Smiley & Smiley, LLP

Beware of ice falling from New York's skyscrapers

This winter has been one of the most hazardous that New York has experienced in years. Between the cold, the wind and the snow accumulation, roads have been treacherous, sidewalks have been perilous and now even standing still can cause New Yorkers to suffer harm, depending on where they choose to stand.

Though property owners are compelled by law to clear their walkways when snow and ice accumulate, they are held to different standards when snow and ice build up on their roofs, walls and other elements of their exterior structures. Because so much ice has built up on the tops, sides, nooks and crannies of New York’s tallest buildings, New Yorkers are now frequently at risk for being injured by falling ice and snow plummeting down from great heights.

Earlier this month, ice falling from high atop One World Trade Center forced the closure of the main entrance off Vesey Street to the PATH train station. The closure was absolutely understandable given what kind of damage ice can do when falling from as high as 1,176 feet in the air.

According to The New York Times, the problem of ice falling from Manhattan’s highest towers is worsening due to a combination of extreme weather patterns and new technology that traps heat within buildings in such a way that it causes more ice to form on their exteriors.

Please, if you are walking around tall buildings over the next several weeks, stay alert and be ready to move out of the way of crashing ice at a moment’s notice.

Source: New York Times, “On the Lookout for Falling Ice Amid Manhattan’s Towers,” Marc Santora, Feb. 11, 2014

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