Because of our government. Because our government does good things for us and remedies wrongs.
Our government, the local one, is thoroughly Dem, and even Prog. And that’s all I will say about politics, because Local Law 11 is not about politics. It is about preventing sudden death.
If you’ve not been in New York City for a while and are planning a visit, you might find the City amid an uglification program, given that unattractive scaffolding is covering up a lot of buildings. It is there because of Local Law 11.
(Anyway, you can pretend the scaffolding is in effect a temporary explosion of loggias, such as abound in Padua, where I once walked to and from a restaurant a couple of miles from my hotel on a rainy night, but was never touched by a raindrop; the loggias acted as a protective canopy. Same is true here in NYC, with the scaffolding.)
What is Local Law 11 and why was it enacted?
In May 2015, a grandmother and her 2 year old granddaughter sat on a bench outside the grandmother’s Upper West Side assisted living residence. A piece of the building’s façade crumbled, fell, hit the little girl and killed her.
As the awful news expanded throughout the media, we learned that the building’s owner and one of the contractors responsible for inspecting the faςade had ignored multiple warnings from the Department of Buildings. The owner and a contractor were criminally charged and pled guilty.
“When you own a building, you have a responsibility to maintain it – you don’t just get to cash the rent checks and call it a day,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “I hope these criminal charges will send a message that building owners can’t turn a blind eye to maintenance. They have a legal responsibility to their tenants, and to the public, to keep their properties safe.”
Local Law 11 was enhanced to mandate the inspection and repair of all buildings over 6 stories every five years.
Which is why you’ll see scaffolding everywhere in the City, and why I see some courageous workers riding on wooden platforms up and down my building. The platforms look rickety and wobble as they move. The workers wear hard hats. Occasionally if they’re close to my apartment, I wave to them.
Today, one worker had left the relative security of the platform and was standing, without any support, on a window ledge as he repaired the brick above the window. I don’t know if his (or her — the crew is co-ed) heart was beating faster than normal, but mine was.
This is what a good government does for us people: it enacts or strengthens laws when circumstances cry out for them.