The scaffolding at 409 Edgecombe Ave., which has been up for nearly 14 years.Robert Miller
Sick of the sidewalk sheds in your neighborhood? Some areas have been looking at the same eye sores since before smartphones came out.
One building on Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem has had the same work scaffolding up for more than 13 years. Another nearby on 115th Street has had one up for nearly 12 years.
Even the Department of Buildings’ own office on Broadway is a culprit, as it has been surrounded by scaffolding since 2008.
The city says it’s been cracking down, but it’s barely put a dent on the unpopular structures, which just continue to gather trash and rodents.
It’s driving the people who have to live near the scaffolds crazy.
“I can’t picture this building without it there,” said Kaniesha Davis, 21, who grew up at 409 Edgecombe Ave., which is the building with New York’s longest-standing work scaffolding. The sheds there have been up since April 2006.
“I used to climb on the metal poles and do flips,” said Davis, a college student. “I have always asked my grandmother when are they going to take it down — if they are ever going to take it down.”
Nikki Berryman, president of the board of directors for the building, said the scaffold has remained up for so long because of bad luck. After completing $1.2 million in restoration work to comply with Local Law 11, the building was struck by lightning, which caused more damage and required more repairs, Berryman said.
The city first approved a permit for a 220-foot-long “heavy duty sidewalk shed” at the address during “remedial repairs” on April 26, 2006, Department of Buildings records show. But the work never seemed to end: There were another 13 permits issued for additional work at the building through February this year.
The 13-story Harlem building is among thousands issued permits by the Department of Buildings to erect scaffolding to protect pedestrians from falling debris.
409 Edgecombe Ave.Robert Miller
She said the scaffold remained up so long because of a couple of bad breaks for the building. After completing $1.2 million in restoration work to comply with Local Law 11, Berryman said the building was struck by lightning, which caused more damage and required more repairs.
“We’ve been working on the building,” Berryman said. “The city, I think, has actually issued violations on work that has been scoped and sent to them for approval. The work is complete.”
The city first approved a permit for a 220-foot long “heavy duty sidewalk shed” during “remedial repairs” on April 26, 2006, building department records show. But the work never seemed to end — there were another 13 permits issued for additional work at the building through February this year.
The 13-story Harlem building is among thousands issued permits by the city Department of Buildings to erect scaffolding and sidewalk sheds to protect pedestrians from falling debris.
Scaffolding outside 360 Central Park WestStephen Yang
The unsightly structures have become an unwelcome part of the city landscape, with critics complaining they have evolved into dark, trash-strewn havens for vagrants and criminals and hurt local businesses who struggle to draw new patrons with their facades concealed by wood and metal.
“It’s a quality of life problem for people who live in the buildings in the shadow of these sheds,” said city Councilman Ben Kallos, whose bill to put a timetable on sheds has lingered in committee for three years.
“There’s no reason we should have 300 miles of sidewalk sheds,” Kallos said. “We are the only city that does this. No one wants to walk under that scaffolding unless it’s raining.”
The scaffold scourge was raised Sunday by Post columnist Miranda Devine, who noted that the city has been “uglified” by the jungle of sidewalk sheds.
“It’s ugly,” agreed Crystal Gonzalez, manager at a supermarket across the street from the five-story building at 191 E. 115th St. that has been surrounded by scaffolding since December 2007.
“They were working on this building a long time ago but they stopped,” she said. “At nights I don’t walk under it. I walk on the other side of the street because there are rats running out of there. They are huge.”
The sheds became commonplace after 1980, when the city required a protective shield for pedestrians after a 17-year-old college student was hit by debris from a falling window.
Building owners are now required to pass facade inspections every five years under Local Law 11, which prompts some building owners to keep the sheds up indefinitely to avoid the cost of dismantling and rebuilding them every couple of years.
Scaffolding outside 191 E. 115th Street, which has been up for nearly 12 years.Robert Miller
City officials claim they are tackling the problem, taking building owners who have had sheds up for 10 or more years to court, and issuing citations to others with sheds up as long as nine years.
According to the buildings department, property owners for four of the top five longest-standing sidewalk sheds have been dragged into court by the city.
The fifth building is the city building department’s own offices on Broadway, which city records said has had a sidewalk shelter around it for more than 11 years.
City records show that a permit approved on Aug. 6, 2008, called for “facade and roof restoration” and called for the installation of the shed, which is described on the permit as “temporary construction equipment” — although it turned out to hardly be temporary.
Department spokesman said that shed has been largely removed as restoration work winds down.
Most of the property owners on the city scaffold list did not return calls from The Post.
The owners 360 Central Park West in Manhattan, which the city says has had sidewalk sheds up since 2008, questioned the city’s data.
“It hasn’t been up for 11 years,” the spokesperson said. “It’s been up for six, and that’s a combination of Local Law 11 work, which required landmark approval, and then we initiated a condo conversion, which also required things like replacing all the windows.”
The heightened buzz around the issue may bring it to a head, some officials said.
Kallos said he’s been getting more calls on his bill, which seeks to cap facade-repair work at 90 days, with a possible 90-day extension, could go a long way, following inquiries to city officials from The Post.
Scaffolding outside 280 Broadway, which houses the Department of Buildings’ own office.Gabriella Bass
The bill also requires the sheds to be taken down if no work takes place for 7 days.
Other lawmakers are also pushing for solutions.
“This is an issue that you know just creates a lot of problems for a lot of residents throughout different neighborhoods in the city, especially Lower Manhattan,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin. “We have so much scaffolding that has been up for a long time it’s unsafe for pedestrians.”
“That’s one of the biggest complaints we get from our constituents, the scaffolding that’s up for years.”