Trash talk: Merchants say Sheepshead Bay Road has become a garbage dump

Big mess: Merchants say garbage routinely piles up on street corners along Sheepshead Bay Road.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Sheepshead Bay Road has become a filthy dumping ground where overflowing trash cans routinely spill garbage onto the sidewalks, claim outraged merchants and residents who are demanding that the city beef up Sanitation services along the busy commercial strip.

Trash cans between E. 14th Street and Emmons Avenue are emptied twice on Tuesdays and Fridays, and once on Sundays, but frustrated neighbors say Department of Sanitation workers need to do more to keep the stretch clean.

“It’s disgusting,” said Frida Polo, who works at an eye wear boutique on Sheepshead Bay Road near Voorhies Avenue. “The trash pollutes the area, and makes customers and tourists not want to come here.”

Gail Dagostino, who owns the Capella Salon between Voorhies and Jerome avenues, agreed.

“It’s terrible for business,” griped Dagostino, who said she found two mattresses and some discarded furniture in front of her beauty parlor a few weeks ago — trash that she claims wasn’t picked up for days. “They need to pick up the garbage more frequently.”

Department of Sanitation spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins said her agency planned to have workers empty garbage cans on the street once a day on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, starting later this summer.

“The Department is well aware of the conditions along Sheepshead Bay Road and will shortly provide additional litter basket collection,” said Dawkins, who wouldn’t say exactly when the additional collections would start.

The city added an extra garbage pickup day on the strip this spring in response to complaints from residents and business owners, some of whom remained sceptical about Sanitation’s promise of additional services.

“Garbage has been all over this area forever,” said Sam Cati, who works at a pizza shop near E. 15th Street.

But trash isn’t the only problem plaguing Sheepshead Bay Road, merchants say. Several merchants want to form a business improvement district that would tax property owners and use the funds to pay for holiday lighting, street banners and additional security — amenities that some say are sorely lacking on the strip.

–with Max Molishever

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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