Scaffolding Collapse on 125th Street; Rapid Gentrification At Fault?

Good evening everyone. I am sure by now some of you have heard about the scaffolding collapse in Harlem. While this is not the first one, this is one where over a dozen people were hurt. Fortunately, no one was killed. The alarming thing is that, more people could have easily been in harms way. If this occurred at noon instead of around 9am, this would have been a completely different story. I went by the site this afternoon, and saw the level of damage. It was really nothing to play with. Anybody could have gotten caught up walking along.

There are some things that must be said here. First off, there are reports that the contractor has not been available for comment. Big surprise. ┬áThere is a history of shoddy work being done up here, especially with these newer building developments. While some see gentrification as progress, the reality of it is that many are slapping these buildings together in mere months with little concern for safety or following regulations. It was that same strip of properties on 125th and eighth avenue that was so widely contested. Its almost like a confirmation of the collective suspicions of the Harlem community for this accident to occur here. Far from being concerned with people’s safety, the bottom line of the real estate industry in Harlem especially is to develop and profit off of these properties as fast as possible. Gentrification is not only ruinous to the Harlem community, but the negligence that comes along with its machinations is a physical danger as well.

Between this and the more frequent water main breaks, its painfully obvious that the city’s infrastructure is in terrible shape. This needs to be the bigger focus. We know that there is money, but all of it is going to those who already have it, not where its desperately needed.

What will it take before the people focus on needed infrastructural improvements?

Marc W. Polite


  1. Sadly you are correct sir. Additonally, these jobs are sub contracted out to the point where the contractor in the paperwork are not the actual workers. That particular building had viable businesses untill they were displaced during the last renaissance. The greed of the building owners caused that block to sit empty until it becam a dilapidated eye sore. Now the rush is on to do something with it to try to take advantage of the glints of life in the real estate market. The result is what happened today. When Harlemites walk past worksites they should be advised that if they “see something, say something”. If something looks askew it probably is. Make the complaint call to 311. Safety and lives are at risk.
    Regarding infrastructure……it’s all falling apart.. There have been three major water main breaks that have disrupted lives and commerce in at least the past six months. Local, state and federal government officials know the dire conditions of the nation’s infrastructure yet have been unable, since 2008, to create a comprehensive plan to rebuild. I just wonder how long and how many lives will be lost before the elected officials earn their pay.

  2. I concur June. It looks like it will take a major incident before anything is done about the decaying infrastructure in major American cities. The frequency of these water main breaks alone should tell us all that it is time to seriously think about infrastructure. As long as politicians continue to de-invest in this and other things, our cities will look great, but be falling apart on the inside. Thank you for your commentary.

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