Escalating anger: Locals lash out over infant’s elevator death

BREAKING: Baby dies after six-story fall in Coney Island elevator
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

The city must crack down on the management company that runs the Coney Island apartment building where a 6-week-old baby plummeted to death in an elevator shaft earlier this month, say locals.

The infant and her mother fell six-stories on Oct. 13 after the mom accidentally pushed the child’s stroller into an empty elevator shaft in the Bay Park 4 apartment building at Neptune Avenue and W. 33rd Street. The complex has a history of busted lifts — one man fell to his death there after leaning on some elevator doors in 1991 — and building managers Grenadier Realty Corporation must be held accountable, said one resident.

“Somebody’s gotta be accountable now. Whoever is responsible should be in jail,” said Brighton Beach resident Irene Olson at an Oct. 26 Community Board 13 meeting. “I don’t understand where the authorities are in general. It’s murder. It happened twice in the same place. That’s beyond reason.”

Locals came out in force to the community board meeting to decry a perceived lack of response from the city and to demand action.

The Department of Buildings has issued more than 20 violations against the building since the start of the year — and locals have lodged five complaints with 311, including one for a broken elevator, since the Oct. 13 tragedy, according to Department of Buildings data.

The structure has 64 active buildings department violations dating back as far as 2002 — many of which were issued for failure to complete basic elevator inspections, city data shows.

But city officials maintain they are enforcing laws.

“We’ve aggressively enforced the building code at this complex and will continue to do so,” said Alexander Schnell, a spokesman for the Department of Buildings. “The property owner must make these elevators, and all the buildings in the complex, safe for residents and visitors.

Grenadier Realty Corporation did not respond to requests for comment.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.