Today’s Shiny Object Edition – Streetsblog New York City
Yes, we are like cats. And on Monday, the shiny new thing that caught our eye was the fact that we have a new sanitation commissioner making promises left and right. So yes, Streetsblog was filled yesterday and today with a lot of chatter.
After breaking the news in yesterday’s headlines of Jessica Tisch’s appointment as the city’s garbage officer, we then cycled on to Crown Heights for the Commish’s first two announcements (our coverage is here; the Daily News and gothamist focused only on street sweeping, covered amNY both news).
But luckily for you, readers, we didn’t dump all of our junk into one story! As part of the presser Q&A, our elderly editor asked Tisch if she plans to tackle the greatest mystery of life in New York – the problem that stares every resident in the face every day, an object of mockery and oddity for all visitors, foreign and national: the shadow at 5 hours from New York:
“Commissioner,” he asked Tisch, “every afternoon, on every sidewalk in the city, hundreds of black garbage bags end up on the sidewalk, where they block pedestrians’ passage and attract rats and garbage. We think it would be Job One for you. So where is it on your priority list, because it’s never really been a priority for the city government.”
His answer: It’s a priority.
“Containerization is something I’ve heard about for years,” said the lifelong New Yorker. “Other cities have done it. I don’t think we’ve made the necessary progress on the containerization issue. … So containerization is definitely at the top of the priority list. Cleanliness is a top priority and to make the city cleaner you have to get rid of the heaps of garbage. And containerization is a big part of that puzzle.
Transportation Department Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez (who was also on hand) agreed with Tisch that the ideal place for the garbage would be the street, rather than the already cramped sidewalk.
“Definitely, we reimagine the use of the street”, he said, before equivocating. “We know the sidewalk is so special, but whatever location City Hall decides we use will be determined.”
Rodriguez had kicked it off at City Hall, so he was glad Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi was there as well. She said the solutions could be implemented quickly, but it’s a bit harder to “change the culture” and get people to adapt to the new plans. We wanted to know more about Joshi, but she was interrupted by a man claiming to be the great-great-grandson of Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey, who burst into the cameras and called all the gathered politicians “devils – then announced, “I’m running for governor, bitch” and held up a sheath of signed petitions.
He even poked fun at our old editor (right), who has long advised his young reporters to keep taking pictures, even when people look up to you. It makes for a better photo.
And our coverage of all things garbage didn’t stop with the efforts of our editor. Eve Kessler also announced that later today, the Times Square Alliance appears to be the first site for the city’s “Clean Curbs” pilot project, which will in effect allow commercial improvement districts and some residential buildings to use large containers – in the street – to remove waste from sidewalks.
Meanwhile, our friends at Transportation Alternatives are running a contest for the ugliest mound of trash in their new March Madness-style “Trash Madness” contest:
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! New York #TrashMadness kicks off today with four thrilling clashes.
Vote in the thread below and stay tuned tomorrow for the next round.
— Transportation alternatives (@TransAlt) April 18, 2022
Voting continues all week, but as far as we’re concerned, 73rd Street in Jackson Heights had better win. The sidewalk is already far too narrow there anyway. Here’s what happens each afternoon — for the entire block between 37th Avenue and Broadway:
In other news:
- Post office coverage Today’s sanitation news was limited to news of Tisch’s rise.
- Speaking of trash, the stench on the Brooklyn Democratic Party machine gets even more foul. (The city)
- We’ve been fans of Adam Conover from “Adam Ruins Everything” for a long time when he did the hilarious video about how the auto industry has turned pedestrians into criminals. Well, in his latest TikTok video, he explains why he takes public transportation everywhere, even in car-centric Los Angeles. And why you should too.
- The fast grocery delivery industry is changing. (New York Post)
- Big brother? More like a caring mother – yes, let’s put cruise control on cars. (Daily mail)
- We have a new park on the west side of Manhattan. (amNY, gothamist)
- Finally, we are increasingly incredulous at the gullible coverage of Mayor Adams’ continued suggestion that he is going to install yet uninvented high-tech metal detectors in the subway (the one he does not control and has not even appointed board members for yet). The last entry in the sorry contest came from gothamist, who, of course, was just doing his job, but doing it with insufficient mockery. Thank goodness our former intern Ben Verde won the day with a strong no:
Everyone seems sure that the city that could not even install 15 public toilets will somehow install metal detectors in the subway. So go.
— Ben Verde (@verde_nyc) April 18, 2022