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A tale of scaffolding, uptown real estate & the city

The sun's out, the mercury's up, and, best of all, the scaffolding's finally come down in front of an elegant townhouse on West 145th Street I pass by every time I take the A train.

I can now walk from St. Nicholas Avenue to Convent Avenue without a crude wood construction marring my view of this graceful block on the edge of the Hamilton Heights Historic District. Hooray!

I know it's stupid to celebrate a daily fact of life in our city–scaffolding is constantly coming up and down–but I still always breathe a huge sigh of relief whenever one of these eyesores disappears.

Maybe it's because you never know how long these supposedly temporary structures will stay up. Last year the New York Times reported on a building in Harlem that's been hidden by scaffolding for more than 17 years. Shudder.

Photo via Maltz Auctions

All I knew about the townhouse at 412 West 145th Street was that it had seen better days. In the fall of 2016 it was put up for auction, with bidding starting at $1 million.

During the open house for the sale, I took the opportunity to take a peek around (I told you I pass by there all the time!). A grand four-story home built in 1910, it had been chopped up into a warren of dilapidated apartments. I had to dodge holes in the floor as I walked through the space.

Photo via

Whoever bought the property clearly had their work cut out for them. But today, a little more than a year later, a quick search reveals the building has been fully renovated and turned into rental apartments, complete with dishwashers and washer/dryers. And some have already hit the market: a one-bedroom with a 400-square-foot patio is going for $2,250.

It seems nothing–but especially the removal of scaffolding–comes for free.

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