Brooklyn Billboard Topples Onto Expressway

Watch a video of the billboard collapse, taken by a security camera, on the Web site of the Polish-language newspaper Nowy Dziennik, about 25 seconds into the newscast.

An illegally placed New York Lottery billboard brought bad luck to drivers and buildings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Friday when it collapsed in high winds — partly blocking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, knocking a hole in a body shop, severing a gas line and damaging a car, but injuring no one.

The billboard, 20 feet by 60 feet and mounted on a six-story-high metal frame atop a one-story brick building at 421 Meeker Avenue, fell at about 2:20 p.m., the authorities said. The billboard landed on Meeker Avenue and on the guard rail of the elevated expressway.

The billboard’s metal supports fell onto the building itself, partly collapsing the back wall, the Fire Department said. At least two other buildings sustained damage, the Buildings Department said.

The billboard was illegal, the Buildings Department said, because it was within 200 feet of a highway, which is prohibited by zoning rules. The city’s highways have been plagued with illegal billboards, though the Buildings Department began cracking down on them in 2009.

Theresa Capolino, 70, a school aide who has lived in the neighborhood her whole life and at 411 Meeker Avenue since 1994, said the billboard went up around 2000.

Ms. Capolino, unlike those more directly affected by the collapse, said she felt lucky to have avoided calamity and decided to seize the moment.

“I play the lottery. The Mega Millions and the Take 5,” she said. “I’m going now to play. I will play these numbers, 411.” She gestured to the street number above the door of her building. “Maybe I’ll hit.”

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