A quick guide to New York City’s fall hazards and dropped objects dangers
Planning to vacation in the Big Apple this summer? You might want to give yourself a safety briefing before taking to the streets. The Village Voice recently listed hazardous situations regularly encountered in the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps.
You fall through a subway grate on the sidewalk. One fellow fell about 20 feet when a subway gate opened beneath him in Brooklyn. Several incidents of people falling after subway gates gave way were reported in 2014. One person falls through a grate every 20months, according to city officials.
You fall through a sidewalk cellar door. Unlike subway grates — relatively sturdy by comparison — the trapdoor going down to the cellar of any street-level business can be springy in the middle, like a bear trap for humans, according to The Voice. A man walking in Bedford-Stuyvesant in mid-day fell 12 feet and was killed after the trap door in front of an abandoned auto repair shop opened beneath him.
You fall off a roof. In August 2014, the death of a woman signaled the risks of moving a party to the roof. The 23-year-old woman fell four stories from a Greenwich Village townhouse during a "boozy farewell party," in the words of the Post. In April 2015, a Bronx teenager backed away from police without looking while on the roof of a six-story building and fell off, dying from his injuries the next day. The NYPD were going after him and friends for reportedly smoking marijuana in the lobby of the building.
You're hit by a falling air conditioner. Says The Voice: “Givenhow hastily they're installed on hot summer days by people who really shouldn't be using tools, the thought of a 65-pound metal box falling multiple stories is downright horrifying.” An air conditioner on the sixth floor fell and hit a 28-year-old woman in September, 2014, who told NBC New York her leg "looked like hamburger meat." An awning broke most of its fall.
You're hit by falling ice. In February 2014, traffic on the West Side Highway was closed after ice chunks from 1 World Trade Center were falling at more than 100 miles per hour.
You're hit by a piece of construction debris. A 37-year-old womanwasstruck and killed in March, 2015 by a piece of plywood from a building that was being converted to condos. High winds — around 40 miles per hour — that day may have contributed to the plywood flying loose. The Post reported shortly after that fatality that 59 people had been struck by falling debris since 2010.
You're hit by falling scaffolding. Because pipe scaffolding goes up and comes down constantly in the big city, it's easy to think of it collapsing because of a poor installation. Workers take the biggest risks when it comes to scaffolding, which is also put up at least every five years to facilitate inspection of a building's exterior, per New York City's Local Law 11.
You're hit by a falling tree branch or tree.In 2010, a branch killed a baby at the Central Park Zoo, and in June 2013, a branch in Central Park landed on a Midwestern tourist who was hospitalized with serious head injuries. Later that summer, an entire tree fell on and killed a woman in a park in Queens. In June 2013, a man was awarded an $11.5 million settlement from the city after a tree branch fell on him in 2009 and partially severed his spine and fractured his skull.
You fall down the stairs to the subway platform.Falling face-first while bounding down a flight of stairs to catch a train is a daily risk for some New Yorkers and visitors. In February, 2014, a woman in the Bronx won a $16 million lawsuit against the transit authority after she fell down the stairs and suffered severe brain damage at a stop.
You fall onto the subway tracks. Falling and perhaps mortally injuring yourself is a nightmare scenario that should keep your feet off the yellow strip on the edge of the platform, says The Voice.
You fall onto the subway tracks and are struck by a train. In 2014, 145 people were struck by subway trains, 58 of them fatally. If you fall by accident, and for whatever reason cannot get back up to the platform, one conductor advises you to run as far down the platform away from the train as you can — everyone on the platform will be frantically waving their arms to get the conductor to stop the train.