Ming Kung Chen, the Chinese food delivery man for Happy Dragon in the Bronx, was greeted with happiness and amazement after being stuck in an elevator for three days - and without water or food (he had completed all his deliveries!). Many feared Chen had been killed, as delivery men as frequent targets, and the police were actively searching for him. Somehow, the NYPD and building didn't realize one of the elevators was out, and Chen's repeated cries for help over three days were not heard in the Tracey Towers housing project until yesterday morning. Gothamist is glad that Newsday revealed one of the things everyone is curious about: Besides become dizzy and nearly passing out, Chen did "urinate twice" and ate "apple juice, Rice Krispies cereal and a roll."
The bigger question is what is going on with the elevators: The elevators at the housing project have been cited by the Department of Buildings a number of times and residents' problems with them had been documented in their local paper. The FDNY said they got a call Tuesday morning from Tracey Towers management, who thought a drunk person was stuck in the elevator. According to the NY Times, Lt. Peter Chadwick said, "Little did they know, he wasn't drunk. He was probably feeling the effects of being in the elevator." Um, yeah, plus the fact that they probably couldn't understand him speaking in Chinese. Chen says he did use the intercom a number of times over the weekend, but the language barrier was too great; the building denies speaking to anyone until Tuesday.
Chen did say he wouldn't be delivering at the Tracey Towers again: "The tips in that building are all bad." City Councilman John Liu is accusing the NYPD of exposing Chen's illegal status, as it's been widely reported that Chen illegally immigrated to the U.S. and had reportedly paid off his $60,000 debt. The NYPD says it's not their fault if the media reveals information. Gothamist guesses Councilman Liu will try to get Chen legal status. And this story has many aspects that made it NY Times page 1 material: Crazy but happy ending, a favorite ethnic food, an immigrant's story, and the problems with public housing. And the tabloids's headlines: NY Post has Deliverance and the Daily News uses Hell-a-vator.
Photographs from Newsday