Trash can shuffle: Golden rules as city puts garbage pails back on Fourth

Trash can shuffle: Golden rules as city puts garbage pails back on Fourth
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

The city returned two public trash cans to Fourth Avenue after state Sen. Marty Golden performed an end-around on the local civic group that demanded the baskets’ removal — and one member of that group says the Republican legislator is subverting the will of the people.

Community Board 10 environmental committee chairman Greg Ahl says Golden used back-room deals to dismantle CB10’s hard-fought plan to clean up messy areas of the strip by removing the pails.

“Marty Golden was quietly lobbying Sanitation to not take out the baskets at all,” said Ahl. “He basically went against the community. All he’s done is try to stop us from trying to solve the problems.”

Ahl said representatives from the Department of Sanitation told him that the trash cans at the corner of 69th and 77th streets, which CB10 has long-claimed fill up with household trash and overflow, were coming back whether or not the board liked it.

The baskets were removed by the Department of Sanitation at the request of CB10 as part of a study to determine if getting rid of the cans would actually make the area surrounding them cleaner.

But now, even before the study is complete, the cans Golden asked for are back.

“The study is still being reviewed, but this a recommendation from the study,” said Keith Mellis, spokesman for the Department of Sanitation, who said the idea to put the cans back by 69th Street came from the city and was backed by community leaders at a recent committee meeting.

But Ahl says the city didn’t really give them the choice.

“I was told it wasn’t anything we could change,” said Ahl. “Had I thought there was a way to negotiate it, I would have.”

In an April 12 letter to the Department of Sanitation, Golden said garbage near R train stops on Fourth Avenue at 69th and 77th Streets would make litter unmanageable, and asked the city to increase pickups instead of removing the cans.

A spokesman for the state senator said it’s no secret that Golden has disagreed with the trash can ban, and he denied charges that the pol privately prodded the city to reinstall the bins.

“Removing the pails is not the solution,” said John Quaglione. “It was a public letter; there was no back-room deal.”

But Ahl said Golden’s representatives, who generally attend environmental committee meetings, didn’t speak out against the plan when it was being formulated.

“I really wish they were a little more talkative at the meetings,” said Ahl.

Photo by Tom Callan