Mayor de Blasio commits millions to removal of scaffolding at NYCHA buildings

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is committed to taking down the scaffolding in front of dozens of public housing buildings in New York City.

Residents have been complaining for years that the scaffolding blocks light into their apartments.

They were built to protect pedestrians during construction work, but the construction never happened.
Now, the mayor is putting his money where his mouth is, committing $111 million to a project that will repair 45 buildings in 15 NYCHA housing developments.

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One of the first buildings on the list to be fixed is the Meltzer Towers in the East Village.

Meanwhile, at the Amsterdam houses on the Upper West Side, you can barely see the buildings behind the ring of metal, plywood and mesh. The construction cage is almost as elaborate as the humanity it hides.

"It's like purgatory, it's ugly it's disgusting. You don't want to come in here, it's scary," resident Marcus Vazquez said.

Vazquez moved to the Amsterdam houses as a teenager. His mom still lives here, surrounded by the sidewalk sheds built for her safety, and that of her neighbors.

Problem is, as far as Vazquez can tell, no work has been done, and so the scaffolding sits.

"From what I've heard, it was construction on the roof and it's always been the same thing every time I've asked how long it's gonna be up, maybe another couple months. And that's been the answer for past few years," he said.

The mayor says the near permanent scaffolding and sidewalk sheds are a quality-of-life issue for people living in those buildings.
"I think it bothers residents a lot when you have those big sidewalk sheds, those scaffolds around that just seem to sit there for a long time and affect the quality of life, they affect the whole feeling of life in a development," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Councilwoman Carlina Rivera praised the announcement from the mayor, saying this is much more than an aesthetic improvement.


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