Chase Plaza was unusually empty on Thursday.|Billy Becerra1/3 Chase Plaza was unusually empty on Thursday.|Billy Becerra
Avoiding walking near a skyscraper in Manhattan can be tricky.|Billy Becerra2/3 Avoiding walking near a skyscraper in Manhattan can be tricky.|Billy Becerra
Chase Plaza was closed on Thursday.|Billy Becerra3/3 Chase Plaza was closed on Thursday.|Billy Becerra
Snowstorm Stella brought icy conditions and while many New Yorkers are looking at their feet to avoid a slip and fall, they might want to look up.
A meteor shower of ice cascading down from the roof of a building might surprise you.
“As you can imagine an ice particle falling from some height can cause significant injury or even death,” said personal injury attorney Michael Manoussos.
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“Mythbusters” might have debunked the myth of killing someone by dropping a penny from the Empire State Building, but a heavy object falling from a height is still a danger.
A 20-year-old pedestrian walking in Midtown on Wednesday afternoon was injured when a piece of ice knocked him in the head, ostensibly from the ledge of the Plaza Arcade building, theNew York Daily News reported.
The FDNY confirmed that a report of falling ice at 32 W. 48th Street came in on Wednesday and a man was transported to a hospital with injuries that weren't life-threatening.
Watch out NYC! Address seemed familiar and I was right! It's (at least) the 2nd time at 32 W. 48th street someone got hurt by falling ice. pic.twitter.com/lduhgv1PYF— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) March 15, 2017
Ice chunks fell, nearly clobbering pedestrians, on the corner of Joralemon and Court streets in Brooklyn Thursday night, a witness said.
Plazas, like the Chase Plaza on Liberty Street in Manhattan and the nearby Federal Plaza, were closed on Thursday as signs and security guards warned passersby about potentially falling ice.
“That’s the reasonable thing to do as a starting point,” Manoussos said. “Owners of buildings are responsible to maintain them in a safe condition.”
A spokesman from the city’s Department of Buildings echoed that statement. Although the department didn’t respond to the scene in Midtown on Wednesday, an inspector can determine where the ice fell from and issue a violation if the building failed “to maintain the building in a safe manner,” the spokesman said.
There are city administrative codes in place that mandate building owners take “reasonable measures” to keep pedestrians safe from falling ice and snow, Manoussos added.
While buildings can add snow guards — although not always possible or practical on skyscrapers — or rope off areas to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way, the home or building owners aren’t the only ones who are responsible for safety.
If you find yourself walking down a street next to a skyscraper, you might want to consider walking on the other side of the street, Manoussos advised.
“In general, we each have a responsibility and accountability to be aware of your surroundings,” Manoussos said. “We can’t be oblivious to our surroundings.”
Pedestrians aren’t the only ones affected by an icy danger zone. Businesses, like Café Arte bordering Chase Plaza on Pine Street, could take a hit.
Business on Thursday dropped by 40 percent, Steven Lee, the manager of the café told Metro.
“For a little mom-and-pop shop like this, one or two days like this is your rent,” Lee said.“I get it. It’s falling ice, but there’s only one place to go and it’s either here or the baby store.”
The plaza closing had the opposite affect for Proof Coffee Roasters inside the Chase building.
“Since the top level is closed, more people come in the bottom level, so it’s actually worked in our favor,” Charlotte Wittmann said from behind the counter.