"This tragedy shows just how dangerous overcrowded or mismanaged rooftop parties have become, and how often they have little to no safety protections or monitoring," local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera said during a press conference on Sunday morning outside the building between 12th Street and 13th Street. "We will continue to pursue my legislation to ensure agency responses so that these deadly situations do not happen again. But landlords are ultimately responsible for ensuring outdoor spaces are legally and safely accessible and are not used improperly. If you make the decision to buy a building, you are responsible for the lives of its residents. And these landlords are not living up to that responsibility."
Rivera is working on two bills to address this issue. She has already introduced Intro 1292, which would require tenants to sign and acknowledge their understanding of the city's noise codes. She's planning on introducing a second bill that would ensure enforcement agencies have easier access to phone numbers of overnight building supers or contacts and require better oversight of rooftop use and capacity.
"We've heard complaints from constituents regarding out-of-control rooftop parties, even before the start of the pandemic," said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. "I'm committed to ensuring we push state legislation and hearings to address this ongoing problem. The city and state need to take control of this situation before we lose more lives."
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer also said that she supports a City Council hearing and a City Hall review of building code enforcement procedures related to rooftop parties, which some residents say have increased in recent years with a spate of new or renovated buildings offering outdoor amenities.
Residents who have been enduring unending rooftop parties hope that the proposed legislation will call on landlords to prevent these events from occurring or assess penalties to tenants for disturbances.
Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the victim, identified in published reports as Cameron Perrelli, a Connecticut native and Lower East Side resident who worked in finance.
Her uncle, Michael Perrelli, told the Daily News that the family received three versions of what led to her fall into an airshaft at around 3 a.m.
"We got three stories — that she was jumping from one building to the next, and we heard that she was walking on an air-conditioning vent, and then somebody just said she slipped," he told the paper. "Don't they have a fence on top of the building? They allow parties?"
Said her father, Louis Perrelli: "It's not like her to be a risk-taker. She's not one to take those risks. I don't get it. She was perfect. ... She was always the designated driver, the good person, the peacemaker. She was an angel — that good."
The Daily Mail reports that Cameron Perrelli attempted to climb from the roof at 202 Avenue A to the roof next door at 200 Avenue A. A Daily Mail photographer accessed the roof yesterday morning, taking photos showing that 202 Avenue A is about four feet lower than the adjacent building at 200 Avenue A with a 3- to 4-foot airway in between.
As previously reported, workers added a horizontal and vertical enlargement of the existing 4-floor structure at 202 Avenue A, doubling the total square footage from 5,334 to 10,920. There are eight residences here at The Topanga. The penthouse units, featuring advertised rooftop access, are renting for $12,000 monthly, per Streeteasy.
Highpoint Property Group bought No. 202 in a deal that closed in late 2017 for $6.75 million. To date, Highpoint has not publicly responded to the tragedy despite requests from various media outlets, including The Daily Mail and People magazine.
In a complaint filed yesterday with the Department of Buildings, there's a "report of recreational use of the rooftop, contrary to the C of O [Certificate of Occupancy]."
It's not clear who filed the complaint. A DOB rep told ABC 7 yesterday that the department "was not requested to investigate the fatal fall and has not received any 311 calls related to illegal occupancy of the rooftop."
The DOB said in order for rooftops to be legally occupied as a recreational space, the building owners must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for that use. They said 202 Avenue A does have a Certificate of Occupancy which includes an accessory roof terrace. The adjacent building, 200 Avenue A, does not have the certificate.
The most recent C of O we spotted online for 202 Avenue A was for the pre-renovated building and dated December 1992. (There appears to be a temporary C of O posted to the DOB Now portal.)
Also, according to 311 records, there have been 75 noise complaints at the address going back to December.Records at Streeteasy show that the first penthouse at the renovated building — with a $12,000 ask — was rented in November 2020.
Image via Twitter