, two 62-story office towers are being constructed on the site of what is currently a massive railroad yard for the trains leading in and out of New York City’s Penn Station. The train station is located 65-ft. (20 m) below grade. In the later phases of this project, post-tension segmental bridge technology is being used to build a deck over the train yard allowing for the construction of the office towers above the train yard without disrupting the passage of the trains.

On this particular site on both sides of the train station they have to make massive cuts 35-ft. (10.6 m) down into the solid granite. Civetta began searching the Internet looking to find what, if any, new options were out there for rock breaking when he came across the Yamamoto rock splitter.

Intrigued with what he saw, Civetta thought it could be ideal for the challenging circumstances that he faced at the Manhattan West Project. He approached his good friends and vendors, Frank and Vincent Caporaso, to get their opinion on the product and to look at the feasibility of purchasing some of these rock splitters and mounting them on Caporaso’s equipment for use on the Manhattan West Project.

The Yamamoto rock splitter, which is mounted to an excavator, is specifically designed as an alternative to excavating large volumes of hard rock without using blasting. In this particular application, Civetta is drilling holes in the face of the rock. The bit of the rock splitter is placed inside the hole and a hydraulic cylinder pushes out a center wedge between the counter wedges on the shaft of the splitter, forcing them apart and forcing the rock to split. The process is nearly silent, producing far less noise than a hydraulic hammer, according to the manufacturer. Also, because you are using a cracking method and not a hammering approach, the amount of dust and debris emitted is significantly less.

The rock splitter is available in several different sizes to match up with excavators from the 20,000-lb. (9,072 kg) size and up.

Forty Years of History and a New Venture

John Civetta & Sons Inc. has been punching holes in New York City granite since 1971. Much of the excavating equipment it uses comes from CAP Equipment Rentals, based in Astoria, N.Y. According to Ted Civetta Jr., his company rents all of its equipment each year from CAP Equipment Rentals.

CAP Equipment Rentals, a full service equipment rental house that is family owned, also has been in business for more than 40 years. The company is currently managed by Frank Caporaso and his son Vincent Caporaso. They own a large fleet of excavators, backhoes, loaders and any type of equipment that could be utilized for moving or excavating material on a New York City job site.

Caporaso and Civetta have been so impressed with the Yamamoto rock splitter that they have decided to form a company called American Rock Splitter Inc., which will be the importer and distributer for Yamamoto rock splitter in the United States. Caporaso and Civetta will be responsible for setting up distribution outlets across the United States.


For more information on John Civetta & Son, visit

For more information on CAP Equipment Rentals, visit or visit us on Facebook at capequipment/caprents.

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