Eyes on the Street: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn

A tipster spotted this Parks Department garbage truck doing its morning rounds on the sidewalk at Plaza Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, near the Grand Army Plaza subway stop in Brooklyn today. "As far as I can tell," he writes, "the sole reason for it is so the workers don’t have to move the trash cans as far, but at the expense of safety (and propriety). There are many adults and children walking here due to nearby subway exit."


  • Boogiedown

    Not to mention these sidewalks are not constructed for such heavy vehicles. These trucks destroy the sidewalks…you can see the affects of this everywhere.

  • lee

    i hate when they do this. I almost walked into one of these trucks on PPW around 11th st. Maybe its because I was walking-while-texting. Maybe its because wtf should a garbage truck be on the sidewalk?

  • v

    cry me a river. anyone on this blog ever emptied trash cans for a living? sucks, doesn’t it?

    there more important things to worry about (gov’t employees commuting into the city, trucks running over people, dot) than giving folks who have a really hard (and totally thankless) job a difficult time.

    according to the picture, it’s not actually blocking the subway exit. if the truck had parked in the street, you’d be complaining about it blocking bike lanes or not filling the meter. or, god forbid a bag of trash broke and some of it got onto the sidewalk.

    walk around the truck, folks. i don’t like it when people park on the sidewalk either, but there is no reason to expect that pedestrians can or should be unimpeded in every circumstance. or, hey, stop producing trash.

  • Corporate Elite

    but v there appears to be no reason why they couldn’t be driving their truck on the street.

    and, btw, being an nyc sanitation worker is not a bad gig at all. early wake up. short hours. solid pay. great pension.

  • Eric

    That particular Plaza Street sidewalk is in absolutely horrible shape, and now we know why. Since the cans are close to the street, why can’t they just keep the truck on the street? And no, we’re not going to complain about them blocking the bike lane, which is worthless there, anyway, and mostly used as a passing lane by scofflaw drivers.

  • Eric


    Ixnay on publicly admitting to walking-while-texting. You’re sure to give Carl Kruger fodder for another of his brilliant legislative initiatives.

  • d

    v: “cry me a river. anyone on this blog ever emptied trash cans for a living? sucks, doesn’t it?”

    So having a tough job is an excuse to drive on the sidewalk? Even ambulances and firetrucks–vehicles with incredible needs to get where they are going quickly–rarely take shortcuts over sidewalks.

    I am grateful to the hardworking men and women who collect this city’s trash and certainly mean no disrespect, but please. This is hardly necessary.

  • JF

    Yeah, unfortunately I think just about every Parks Department garbage truck I’ve ever seen has been on the sidewalk. Does anyone know who of these people is responsible for those trucks?

  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    I guess Corporate Elite is jealous of the prestige position of NYC Sanitation worker. Without counting the other guys paycheck there are other, more relevant, payroll issue to consider. For the last two agreements the DS guys have had certain productivity bonuses that incentivize higher production on the job. Like the truck drivers who ply NYC street on a per mile basis, and the dollar van drivers who suck up the MTA riders, this incentivization drives them to cut corners. Eliminate incentive (piece rate) work from contracts and encourage workers to take their time and work safely and legally. I”m not holding my breath.

  • South Slope


    These are the “higher ups” close enough to do something about Parks vehicles on Brooklyn sidewalks:

    Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel 718.965.8920
    Chief of Operations Charles A. Gili 718.965.8922

  • Green truck

    Even in fabled London and glorious Paris, service vehicles travel on sidewalks and paths.

    Parks Department garbage trucks take sidewalks and paths all over the city because they have to. Notice that this truck is much smaller than the big three axles used by the DOS. Parks gets complaints about all kinds of things, like bicyclists hitting little kids on the park paths, but not this.

  • JF

    Green Truck, any vehicles in the parks of Paris tend to be much smaller than this. The Parisian city employees do a lot of this work on foot or on moped.

    I’ve been to many of the parks here in New York, and I can’t think of one where garbage collection couldn’t be done with a pushcart or a half-width golf cart, and then transferred to truck on the street.

    In the case of Grand Army Plaza and the neighborhood park near my house, the truck does not “have to” drive on the sidewalk; it’s forcing pedestrians to move out of the way and putting wear and tear on the sidewalk for the sole reason of the convenience of the garbage collectors, to save them from carrying the garbage a few feet more to the street. If the Sanitation garbage trucks don’t have to drive on the sidewalks, why would the Parks garbage trucks “have to”?

    I would have complained about this long ago, except that I was afraid I’d get exactly the kind of dismissive, condescending response you posted here. But I wasn’t prepared for your ad hominem tu quoque.


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