NYC Sanitation Department Shames Hotel Trash Pile: ‘Pull It Together’

The city isn't afraid to 'call out more businesses and residents' if necessary, a sanitation department spokesperson said


New York City’s Department of Sanitation trashed a Manhattan hotel on Twitter for putting several bags of garbage on the sidewalk midday, flouting the latest efforts to polish the Big Apple.

“This SoHo hotel thought it was ok to dump all of their trash out on the sidewalk IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY,” the agency wrote Thursday, posting a photo of the mound of refuse and tagging the hotel, 11 Howard, for all to see.

“Note to @11HowardNYC: PULL IT TOGETHER,” the tweet continued. “This isn't the wild west, and there's a new trash sheriff in town.”

The hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Messenger. DSNY, however, had more to say, with a spokesperson touting the city’s recent clean-up efforts and vowing to put other businesses on blast if they don’t do their part.

“Over the last several months, the Department of Sanitation has made major changes to the amount of time trash sits on New York City’s streets and sidewalks,” Joshua Goodman said in a statement to The Messenger.

Goodman specifically highlighted an April move to bar bags from curbs before 8 p.m., and a corresponding realignment of DSNY pick-up schedules designed to minimize the amount of time trash sits on the street.

“[Ten thousand] members of service of New York’s Strongest have changed. 8.8 million NYC residents have changed,” said Goodman. “If a business can’t be bothered to change? Hell yeah we’re going to call them out, and we’re going to issue summonses.”

The hotel was hit with a $50 fine after the condition was spotted on Monday, Goodman said.

“I certainly hope we won’t need to call out more businesses and residents,” said Goodman. “But if they break the law and steal our public space, we certainly won’t be afraid to say something.”

Clare Miflin, of the nonprofit Center for Zero Waste Design, told The Messenger that cleaning up the city requires change on a larger and more long-term level than DSNY’s recent “tweaks.”

“They’re just always in a rush to do something quick that they don’t do something properly,” said Miflin. “This is a big problem, and you need to come up with a plan and then implement it bit by bit.”

NYC trash
(Credit: NYC Sanitation/Twitter)

A recent city report examining a shift to 'containerization' — storing trash in dedicated, sealed containers rather than loose bags thrown on the sidewalk — is “a start, but we still need a plan,” said Miflin.

Containerization is already the norm in many major international cities, like Barcelona and Paris, where large, shared containers are common.

A frequent criticism of containerization is the expected loss of street parking that would come with it, particularly in some of New York City’s most densely populated pockets. The DSNY report estimates that shared containerization would require the repurposing of up to 10% of parking spaces on residential streets citywide, or about 150,000 spots. New York City in 2022 announced a pilot program to test out the method on a trial basis.

Miflin favors a different solution where waste is stored in containers within buildings, then wheeled outside for collection, the frequency of which would be increased. The most important thing, however, is to be deliberate and thorough in designing a plan that’s built for the long haul, Miflin said.

“Basically, we just need a proper plan, and then we need to realize that it’s not going to be solved tomorrow,” said Miflin. “It’s not just parking spaces versus waste containers. We can make waste containerization, make the whole system better.”

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