Residents Say Elevators At Manhattan Apartment Building 'Messed Up' For Years

Joe Avellar
August 23, 2019 - 3:11 pm
Elevator Death

Joe Avellar/WCBS 880


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Residents are still visibly shaken in the Gramercy Park apartment building where a man was crushed by an elevator.

On Thursday morning, 30-year-old Samuel Charles Waisbren struggled to exit the elevator on the first floor of the Manhattan Promenade building.  As the doors closed on him, the car suddenly dropped, crushing him between the elevator and the shaft.

Surveillance video that captured the gruesome moment showed people who got out ahead of him cover their mouths in horror.  

Emergency personnel responded but Waisbren could not be saved. 

As WCBS 880's Joe Avellar reported, many residents are now taking the stairs rather than using the second elevator in the building at 344 Third Avenue.

"My husband and I walked up 16 flights, but we've done it before," one resident said.

Residents at the Manhattan Promenade say they feared something like this would happen, complaining about the elevators often stopping between floors, wobbling, and doors not fully shutting.

"They're both messed up. They've been messed up," a resident named Sonya said. "I've lived here for two years and they've been messed up for years and I know people have complained, and then, they've been shut down for a while and nothing really changes. So, there's blood on people's hands for sure."

Sonya, who has one week left until she moves out of the building, lives on the 18th floor. She said if not for a suddern decision, she too would've been on that elevator.

"I actually was pressing the elevator at 8:30 to go down and I hated my outfit and I was going to work so I went back and changed. It was like 8:50 when I went down and it had already happened," she said, adding that she now refuses to take the elevator. "I don't want to risk it, I just don't trust it. Even if they work, I don't want to risk it."

The city's buildings department in May forced the owner to shut down one elevator for several days because of a safety issue.

That was not the elevator involved in Thursday's deadly accident. 

The building's department says it's aggressively investigating.