Several years ago, the City of New York went around digging up and replacing sidewalks. I’m not talking about the ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m talking about the city determining that your sidewalk is in a state of disrepair, and showing up one day with jackhammers, digging it up and replacing it before you have a chance to complain about the noise. Of course, a very costly invoice arrives shortly thereafter. This invoice is generally two to three times what such work would cost in the private sector and failure to pay results in the usual collections and seizure tactics.
While the public-safety motivation behind this policy is obvious, the simple fact is that landlords, not the City are liable for slip and fall accidents and the extremely subjective and unpublished criteria by that determines whose sidewalk gets dug up makes the process suspect. Universally, landlords and supers see this as another form of taxation: a cash-grab by the New York City.
And now, the point of today’s post: this morning, I saw the sidewalk being dug up on 111th Street and Broadway, in front of the Citibank. I stopped in to joke with a friend who works there. He informed me that the city is replacing the sidewalk, pursuant to the policy I’ve just described.
My question: could these work crews not be more useful helping clear debris in the communities ravaged by the hurricane?
Oh, and for the record, this sidewalk was absolutely fine and did not need replacement. What qualifies me to say this? Simple: I walk on it every day. Unlike the sidewalk on the opposite side of Broadway, where I’ve twisted my ankle several times along the uneven surfaces.
Look for yourself:
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