When I moved back to the Upper West Side in 2016, ubiquitous scaffolding was the most jarring change I saw to my former ‘hood. Yes. From the 1960’s to 1980’s there were some pretty skeevy streets above 69th. But. At least the mom & pop shops were in plain view. As was The Museum Café, Victor’s Cuban, Ruskay’s, then Ruelle’s. Bustling with outside tables and windows for people watching.
In 2019, the scaffolding scourge continues to spread. It’s rare to find a building not shrouded by dark cobwebbed metal and wood. Obscuring business signage and entrances, leaving al fresco spaces too dank to dine under. Even the stately San Remo has a newly erected shed. Sad.