Monday Bulletin: Essential Cheering, Never-Ending Scaffolding, Celebrity Real Estate

Photo of a recent foreboding storm by Edie Ervin.

July 12, 2021 Weather: Afternoon rain expected with a flash flood warning. High of 83 degrees.

Our calendar has lots of local events, including free outdoor pilates!

There were more than 220,000 scheduled subway trips in June. “10,600 were cancelled due to a shortage of train crews, according to internal MTA records obtained by THE CITY. “New York City Transit hadn’t scrapped that many trips in a month due to a lack of train operators or conductors since the early days of the pandemic, in March 2020, when more than 12,000 runs were eliminated as employee illness rates spiked and ridership plummeted. At the top of the heap (in June) were the A and the No. 1.”

Speaking of the early days of the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports that cheering for essential workers every evening at 7 persists even now on the UWS. “By the summer, the booming five-borough chorus had quieted to a few isolated soloists. Yet the nightly noisemaking is still going strong at a handful of apartment buildings clustered in a neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with cheers still sounding at the appointed hour…At best, they say it has something to do with airing a message of hope.”

Residents of 51 West 86th Street aired a message of anger on wpix11 this week, about the scaffolding that has been on their building for the past 15 years. Local politicians, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, got involved, as did the Department of Buildings, which said. “We are currently reviewing this case to determine whether enhanced enforcement strategies, beyond additional fines, may be necessary to compel the owners to make the necessary façade repairs, which will allow them to safely remove the sidewalk shed without endangering the public.”

The dangers inherent in bicycle riding in the city do not seem to be deterring New Yorkers, who are buying bikes and bringing their old ones in for repair and servicing in record numbers, only to find no inventory and long waits, amNY reported. “At Toga Bikes on the Upper West Side, manager Hobie Estrella said the recent demand for bikes and fixes has been overwhelming. ‘A lot of people bringing their bikes out of the woodwork,” said Estrella. “A month ago we couldn’t take any work orders for repairs, there was a two-week wait — with four mechanics.”

Catherine and Michael are selling their place, the New York Post reported. That’s Zeta-Jones and Douglas, and the place “is at the Kenilworth, built in 1908 by Townsend, Steinle & Haskell, to look like a 12th-century English castle, which shares its name… It comes with lots of entertaining space, high ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, mahogany pocket doors and large rooms with stunning Central Park views.” The price is $21.5 million.

Is it time for another three-day weekend yet?

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Elron Hubbard says:

      Regarding 51 West 86th Street: Good luck with getting Weinreb Management Company to do anything without first losing a lawsuit

    2. RAL says:

      DOB protects big landlords on many of these sidewalk sheds erected for years and gives them fines not worth a light compared to the rents they are raking in. That much is clear from the article.

      • john C. says:

        No one is talking about what it actually costs to fix these 100 year old buildings… it is way more than a pound of flesh.
        Definitely more than the rents or maintenance fees can support at this point..
        Considering the city’s insistence of replacing terra cotta stone with like-kind material thats backlogged an average of 16 months of production, or with brick that needs to be custom made from scratch, sheds should have time limits of 5 years in place unless the city adjusts these ridiculous rules.

        There also needs to be cost controls put in place on exterior construction prices with these contractors. Go ahead and ask an architect or engineer or contractor to estimate the costs of some of these projects all along the block. I guarantee you are off by a few hundred thousand dollars.

        • 72RSD says:

          Major agreement — people do not understand how insanely expensive and slow this type of work is, especially thanks to Landmarks rules.

          The city demands you spend a fortune to make the building look pretty like it was in the 1920, but also limits how much you can charge in rent.

          • Dani says:

            But 15 years? It’s hard to believe it takes that long.

            • 72RSD says:

              I agree, I think the issue here is the landlord can’t get financing for hundreds of thousands or even a million dollars worth of repairs with the rent roll as is. And maybe thinks he can get away with not doing anything.

              But my building spent $900K for terra Cotta
              nonsense due to Landmarks and that’s not an unheard of number when these repairs pile up.

    3. Otis says:

      Nobody likes scaffolding but as far as I know there are no laws limiting how long scaffolding can remain. Therefore, Brewer can protest all she wants but the landlord of 51 West 86th can likely keep the scaffolding up indefinitely.

      If Brewer truly wanted to do something productive for the neighborhood she could be proactive and introduce laws limiting how long scaffolding can remain.

      Her feigned indignation at this building’s scaffolding after 15 years is little more than useless grandstanding and photo ops.

      • SM says:

        The laws were changed recently to make sure that there is actual on-going work over the last 6 months. If not, there are supposed to be fines, etc.
        51W86 would qualify for these additional fines.
        Problem is there is no enforcement.

    4. charles says:

      Scaffolds are protection against the rain. I like them.

      • Leon says:

        And doormen love them in the winter as they don’t have to shovel.

        Looking around the neighborhood, I think I wasted my time with fancy degrees and should have instead gone into either the scaffolding or building exteriors business. That’s where the real money is.

        • Paul says:

          Also, a career as a SubZero repair person.
          A goldmine if ever there was one.

        • Charles says:

          Also escalator repair men.

          Escalators are always out at Barnes Nobles Marshals and the subway etc.

    5. Chris C. says:

      Scaffolding has been up around the Jr. High School on 93rd street for at least 6 years. It took 17months to build the Empire State Building.

    6. Deb says:

      Is the scaffolding still on the brownstones next to Fairway on West 74th ? The legend was that Fairway owned these buildings and housed their workers in those apartments. Does anyone know the truth?