After New Year’s Elevator Death on LES, Pols Urge Passage of Stalled ‘Elevator Safety Bill’

Posted on: January 11th, 2016 at 5:17 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Stephen Hewett-Brown

Mere minutes before the ball-drop ushered in 2016, tragedy struck 131 Broome Street, part of the Grand Street Guild, housing complex. A 25-year-old Bronx man named Stephen Hewett-Brown, retroactively hailed a hero, was crushed to death by a faulty elevator that had stalled between floors. Though, not before helping a female resident to safety.

In the wake of the incident, the spotlight is (rightfully) shining bright on elevator safety. Especially at 131 Broome. Lawmakers led by State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright are again trying to push through a long-fought-over bill – the Elevator Safety Act (S.1945/A.1787) – that would improve regulation, safety protocol, and licensure for elevators.

In particular, the proposed legislation would make it mandatory for elevator workers to be licensed and create an oversight body for elevator safety on the state level. As it stands, credentials are not required for elevator mechanics.

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: Daniel Squadron

The electeds held a press conference on Friday afternoon calling for its passage, as the bill has been in limbo for years. It was first introduced during the 2011-2012 session and subsequently passed by the State Assembly four times, according to Squadron and Wright, two of the bill’s forty sponsors. However, there was opposition from the Senate majority each time.

“In NY, elevators are part of our daily lives — we need to ensure they are up to the safety standards on which lives depend,” said Squadron. “The death of Stephen Hewett-Brown is a reminder of the need for common-sense standards for elevator work. I thank Senator Bonacic, Assemblymember Wright, Local 1, labor leaders, and my colleagues for their continued push on this issue, and will continue to work for this bill’s passage.”

“We the Grand Street Guild Tenant Association support the Senator’s  passage of the bill that will improve the maintenance and safety of all elevator services and training for elevator workers,” said Daisy Paez, Grand Street Guild Tenant Association President.

Of course, front-page tragedy such as this elevator fatality is the only way to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles in this town. Let’s see what happens.

Recent Stories

Displaced Chinatown Business Returns Months After Devastating Fire

Four months after a deadly fire knocked out 78 Mulberry Street, one of its businesses returned to the scene. Ewa Trading Company reopened in its former Chinatown home earlier this week. The store had spent some of the interim displacement period selling from a shuttered Vietnamese restaurant a few paces north. The two-alarm fire broke […]

EDC Sues Essex Restaurant for Back Rent over Former Essex Market Lease

Three years removed from its relocation across Rivington Street, the city filed suit against the Essex restaurant for alleged unpaid rent. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sued Essex for nearly $60,000 in unpaid back rent on the former Essex Market building it previously occupied, according to the lawsuit filed Monday. The city entity claims that […]

Exile on Orchard Street: Tenement Museum Recreates Exhibits During Renovations

The Tenement Museum is amidst a preservation project at 97 Orchard Street, but will continue its programming with replicas not too far away. The 1863-era tenement this past Sunday embarked on “vital” restoration work to preserve its walls, floors, roof, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system that will provide improved climate […]

Former Home of Stanton Social on the LES Hits Market for $5.9M

Stanton Social has been in the grave for nearly four years. Now, its former home is back on the market. The two-story building – located at 99 Stanton Street in Hell Square – carries an asking price of $5.9 million. B6 Real Estate Advisors is listed as the exclusive brokerage for the property, which has […]

DOT to Pave Pock-Marked Pell Street; Sheds Removed

Pell Street is finally on deck for a resurfacing, forcing numerous Chinatown businesses to dismantle their street shed annexes. Those who operate outdoor dining sheds along Pell Street received notice this week from the Department of Transportation to dismantle structure ahead of scheduled street repaving. This small neighborhood street – which once terminated at Division – […]