As a child, we tried diligently to avoid stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk, because, after all, our mother's backs were hanging in the balance. As adults, we simply take sidewalks for granted, often not looking down and watching where we are going, until we catch our foot in a split sidewalk and are sent tumbling to the ground.
But not only are buckling, cracked and uneven sidewalks a potential cause of injury and liability for us and our buildings, they're also an eyesore, detracting from the aesthetic beauty and curb appeal of even the most beautiful architectural facades.
Foot traffic, erratic weather, tree roots, and other factors all contribute to the gradual deterioration of the city's sidewalks. Given that New York City has thousands of miles of sidewalks (over 12,000 miles to be exact), sidewalk maintenance is—and should be—serious business. Sidewalks need occasional TLC, just like any other building feature, but before you learn how to take care of them, you really need a lesson in Sidewalks 101.
According to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), about 90 percent of the city's sidewalks are concrete."The standard specification requires a 3,200 PSI mix," says Craig Chin, assistant press secretary at the DOT's office of public information, "but bluestone, granite, bricks and pavers also exist."
But we're in New York City, where even concrete can be given a little extra something to make it look a little more fabulous. If you're planning a visit to Times Square, don't just look up at the skyscrapers—take a look down at your feet and notice how the cement glitters and sparkles.