During her month-long stay in public housing, Lynne Patton planned to draw attention to the New York Housing Authority’s extraordinary number of problems, but even she likely didn’t see this coming.
On Tuesday, the top regional official at Housing and Urban Development and a PIX 11 news crew became stuck in an elevator at the Frederick Douglass Houses when someone inadvertently pressed the emergency stop button, trapping the nine occupants in the elevator. The fire department arrived to free them.
“Look, we got stuck in the elevator coming from a resident’s apartment. It’s something that’s not unfamiliar with NYCHA,” she told the Post. “Employees have been stuck in NYCHA elevators many many times. This particular elevator is new. I do believe we overloaded it. So I am not going to blame” NYCHA.
A spokesperson for NYCHA said in a statement that there “was no mechanical failure” within the elevator.
“The alarm switch was accidentally hit in the crowded elevator, causing it to stop working for a short period,” the agency said in a statement.
Despite the circumstances, elevators at NYCHA buildings are five times more likely to fail than in other buildings across the city, partly due to the lack of funding and resources the agency dedicates to elevator safety and maintenance, according to a report by The Real Deal this month. NYCHA estimates it needs $1.5 billion to fix the elevators at its buildings.
[NYP] — David Jeans