There's more scaffolding stretching above New Yorkers' heads than ever. Really, the number of scaffolds sticking to the sides of New York City's buildings is more than it's ever been.
When it's raining, it's a good thing, because it keeps our heads from getting wet. When it isn't raining, it's really annoying because it causes pedestrian traffic, and it isn't pleasant aesthetically, something that's important to us here in NYC.
A record-setting 190 miles of scaffolding looms on the side of NYC's buildings, which is enough to wrap around Manhattan six times.
Crain's reported that nearly 9,000 sidewalk sheds and the scaffolding that usually sits atop them plague NYC's sidewalks.
They cut off sunlight, hurt businesses, and, worse: the current number of sheds is up from about 3,500 in 2003.
"Do you think this would be allowed to happen if we lived on the corner of Park Avenue and 72nd Street?" said Laurent Delly, a real estate broker who lives down the street from a shed that's sat on the corner of West 123rd Street and Lenox Avenue since 2004.
"It's completely demoralizing," Delly said. "This is a beautiful block, and people here care about our streets."
Obviously, the mind-blowing number of scaffolding is the direct result of a mind-blowing amount of construction - and the situation isn't set to improve any time soon. 2016 should be the biggest year for construction NYC's ever seen.
However, there's another reason for the scaffolding boom. In 1980, the city passed a law requiring regular inspections of older buildings to make sure concrete and bricks wouldn't fall on pedestrians. Sounds great, right?
Well, it inadvertently paved the way for the scaffolds. Since 1980, City Council has strengthened the law while adding new ones, paving the way for a scaffolding industry that generates $1 billion a year - $200 million of which is designated to street-level sheds.
The rest of the money pays for the scaffolding and the workers who repair buildings' sides.
reginald_nyc On a #rainyday like this always walk on the #scaffolding side of the street #westvillage #newyorkcity #nycscaffolding #nycrain
"I've never seen anything like it in 30 years," said George Mihalko, a shed-equipment supplier who said his biggest challenge is finding inventory to fill the trucks he sends out from his New Jersey warehouse daily.
"New York is insatiable right now when it comes to sheds," Mihalko said.
At the 34th Street Partnership, 20% of the sidewalk space is covered by scaffolding.
Let's look at it this way: NYC is a beautiful city, and the epidemic of scaffolding detracts from that beauty. We'd like the city to be safe, but the scaffolding situation is getting absurd. De Blasio, could you get on that, please?
Check out It's Officially Slush Season in NYC.[via Crain's New York] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]