Collapsing Scaffolding Injures Three at Court and Joralemon

The Daily News reports that scaffolding being taken down from the building at Court and Joralemon streets that houses a Starbucks and is adjacent to an entrance to the Borough Hall subway station collapsed at about 11:00 AM this morning (Saturday, April 14), causing minor injuries to three pedestrians. Two of them were taken to Methodist Hospital for treatment; the other declined medical attention. The collapse also knocked down a traffic signal.

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  • Jorale-man

    It looked like it buckled under its own weight, or wasn’t properly secured. Should be a warning to those buildings who keep these things up for years at a time, causing a blight on the sidewalk (looking at you St. George Hotel, and Clinton & Joralemon).

  • Andrew Porter

    I went on the NYC Gov site that records how long those things have been up locally, and the St. George Tower one, for 111 Hicks Street, has been up 860 days.

    The map is here:

  • mont

    Report them to 3-1-1 as hazards on a regular basis.

  • Arch Stanton

    That’s an idiotic suggestion. Why report a hazard if none exists? Just to cause a hassle for the building staff and building inspectors, possibly taking their time away from investigating real hazards? The scaffolding is there to protect you from pieces of the building falling and crushing your empty skull…

  • Jorale-man

    The Clark St. side of the St. George has been up even longer, it appears, for 965 days.

  • RiffRaff

    They leave up the scaffolding up for months after projects are complete, as Jorale-man was alluding to. They’re not keeping anyone safe. They are hazards and blights in and of themselves.

  • Arch Stanton

    Another ignorant statement. How do you assume the work is complete and all inspections have passed? Scaffolding is expensive to rent on a large project like that, thousands of dollars a month. No one is keeping it up any longer than necessary.

  • DIBS

    I’m with Arch on this.

  • KXrVrii1

    I like to believe in rational actors, but I think many people in NYC have first hand experience of scaffolding (or, to use the correct phrase in most cases, “sidewalk sheds”) staying in place for years when there is no ongoing activity.

    I think in many cases, the sheds are left up because the building owners want to defer repairs – they’d rather pay the rental fees and limit their liability than spend more in one time costs to complete the work and remove the scaffolding.

    In other cases, building owners may be evaluating, or trying to get approval for different activities. So they’d rather pay the monthly cost of sidewalk sheds than deal with one time costs of removing / reinstalling, and whatever related city approvals are needed.

    An imperfect analogy is offsite document storage companies. There are billions of records being stored that noone is ever going to use, and are far past legal retention policies. But it is easier to pay the monthly fees than to sort through them and dispose of them.

  • Arch Stanton

    More assumptive speculation…

    Look up “Local Law 11″ Which basically requires owners to have an engineer regularly inspect the facades of their buildings. When there is an unsafe condition discovered, a sidewalk shed must be put in place until the repairs are made and a final inspection is cleared. Yes, that process can often take several years to complete.

  • Dw718

    That is a gross assumption.I live across the street from 68 Montague and the scaffolding has been up there for months with no sign of any work. if it is so expensive then why put it up before the work is ready to commence.

  • Arch Stanton

    No assumption, as I have over 30 years experience in the construction industry.
    And because its the law. The shed is there to protect people from pieces of the building falling off and hitting them.
    I dont see why that’s so hard to understand. Does Dw stand for Dimwit?

  • KXrVrii1

    I know what Local Law 11 is. And it is not the only reason sidewalk sheds are installed.

    But beyond that, you are speculating as much as I am.

    You speculate that once the sidewalk shed is up, an owner is incented to complete the work as fast as possible given the monthly cost of the shed.

    I speculate there are situations where the cost of doing the inspection / repairs in a timely manner outweighs the monthly cost of the shed, and therefore they get left up longer than necessary.

  • Dw718

    wow. There is no need to be so rude. there are many ways to get your opinion across without resorting to name calling. so much for this being a positive forum of shared interests and concerns. I was referring to your statement that if it cost thousands of dollars why would management keep it up longer than necessary- why would they put it up and then not do any work to alleviate any potential problem. we have all seen far too many incidents of scaffolding up for years

  • Arch Stanton

    I apologize, it was low hanging fruit.
    Because the process can take years. First an engineer has to attempt to determine the extent of the problem(s), plans for remediation need to be drawn up and filed with and approved by the DOB & landmarks. Then Contractor bids need to be vetted. Money/loans need to be secured. That process alone usually takes at least year or more. Then the work starts when weather allows and further problems maybe (usually are) revealed which cause further delays, filings and cost increases, additional loans. Finally when all work is completed it has to be re inspected and signed off. Then the shed can come down. It can take years.

  • Arch Stanton

    In the case where an owner simply doesn’t have the money availably to do the work right away yes, but that doesn’t negate the necessity of the shed. Not all building owners are flush with cash and these projects usually cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars…

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I heard that many players in the scaffolding biz are tied up with money laundering. (Usually one of the first possibilities I go to whenever I perceive wasteful or inefficient contracting.) In your experience, Arch, could there be any substance to that?

  • Arch Stanton

    Bid-rigging, bribes, key money and payoffs, in construction? Yes. Money laundering through scaffolding? No, never heard of it being done. I suppose its possible but money laundering usually revolves around cash businesses where the quantifiable assets and revenue are murky. If scaffolding is up it’s on record and usually paid for by check.

  • Rick

    Actually, according to a articles in the NY Times, they are.

    Building owners sometimes keep them up for years because the scaffolding rentals are cheaper than making repairs.

    And scaffolding companies themselves often ignore repeated requests from building owners to remove scaffolding, even after the repairs are completed, as they’d rather wait until they have another location in which to install them, rather than return them to storage.

  • Arch Stanton

    Sure there are some cases like that, like I said, a building owner may simply not be able to afford to do all the repairs all at once. That is and the other legitimate reasons I mentioned are why the scaffolds are up for so long.
    You want pretty all the time? Move to the country.