Every New Yorker has this nightmare at some time or the other.
A 35-year-old woman fell to her death in the early hours of Thursday after the balcony railing of a 17th-floor apartment apparently gave way as she chatted to a friend.
The woman, identified by local media as advertising sales executive Jennifer Rosoff, was reported to have been smoking a cigarette and talking to her male friend when the railing she was leaning against buckled, sending her into the fatal plunge.
Television pictures showed the damaged corner section of the balcony on a building on East 57th Street in the prosperous mid-town business area. Police have ruled out foul play.
The tragedy highlighted one of the permanent anxieties associated with living in New York's forest of skyscrapers.
A similar incident in 2010 sparked a review of safety at all high-rise buildings which resulted in residents of a dozen buildings in Manhattan being told to stop using their balconies because the owners had not carried out up-to-date risk assessments.
In the 2010 fatality, building inspectors discovered that the building's management had not filed a safety inspection report in ten years.
High-rise dramas are a staple of life in Manhattan and Thursday's was the third to make the news in recent days.
A prominent banker who jumped out of his seventh-floor apartment following a dispute with neighbours over his 'yappy' French poodles miraculously survived after his fall was broken by awning on a lower floor.
Days later several people had to be treated for shock after a woman apparently bent on suicide threw herself off the top of her building and landed within just a few feet of fellow residents eating lunch on a communal lower-floor balcony.