One week after a blizzard paralyzed New York City, the snowdrifts were melting today, but the mountains of trash were growing. The Department of Sanitation announced it would resume garbage pickups on Monday for the first time since the storm dumped 20 inches of snow on city streets. Trash collection was suspended while crews struggled to plow streets, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.
“We are able to resume garbage pickups now that significant progress has been made in clearing away the aftermath of last Sunday’s massive blizzard,” Doherty said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials endured days of withering criticism for the city’s slow response to the storm. Bloomberg visited some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the snow and confessed the city’s handling of it was “inadequate and unacceptable.”
On one Manhattan block Sunday, sanitation trucks with front loaders were busy clearing snow, but garbage bins outside apartment buildings were filled to overflowing, and bags of recyclable beer bottles and milk cartons were stacked helter-skelter along with discarded Christmas trees and wreaths.
Neighborhood resident Daniella Lekach said she could smell the trash but it didn’t bother her.
“It’s OK in the winter,” she said. “I figure it’s cold enough that the rodents and insects aren’t going to gather.”
But Brooklyn resident Gilbert Lee said a week was too long for the garbage to sit.
“It is absolutely ridiculous,” Lee said. “It’s over 6 feet tall. It’s a great wall of trash sitting in front of my apartment, all up and down Flatbush Avenue. It’s just absolutely unacceptable.”
And Merilu Granato, who owns a midtown Manhattan pizzeria, called the piles of garbage “a very ugly scene.”
“We pay so much in taxes,” Granato said. “We didn’t expect whoever’s in charge to be so behind. … I’ve been here 30 years and never seen anything like it.”
The sanitation department said New Yorkers whose garbage is normally collected on Monday should place all their trash bags and containers out at curbside Sunday night. It said it had already started collecting garbage from some housing developments.
Recyclables won’t be collected until further notice.
Because the sanitation department still is hauling away snow, it will deploy only half the usual number of garbage collection trucks.
Alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules, suspended since the Dec. 26 storm to facilitate snow removal, will be suspended again on Monday.