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Department of Sanitation

Tuesday’s Headlines: Today’s Shiny Object Edition

12:03 AM EDT on April 19, 2022

We’re the cat.

Yes, we're just like cats. And on Monday, the shiny new object grabbing our attention was the fact that we have a new Sanitation Commissioner making promises left and right. So, yes, Streetsblog was filled yesterday and today with plenty of trash talk.

After breaking the news in yesterday's headlines of Jessica Tisch's appointment to the city's garbage boss, we then followed up by biking to Crown Heights for the Commish's first two announcements (our coverage is here; the Daily News and Gothamist focused only on street sweeping, amNY covered both pieces of news).

But fortunately for you, readers, we didn't throw away all our garbage in one story! As part of the Q&A at the presser, our old man editor asked Tisch if she intends to address the greatest mystery of New York life — the problem that is staring every single resident in the face every day, an object of mockery and oddity for all visitors, foreign and domestic alike: New York's 5 o'clock shadow:

Vile photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Vile photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Vile photo: Gersh Kuntzman

"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 the way of pedestrians and attract rats and garbage. We think this would be Job One for you. So where is it on your list of priorities because it's never really been a priority of city government."

Her answer: It's a priority.

"Containerization is something that I've heard about for years," said the lifelong New Yorker. "Other cities have done it. I don't think that we've made the progress that we need to make on the issue of containerization. ... So containerization is definitely high on the priority list. Cleanliness is a huge priority and to make the city cleaner, you got to get rid of the piles of trash. And containerization is one big part of that puzzle."

Department of Transportation 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 are reimagining the use of the street," he said, before equivocating. "We know that the sidewalk is so special, but whatever location City Hall will decide we will use will be determined."

We did not catch his name, but he says he's running for governor. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
We did not catch his name, but he says he's running for governor. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
We did not catch his name, but he says he's running for governor. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Rodriguez had kicked it up to City Hall, so it was fortunate that Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi was on hand, too. She said solutions could be implemented quickly, but it's a bit harder to "change the culture" and get people to adapt to new plans. We wanted to hear more from Joshi, but she was interrupted a man claiming to be the great- great-grandson of Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey, who stormed in front of the cameras and taunted all the collected politicians as "devils" — then announced, "I'm running for governor, bitch" and brandished a sheath of signature petitions.

He even taunted our old man editor (right), who has long advised his young reporters to keep shooting pictures, even as people are swinging at you. It makes for a better photo.

And our coverage of all things garbage didn't stop with our editor's efforts. Eve Kessler also broke the news that later today, the Times Square Alliance appears to be the first location for the city's "Clean Curbs" pilot, which will, indeed, allow business improvement districts and some residential buildings to use big containers — in the street — to get trash off the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, our friends at Transportation Alternatives are holding a competition for the ugliest mound of garbage in its new March Madness-style "Trash Madness" contest:

Voting continues all week, but as far as we're concerned, 73rd Street in Jackson Heights better win. The sidewalk is already way too narrow there anyway. Here's what happens every afternoon — for the entire block between 37th Avenue and Broadway:

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Vile photo: Gersh Kuntzman
What pedestrians must wade through many nights. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

In other news:

    • The Post's coverage of the day's Sanitation news was limited to only the announcement of Tisch's ascension.
    • Speaking of garbage, the stench on the Brooklyn Democratic Party machine is growing even more foul. (The City)
    • We've been a fan of Adam Conover of "Adam Ruins Everything" from way back when he made the hilarious video about how the car industry turned pedestrians into criminals. Well, in his latest TikTok video, he explains why he takes transit everywhere — even in car-centric Los Angeles. And why you should, too.
    • The rapid grocery delivery industry is changing. (NY Post)
    • Big Brother? More like a caring mother — yes, let's have speed governors on cars. (Daily Mail)
    • We have a new park on the west side of Manhattan. (amNY, Gothamist)
    • Finally, we're increasingly incredulous at the credulous coverage of Mayor Adams's continued suggestion that he's going to install some still-uninvented, high-tech metal detectors in the subway (the one he doesn't control and has not even appointed board members to yet). The latest entry in the sorry sweepstakes came from Gothamist, which, sure, was only doing its job, but did so with insufficient mockery. Thank goodness our former intern Ben Verde won the day with a strong no:

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