Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, Empire State Development, stated:
The work that was occurring this weekend was being done by the LIRR and had nothing to do with Atlantic Yards. The LIRR is typically very good at notifying us of work that they need to do after hours so that we can inform the community, especially when it relates to Atlantic Yards. But apparently there was an emergency situation in the yard this weekend and they had to get in there very quickly.Well, maybe it had "nothing to do with Atlantic Yards," but, given that reconfiguration of the LIRR's Vanderbilt Yard is part of the project, it seems like there's some connection, even if not formally part of the Forest City Ratner-led work.
And, it turns out, the (almost surely) related Department of Transportation permits were issued January 17, eleven days earlier. The permits were for work on Atlantic between Sixth Avenue and the block immediately to the east, South Oxford Street,beginning Saturday, January 28,
Three sequential permits, listed below, were issued the same day. (Click on graphics to enlarge.)
Given that the announced purpose purpose was "Mobile Crane to Lift Electrical Equipment," and that's what happened, I trust that the permits applied to the work indicated in the photo above. I've asked Hankin for any further explanation, and will update this post if I learn more.