New York Trashy

Should be the nickname of this small piece of the Bronx. You can’t escape the litter.

Maybe there just aren’t enough appropriate receptacles?

Someone carefully put her half-full cup on the ground. I don’t like Dunkin iced coffee either, but I don’t leave it just hanging out there.

There are guardians of the clean everywhere if you look for them.

Every day I walk past Darion hosing down the sidewalk in front of the defunct Paradise Theater.

His job is to keep the place clean, “and it’s big!,” he told me. It sure is — in its heyday it was one of the biggest in the city, if not in the country. Some of the other shopkeepers water their sidewalks, too – I like that as it cleans the soles of my workboots when I walk by.

Others use a ubiquitous small broom and dustpan to get the litter.

Tidy.

The proprietor of a juice bar told me, “You have to keep it clean. It’s better for business.” I will go in to get a green smoothie today.

First thing in the morning, 7am, they are out creating order out of chaos.

Discarded masks lay around everywhere.

What happened? Did someone just get tired of wearing it and fling it to the ground? Three quarters of the residents here wear masks inside and out, everybody, old and young. I don’t know whether this means they haven’t got the vax or that they got it and they’re protective anyway.

I engaged a sanitation bigwig in a starched forest-green uniform and badge and a driver in her streetcleaning vehicle about the trash. Number one, he intoned, there are three types of trash – homeowners, shops, and garbage on the ground (duh).  It’s much worse, he said, since Covid. Alternate side of the street parking was suspended, which I took to mean that it was hard for garbage workers to get through the cars to get the bags. He said that when they have the resources the City makes inroads with the sidewalk trash. And oh yes, he said, noting my hard hat and reflective vest, the contractors working here are responsible for much of the garbage. What else should he say when I asked him why there was so much garbage lying around. He did not wish to have his photo taken, nor did she.

I don’t think this bench/table is trash, it was simply left in front of the supermarket overnight and serves some purpose.

There are clean shiny things in the neighborhood. Scooters and sanitation vehicles.

Sometimes you have a jarringly deep glimpse of a person’s life.

What happened to this individual and how did so many important documents end up scattered on the Grand Concourse? There is a story there.

Sometimes it’s a glimpse you don’t want, like a used Q-tip.

Tree pits grow yuck as well as trees.

There I draw the line. Each tree should enjoy a pristine growing environment. Although I’m biased, of course.

And I haven’t even gotten to New York Shitty. All the kindly sweepers and washers couldn’t banish what the dogs leave behind.

2 Comments

Filed under Jean Zimmerman

2 responses to “New York Trashy

  1. Jennifer

    Love the photos of the people doing their best to fight the tide of trash. They seem very connected with you, even for a brief moment.

  2. Anonymous

    I shouldn’t have read your blog right before dinner 😦

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