Gothamist – Every New Yorker’s worst nightmare came true for a man who plunged to his death through a Brooklyn cellar grate on Sunday, witnesses said. The man, who cops said was in his 30s, was walking on Bedford Ave. near Herkimer St. at 3 p.m. when the metal doors leading to the basement of an abandoned building at 1281 Bedford Ave. collapsed under him, witnesses said. Police would not immediately confirm the incident, but were seen removing the dead body from the cellar. Richie McCray saw the death as it happened. “The thing just opened. He was walking. He wasn’t paying attention. The thing is loose. And he disappeared,” said McCray, 50, who added that the victim lived in a nearby shelter. The city received 40 complaints for defective sidewalk cellar doors in 2014, and has received 19 so far in 2015, 311 data shows. Under city law, property owners are held liable for any injuries or deaths resulting from improperly maintained cellar grates. In 2009, a 10-year-old boy was injured when he plunged into the cellar of a vacant restaurant in Morningside Heights.
There’s a couple feelings in this world that will put the fear of God in you, no matter how tough you are. No matter how big of a bad ass you think you are. Like turbulence for example. Whenever there’s a quick bump in the air for at least a split second you’re like “Im fucking dead this is it we’re all fucking dead.”
Another one of those feelings is when you step on one of those New York City cellar grates and the doors give way about 2 inches. Just a quick little dip into the ground and you’re absolutely positive they are gonna plunge open and you’re gonna fall into an underground pit of death. 99,999 times out of 100,000, those doors hold stead and you’re good. But every few years youre gonna have one poor bastard who plunges through. Unfortunately that was the case for this homeless dude Richie McCray. Rod Stewart said some guys have all the luck and he absolutely wasnt writing about Richie. Dude was a homeless and died in a complete freak walking accident. Its why you should always avoid those doors or the subway grates on the sidewalk. Chances are you’ll be fine but theres a shot you get swallowed up by the streets of Manhattan. Just stick to concrete ground whenever possible.