After 14 years, a sidewalk shed in Harlem has finally been removed.
According to Crain’s, the structure, located on the corner of Lenox Avenue and West 123rd Street, was removed on October 5, to the delight of residents who were tired of the eyesore. According to them, trash would often accumulate on the shed’s rood and it was a hot spot for loitering.
The sidewalk shed was one of nearly 8,000 around the city and was one of the city’s oldest. It was scaffolding like these that prompted City Councilman Ben Kallos to introduce a bill last November that aimed to require scaffolding to be taken down within six months of it having gone up. Kallos argued that some property owners opt to keep the sheds in place for extended periods of time to put off making costly facade repairs. In 2016, the Department of Buildings (DOB) found that the city was home to nearly 2,000 “dormant sheds” where repair work wasn’t being carried out on building facades that posed safety hazards. Even the DOB headquarters at 280 Broadway in Manhattan has had a sidewalk shed around it since 2008.
Ultimately, it cost the owner of 260 Lenox Avenue, the property where the sidewalk shed had been in place since 2004, less than $60,000 to carry out facade repairs, but has racked up roughly $700,000 in DOB fines and violations related to the project, says Crain’s.
The city’s oldest sidewalk shed can be found just a few blocks away at Lenox Avenue and West 115th Street, where it has been in place since 1990—a whopping 28 years.
The city has launched a two-year pilot that hopes to make these structures a bit easier on the eyes. They are calling upon artists and non-profit organizations to submit proposals for artwork that will enliven construction fences and sidewalk sheds.
Also, the DOB recently released an interactive map that tracks the city’s 270 miles of subway sheds, if you’re interested in the topic and want to dig a bit deeper. You can check it out here.