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More than 1,000 NYC building facades pose a threat to pedestrians

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Plus, safety concerns stymie plans to bring the NYC Ferry to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

Kristi Blokhin/

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

1,400 buildings across the five boroughs have scaffolding due to structural issues

Scaffolding is seen around buildings all over the city, with some even staying in place for decades. But thousands of them, according to a New York Times analysis, are not there for construction but because the buildings’s facades pose a danger to pedestrians.

According to the Times’s analysis, around 1,400 buildings (whose addresses are all listed in the Times’s website) across the five boroughs, are covered in scaffolding due to structural issues, including materials that could fall to the ground. A lot of them stay in place for years because some landlords routinely ignore violations and fines.

For instance, in 2001, the city issued a warning to a Bronx apartment building with a crumbling facade, saying that the playground outside the building’s day care center should close. But the facade’s issues persist today, while the landlord has ignored 19 violations and fines. Though the playground is still off-limits, the building’s structural issues persist, and in 2011, the city installed a scaffolding that still surrounds the structure to protect pedestrians.

Now, according to the Times, the Department of Buildings is looking to press criminal charges against owners of buildings with sheds in place for more than three years.

And in other news...

  • Safety concerns stymie plans to bring the NYC Ferry to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
  • Gothamist created 12 contenders to become the NYC subway mascot. Options include the Original Pizza Rat, Trashy MTA, OMNY the Friendly Monster, and (a very cute) Baby Byford a.k.a. Li’l Train Daddy.
  • Good news from the Museum of Chinese in America: Archives recovered from 70 Mulberry Street are “very much salvageable” after last week’s fire.
  • Justin Davidson, New York’s architecture critic, ranked 13 plans that have existed throughout four decades to fix Penn Station.
  • NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer proposed a “universal affordable housing” plan and called for an end to the 421-tax program.
  • The embattled homeless service provider Childrens Community Services, which the city alleges committed fraud, was plagued with issues since 2015.