The Scaffold Mafia


I can’t keep silent anymore. It is time to blow the lid off this scam. Ever since moving to New York, I have noticed the multi-year presence of scaffolding around various buildings of all sorts, all over the city. It goes up one day and comes down about 1-2 years later, revealing…mostly nothing. For the life of me, in at least 50% of cases, I can not see ANY difference in the building after they remove the scaffolding. No new windows, no paint job, no facade repair, nothing. This has been bugging me for quite some time, and I have developed a theory as to why this is so.

There is clearly a kind of “protection” racket being run by some sort of Scaffold Mafia. They go around from building to building and threaten to rough up people or places that refuse to comply with their scaffolding “contracts”. Imagine a gruff, hairy-knuckle type saying the following words to a building owner with a thick New York accent:

“Ya shoore gotta nice bildin’ der…wood be a REEL shayme if som’un wur ta happ’n to it, know what I mean?”

And then for good measure he might open his overcoat to reveal that he is packing heat. Or make a kind of cutting gesture across his throat. Then the building owner, by now quite pliable for fear of being fitted for concrete shoes and dumped in The Hudson, acquiesces to a multi-year contract to put up scaffolding around his building, even though he has no plans for improvement, and nothing will in fact be done.