Who Stole Our Neighborhood’s Garbage Cans?
Corner Cans Vanish In Kafkaesque Mystery
Once upon a time, West End Avenue and Riverside Drive had a garbage receptacle on every corner.
There were still times that the garbage was not collected frequently enough to prevent overflows, particularly on Sundays and Mondays. But generally, access to corner cans meant that our streets were cleaner, because the trash was contained.
Over the past year that started to change. DSNY, as the Department of Sanitation likes to call themselves, developed a new strategy for community cleanliness, basically, less is more.
As of this month, Sanitation has removed 1,131 baskets citywide, according to Nick Circharo, a DSNY community affairs official, who spoke to N90s president Aaron Biller. Mr. Circharo reported that Manhattan alone lost 382 of these baskets. Thus a typical West End Avenue street corner now has only two cans, situated on diagonal corners, instead of one on each corner. The Riverside Drive Service Road has one per block instead of two.
DSNY is trying to hide behind their own, faulty data-driven logic. Mr. Circharo explained that less cans makes things cleaner.
“For example, we have found that if there are four cans at an intersection and we remove one, the corner without the can is cleaner than the other three,” Mr. Circharo said. Mr. Biller pointed out to him that the can-less corner might well be cleaner because the other corners had overflowing garbage.
A resident of Flatbush who works on the Upper West Side reported that on one corner that is now can-less in her Brooklyn neighborhood, people have taken to dumping trash right on the street. “The garbage people now have to stoop lower to pick up the trash, and we’re seeing some big rats going through the garbage in my neighborhood,” she explained. Brooklyn has lost 564 garbage cans.
Sanitation’s Mr. Circharo admits that his department removed cans without consulting the community.
It is apparently their policy to take away cans, then see who screams.
In the case of one Harlem neighborhood, DSNY removed all its street cans.
The residents and their neighborhood association were livid.
“It seems counterintuitive that if you have garbage problems, you’re going to remove the cans so there’s no place to put the garbage,” Keith Taylor, the president of the Dorrance Brooks Property Owners and Residents Association told WPIX-TV in late June. His neighborhood saw Sanitation suddenly remove all the garbage cans between West 136th to 140th Streets, Edgecombe to Eighth Avenues. The result in their Harlem neighborhood has been garbage dumped on the street and more rats. See story here.
Sanitation’s precipitous decision to remove cans is an invitation to having filthy streets. The Department does the City no good service making an impactful decision that bypasses community input.
In deciding it could treat West End Avenue and Riverside Drive as residential areas that need less service, Sanitation does not consider that these so-called residential streets have a fair number of commercial facilities like SRO and commercial hotels, shelters, facilities for the elderly and a major park that attract large numbers of visitors, on top of our residents, who need a place for their refuse. WEA and Riverside are also densely packed with apartment buildings, some as high as 20 stories. The geography of the community, with its long avenue blocks also makes a compelling argument for a can on all four corners.
There is a process for community input. There is Community Board 7, there are elected officials from the City Council, the State Senate and Assembly, and the Borough President. There are also civic groups including Neighborhood In The Nineties. As best we can determine, most or all were surprised. Many residents assumed the cans were being replaced by an upgraded version. Some of our neighbors have been quizzing sanitation workers about the missing cans—and not getting answers.
DSNY has made a crude, boneheaded mistake. It’s time for our neighbors to speak up!
Call or write!
Demand that Sanitation restore a can to every corner in our neighborhood!
Call Community Board 7: 212.362.4008 Penny Ryan or John Martinez,
Email: Council Member Helen Rosenthal, hrosenthal@council.
Call District office: 212.873.0282, X200. Ask for Marisa or Helen.
ALERT FROM NYC HEALTH & PARKS DEPARTMENTS
“Zombie” virus, A/K/A canine distemper has killed 80 Central Park raccoons.
Dog owners are urged by the City to:
- Avoid wildlife areas of Central Park
- Keep dogs on leash at all times in Central Park
- Make sure your dog’s distemper vaccine is current
See story from West Side Patch
Shame on the Department of Transportation!
A street lamp near 306 West 94th St. was taken out of service in December 2017. It was completely replaced in February, from base to lighting element.
Our neighbor Tehillah H. Kessler has been tracking the “progress.” On March 26th, she got a note from DOT verifying that the street lamp was repaired and working! Not!
As of mid-August, still no light! DOT has been contacted by both Helen Rosenthal’s office and John Martinez of Community Board 7.
N90s has also been in touch with the DOT’s Colleen Chattergoon who explained that it is possible that Con Ed, which was tearing up the street didn’t tell DOT it completed work in the area and it was OK to turn on the light.
We are still in the dark! (For 270 days!)
Veterans’ Residence at 330 West 95th Street Reports Success Stories and Progress
The Community Advisory Board for the 95th Street Veteran’s Residence received a rather uplifting report at its quarterly meeting in late July.
The meeting was highlighted by vets who were formerly homeless speaking about how the program, run by Harlem United and Bailey House, has helped them get their lives back together. Several veterans have been trained for jobs with the agencies running their respective programs.
Both agencies help veterans with their health care needs and drug issues. Extensive programs help veterans take advantage of the many cultural and sports attractions that the City offers, from museum trips to outings at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. The vets have also had trips to the 911 Memorial Museum and the African-American Civil War Museum in Washington.
A number of local institutions are also pitching in. Working with Harlem United, Central Baptist Church on Amsterdam Avenue has donated toiletries and opened its computer facilities and weekend hours at their gym for the vets to work out. Columbia University School of Nursing has also donated toiletries.
Neighbors in the N90s area may subscribe to the newsletter by visiting us at www.N90s.org or writing to us directly at info@N90s.org. Founded in 1971, we are the nonprofit civic association for the area bordered by West 90th to 98th Streets, Amsterdam to Riverside Drive.