An 80-year-old Manhattan woman living on a fixed income, ticketed just for throwing her newspaper into the trash. Now she’s facing a fine and planning to fight City Hall, Kathryn Brown reports.
The City waste bin looks like a trash can and certainly smells like one, treat it like one and you’re likely to get hit with a hefty fine.
It happened to Delia Gluckin of Inwood on Sunday. “A hundred dollars,” she said. “Lo and behold this woman comes up to me in a uniform and I thought she was going to ask me for directions and she said ‘I saw you putting trash in the can’. I said ‘It’s not trash. It was newspapers’. She came back with me. She opened it. She looked at it and she said ‘I’m writing you a ticket’.”
The official reason was improper disposal.
“I said ‘I’m terribly sorry. I did it inadvertently. I’m a senior citizen. I never did anything. I’m going to take it out’. And she said ‘No you’re not’ and she wrote up the ticket,” Gluckin recounted.
The trash can is clearly marked “litter only” but what happened there raises a question that many people may not know the answer to: what exactly constitutes “litter?”
“Well, litter I would think is something you throw on the ground and trash is something you throw in the trash can,” said Allan Buyer of Inwood.
Dictionary.com defines trash as “anything worthless, useless, or discarded” and litter as “waste materials carelessly dropped, especially in public.”
It’s not clear whether those are the definitions used by the city.
“Maybe the mayor and people down in City Hall should look in the dictionary and find out what litter is,” said Sean O’Keefe of Inwood.
As for Gluckin, she’s learned her lesson. “You never know who’s looking on the street,” she said.
On this one, however, she’s planning to fight City Hall. Gluckin said she was told that if the fine is not paid in time it will increase to $300.
A spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation says agents have issued more than 2,300 tickets for similar violations this year.