Tragic Accident

The scene on South End Avenue on Thursday evening.
Tragedy struck on South End Avenue on Thursday evening at approximately 7:15 pm, when longtime Gateway Plaza resident Arlene Kalfus was struck by a bus and killed. Ms. Kalfus, who was 81 years old, had lived in Battery Park City since the late 1980s, according to friends and Gateway Plaza staff.

Preliminary reports from police on the scene and at least one witness indicate that Ms. Kalfus had moments earlier disembarked from an M9 bus on South End Avenue, at the stop across the street from Gristede’s. These accounts say that she then walked in front of the M9 bus, as it remained at the stop, and began to cross South End Avenue. As she emerged from the blind spot created by the M9 bus, one of the Downtown Connection shuttle buses operated by the Downtown Alliance approached. Neither Ms. Kalfus nor the driver of the Downtown Connection bus appear to have seen each other until it was too late. She was struck and thrown to the pavement, and died within minutes.

For years an active member of the Battery Park City Seniors group, she is remembered by Maryanne Braverman (who serves on that organization’s Steering Committee) as somebody who, “helped in many ways over the years. She was generous with her time, helping with banking for the group, coordinating bus trips and organizing Restaurant Week luncheons.”

“She was a regular participant at Friday’s Senior Fitness Chair Yoga, usually arriving with an armful of tote bags for her trip to Whole Foods right after class,” Ms. Braverman recalls. “Arlene played Mahjongg most Tuesdays. She was a peacemaker when that was called for. She was kind and caring.”

Another leader of the Seniors Group, Ann Schwalbenberg, notes that, “Arlene was a good friend who called if she had not seen or heard from you for several days. She was a social worker before she retired. She loved all the arts, often going to plays with her theater group, attending classical concerts with another group of music lovers, and she was part of a monthly museum group that explored exhibits at throughout the five boroughs, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia. She suffered through a number of painful illnesses but never let the pain stop her from a concert, play or dinner out with friends.”

Ms. Schwalbenberg observes that, “she was known for her wisecracking wit, which often regaled us in fitness classes and other events,” and adds that, “she  was incredibly independent, and used the subways all the time, usually choosing to meet people at the destination.”

A spokesperson for the Downtown Alliance said, “this is an enormous tragedy. Information is hard to come by right now and we are awaiting further details from the Police Department. As we do so, our thoughts are with those who were close,” to Ms. Kalfus.
Matthew Fenton


  1. Danielle Siegal says

    The Downtown Connection buses are absolutely out of control. They run red lights! Plus they don’t stop for strollers or elderly at sidewalks when the pedestrian walk light is on.

    • Luka says

      Danielle. I disagree from my experience and views sf seeing the buses. However, this is my view only from being a resident for 20 years. It is a terrible and sad accident and something the driver of the bus has to live with for the remaining of his/her life. God rest our resident that passed away in an unfortunate accident and prayers for the driver for healing. It was an accident.

  2. Samuel says

    I got off downtown alliance bus and the driver motioned for me to cross south end implying it was safe to cross. As he had a higher perch I trusted him I started to cross as a taxi whizzed so closely by that my hair flew up. I looked up at downtown alliance driver and he shrugged his shoulder like oops …

    After this happened merely 1 week ago, I now het off bus walk all the way up the block and cross at gateway…
    Some of the drivers are good..there are 2 that are downright insane ….
    This is so heartbreaking
    Southend Ave has had many deaths…
    There was a car going around 80 miles per hour down southend Ave ..there are never any traffic police in BPC anymore

    • Bevery Hegmann says

      Yes, I have been on more than a few crazy, careening rides with some of the Connection drivers, while others are a bit more careful. But it only takes ONE such incident to cause a tragedy. Our friend Arlene was a lively spirit whose bright light was snuffed out in one moment of carelessness. Nothing can bring her back to us, but better driver training in tandem with a CROSSWALK where it’s needed is something that can and should be done right now to avoid other senseless tragedies going forward.

  3. Audrey Harkins says

    Arlene Kalfus was a good friend to many, and she will be missed.

    Her wit was legendary and I always enjoyed one of her insightful comments.

    We will miss her, she was a good friend.

    Arlene Kalfus was a good friend of mine and to this community.
    She will be missed. And her legendary sense of humor that
    always got a laugh will also be gone.

    I will miss her .

  4. Maryanne Braverman says

    I agree with Beverly that a crosswalk is needed to go from the bus stop to the Gateway side of S. End Ave. People cross that way all the time. It might as well be acknowledged and safer passage be provided. There are so many trucks double parked along that stretch of S. End that visibility is terribly impeded.
    Perhaps, street parking needs to be eliminated except for commercial vehicles. They are needed to stock our stores, deliver our orders and service our homes. S. End Ave is just too crowded.

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