How Long Does New York Take to Fix a Staircase? 10 Years and Counting.

Ten years ago, the agency overseeing the upkeep of the majestic New York State Capitol reported that the granite staircase leading to the main entrance was warped and bulging so badly that part of it might collapse at any moment.

Inspectors discovered leaning balustrades, rusted steel supports, cracked and displaced granite, failed drainage systems and load-bearing brick walls so weakened by time and neglect that individual bricks could be removed by hand.

A thorough repair, estimated at $17 million, was recommended. Instead, only a handful of urgent fixes were made.

The entrance, known as the Eastern Approach, has been closed to this day, with access-blocking barricades now a familiar part of the downtown landscape.

In a state capital known for its inefficiency and inability to meet deadlines, the staircase and the Capitol’s exterior are visual reminders of Albany’s tendency toward disrepair and dysfunction.

There are scaffolding “sidewalk sheds,” bicycle rack barricades or construction fencing on every side of the French Renaissance- and Romanesque-styled Capitol. During winter months, most of the adjacent Empire State Plaza is also walled off with temporary barricades to keep people from slipping and getting hurt on the icy plaza — even though there has hardly been any snow or ice this winter.

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