Saturday, May 29, 2010


I've blogged about trash! We did a video about it! John Cullum and I wrote a musical about it, and here I am again, talking about garbage.

When I go outside, what I see on every street is garbage in bins, mountains of black plastic bags next to restaurants, and loose garbage that people drop any place.

There is no green growing anything on my street in New York City, except a patch every few blocks -- a skinny unhealthy looking tree in a patch of not-flourishing grass and weeds, surrounded by a low metal fence with warning signs about no poop, no peeing.

The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) gives our building tickets if someone drops garbage on our steps -- our steps seem to be a picnic place for employees who work in the neighborhood. Our Super sweeps the steps, sidewalk and gutter in front of our building twice a day, and he's made friends with the EPA guys, who keep appearing with tickets that range between $25 and $100.

I've been to "court" where landlords go to plead Not Guilty. We get tickets for the garbage in front of the neighbors' buildings, and then, armed with photos, we have to prove that the EPA guy made a mistake.

Does this sound sort of ... depressing, sad, annoying, ridiculous? It is. But that's what happens in New York City. The EPA needs money -- its budget was cut along with the budgets for schools, fire departments and police, so it hires guys to check the streets not just on week days, but also on weekends.

On summer weekends, since we are the only set of steps in our entire block, we sometimes have families lunching on our steps, with kids, toys, sandwiches, cokes and desserts.

I like living in Manhattan. I like the fact that we live on the top two floors of our five-story building, and thus have the equivalent of a fourteen room house in the center of the city. But the garbage situation is HELL. We don't have a elevator.

Our recycled trash and garbage has to be carried downstairs twice-a-week, for pickup by a private garbage company that charges $40 a week. Lugging bags down 5 flights is NOT a fun job.

Are you entertained by this story? Well, here is a discussion John and I had in December, when the hallways are cold. In the summer, which is upon us, on days when there's no pickup, we have to keep the bags tightly sealed -- sprayed so the fragrance won't attract flies, mosquitoes, and little (and not so little), four-legged critters.

As you will see and hear, Em and John Cullum are very interested in new, innovative ideas about garbage.

1 comment:

Big T said...

I'll do my best to bring you some new readers Em. It's fantastic to see this. I love the videos.