Glass from Residential Tower Rains Onto West Street and Ball Fields

Left: The 56-story 111 Murray, under construction, and the ball fields across the street where shards from falling glass fell, causing the southern end of the field to be closed. Right: The windshield of Barbara Ann Voetsch's car, cracked by falling glass from the building. Photos: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib (111 Murray); Barbara Ann Voetsch (windshield)

Nov. 06, 2017

Glass rained from the 800-foot-high condo tower under construction at 111 Murray Street early Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5, smashing onto at least one car on West Street and scattering shards on the Battery Park City ball fields during soccer play. The Fire Department said there were no injuries.

Workers were installing a piece of glass the near the top of the 58-story building when it fell to the street below, a Buildings Department spokesman said. The DOB issued a partial stop work order on the site as well as a violation for “a failure to safeguard all persons and property,” the spokesman said. The building features floor-to-ceiling windows on its curved glass facade.

“I feel like the luckiest woman in the world,” said Barbara Ann Voetsch, 56, who was driving the car that was struck while waiting for the light at West and Murray streets. “I saw this man’s face. He was looking up and he had a horrified expression,” Voetsch, a Lincroft, NJ, resident, told the Trib in a phone interview. “Then in a split second big pieces of what I thought was metal—it didn’t appear to be glass—hit the hood of my car and my windshield and the roof of the car. And a giant piece went right down next to my shoulder but didn’t hit the car. It was inches from the driver’s seat.”

Voetsch said only tiny splintered glass fell on her, covering her hands and clothing.

Daniel Kohn was watching his son’s soccer game on the south side of the Battery Park City ball fields when he heard a noise. “I looked up and started to see glass falling and it looked like it was falling from the very top,” he said over the phone.

Kohn said that a coach, who knew a construction manager at the site, was told that glass being lifted by crane broke and fell. “It seemed like it was hitting things, either the building or the crane and breaking further. So there was definitely an ongoing sound of cracking as it was falling. You could see the pieces.”

Kohn said no one on the field was struck by glass but the soccer game was halted and the south field closed because shards of glass were discovered in the artificial turf. The Battery Park City Authority tweeted on Sunday that the south field would continue to be cordoned off “pending a full sweep with turf equipment tomorrow.” The fields have since reopened.

Representatives for the developers, Witkoff Group and Fisher Brothers, did not respond to requests for comment.