The Real Deal New York

Elevator that crushed man is a “death trap”: residents

LES building co-owned by city had history of violations

January 04, 2016 08:34AM

Stephen Hewett Brown 131 Broome Street

Stephen Hewett-Brown and 131 Broome Street on the Lower East Side

The elevator in which Stephen Hewett-Brown was crushed to death on New Year’s Eve had a long history of problems, according to building residents.

The building, at 131 Broome Street on the Lower East Side, is co-owned by the city and the Archdiocese of New York’s Catholic Charities. The elevator there had three unresolved DOB violations in 2014, with seven more reported to the agency last year.

The 26-story story structure is part of a Section 8 housing complex adjacent to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church Between Grand and Broome streets that also includes 410 Grand Street and 460 Grand Street. Those buildings logged eight DOB violations between them in 2015.

“These are death traps,” Daisy Paez, president of the tenant association at the three buildings, told the New York Post. She was herself trapped in the elevator 410 Grand Street last month.

The elevators went untouched during a $96 million renovation that the landlords undertook in 2012, tenants said.

“The archdiocese has connections, they had tens of millions of dollars to fix this place,” said Paez. “But they never replaced the elevators. Where did the money go?”

Hewett-Brown, a Bronx resident attending a party, was crushed at 131 Broome Street just before midnight. He reportedly pushed another person, building resident Erudi Sanchez, out of the way just before the elevator collapsed on him.

“It’s a terrible way to die — it gives me nightmares,” another tenant, Alice Orlando, told the Post. “I think about it every time I get in the elevator now.”

Another man, Eran Modan, was crushed in an elevator at Rabsky Group’s Espoir luxury building at 156 Hope Street in Williamsburg back in October. [NYP]Ariel Stulberg

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