Eyes on the Street: Sidewalk Sinkhole in Sunset Park


A reader sent in these photos of a sidewalk cave-in next to the office of Assembly member Felix W. Ortiz, on Fourth Avenue and 55th Street in Sunset Park:

Over the weekend, a bunch of neighbors called in the ominous crack in the sidewalk to 311 (resulting in tape! And a safety horse!), and this morning that crack became a gaping sinkhole. Luckily no one appears to have been injured.

Here’s what the sidewalk looked like after the slab began to buckle, a situation that festered for a few days:


I don’t want to extrapolate too much from one incident, but maybe it wouldn’t take so long to repair NYC sidewalks if the state DOT were releasing the federal funds they’re supposed to send to the city — a story we’ll be taking a closer look at here on Streetsblog.

  • csm

    Repairing damage to streets and sidewalks isn’t a priority for the DOT, state funds or no. In my neighborhood, a trench about 2 inches deep, ten feet wide, was opened due to construction. The DOT did fill most of it in, but they left three feet of the trench on one side completely exposed.

  • Actually, I’ve found that DoT has kept to its “30 day promise” with respect to repairing potholes in the street that I’ve reported. It may be that just the sidewalks are neglected.

  • Could it be that Ortiz just went from office to SUV, and SUV to office, and never even noticed? Just wondering.

  • tom murphy

    The workmen are just finishing a similar break at 53rd Street. I remember one at 44th Street as well. All on the east side of 4th Avenue and all, I believe, involve broken sewer pipes. Sinkholes occur when the supporting ground soil is washed away by intruding water.
    Remember that the sewer pipes along this avenue are under the side-walk due to subway tunnel just under the surface of the roadway.
    All of 4th Ave., Prospect to 65th Street, needs to be checked for potential sinkholes.


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