By ERIN CALABRESE, REBECCA HARSHBARGER and FRANK ROSARIO, NEW YORK POST.
Last Updated: 1:04 PM, January 13, 2013
Posted: 2:04 AM, January 13, 2013
Size does matter!
The 400-pound Queens pedestrian who crashed through an Upper East Side sidewalk said yesterday that a thinner woman might have died from that fall.
“Thank God, they said that my size was the only thing that saved me,” Ulanda Williams, 32, told The Post as she was discharged from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
(did it ever occur to her that her size may have been the thing that caused the footpath to collapse??)
Williams, of Springfield Gardens, was waiting for a bus at about 9:10 p.m. Friday when she tried to hide from the rain under an awning.
The ground suddenly disappeared beneath her — and she was swallowed whole by the cavernous space adjacent to the cellar of The Blue Room on Second Avenue.
“It was horrible, absolutely horrible,” said Williams, who broke her arm in two places in the 6-foot fall.
The social worker, who wore an arm brace as she left the hospital, had bruises and cuts all over her face and neck from the fall.
She said there were no warning signs indicating that any possible sidewalk danger.
“Nothing, nothing,” she said. “It happened so instantly that I didn’t even recognize anything. Cement was all over me, debris. They had a bed frame down there, broken pipes and wood pieces. It was a hollow place.”
“I was standing there approximately 10 seconds and when that occurred, I just fell right through,” said Williams, who stands about 6-foot-5.
The FDNY had to use a crane and cargo net to get her out.
City Department of Buildings inspectors found that a 4-by-6-foot section of sidewalk had collapsed into a vault cellar in front of the building.
Further investigation revealed defective steel doors leading to the vault, and a first-floor staircase was loose.
The building at 301 E. 60th St., at the corner of Second Avenue near a ramp to the 59th Street Bridge, has several open violations, according to the DOB Web site, including a 2011 complaint that the facade was coming loose.
After the collapse, DOB issued another violation to building owner Forward Realty, for failing to maintain the building.
Forward owner Remo Salta, 52, of Ridgewood, NJ, said his property has no violations.
“I didn’t hear anything about this,” he said of Williams’ fall.
Salta, who bought the residential and commercial building in 1995 as an investment, said he has a management company taking care of the property.
“The city, I know, is constantly doing work in that area. I don’t know if they excavated anything next to my property,” he said. “I know they’re always working on Second Avenue.”
Neighborhood resident Bobby Robertson, 56, said the building could use some work.
“When I’m standing here waiting for the bus, I take a look around once in a while and notice how decrepit the street and buildings look,” he said. “You can see cracks in the walls and in the concrete, too. The owners don’t do any upkeep.”
Frank Lupo, 47, a maintenance worker who lives in the building next door to the sidewalk collapse, said the fall could easily have been fatal.
“It doesn’t look it from street level, but that’s one hell of a drop,” he said. “I’m glad she’s alive.”