Midtown scaffolding collapse kills one, hours after building crumbles nearby

Third time this month a structure has fallen in the city

New York /
Jul.July 16, 2020 06:12 PM
136 East 36 Street and 211 East 34th Street (CitizenApp)

136 East 36 Street and 211 East 34th Street (CitizenApp)

UPDATED July 16, 2020, 8:14 p.m.: Scaffolding collapsed in Midtown Thursday, killing one person and injuring at least three others. The incident came within hours of the partial collapse of another building less than four blocks away.

A worker was killed while performing facade restoration work at a co-op building at 136 East 36th Street, according to the Department of Buildings. At least three others were injured when the suspended scaffolding collapsed, the New York City Police Department confirmed. The Department of Buildings reported the facade repair work was being performed by Bronx-based Edras Group. A representative for the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Details on what caused the incident weren’t immediately available. According to the New York Daily News, a piece of parapet had dropped from the roof of the 12-story building and crashed onto the scaffolding.

Earlier on Thursday, the wall of 211 East 34th Street, a vacant five-story building, collapsed around 11:30 a.m. and then crumbled further a few hours later. WABC was the first to report the incident.

The property is owned by an LLC tied to Lalezarian Properties and Kahen Properties. Lalezarian also owns the adjacent development site, where it is planning a new 35-story building. The firm’s contractor was performing foundation work at the time of the collapse, a spokesperson for Lalezarian said. No injuries have been reported.

The incidents follow the sudden collapse of two other buildings this month. The facade of 205 East 38th Street, a five-story parking garage, tumbled onto the sidewalk July 8, injuring one person and damaging two parked cars. The week prior, a three-story building at 348 Court Street in Brooklyn collapsed. The Department of Buildings had previously issued a partial stop-work order at the property for a “dangerously bulging” brick wall. The agency had also received a series of complaints warning that the building appeared to be unstable.

The collapsed buildings on East 34th, East 38th and Court streets have something in common: All are exempt from the city’s Local Law 11, which mandates that the facades of buildings exceeding six stories be inspected every five years. Following the December death of a pedestrian who was struck by debris that fell from 729 Seventh Avenue, the de Blasio administration cracked down on owners whose properties are subject to the inspection law. The law does apply to the co-op building on East 36th Street.

A day after the July 8 building collapse, Lori Gold tweeted: “Time to expand Local Law 11/FISP to also inspect buildings smaller than the current mandate of >6 stories!” Gold’s younger sister, Grace Gold, a Barnard College student, was killed by falling masonry in 1979, leading to the passage of a law that later became part of Local Law 11.

UPDATED: This story was updated to reflect new information regarding the fatality and injuries at 136 East 36th Street.

Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected]


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