Architect and Construction Exec Killed By Falling Building Debris Near Times Square

Following the death of senior exec Erica Tishman, investigators are inspecting the facade at the Himmel + Meringoff-owned 729 Seventh Avenue

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Project manager and architect Erica Tishman, 60, was struck and killed by a piece of debris that fell off a building at the corner of West 49th Street and Seventh Avenue near Times Square today, police confirmed.

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Police found an unconscious woman with head trauma in front of 152 West 49th Street at 10:47 a.m. this morning, an NYPD spokeswoman said. When EMTs arrived at the scene a few minutes later, they pronounced her dead. The debris fell amid heavy rainfall in Manhattan this morning. 

Tishman, who lived on Park Avenue in the Upper East Side, was a vice president at Zubatkin Owner Representation, an owner’s representation and construction management firm. The firm’s offices are located nearby at 333 West 52nd Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

Tishman had a bachelor of arts from Princeton University and a master’s in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, according to her bio on the company’s website. She was an architect for 20 years before joining Zubatkin, which didn’t immediately have a comment on her death. 

The Department of Buildings has yet to determine what struck Tishman or where the debris fell from. The New York Daily News reported that the debris “appeared to be a cornice or a piece of one of the lion’s head gargoyles that line the façade.”

However, the department’s inspectors responded to an incident at 729 Seventh Avenue, located on the corner of West 49th Street, which is owned by Himmel + Meringoff Properties. Investigators are inspecting the facade and structural stability of the 15-story property, which is adjacent to the building where Tishman was found, a DOB spokeswoman said. DOB and NYPD investigations into the incident are ongoing.

729 Seventh Avenue was hit with a building code violation in April for facade damage that could create a fall risk for pedestrians, DOB records show. The violation cited “damaged terra cotta at areas above the 15th floor in several locations.” The city’s Local Law 11 requires that building facades be inspected by a professional architect or engineer every five years, and 729 Seventh had its last facade inspection in 2013, according to DOB. The property has recently approved plans on file for facade repairs, scaffolding and a sidewalk shed. 

“This is a tragedy, and the family and friends of the victim are in our thoughts,” DOB spokeswoman Abigail Kunitz said in a statement. “No pedestrian should be at risk from dangerous façade conditions.”

The New York Post broke the initial story about her death this afternoon.

“We are saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family,” a spokesman for Himmel + Meringoff said in a statement. “The company will fully cooperate with the City in the ongoing matter.”

Tishman was married in 1982 to Steven Tishman, then a financial analyst with the Zayre Corporation, according to a New York Times wedding announcement. He now serves as the global head of Houlihan Lokey’s M&A group. 

The incident sparks comparisons to a similar tragedy in May 2015, when two-year-old Greta Greene was struck and killed by falling debris on the Upper West Side.