Hours after the deadly Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse on Tuesday that left one dead and five others injured on April 18, those who experienced the dramatic cave-in are sharing their experiences.
Come the morning of April 19, the streets surrounding 57 Ann St. in the Financial District, where the fourth floor of the lot gave way, were still closed. While city officials like Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine declared that he believed the aging structure had stored vehicles in excess of what it was originally intended, the official investigation into exactly what caused the incident is still underway.
However, this brings little solace to those who were there when the floor failed.
Carter Miades is a Pace University student and showed amNewYork Metro photos he had taken from the inside of Pace, which neighbors the parking lot. One car had actually tumbled so far it cracked the wall of the school, leaving a gaping hole.
“I heard a loud bang and I thought it’s like a gunshot and then I saw smoke come out of the door and I was like oh my God what is going on? Everyone was running away,” Miades recalled.
According to Miades, the FDNY evacuated Pace, leaving many students confused about where they will be staying. While Miades said he will be staying in an apartment with a few friends, others may not be so lucky.
“They were going to put cots in the gymnasium and they were going to put all the kids in little cot beds—that’s the only solution,” Miades said.
Nicole Pinel lives directly opposite 57 Ann St., and told amNewYork Metro that she was able to see the destruction from her apartment window. Yet even more traumatic than that, the Financial District local said she had only passed by the unstable structure minutes before the catastrophic collapse.
“So I actually walked past the garage 10 minutes before it fell,” Pinel said. “I was just shocked but not kind of shocked, really just due to the fact that this building seems very outdated, it needs help, it is weathered, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t had an issue prior.”
Pinel joined fellow nearby resident Chad Scott who parked his car in the garage but also says the lot has been in disrepair for several years.
“The building is in disarray for like years. It’s really bad,” Scott told amNewYork Metro.
City Council Member Christopher Marte, who represents the area, also spoke with amNewYork Metro explaining that for many of his constituents, the pulsating sirens and kicked-up dust brought back memories of the 9/11 terror attacks.
“People were concerned. You know, people in this neighborhood whenever they hear a lot of ambulances and fire trucks, it brings them back to darker days, especially right after 9/11. And so we got a lot of people just scared,” Marte said.