Facade Collapse Near Crown Heights Supermarket Rains Down Brick, Concrete on Passerby

The facade of a supermarket collapsed, injuring one man when part of it hit him on the head. The collapse brought down more than 500 pounds of concrete, some of it a century old. Photo by Todd Maisel


One man was injured when hundreds of pounds of concrete and brick collapsed from the facade of a Crown Heights building Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.

The man, said to be in his 40s, was struck on the head by a single brick, part of more than 500 pounds of a parapet that toppled at 1412 St. Johns Place.

facade collapse

facade collapse

The collapse occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on July 22 when shoppers were walking past Ideal Supermarket, just off busy Utica Avenue. Without much warning, bricks and concrete decoration came crashing down next to the victim, and a brick hit him on the head.

Firefighters from Ladder 123 found the victim with a head injury, but officials said it was not life threatening. The man is in serious but stable condition with a fractured skull, according to an update from NBC.

Fire officials on the scene closed off the area to pedestrians and requested the Buildings Department conduct an investigation into any further potential collapse hazards. A scroll-topped shield and other bits and pieces of fanciful ornament could be seen scattered about the sidewalk Wednesday. Officials say the building will probably require a sidewalk shed to safeguard the public from any additional falling debris.

facade collapse

The collapse appeared to be above a shuttered retail space most recently home to Party Palace Events. Housed in an adjacent space in the same building is the Ideal Supermarket.

The building was built in 1920 as the Utica Theater and had space for an orchestra to accompany then-silent movies, old records reveal. Designed by architect R. Thomas Short, it opened in February 1920 with a Cecil B. DeMille production. The building’s ornament included terra-cotta detail and its impressive marquee can be seen in the building’s circa 1940 city tax photo.


The facade in 2019. Photo via Google Maps

Earlier this month, an entire building in Carroll Gardens collapsed, but luckily the building, which housed a gym, was empty and no one was injured. — additional reporting by Susan De Vries.

[Photos by Todd Maisel unless noted otherwise]

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran on Brownstoner sister pub amNY. Click here to see the original story.

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