A 3-year-old boy died Saturday after falling from the 29th-floor balcony of an apartment building in Harlem — as his distraught mother screamed “My baby, my baby” from the street below, police and witnesses said.
Neighbors described hearing what sounded like a “boom” and a “thump” when the toddler fell and landed on fifth-floor scaffolding of a high-rise at the Taino Towers residential complex on Third Avenue between East 122nd and 123rd Streets around 11:10 am, the NYPD said.
“I heard a big ass boom… It sounded like something really heavy. It sounded like construction,” said Tangerine Castro, 33, who lives on the 23rd floor. “We just started looking and everybody started coming out of their building.
“Everybody that were upstairs that could see down, saw the little boy with the yellow shirt. He was flat in the scaffolding,” Castro said.
The child’s mother, who was outside at the time, then began to yell, witnesses said.
“She was sitting on the ground in her socks. She was screaming, ‘My baby, my baby, he is up there,’” said neighbor Alexander Townsend, 25.
The boy’s father, meanwhile, “ran downstairs crying,” and tried to climb onto the scaffolding to get his son but couldn’t, Townsend said.
The boy was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:31 am, the NYPD said.
Preliminary reports are that the child’s fall was accidental, police said.
Nidia Cordero, 58, a foster mom, who lives on the 34th floor, said her kids heard “a big fight” between adults coming from the 29th-story balcony and less than 10 minutes later, there was a “thump.”
“When you look out the terrace you see the baby’s body. He was in his diapers and T-shirt,” Cordero said.
“Then you hear screams,” she said. “I think the mom was screaming and I looked and the baby was in the scaffolding.”
Cordero said she had helped the tot’s mother in the past, even buying him diapers and milk.
“He was a beautiful little boy,” Cordero said.
The neighbor said she had seen the child in the building elevator with his dad, and described the boy looked “withdrawn.” She said she knew of domestic violence issues in the family.
The NYPD would not comment except to say, “the investigation is continuing.”
Castro, the resident on the 23rd floor, said the balconies are about 30 years old and are in the process of being replaced. She said that mosquito netting on the balconies is quite old, too.
“We don’t have no AC right now. Everybody hangs out on the balcony right now but I can’t say if it’s one thing or another,” she said of what could have led to the tragedy.