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Efforts To Remove Scaffolding Disappoint Upper West-siders



It’s been one year since Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine (Lev-een), announced a plan to reduce long-term scaffolding. The Upper West Side is one of the neighborhoods that has the most scaffolding in New York City, but residents say they haven’t seen much improvement. Cecilia Blotto reports. 




[street sound fade in “It’s a huge structure, it obliterates all light here”]


The block on West 94th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam has three separate stretches of scaffolding. Anne Petoello (Put-ello) has lived in one of the buildings here for over 50 years. The scaffolding in front of her building has been up for over 6 years.




         “What it does is it allows trash to build up” 




But it’s not just the trash that is concerning. She claims that a group of young men sell drugs under the scaffolding, hidden out of plain sight.




“It’s an all-weather market, open air drug-selling market, that I call the drug café”




“If you had an analogy to describe what you see on this street, what would you say” 




         “A cave. Not a pretty one” 


BLOTTO: Meghan Fitzpatrick is the director of Preservation at Landmark West.


MEGHAN FITZPATRICK: “I think we have the most historic districts in Manhattan as a neighborhood.”


BLOTTO: Older buildings require regular checks for maintenance. Something the city began requiring after a big accident in the ‘80s, that resulted in the death of a Barnard student, struck by a piece of debris that killed her. So Fitzpatrick says that scaffolding is necessary to keep residents and pedestrians safe. 


FITZPATRICK: That’s the non-nefarious reason. The nefarious answer is that we have landlords that are greedy and don’t take care of the buildings they own.


 BLOTTO: Ellen Kushner is a resident who lives on Riverside Drive. Her scaffolding has been up for what she describes as three “ghastly” years. 


         ELLEN KUSHNER: 


“It’s freaking endless. They go up and you think oh well a year, I can stand it, and then you are into your third year, and you think -ahhh”


BLOTTO: In the last year, 500 scaffoldings have been taken down in the city, but Upper West Siders believe their neighborhood looks the same. Back on West 94th Street, Anne Petoello feels that her block is not being taken seriously by the city.   


PETOELLO: “I don’t want to be defeated and this is a spectacular place to live and I just want to keep one little block ahead of that implosion”


BLOTTO: Cecilia Blotto, for Uptown Radio.  



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