I never experienced city living before, so the whole idea of scaffolding was new to me.
How it works is this: repairs need to be made/construction done on a building, but many many countless people walk the sidewalks around that building. A falling wrench would obviously hurt, so they construct scaffolding to protect those who are walking on the sidewalk (they bring everyone to a full stop if a crane is lifting something over the sidewalk, since scaffolding wouldn't exactly help protect anyone from large stuff falling). Scaffolding pops up overnight. And when I say overnight, I am not exaggerating. These things go up quickly.
This scaffolding has been on the building near mine since I started here at BIG INC. The building had gotten pretty close to finished, then last spring there was a fire that took out several floors of work- melted some of the beams and burst the glass and let's just say it was a big mess.
Often times the scaffolding is up for a really long time. It becomes part of your landscape.
So when it comes down (once again overnight), it can be oddly disorienting. You find yourself thinking, is this the right corner-did I miss my turn?
Scaffolding can be great in rainy weather, because hey- no need for an umbrella. But since everyone is trying to be under the scaffold (rather than, say, be on the other side of the street), the sidewalk becomes very quickly crowded. Most scaffolding restricts access to the ends, which means once you're under it, you can't really scoot around slow moving people like you could on an open sidewalk. Really long blocks sometimes have breaks enough that you can maneuver around people if you're quick. Also, people tend to forget that they have their umbrellas open, and under scaffolding it's an eye hazard (actually, it's an eye hazard anywhere on the side walks, but scaffolding makes ducking umbrella points harder).
Scaffolding has one other "risk" to it that is worth noting. If you're a NYCer, you know to look down for signs of this "risk". If you see bird droppings clustered in an area on the sidewalk, it's a good idea to alter your path to avoid that spot, or look up to make sure the birds who left the droppings aren't roosting there any more. Otherwise you could be cleaning up ick from your hair or jacket.