|Paul Benalcazar, 57, of Monroe Township, N.J., was working on E. 81st St. near Park Ave. Monday at about noon when he fell from the second floor, police and relatives said.|
Brother of window washer who fell to his death remembered as a helpful provider for his family whose clients included Woody Allen, Diane Sawyer: The distraught brother of an enterprising window washer who fell to his death from an Upper East Side town house said he wasn’t wearing a safety harness and slipped.
Paul Benalcazar, 57, of Monroe Township, N.J., was working on E. 81st St. near Park Ave. Monday at about noon when he fell from the second floor, police and relatives said. “Unfortunately, he slipped and lost his grip while he was cleaning the outside of a window,” said JR Gaete, 49, of North Carolina, as he prepared to fly to New York to help his grieving sister-in-law. “His wife was cleaning one of the mirrors in one of the bathrooms, and she heard the housekeeper scream and yell, ‘he fell out the window!’” Gaete said.
Gaete said his brother was born in Ecuador, but moved to the U.S. when he was 8. “He was a best friend, a great brother, a fantastic father and a great husband,” Gaete said. “If I called him and asked for help, he wouldn't ask why, he would just drop everything.”
Benalcazar went to John Baum High School in Queens, and then started washing windows for his future father-in-law some 25 years ago. He later inherited the company, known as Elite Window Cleaning, and often worked alone while his wife Maryann helped out. Benalcazar’s clients have included Woody Allen, Diane Sawyer and members of the Rockefeller family, Gaete said.
In addition to his wife, Benalcazar had a daughter, Ana, who was about to get married and a son, Paul Jr., who just graduated high school. “We were planning to come up on the 13th to go to his daughter’s bridal shower,” Gaete said.
Benalcazar wasn’t a fan of using a safety harness despite the fact that he worked as many as 30 stories above the ground, Gaete said. “A lot of times, he told me he didn't trust the rigs,” he said. “He relied on his hands.”
He last saw Benalcazar three weeks ago. “My 7-year-old son once asked him ‘What do you do?,’” he said. “Paul told him, ‘I'm Spiderman.’ I go outside buildings and I climb.” The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made in Benalcazar’s name to the American Cancer Society.
|Benalcazar wasn't wearing his safety harness when he slipped and fell to his death from an Upper East Side townhouse.|