UPDATED: Monday’s Headlines: ‘Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road’ Edition

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“Dead skunk in the middle of the road … stinkin’ to high heaven!”

I thought of Loudon Wainright lll’s 1970s roadkill-inspired classic yesterday when I discovered a dead skunk in the middle of Independence Avenue at 237th Street in The Bronx at about 11:30 a.m.

It had been there for a while, according to others who had seen it.

Thus commenced a real-life “thought” experiment. We wondered: How long would it it take the Sanitation Department under the “Get Stuff Done” mayoralty of Eric Adams to remove a health-hazard carcass from the middle of a New York City street in 95-degree heat?

Quite a while, it seems!

Being a Good Samaritan (or a “Karen,” in the misogynistic view of some), I phoned in a service request on the dead animal to 311 immediately but, mindful of the harassment that too often comes from reporting 311 tips, according to our colleagues’ reporting, did not leave my name or number.

Later, when I looked online, I found that 311 had not recorded our request. Why did it cut it?

A screenshot of the service requests.
A screenshot of the service requests.

Two other people, however, had put in service requests in the 3 o’clock hour — and those said that DSNY would come and get the swelling carcass “within two days.” Two days?

“Holy shit! Is that thing still out there?” said a doorman at a nearby building, after I told him that the carcass was still there at around 4 p.m. “They’d better pick that up soon. That thing is going to explode! Disgusting!”

Dorsal view of the dead skunk at around 4 p.m. shows the rising distention. Photo: Eve Kessler
Abdominal view of the dead skunk at around 4 p.m. shows the rising distention. Photo: Eve Kessler

Out in the street, drivers peered quizzically at the dead animal as they tried to avoid it. How long before some heedless motorist squashed the thing, making it even harder to scrape off the pavement?

The roadway death of the skunk, which happened at the edge of the crosswalk, inadvertently illuminated a pressing issue for other road users: Ultrawide Independence Avenue, while it has striping at some intersections and speed humps, could use even more life-saving pedestrian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, I pressed our complaint on Twitter.

At 6:45 p.m., when I looked again, the swollen, fly-specked carcass was still out there, rotting in the sun.

“So smelly!” said a woman pushing a baby carriage.

At 7:09, I moved to DefCon3 special pleading, tweeting/texting at my Council member and every reporter’s favorite Sanitation flack.

“Will lead Streetsblog’s headlines tomorrow!” I might have said.

Route from the nearest garbage truck depot to the corner with the carcass. Map: Google
Route from the nearest garbage truck depot to the corner with the carcass. Map: Google

It’s a nine-minute drive from the nearest DSNY garage at West 215th between Ninth and 10th avenues. Not a single soul works on Sunday? “Two days” might work at 45 degrees, but not 95.

UPDATE: According to 311: “The Department of Sanitation cleaned the location.” Every reporter’s favorite spokesman said it happened at 4:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, in other news from the weekend:

  • SEE IT!: Bronx crooks use their car to run down and rob a pedestrian. (NYDN)
  • The New York Post finally figured out how to use Howsmydriving.com, running the plate of the BMW driver who crushed the leg of a first responder during a crash last week (like Streetsblog does for every traffic-violence story). And whaddaya know — he’s a “speeding scofflaw”!
  • “Dark stores” have peaked, according to NYT’s Ginia Bellafante.
  • Janno Lieber pleads the MTA’s case on subway storm resilience in an amNY op-ed.
  • No sooner had the MTA rolled out a monthly subway rider survey than The Post hastened to report that safety concerns topped it, even as transit crime dropped.
  • Mayor Adams slammed highway panhandlers. (NY Post)
  • The Daily News Editorial Board is worried about the life-guard shortage at the city’s pools. Mara Gay in the Times also make a salient point about the classist and racist legacy of swimming rates in the city.
  • The Daily New dissected what’s behind the MTA’s snail’s pace on subway-security improvements.
  • Downtown NIMBYs are suing to stop the construction of a tower on the site of a South Street Seaport parking lot. (NYDN)
  • The Times took seriously Liz Holtzman’s bid for a congressional seat 50 years after she made headlines … in Congress.
  • The beach in the Rockaways was closed, Gothamist reported, after humans were endangered by sharks, and our friend Christopher Robbins pointed out that humans are endangered every minute by cars on Flatbush Avenue and no one ever does anything. He also wrote about the public bathroom in Brighton Beach. (Hell Gate)

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