Why are there so many scaffolds in New York?

Spend enough time in New York, and you’ll notice there are scaffolds everywhere.  Casting a shadow on the sidewalk below and obscuring the stores unfortunate enough to be located underneath, there’s no arguing they’re an eyesore at best and an inconvenience at worst.  However, scaffolds are also a necessary evil.  Per Local Law 11, the facades of all buildings six stories and taller must be inspected every 5 years to ensure they’re in good repair.  If the government determines a building’s exterior is at risk of falling apart, building owners must fix it as soon as possible—hence the scaffolds and construction work.

If it seems like no one is doing work on the scaffolding, you might be right.  Although building owners must fix violations the DOB inspection finds, it may not be financially feasible to do work right away.  In situations like this, scaffolds might be put up months before the repair even starts as a preemptive measure.  This way, in the event something becomes dislodged before repairs can begin, the scaffolding can protect pedestrians down below.