NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation intended to make elevators safer statewide, tenants in a Manhattan apartment are still dealing with disturbing and potentially dangerous problems – months after one resident was killed in a gruesome accident.

Residents at 344 Third Avenue – better known as the Manhattan Promenade – are reminded every day of the elevator where 30-year-old Sam Waisbren died in August.

He was heading out to work when the elevator suddenly plunged without warning, killing him.

Sam Waisbren (credit: Waisbren family)

Ever since, residents are confined to using the one working elevator which the city has mandated have an attendant at all times.

“Everyone’s on high alert and extra cautious just to make sure it’s safe,” tenant Dayna Sargen said.

Complaints to the Department of Buildings show it’s not 100 percent.

In October one wrote “door had an issue closing automatically.” Last month “people are getting stuck in the elevator” and just Monday “the elevator is stuck on a floor for the past 30 minutes.”

“We’ve been bringing it to the attention of the management company,” Sargen added.

The DOB says the management company, ATA Enterprises, got a permit in November to install a rope gripper on the elevator – which would function like an emergency brake. Attorneys for tenants of around 70 units who’ve formed an association however, say nothing’s been done. They were in court Tuesday.

“We all just want to make sure when you’re coming home and leaving you’re in a safe situation, no one should have to question that,” Sargen said.

Some believe the tragedy led to Gov. Cuomo signing elevator safety legislation last week, in the works for nearly a decade, that will require training for elevator mechanics.

“They didn’t require a license and that’s outrageous,” Sara Director, a personal injury attorney at Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson said.

Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Marcus Crespo sponsored the bill that will mandate all elevator mechanics be licensed, something already required in 36 states.

“We need to create an advisory board, develop the safety standards,” Sen. Savino said.

“Everybody that carries a license will have gone thru a stringent education program… It’s a very very sophisticated piece of equipment that really takes years and years of training to be able to do,” Rich Loeb of the National Elevator Industry Educational Program said.

The licenses will be rolled out in 2022. Meanwhile, the DOB says it is still investigating the tragedy that happened in Manhattan.

The DOB says an inspector is there every other day. Attorneys for the tenants are back in court later this month. The management company did not return CBS2’s multiple calls for comment.


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