The 37-year-old woman killed by a four foot-by-eight foot piece of construction fencing that struck her as she was walking on a Manhattan sidewalk was remembered by her fiance as “the woman of my dreams.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Tina Nguyen was in front of 175 West 12th Street when the huge piece of plywood somehow came loose from the condo conversion, The Greenwich Lane, in the old St. Vincent’s site, across the street. The plywood slammed Nguyen into the building’s brick wall. According to NBC New York, “The plywood hit her at a high rate of speed, police said, causing her to hit her head. She suffered severe head trauma, bruising and lacerations, police said.”
The Department of Buildings issued a stop work order for The Greenwich Lane, where the luxury apartments start at $3.65 million and top out at $26.5 million, and is investigating the incident. The DOB said, “It is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all times. A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department including the issuance of violations.” One spokesman told the NY Times that while there were a 11 open violations at the site, “That’s pretty much normal to have open complaints and violations.”
The Daily News reports:
The National Weather Service notified the city Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday about a special weather statement regarding high winds at 5:18 p.m.
The emergency office notified the Buildings Department at 6:25 p.m. — more than 30 minutes after the deadly incident. Buildings Department officials opted not to send an advisory because it was after business hours.
Workers were reinforcing the fencing yesterday.
Developers Bill and Eric Rudin said, “What happened is tragic and devastating. We extend our deepest condolences to the family,” while a spokesman for Turner Construction, which is overseeing the building, said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of a pedestrian who was walking near the construction site on West 12th Street. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time.”
Nguyen, who lived on West 4th Street, had just started working for Keller Williams, a real estate agency. Her former boss Chris Morley at Bien Realty spoke to the Times, “She was extremely excited” about her upcoming wedding this summer to Alejandro Beitler. Morley added that she had wanted to start a family, noting that on Halloween, she dressed up to hand out candy, “She was excited to talk to the kids.”
Beitler, who also works in real estate, was too distraught to speak, and a friend read a statement from him, “She always saw the best in everyone. She was always reminding me to see the same. We were together for five of the best years of our lives. We planned to be married in July of this year. The family and I have decided to bury her in Philadelphia. This is the most devastating loss. She was the woman of my dreams. I hope people will remember her by seeing the best in one another and treating each other with true kindness.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman was “angry,” noting, “The proximity of this construction site to 800 elementary students at a local public school on the block and thousands of residents and workers in the area makes this a matter of the utmost importance.”
Other pedestrians were also horrified about Nguyen’s death. One told NBC New York, “This street is a wind tunnel and it’s been rather dangerous,” while another said to WCBS 880, “Now, I’m not walking down 12th Street. I’m going around.”
One fearful woman said she was scared of falling debris hurting or killing her, “Not from burglars, muggers or terrorists, but construction.”