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Bikini Bar Founder Falls to Death from TriBeCa Building

By Tom Liddy on July 10, 2011 9:59pm 

Bikini Bar founder Stuart Smith fell to his death in TriBeCa on June 10, 2011.
Bikini Bar founder Stuart Smith fell to his death in TriBeCa on June 10, 2011.
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Flickr/Essg

MANHATTAN - The founder of a low-key surf shop and former Navy diver plummeted five stories to his death from a TriBeCa building early Sunday morning in an apparent accident, police said.

The 48-year-old victim, Stuart Smith, fell from 148 Duane St., near West Broadway, where he owned Bikini Bar with his wife, just after midnight.

A passerby discovered his body and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the store's web site, Smith grew up surfing on the Jersey shore and then entered the Navy's Deep Sea Diver Program.

During his eight years as a salvage diver, he searched for wrecks off the coast of Russia, did underwater surveys for the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and surveyed WWII wrecks in Bikini Atoll.

He met his wife, Aileen Oser, on a New York City-bound plane while on leave from the Navy and the couple was married at the Statue of Liberty.

Oser was too distraught to speak after arriving from Paris Sunday and a man who answered the phone at the bar did not comment.

Oser, a designer who grew up surfing in Hawaii, made bikinis by hand and has worked on intimate lines for DKNY, Victoria's Secret, The Gap and others over the years, the site said.

The shop, established in 1997, hawks custom surfboards, t-shirts, couture lingerie, other surf items and services Hawaiian shave ice and Kona coffee.

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of Smith's death, police said.

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