Neighbors, Family Mourn Heights Ad Executive Killed in Tragic Elevator Accident

Emergency personnel on Wednesday gather outside of the Manhattan office building where a Brooklyn Heights woman was killed when her foot or leg became caught in an elevator’s closing doors. AP Photo.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Friends and family gathered Thursday at the State Street brownstone that was the home of Suzanne Hart, the advertising executive who was killed Wednesday in a tragic elevator accident at her Madison Avenue office building.

She became caught as its doors were closing and was dragged as it shot upward, crushing her to death between floors. Two other people who got on just before looked on in horror as she was killed.

She and her boyfriend, Chris Dickson, were together for more than five years and had lived together in several locations, the last of which was in Brooklyn Heights. They moved from Greenwich Village several months ago, partially because they knew that in Brooklyn they would be able to have a garden.

The 26-story Midtown Manhattan office tower near Grand Central Terminal has been the longtime home of Hart’s company, the advertising agency Y&R, formerly known as Young & Rubicam.

The building at 285 Madison Ave. will be closed for the rest of the work week while investigators with the city’s Buildings Department try to determine what went wrong. Safety mechanisms are supposed to prevent elevators from moving while their doors are open.

A Buildings Department spokesman, Tony Sclafani, said the elevator was inspected in June and no safety issues were found then. The last time the elevator received a violation for a safety hazard was in 2003, and the condition was corrected, Sclafani said.

Although 56 violations had been recorded among the building’s elevators since 2001, Sclafani said the great majority had been issued for administrative problems and other non-hazardous conditions. The elevator is one of 13 in the tower.

Hart, 41, was a director of business development at Y&R. Her father, a former head of MasterCard International, told The New York Times in a phone interview from his home in Florida that she was “the most marvelous daughter imaginable.”

“No father could have ever been more proud of her,” he said.

Dickson is a high-tech entrepreneur and investor in several technology companies.

— Associated Press and local sources

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