Scaffolding drives business owners batty because it casts their storefronts into shadow and makes it hard to draw customers. Some even blame it for forcing them to go out of business. So when scaffolding finally comes down it’s time to party — or at least shop.

The newly un-scaffolded building. Ah, fresh air and light!

One business owner who has complained for years about scaffolding is now celebrating its removal with a special “no more scaffolds” sale. Frank Stella Clothiers, on 81st street and Columbus Avenue, is holding a sale with items up to 60% off to mark the occasion. The store says it wants to reward customers who have given him “extraordinary loyalty and patience” during (literally) dark times.

Last year owner John Hellings held a “scaffolding sale” to move all the unsold merchandise that had piled up as sales dropped. He said that the scaffolding had gone up in April 2015 and had resulted in monthly sales falling by 18%.

Thanks to Carol Collitti Levine for the sale images and Carol Tannenhauser for the building image.

ABSURDITY, NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. jhminnyc says:

      It’s also so depressing for those of us who have to walk under them each day. I’ve noticed that 72nd Street between Columbus and CPW is almost completely covered by scaffolding on both sides of the street for almost the entire width of the block.

    2. Jens says:

      One issue you’d think our “representatives” could manage to deal with. After all, almost everyone, other than pot smokers in the rain, hate them.

    3. Pedestrian says:

      Very creative!

    4. Nancy says:

      I won’t be home for a few weeks but I’m coming in to buy something. You add class to the neighborhood and I hope your sales start to improve. Thank you for sticking it out!

    5. Michael says:

      Believe me, rain does not deter pot smokers

    6. steve says:

      There has been one on the corner of 85 and CPW seemingly for years with no end in sight. It coveres an enormous part of a prominent corner all for the renovation of 1 single family home. And of course there is the one down by where Ocean grill used to be.

      Very disappointed at the lack of attention to this issue by local politicians. You couldn’t find a local person on the street who doesn’t despise these things.

      They need to drastically increase monthly fees for the scaffolding to the point where it would affect the deep pockets of organiztions that put it up.

      • Mark Moore says:

        The church on 86th and Columbus! Oy! Such scaffolding forever.

        • steve says:

          you must mean the church on 86 and Amsterdam.

          yes, that one too

          • Mark Moore says:

            Yes that’s the one.

            • B.B. says:

              Scaffolding around West Park Presbyterian church isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so make up your minds to its presence. The children of your children will likely be walking underneath that structure.

              Long story short the building is in dire need of repair (structure and façade work), and until completed the scaffolding protects pedestrians from being possibly brained by falling bits of masonry.

              From WSR coverage after West-Park was landmarked:

              ““I was very pleased. The last vote on this issue was a negative 35-38, so a positive 59-16 is a significant turn around. This time the recommendation came from two Presbytery committees, one affirming our viability and the other the financial soundness of our overall plan. It is important to understand that West-Park would not be using the proceeds to meet operational costs or to just hang on a little longer. We have been doing that on our own. We needed to sell the manse to finance our side of the repairs necessary to bring in the dance company which will fund the rest of the work necessary to bring the church house up to code. The income from the annual rental will be sufficient to keep West-Park financially stable for the next 15 years. With that stability, the community can rest assured that we will be here and we can begin the community organizing activities necessary to finally remove the scaffolding. (Which has been up since 2002, not 25 years as one comment suggested.) The committees made their reports, our congregation made a presentation showing or current life and future dreams. And the ensuing vote showed strong endorsement of our plans. We will continue to be here on the Upper West Side…”


              That was in 2013, four years ago now, and the scaffolding has been in place since 2002 (15 years).

      • B.B. says:

        That would be 249 CPW I believe.

        Since a LLC (Fairfield Properties) appears to be the current owner, and not an individual who knows if or when renovations will ever be completed. That scaffolding may be up for the duration.

    7. d. kesselschmidt says:

      Why do they stay up so long?

      • your neighbor says:

        Department of building will require the scaffolding if there is a potential danger so the scaffolding goes up.

        Takes a while to get engineers to decide what to do to fix the issue.

        Sometimes fixing the issue is extremely expensive – especially on older historic buildings. Scaffolding is relatively cheap to rent so sometimes the scaffolding stays up while the owner tries to figure out how to pay for the job.

        • Baseballbeauty says:

          Woo-hoo, John! Scaffolding just went up on the brownstone across the street from my brownstone. I can no longer walk naked in my apartment in the morning.

      • steve says:

        Primarily because they have very little incentive to complete the work in a timely manner once it goes up. This is what needs to change

    8. Mark Moore says:

      Good for them. I must have walked by there 1000 times and never noticed that store.

    9. GG says:

      Imagine the articles and comments here if someone was hurt or killed (like that poor boy a couple years ago on West End) from something falling off of one of these buildings.

      I agree they are up way way too long most of the time. Believe me, I’m sure someone is making plenty of money from it too. Anyway, safety first, ya’ll. Even a small object, falling from a significant height can cause very serious damage.

    10. EGF says:

      I always said I’d like to have the the scaffolding concession around here!

    11. Local says:

      Scaffolding block small businesses and no assistance from NYC Small Business Dept or local chamber of commerce, or so-called Business Improvement District. There should be an audit at SBS and the local BID of the executive director who gets a nice paycheck and does nothing