The residents knew the elevators in their apartment building had problems: Cars shook erratically and doors would sometimes not fully shut, or fail to open at all.
For years, they swapped stories of the near-constant failures at the 23-story building, the Manhattan Promenade in Kips Bay. Still, the news of a man’s death yesterday in one of the elevators sent shock waves through the community.
- Unlock more free articles.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable putting my kids in an elevator here again,” Dayna Sargen, an eighth-floor resident, told The Times.
The man, Samuel C. Waisbren, 30, was crushed after the elevator dropped suddenly as he was exiting into the lobby. Three other people inside the car were not physically harmed.
The tragedy came only nine months after a woman was trapped for days inside a malfunctioning elevator on the Upper East Side.
More than 70,000 elevators operate in New York City, and elevator deaths and injuries are rare. Still, these infrequent tragedies have prompted officials to address a deadly common thread — door malfunctions.
“Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements,” Abigail Kunitz, a spokeswoman at the city’s Buildings Department, said in a statement.
Accidents are rare, but horrific
In the past two years, two workers were killed by passenger elevators, according to city data. Mr. Waisbren is the first passenger to have been killed since 2016. (The city separates passenger and commercial elevator data.)
In an accident similar to yesterday’s tragedy, a woman named Suzanne Hart was killed in 2011 when an elevator lurched after she placed one foot inside its door. The elevator, in a Midtown office building, dragged Ms. Hart, 41, and pinned her between the walls.
Ms. Hart’s death prompted the Buildings Department to require that all elevators in the city have door-lock systems — which prevent elevators from moving if doors are not properly closed — installed or upgraded by Jan. 1, 2020.
Buildings that do not meet the deadline will be subject to noncompliance fines, officials said.
Last January, a woman was trapped for three days in the elevatorin the townhouse on the Upper East Side where she worked, while the house’s owners spent a weekend away.
Firefighters eventually forced open the doors of the elevator, which was stuck between the house’s second and third floors.
The Manhattan Promenade was fined $1,300 in May after inspectors found that one of its elevators was either tampered with or damaged. The elevator was ordered shut down, but tenants said it was operating through at least Wednesday.
The elevator that malfunctioned yesterday had not been cited, but city records show work permits were issued a month ago to fix wiring on both elevators.
“We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future,” Ms. Kurtz said.
In 2011, records showed there were 14 open violations involving the elevators at the Midtown office building where Ms. Hart was killed. But officials said at the time that none of the violations were for hazardous conditions.
“This particular elevator was last inspected in June 2011, and no safety issues were found at that time, and no conditions were found that would be related to this accident,” a Buildings Department spokesman had said about Ms. Hart’s death.
From The Times
Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide inquiry grows: Jail workers have been subpoenaed.
DoorDash promises delivery workers will earn more (and keep their tips).
[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
A body found in Queens appears to be that of a missing Cipriani chef. [Pix11]
A Midtown steakhouse is removing longstanding art that contained racist images. [Eater]
An immigrant informant said he was pressured to spy on mosques in New York for the F.B.I. [Gothamist]
What we’re watching: The Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman talks about the chances of a recession or an economic slowdown, and what can be done to avoid it, on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs tonight at 8, on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]
Coming up this weekend
The Brazilian Modern Tour at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx highlights landscape architecture by Roberto Burle Marx. 11 a.m. [Free with $23 garden admission]
“What’s Ya Zodiac?” is an interactive art pop-up in an event space in Manhattan with installations inspired by astrological signs. Noon-7 p.m. [$27]
Food vendors, a classic car show, pet adoption and games will be set up for the Myrtle Avenue Street Fair in Queens. 11 a.m. [Free]
Pioneer Works hosts the Red Hook Regatta. Spectators can gather on Valentino Pier in Brooklyn to watch homemade boats on the open water. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. [Free]
Practice vinyasa yoga at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. 10 a.m. [Free]
Theater Mitu in Brooklyn reimagines Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” with “House,” a play that explores how “families across the globe must again and again find ways to redefine the idea of home.” 2 p.m. [$25]