Son of famed restauranteur dies in freak escalator fall at Rangers game

The son of a former New York City restauranteur has died after an escalator accident at Madison Square Garden following a New York Rangers hockey game.

Ernest Vogliano was riding on the railing of the escalator when he fell as far as two to three stories, leading to his death, according to the New York Post.

The accident occurred at about 10.40pm on Saturday. The 61-year-old’s widow, Lesa Vogliano, has retained an attorney to look into the incident, which has been ruled an accident.

“We have no idea what happened, but they do,” lawyer Fred Eisenberg told The Post. “We have to review the evidence.”

“We know that he was there and we know that he died,” he added. “We’d like to find out how.”

Following a 911 call at about 10.40pm on Saturday, the NYPD found an unresponsive man with head trauma at the arena. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The FDNY told The Post on Wednesday that it didn’t have a record of a call from the arena, meaning it remains unclear how Mr Vogliano was taken to the hospital.

Ernest Vogliano died after an accident after a New York Rangers game (Dignity Memorial)
Ernest Vogliano died after an accident after a New York Rangers game (Dignity Memorial)

The cause of death was ruled by the medical examiner to be blunt force trauma.

Mr Eisenberg said the widow was never provided with the details, leading him to send arena officials a demand that all evidence related to the death of Mr Vogliano, such as surveillance footage, be kept until it can be viewed.

The company of Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan is being probed by the New York State Liquor Authority, which may mean that the agency could revoke the license at the arena, as well as at Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater, according to The Post, which goes on to note that Mr Dolan has been criticised for using facial recognition technology to prevent those he doesn’t want at his venues from entering, such as lawyers with whom he’s feuding.

A representative for Madison Square Garden told The Post in an email on Wednesday that Mr Vogliano’s death was a “tragic accident” which is unconnected to the liquor authority’s investigation.

“A fan at this past Saturday’s Rangers game was injured in a tragic accident while he was exiting the venue and was immediately transported to a local hospital where he passed away,” the spokesperson said. “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to his loved ones.”

Mr Vogliano’s father, Ernest Vogliano Sr, was the owner of Il Vagabondo, a restaurant located on East 62nd Street.

The Post notes that the establishment went from an Italian social venue to a popular restaurant with regular guests such as Tom Hanks and Cindy Crawford in its prime.

Mr Vogliano founded the web design company Monster Productions, and he also published the magazine Aspen Aces & Eights.

He graduated from Trinity School and Colgate University, according to his obituary.

“Ernest was a friend to many; he loved life and will be remembered for his wide range of interests, from world travel and adventure to horses, beekeeping, skiing, and hockey,” it said. “He was passionate about giving back to the community and took great pride in being a volunteer firefighter in Bedford, NY.”