By: Shlomit Ebbin  | 

Brookdale Elevator Drops Two Floors With Several Students Inside

An elevator in Brookdale Residence Hall fell two floors while carrying several students — between five and seven — on Oct. 6. 

According to one of the students in the elevator, the women were leaving an event, all going from the second to the eighth floor. When the elevator reached the fifth floor, it dropped to the third and the doors opened unaligned with that floor. The first girl who exited tripped as she got out. The rest of the girls exited safely with no reported injuries from the incident. 

“We were totally fine, we were just very dizzy for a few minutes,” said Chaya Ross (SCW ‘23), a student who was in the elevator. 

Gaby Rahmenfar (SCW ‘24), who was with Ross in the elevator, immediately ran down to security to notify them to shut off the elevator after she exited. She filed an official claim the next day through YU and was contacted by Assistant Dean of Students Sara Asher about her wellbeing. 

Asher emailed Brookdale residents the following night, informing them of the previous day’s situation and that the Schindler Elevator corporation — the university’s third party maintenance provider — subsequently inspected the elevator, which is now running normally. 

“We have in place comprehensive processes to ensure our elevators are regularly inspected and maintained by our facilities personnel, as well as third-party service providers,” Asher said in the email. “We want to make sure that our community learns of incidents — and the steps we’re taking to resolve them — promptly. ” 

There have been several reported incidents involving Brookdale elevators in the past three years. In May 2019, the elevator plummeted from the third floor to the basement, leaving the student inside with symptoms of a minor concussion. In April 2021, the elevator dropped floor by floor from the fifth floor to the basement. The elevator then went back up to the first floor and fell again, landing between the first floor and the basement. The student, who estimated being stuck in the elevator for 30 minutes to an hour before being rescued by The New York City Fire Department (FDNY), claimed to not suffer any serious injuries. 

Outside of Brookdale, both the Beren and Wilf campuses underwent many elevator malfunctions in the past few years as well. In January 2020, seven students had to be rescued by FDNY from an elevator in the Morgenstern Residence Hall when the hoistway door didn’t open. In the following days, there would be three more episodes: two in Stanton Hall — located at 245 Lexington — and one in the Glueck Center for Jewish Studies. 

These incidents came after the university was cited for numerous elevator violations between 2017 and 2019. 

Ross noted that the first-year students she was with had already been worried about using the elevator. “We actually had just been talking about it, how it’s happened before that the elevator has fallen. [The] girls were kind of nervous and I said don’t worry, it doesn’t happen so much.”

“It’s kind of crazy that this keeps happening,” commented Rahmenfar. “The elevator keeps breaking down and I keep hearing stories of people getting stuck in it or it dropping floors and it’s really dangerous. And the fact that they already had a girl get a concussion and it’s still a problem is really concerning. I hope that they actually fix it because it’s a huge liability on their part.”

As of publication, Chief Facilities & Administrative Officer Randy Apfelbaum did not respond to The Commentator’s request for comment.

Photo Caption: There have been several reported elevator malfunctions in Brookdale in the past three years. 

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University