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Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade?

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Plus, the Empire State Building is the number one destination that tourists take Uber to—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

By rblfmr/

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to

NYC has a long-standing scaffolding problem

New Yorkers are used to seeing construction scaffolding all over the city, but what happens when a building has it up for more than just a couple of months?

City records analyzed by the New York Post found that some structures have had scaffolding in place for more than a decade: In Harlem, scaffolding has covered part of 409 Edgecombe Avenue since 2006; at 360 Central Park West on the Upper West Side, it’s been there since 2008 (the building owners claim it’s only been there for six years). Even the Department of Buildings’ Broadway office has its own lingering scaffolding issue, with part of the building covered since 2008.

So why does this happen? As part of Local Law 11, the city inspects building facades every five years, leading some property owners to keep scaffolding up to avoid the cost of taking it down and rebuilding it every few years.

City Council member Ben Kallos has been trying to fight back since 2016, when he introduced legislation that would cap facade repair work at 90 days with the possibility to extend it for another 90, and require scaffolding to be removed if no work has taken place for seven days. Kallos also introduced legislation this year that would require scaffolding that’s been up for more than a year to be inspected at least once every six months by the DOB, at the building owner’s expense.

And in other news...

  • The Empire State Building is the number one destination in the world that tourists take Uber to, even though it’s one of the most easy-to-get-to via public transportation. Jalopnik’s Aaron Gordon wrote about it on behalf of New Yorkers and transit Twitter.
  • A map visualizes New York City’s immense language diversity.
  • The Brooklyn Historical Society acquired a deed from 1643 that gave 200 acres of land near Coney Island to Anthony van Saale, the first known person of Muslim origin to settle in the country—which proves that Muslim presence in the borough goes back centuries. It will be on view at the historical society from December 11 to 15.
  • Though as of August One Manhattan Square, on the Lower East Side, had only sold 20 percent of its units, the 217 units that it did sell between January and October made it the NYC residential building with the most sales this year.
  • And finally, here’s everything you need to know about the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony—which is happening tonight—and a look back at past ceremonies: