NYC woman survives accidental plunge from 7th-story, lands on boxes of fruit and veggies on street

Last Update: January 25, 2020 at 4:04 pm

SOURCE: New York Daily

DATE:  January 25, 2020


NYC woman survives accidental plunge from 7th-story, lands on boxes of fruit and veggies on street


Fruit and vegetables are good for you.

Boxes filled with carrots, onions, pears and limes cushioned the fall of a 76-year-old woman who plunged from a seventh-floor window Friday on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Cops said Barbara Heller accidentally fell from an apartment window around noon to the sidewalk below, where workers were unloading produce in front of a market.

She was rushed to a hospital, and suffered a broken pelvis, broken rib, a pierced lung and various bruises, said her ex-husband, Charles Heller.

Heller said his former wife landed on a plastic storage bin that jutted out from a first-floor ledge on the E. 81st St. building before dropping onto the boxes of produce.

“It’s quite amazing,” Charles Heller said. “it’s amazing to not only survive but to not have a head injury.”

He said Heller was already in poor physical condition before the fall.

“She just had back surgery,” he said. “She could barely walk.

Heller was in the apartment with a friend, Kelli Blue, who said Heller went to the window to get some air because she was feeling hot.


“She hadn’t been feeling well and she was having trouble breathing,” said Blue, who said Heller has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “She wanted to get some air so I opened the window for her about a foot. She opened it the rest of the way and was leaning out. I heard this loud crash, but you hear a lot of crashes on First Ave. I’m nosy, so I ran out onto the terrace and it didn’t even occur to me it was her. When I looked down I thought she was dead and I was freaking out. I just ran down there.”

Blue said when she got to the sidewalk, a woman was helping her friend. She was trying to get up.

Dante McFarlane, 22, who works at the Morton Williams supermarket on the ground floor at First Ave. and E. 81st Street, said he was hauling cases of food when the woman fell.

“She fell and hit the plastic storage container on the first floor and then rolled off and fell onto the pallet,” McFarlane said.


He said the container was filled with cartons of carrots, apples, pears, limes and onions.

“She was on her side, making noise,” McFarlane recalled, adding that pedestrians came to her aid immediately.

“She knew her name,” McFarlane said. “She was bleeding from one of her feet.”

Blue said Heller had spinal fusion surgery in October, and Blue was helping her get to and from appointments and taking care of her dogs

Heller has lived in the building since 1964, and worked at Hunter College and is a retired New Orleans burlesque performer, her friend said.

“She’s a legend,” Blue said.