Thursday, February 22, 2024

Son of prominent NYC restaurateur dies in freak escalator fall after Rangers game at MSG

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The son of a once-prominent Big Apple restaurateur died in a freak fall at Madison Square Garden after a Rangers game last weekend, officials said.

Ernest Vogliano, 61, was riding an escalator railing inside the World’s Most Famous Arena when he plunged two to three floors to his death around 10:40 p.m. Saturday, sources told The Post.

His death was later ruled accidental, his family and officials said.

Vogliano’s widow, Lesa, has now hired an attorney to get to the bottom of the incident, claiming she was kept in the dark about how it all happened.

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

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


Ernest Vogliano died after a fall from an escalator following a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. His family is now seeking answers.
Ernest Vogliano / facebook

An ambulance that responded to Madison Square Garden after Ernest Vogliano fell to his death from an escalator during a New York Rangers game.
An ambulance that responded to Madison Square Garden after Ernest Vogliano fell to his death from an escalator during a New York Rangers game.
Christopher Sadowski

The NYPD reported a 911 call of an injured person at the arena around 10:40 p.m. on Saturday and found an unresponsive man suffering from head trauma.

Vogliano was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

A rep for the FDNY said Wednesday that it had no record of a call to the Garden, so it’s not immediately clear how Vogliano was transported to the hospital.

An autopsy by the city medical examiner determined that Vogliano died as a result of blunt force trauma and ruled his death at the Garden an accident.


Madison Square Garden
Vogliano was rushed to Bellevue Hospital from The Garden but died from his injuries.
AFP via Getty Images

But Eisenberg said Lesa was never given the details, prompting him on Wednesday to send MSG officials a demand that all evidence relevant to Vogliano’s death, including surveillance video footage, be preserved until it can be reviewed.


The family’s lawyer says they were never given details about what happened.
Ernest Vogliano / facebook

The incident comes as MSG owner James Dolan’s company is under investigation by the New York State Liquor Authority, which could potentially see the agency pull the liquor licenses of not just the Garden, but Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater.

Dolan has also taken heat for using facial-recognition technology to bar fans he considered undesirable from his venues — including lawyers he has a legal beef with.

In an email Wednesday, a rep for MSG called Vogliano’s death “a tragic accident” that has nothing to do with the state liquor 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 email said. “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to his loved ones.”

Vogliano’s father, the late Ernest Sr., was the longtime owner of Il Vagabondo restaurant on East 62nd Street, a one-time Italian social court that evolved into a popular eatery whose patrons included the likes of Cindy Crawford and Tom Hanks in its heyday.


The former Il Vagabondo Italian restaurant, a onetime city institution.
Ernest Vogliano’s father, the late Ernest Sr., was the longtime owner of the Italian restaurant Il Vagabondo, a longtime popular eatery that drew the rich and famous.
Il Vagabondo / facebook

The younger Vogliano was the founder of Monster Productions, a New York City web design firm, and published Aspen Aces & Eights magazine.

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