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Department of Sanitation

Tuesday’s Headlines: Trash Talk Edition

Mayor Adams (with Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch and Council Member Shaun Abreu) announced a fairly big deal to end the all-night rat buffet (though not create more space for pedestrians). Photo: Kevin Duggan

The big news of the day was that the Adams administration is finally taking a razor to New York's 5 o'clock shadow.

As the Times exclusively reported got the handout, starting in April, big black plastic bags of trash will no longer be allowed to be dumped on every sidewalk at 4 p.m., but will have to remain outside of the public realm until 8 p.m. (or 6 p.m. for buildings using containers).

It's a pretty big deal given that afternoons in this city require an Olympian effort just to walk down a sidewalk. And all the garbage means that this is every visitor's lasting impression of New York City:

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

The goal, of course, is not to give pedestrians the space they deserve — after all, garbage will still be dumped on the sidewalk rather than in the curbside street space that drivers long ago commandeered for the storage of their personal items — but to reduce the amount of time that rats have access to the trash. The change in dumping hours also corresponds with other changes in staffing and pickup times that the Sanitation Department hopes will reduce the offerings at the all-night rat buffet, as Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch likes to call it.

Of course, there were lots of rat and trash puns flying around the Monday presser at City Hall. Tisch said that New York's 4 p.m. trash-on-the-sidewalk hours were "beyond the pale" (a homonym for "pail"). Council Member Shaun Abreu called it a "monumental victory in humanity's war against rats."

Mayor Adams also waxed lyrical about rats (or at least his hatred of same): "I hate rats. When we started killing them in Borough Hall, some of the same folks are criticizing us now called me a murderer because I was killing rats. Well, you know what? We're going to kill rats. Rats have no place in this city." (The Post, PoliticsNY, and Hell Gate covered.)

The whole thing reminded our old man editor that Eric Adams sounded nothing like Eric Adams back in 2011, when he spoke adoringly of animals at a vigil honoring the scores of Canada geese that were murdered by the jackbooted thugs of the Fish and Wildlife Service in the name of airline safety (coverage of which should have earned the Brooklyn Paper a Pulitzer!).

"It’s arrogant for humans to believe this planet was made just for humans,” Adams said back then. “These birds give us more than what we give them; we have an obligation and a responsibility to protect them.”

Apparently, our obligation to the natural world does not apply to rats.

In other news:

    • The top story of the day was NY1's unapologetically pro-car coverage of how Citi Bike is now using a former parking lot in Clinton Hill to service bikes. Neighbors who once parked there for free are up in arms — how dare the city use public space for a better public benefit than car storage! — and NY1 let them vent their spleens. One thing was left out: unlike the drivers, Citi Bike is paying the city for the space. We expect Steve Witt — who never met a Clinton Hill parking space he didn't love — to weigh in soon.
    • The Daily News followed up Clayton Guse's deep dive into the MTA's East Side Access project with the obligatory self-congratulatory editorial.
    • Staten Island leaders are right to seek an extension of their expressway's HOV lane — even if their constituents don't have much respect for it. (SI Advance)
    • We've been enjoying the news coverage from Upper East Site recently, but its coverage of an "open street" controversy on E. 78th Street is basically an editorial in favor of car-choked roadways. Can't we try something else on one freakin' street?
    • We find Nicole Gelinas far too alarmist about crime, but she makes a great point in her latest column linking the fear of crime to increases in car use, which lead to more road deaths. (NY Post)
    • But staying on the topic of subway crime for a second, the Daily News reported that subway conductors are now being told to inform riders whenever a cop is on the train.
    • As people who worked in the dour Metro-Tech complex in the early 2000s, we were pleased to read the Times' coverage of efforts to remake the campus, though we could quibble that Winnie Hu's story didn't dive deep enough into the complex's original sin: breaking the street grid (the same move that undermined the superblock of the World Trade Center, RIP).
    • The whole debate over pickleball (Gothamist) should remind us all that we wouldn't all be fighting for such limited public space if the city would better use its existing public space to give us enough places to play!
    • Big Ben Brachfeld, who replaced Kevin Duggan at amNY, followed our story (and better graphic) about Mayor Adams's "City of Yes" zoning effort. (amNY)
    • Yet another outlet — this time, The City — is demonizing the modes instead of the roads in a story about how bus drivers are worried about hitting riders of various micromobility devices. Yes, it's a problem. But the solution is roadways that are designed for the safe passage of transit riders and users of sustainable devices like bikes and scooters. Remember that phrase: "Demonize the roads, not the modes."
    • Hat tip to Riders Alliance for condemning the details in our Monday story about Mayor Adams's the smoke-filled deals with political allies to slow down or eliminate livable streets initiatives: "Mayor Adams promised better service for millions of bus riders by building 150 miles of new busways and bus lanes in four years, exceeding the mandate of the Streets Plan law," said Senior Organizer Jolyse Race. "Fordham Road and Northern Boulevard serve 100,000 bus riders every day, riders who will never get back precious time lost to City Hall's delays in busways and bus lanes. In June, Mayor Adams promised Queens and Bronx riders major speed and reliability improvements on both corridors this year. The time has come for him to get stuff done for bus riders."
    • Oh, and speaking of smoke-filled rooms, this is just a hilarious clip of our mayor smelling weed:

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