Soho man working on Verrazano Bridge falls to death


By Lincoln Anderson

Manuel Pereira, a longtime Soho resident, died on Fri., Sept. 14, after falling 150 feet from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, on which he was doing construction work.

Pereira had been working on a wooden platform repairing the bridge’s lower-level roadway on the Brooklyn on-ramp. About 1:15 p.m., a concrete barrier tipped over onto the platform, knocking him off, and he fell to the ground below. He was declared dead about a half-hour later. Reports are that a backhoe that was being used to align the barrier may have caused it to topple.

Pereira, 48, lived on Sullivan St. between Prince and Houston Sts. and was part of a tight-knit Portuguese community centered around Sullivan and Thompson Sts. in Soho.

Pereira lived in the same building as Ian Dutton, a member of Community Board 2, who recalled him as always willing to help out and a well-known figure in the neighborhood.

“Manny and his wife, Maria, have been very active in the building,” Dutton said. “If something needs to get fixed and the super doesn’t do it, they take care of it. She sweeps not just her landing, but the whole building. They’re that kind of people.”

Manuel Pereira is also survived by a son, Paolo, in his early 20s, who grew up in the neighborhood and attended the former St. Anthony’s School nearby.

Dutton said several Portuguese men from the neighborhood also work on the Verrazano job site, and that one of them had broken the tragic news to Pereira’s wife.

“There are a number of Portuguese families in the neighborhood, and a lot of them do this kind of work — bridges, M.T.A. overpasses,” Dutton said.

Pereira’s wake was Tuesday at Perrazzo Funeral Home at 199 Bleecker St. A funeral Mass was to be held at St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan St. on Wednesday morning. Dutton said Pereira — whom he believed was born in Portugal — would be buried there.