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Hell's Kitchen Swallowed by Scaffolding: An Eyewitness Report!

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Earlier this week a Curbed reader called Chelsea's London Terrace "THE MOST TERRIFYING SCAFFOLDING TERROR STORY in NYC," and upon further investigation, we found it to be quite spooky indeed. It didn't take long for the tips to roll in about other ugly scenes around town. And so, we're dispatching our Scaffolding Nightmare Investigative Patrol of Persistent Youngsters (SNIPPY), otherwise known as Curbed interns, to the scenes. First up: the Manhattan Plaza complex in Hell's Kitchen. Want to nominate a scaffolding nightmare? Drop us a line at

Reader report: "How about Manhattan Plaza on 42nd and 43rd Street? This scaffolding has been up for years. The trees that jut out from the holes cut through the scaffolding are dead or dying. It's a shame and an eysesore."

SNIPPY investigation: You can see it from a half-block away, the never-ending scaffolding encircling Manhattan Plaza between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and West 42nd and 43rd Streets. It starts by engulfing the entrance to 400 West 43rd Street, then swallows up neighboring restaurant Esca, along with its outdoor dining area and, we assume, at least some portion of Mario Batali's Crocs collection.

Even the nearby Starbucks is in danger!

But there are 23 other locations nearby, so don’t freak out. Continuing on, this metal menace takes a rather prolonged turn down Ninth Ave. between 42nd and 43rd before turning west on 42nd for another half-block, where pedestrians are confronted with netting galore and some rules-flouting bike riders. They dare tempt fate so brazenly?

And poor West Bank Café, which has to decorate VERY early for the holidays in order to brighten up this otherwise dull stretch of 42nd Street. Because if there’s something we can all agree on, 42nd Street just doesn’t have enough bright lights.

But in SNIPPY's opinion, the bulbs dangling from exposed wires speak more of electrocution than holiday fuzzies, like a true scaffolding nightmare should.

On the nightmare scale? This one's on par with speaking in front of a crowd while not wearing any pants. Not pleasant but not too scary, and mostly punishment to those around.
?Report by Maggie Shaw
· Is This the Most Terrifying Scaffolding in Town? [Curbed]