New York, New York. June 7th, 2011.

A midtown sinkhole snarled rush hour traffic Monday night on W. 57th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues – its second appearance in a year.

No one was injured when the near five-foot by three-foot hole appeared mid-block around 2 p.m., officials said. The NYC Department of Environmental Protection, was on the scene, but could not explain the sinkhole. They said no leaks had been detected and promised to investigate the problem. “Last year there was another hole that was much smaller in the same place,” said the owner of West 57 Wine and Spirits across the street.

Shop owners said that bad weather and too much traffic are tearing up the city roads. “The roads this year are much worse than last year, probably because of all the snow,” said the owner of a luggage shop across the street.

Australian tourist Michael Atkins joined the crowd of people who stopped to snap photos at the scene. “I’ve never seen anything like this in Australia, that’s for sure,” said Atkins. Other pedestrians were less surprised. “The city seems to be falling apart,” said one passerby, who declined to give his name. A recent Daily News investigation found that its taking city workers longer to fix potholes than a year ago as more and more open up.

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