The city was quick to clear the streets following last Tuesday’s mini-snowstorm, but that hard work left us under an avalanche of something grittier, dirtier and much more aromatic — a trashpocalypse of garbage and recyclables.
From Greenpoint to Gerritsen Beach, residents found huge drifts — some as high as 54 inches — of uncollected trash cluttering up streets and sidewalks. Many of the overflowing bags and bins had snow on top of them, indicating that they were sitting out there since before the Jan. 11 snowstorm that left seven inches of new white stuff on the borough.
Armed with a great set of reporters’ noses, plus the latest garbage locating equipment — dubbed the “Crapplar 4000” — our crack team hit the streets over the last few days, finding a three-foot mound of trash bags on Conselyea Street. Several of the bags were ripped open and residents were stepping over empty cans of plum tomatoes that had spilled onto the street.
“Everybody is putting their trash bags onto the street for the city to pick them up, but I haven’t seen them come yet,” said a 70-year-old man, who wished not to give his name. “They’re supposed to be here today or tomorrow.”
Over in DUMBO, a four-foot pile of recyclables were left uncollected on Front Street between Washington and Main streets — a sight that made Boerum Hill resident Peter Kruger cringe.
“I never had to deal with this in before, usually it is pretty clean,” Kruger told us. “With these piles of trash and snow on the sidewalk, I’m forced to walk in the street. It’s not safe.”
The complaints continued in nearby Kensington, where new mom Amanda Cicarelli came nose to nose with a heaping bank of recyclables on Caton Avenue near Ocean Parkway.
“It really makes the place stink,” Cicarelli said. “[The city] really needs to get on the ball.”
Many residents told us that their trash hadn’t been picked up in days. And recycling? Fuggetabout it!
In some parts of the borough, cans and cardboard hadn’t been collected since late December, when the city was left under two feet of snow.
The Department of Sanitation, still frostbitten from the blizzard of complaints it received following its botched handling of last month’s snowstorm, promised to provide “at least one collection service to each home by the end of the weekend.”
For the most part, they made good on their promise. Fleets of garbage trucks could be seen throughout Brooklyn on Friday, picking up refuse.
But there was apparently more trash out there than they could handle.
On Saturday, kids looking for an afternoon snowball fight in Park Slope instead found 52 inches of trash heaping from a can at the corner of 13th Street and Seventh Avenue. A few miles further north on Greenpoint Avenue, a half-block long train of garbage bags, recycling bags and discarded Christmas trees were found near West Street.
“The trash has been here for a week,” Tadeusz Ciekielski told our photographer.
Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday didn’t help the situation and instead gave some residents a few more days to stew in their own filth — and ponder over how poorly they’ve been treated.
Additional reporting by Alison Fox, Helen Klein, Alex Rush and Aaron Short