67-year-old Vietnam veteran Anthony Franzese was sitting on a standpipe outside of Wine Bar on Second Avenue when a sixth-floor air conditioning unit fell to the street yesterday morning. Franzese's head was lacerated in the freak accident, and Raymond Azzi, the owner of Wine Bar, says he thinks his establishment's awning saved Franzese's life—even though it was the awning, not the the A.C., that cut Franzese's head open. "We are lucky it was down," Azzi tells the Post. "It protected whoever was here and definitely saved the man's life." But it all depends where exactly Franzese was sitting!
Google Street view shows two sixth floor air conditioners, so it's unclear if Franzese was in the direct path of the 80-pound unit, or just too close to the awning when it collapsed. What we do know is that Department of Buildings inspectors have fined the building's owner for an improperly installed air conditioner; under city law, all A.C. units must be installed with window brackets. The Post reports that the maximum fine is $25,000, which just so happens to be the amount that the disabled veteran was paid in a Housing Court settlement to get him to vacate the property.
According to court papers obtained by the Post, Franzese is "mentally ill, and regularly hears voices in Vietnamese and Chinese as well as communications from outer space." But he's reportedly "doing well" after being treated for minor injuries. At press time, the condition of the awning was not known.