NYC Dept. of Buildings reveals new information in elevator death, safety history

KIPS BAY, Manhattan — The city's Department of Buildings said the elevator involved in the death of a Kips Bay man did not have any safety violations levied against it, though there had been other violations for the building.

DOB said it inspects all city elevators twice a year.

They say the elevator in question was installed in 1997. There are no violations against the elevator in the last ten years.

Samuel Charles Waisbren, 30, was on the elevator with several other people inside the Manhattan Promenade on Third Avenue in Kips Bay around 8:45 a.m. As he tried to get out of the elevator, video obtained by the New York Post shows Waisbren attempting to exit the elevator when it gives way, lodging him in between the elevator car and shaft wall.

Another elevator in the building has a violation from May 2019, DOB said. The department found that it was missing a door zone safety restrictor.

DOB inspected the elevator on May 29 and issued a cease-use order. Two days later, on May 31, the owner called DOB to say the part had been installed. Upon a new inspection, DOB found that the part was installed, and the cease-use order was lifted.

However, the violation is still considered open because the building owner has not paid the $1,280 fine and has not filled the necessary paperwork to close out the violation. DOB says this is not uncommon.

There have been other non-safety violations, like missing signs or dirty mirrors, according to DOB.

Records show 16 violations were issued between 2017 and 2018; all were dismissed.

“The Department of Buildings is investigating this incident aggressively," DOB said in a previous statement, "and will take all appropriate enforcement actions. Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements. We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.”

Residents told PIX11 News they've long-complained about the building's elevator safety.

A man that works next door to the building also said he'd seen issues with the elevators.

“It used to get stuck a lot. I witnessed it two months ago. The doorman was panicking outside. I assume they fixed it,” he said.

The Manhattan Promenade is a mixed-use commercial and residential building on Third Avenue near 25th Street.

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