RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Shock turned to grief as word spread that a Ridgewood architect fell 47 stories from a midtown Manhattan high-rise to his death on Friday.
Bruno Travalja, 52, stood after kneeling to take a safety measure on the roof of a West 52nd Street office and residential condominium conversion project known as the Flatotel when he fell over a foot-and-a-half safety barrier, city officials said.
Investigators believe he might have become dizzy or got his foot tangled in something, according to The Gothamist. He was wearing a safety harness, but it wasn't connected to anything, the report says.
City officials issued a full stop work order while the NYPD and building department investigates.
"We were great friends during our college years. We met playing handball in the park," Ron Montemurro wrote on the Queens native's Facebook page. "Later, I worked with Bruno building his first houses in Whitestone. It was a great experience.
"Bruno seemed to know how to do anything," Montemurro wrote. "We had so many great times together - going on camping and ski trips, going out to dance clubs, driving all over in his VW Jetta blasting 'Purple Rain.' We lost touch over the years and then reconnected on FB."
"Bruno wasn't just a wise mentor or a boss -- he was also in so many ways a father figure to my husband," Abby Haliti added. "He was like family to us, always keeping in touch and showing concern for our daughters.
"He went above and beyond to help others however he could."
Travalja, who owned Crowne Architectural Systems in Hackensack (formerly North Bergen), leaves a wife, Alexis, three children -- Taylor, Luca, and Aidan -- and a mother.
He'd lived in Ridgewood the past 16 years.
According to his obituary, Travalja greatest hobby was his work, but it came second to his wife and children.
"He was loyal and trusting to a fault. Simply the most honest human being," it says.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St Luke's RC Church in Ho-Ho-Kus.
Visiting hours are from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday at the Feeney Funeral Home, 232 Franklin Ave., (201) 444-7650.
In lieu of flowers, donations were requested to honor his dear friend, Michael Purritanoto, to: Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 383 Main Ave., 5th Floor Norwalk, CT 06851. Or click here: https://www.themmrf.org/donate-to-mmrf/
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