Ridgites to city: ‘Fix dangerous steps’

Danger zone: Bert Halliday and a group of locals are fighting to spruce up the dilapidated stairs on 76th Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge.
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Call it the stairway to hell.

The city must repair a dilapidated, uneven staircase on 76th Street, Bay Ridgites are demanding. The Department of Transportation, which is responsible for maintaining the steps, claims it demolished and completely rebuilt them in 2014, but local leaders say that’s not true and now contend the walkway between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard poses a serious safety risk for pedestrians, according to the district manager of Community Board 10.

“The steps on 76th Street have never been completely refurbished, and it is in dire need,” said Josphine Beckmann. “They remain uneven and broken, the retaining wall is falling apart, the rails are rusted and people can’t hold on to them properly — those [2014] repairs were just a band-aid. The city must be mistaken.”

It is one of two staircases that the city built and must maintain on steep public rights of way in Bay Ridge, according to Beckmann.

The stairs slipped into disrepair over the years, and locals got the city to fix them in 2014. A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said workers demolished and reconstructed the steps with new railings, rebuilt a retaining wall, and repaved a sidewalk at the base of the steps — but locals say the city did not demolish and rebuild the stairs, and Beckmann questions whether the retaining wall was fixed, given its current state of disrepair.

The steps have become a make-shift memorial for locals lost to cancer — making it all the more imperative the city fix thing up, according to area resident Bert Halliday, whose son Ryan died of Leukemia in 2014.

“Ryan used to talk about how he wanted to buy a house on that block because he loved the view from the stairs. Him and the dog used to take walks down there and watch the sun set,” said Halliday. “So it became a place we identify with Ryan and wanted to take care of on his behalf. And people have chosen to put their own memorials there. It has attracted an emotional aspect to it, but it’s not safe and we just want it to be a priority for the city to fix.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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