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After fatal plunge of rooftop partier in East Village, council hearings and new laws in works

202 Avenue A where a woman fell to her death during a crowded rooftop party on Friday. A neighboring building has birthday balloons visible on the parapet.
Photo by Mark Hallum

Sadly, few long-time East Villagers were surprised to learn that a young woman fell six stories to her death during a rooftop party on Friday.

With such bashes being thrown on the rooftops of buildings becoming more and more commonplace over the years, speakers at a Sunday rally called for immediate action to better regulate them — saying that it was only a matter of time before tragedy strikes again.

Councilwoman Carlina Rivera stood in front of 202 Avenue A, where the tragedy took place, on May 23 to explain that she has a bill already introduced which would force tenants to acknowledge their understanding of the city’s noise codes. Another piece of legislation she supports would require better oversight of rooftop use and capacities.

“Rooftops are an iconic staple of New York City. We have to preserve that. But dangerously overcrowded parties have become more prevailing on rooftops that have little to no safety protections or monitoring on them,” Rivera said. “We have to do something, and it starts first and foremost, with the landlords of these buildings. Landlords are ultimately responsible for ensuring that outdoor spaces are legally and safely accessible and are not used improperly. If you make the decision to buy a building, you are responsible for the lives of its residents. And these landlords are not living up to that responsibility.”

Several residents attested that not only do they witness overcrowded parties on the regular on rooftops, but they see attendees pulling dangerous stunts such has hopping from roof to roof, building to building.

Robert la Force, a nearby resident, blames part of the problem on the types of spaces being converted by landlords who illegally subdivide spaces and make up for the limitations by offering common areas in backyards and rooftops. From there, parties seem to happen organically.

Another local says agency, even NYPD have problems accessing some buildings to break up parties, and complaints made in the precinct has been met with sarcasm.

“I walked into a police station for the first time in my life to talk about this and the man at the police station, at the desk, I told him the story and I was super friendly, I said, Look, I’ve lived here 27 years,” the resident said. “I know this neighborhood, I’ve lived in the same ten block radius. And he just said, ‘So you moved to New York.'”

One possible solution raised by state Senator Brad Hoylman was the possibility of better funding the State Liquor Authority so it can monitor and issue violations.

Meanwhile, dialing 311, filing complaints with the city Department of Buildings or trying NYPD has been the only recourse for concerned neighbors.

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