By Hannah Hayes, The Jewish Voice
On Monday night, July 20, former Hasidic Jew turned app developer, Faigy Mayer jumped to her death from a rooftop bar in NYC.
The 30-year-old Mayer, reportedly ran to bush-lined ledge of 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar in the Flatiron District at approximately 7:30pm. She climbed the wall and leapt to her death, landing 20-stories down on the sidewalk of West 27th Street. Like true New Yorkers minding their own business, the bar patrons simply continued drinking throughout the incident.
A witness, Becky Whittemore, told the Post, “There was a big corporate party up there and she kind of ran through them [the partygoers] and jumped. They closed off the section where she jumped from. I think a lot of the people up there had zero clue what was going on.”
Police cordoned off the area of the bar from which she jumped in order to investigate further. Mayer was identified by authorities through a purse and backpack that she had abandoned at the bar.
Another witness of the horrific incident, Dale Martin, told the Post, “I was walking across the street and I saw she was falling. You can tell it was a lady. She had on shoes and a dress.”
According to her LinkedIn page, Mayer was the founder and CEO of Appton, a mobile and web solutions startup based in New York.
She was raised in a crowded Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but rebelled against her strict religious upbringing. Her public bubbly persona apparently masked a very troubled girl.
A Hasidic source told the Post, “The word is out that she was an unhappy person who had left the community. She has a history of emotional problems and was seeing a psychiatrist.”
Ari Mandel, a friend of Mayer, told the Post that he was no secret the she suffered from depression. “She was in and out of mental institutions every so often. In between, she was a really lovely person,” he said. “She was working on an app. The app was meant for ex-Hasidim. We had talked about working on it and then I got busy so we never went through it.”
He explained to the paper that her death was not that big of a surprise. “But it’s not any sadder and it doesn’t suck any less,” he said, noting that she had struggled with family issues after her strict upbringing in Williamsburg.
He also suggested that her problems with finding a new apartment may have contributed to her becoming so overwhelmed.
Mayer had recently moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but was planning to move again. She wrote a post on June 21, looking for help moving out of her Brooklyn apartment. She wrote, “Paid job: looking for someone to help me move on Sunday, June 28, from Greenpoint to a 20 min drive away. Have 12 boxes to move. Need you to drive a car.”
Mandel said, “I know that her lease had run out and I know she was struggling to find housing very recently and that may have something to do with it. But who knows? I don’t know what made her do it. Maybe she felt like there was no way out.”
In 2009, Mayer appeared in a National Geographic documentary called “Inside Hasidism,” in which she explained her reasons for leaving her insular ultra-Orthodox Belz communities of Williamsburg and Boro Park.
On the show, she said, “It was actually at the age of three that I already showed no interest in Yiddish or Hebrew. It was just like so challenging, like the whole transition.”
Mayer received helped transitioning into secular society by a New York-based organization called Footsteps, which assists Ultra-Orthodox men and women in her situation.
According to the Post, Mayer graduated summa cum laude from Touro College with a bachelor’s in accounting. She went on to earn a master’s in accounting from Brooklyn College. Just this year, she also earned a certificate in Data Science Specialization from Johns Hopkins University.
NYCTips, a New York City restaurant tip calculator, is one of the better known apps Mayer said she developed. Other apps she made include a parking app called Carma and All About Hasids.