By Pat Savage
The battle over who is responsible for the accidental death of Erica Tishman is shifting into high gear.
The architect and philanthropist was killed back on December 17, when part of a Times Square office building fell on her as she walked down the street.
That building’s owner has now reportedly taken a nearby landlord to court. The allegation is that the neighbor delayed repairs to the roof and façade that had been ordered by the city.
“The owner of 729 Seventh Ave., an LLC controlled by Himmel & Meringoff Properties, said in a lawsuit that prolonged negotiations with the owner of two adjacent properties have prevented it from complying with a Department of Buildings order to repair its roof and facade by Jan. 21,” reported Crain’s New York Business. “A spokesman for the company blamed repair delays on the neighboring owner’s refusal to grant access for repairs.”
Tishman was killed instantly around 10:45 am on Tuesday on 49th Street near Seventh Avenue, about 500 feet north of Times Square. She was declared dead at the scene. According to police, the incident occurred outside of a 104-year-old building at 729 Seventh Avenue, a 17-story building constructed in 1915.
In the wake of the accident, The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects offered its condolences to the family in a statement. It reads: “AIA New York is deeply saddened by the news of architect and lifelong New Yorker Erica Tishman’s tragic death yesterday when debris fell from a 17-story building in Midtown. As architects, we know too well the dangers that arise from a lack of effective government oversight and proper maintenance by building owners. AIANY will continue to advocate for safer building conditions throughout our city. Our thoughts are with Erica Tishman’s family.”
Tishman “was well known in the New York real estate world, having been a founder of DeWitt Tishman Architects, which designed Jersey City’s Trump Plaza, and an associate at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners,” noted rew-online.com. “A licensed architect since 1983, Mrs Tishman was born and raised in New York, attending Riverdale Country School before Princeton University where she met the love of her life, Steven.
“The two moved to Boston so that Mrs Tishman could attend Harvard University where she obtained her Master’s in Architecture,” rew-online.com continued. “She enjoyed a long and successful career as an architect spanning over 30 years at Beyer Blinder Belle and ultimately as an owner at DeWitt Tishman Architects. More recently, she was vice president at Zubatkin. Despite her many professional achievements, Mrs Tishman’s life was defined by her service to others and her love of family. She served as the former chair of the board of directors at the Educational Alliance as well as serving on the boards of trustees at Riverdale Country School and at Central Synagogue.”