NEW YORK (PIX11) – When 35-year-old Jennifer Rosoff plunged backwards from a high-rise balcony plunging 16 stories to her death, the story had a tragically familiar ring to it.
That’s because another, young New Yorker was killed three years ago on the East Side, under similar circumstances.
In March 2010, 24-year-old Conor Donohue went outside onto his East 39th Street balcony in the New York Tower. Neighbors said he was trying to have a cigarette on a windy night.
When Donohue leaned against a vertical railing on his balcony, it was fatal decision.
“The railing gave out,” resident Michael Dougherty recalled. “It was about 1:30 am and I heard a loud clang. That was the railing falling into the street.”
Donohue’s body wasn’t found until dawn, and the person who discovered it thought a mannequin had been left in the garden outside the tower. A doorman realized it was Donohue’s body.
Donohue used to do volunteer work with “at risk” kids and had been honored for his efforts.
All of the balconies in the 510-unit building at 330 East 39th Street were placed off limits for the rest of the spring and summer in 2010. The Department of Buildings said the management had not done a timely, “exterior” inspection on the tower, as required every five years under city law. At the time, PIX 11 did a special report explaining façade inspections and how they work.
A neighbor of Jennifer Rosoff’s at 400 East 57th Street said other residents worried about her leaning over the balcony railing in her 17th floor apartment. She used to take photographs there on a pretty night and socialize with friends.
Rosoff was on a first date with Stephen Close, a neighbor who lived in a high-rise a block away on 57th Street. Close reportedly told police he heard “two cracks” or a popping sound,, before Rosoff fell backwards to her death. The fall was only stopped by scaffolding on the second floor of the high-rise.