A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 361: What New York Throws Away

June 26th · No Comments

img_7971_2img_7980_2I live across the street from one of the neighborhood’s grocery stores, a Food Emporium. Every midnight after the place closes, a pile of retired produce and collapsed cardboard boxes four feet tall is left at the curb. Garbage trucks come and take it away, and in the morning delivery trucks arrive with new produce and new boxes.

New York is just too crowded for trash to be hidden the way it is in other American cities. In the suburbs, the rejecta leaves the house in bins once a week; in less dense cities it might end up in a Dumpster; in New York the black Hefty bags wind up on the curb, three days each week and more often at grocery stores. There’s nowhere else to put it.

I haven’t been here for one of the dreaded garbage strikes and so haven’t smelled the garbage pickle to the point of offense (though one hot September day I saw a doorman wince as he sprayed his building’s pile with perfume.) img_2973Nonetheless, the connection between waste and the people who produce it is more visible in New York than anywhere I’ve lived.

Pass any apartment building and observe the mountain of trash. Look up at the building. The bigger the building, the larger the mountain. Building, trash mound, building, trash mound, up and down every street and avenue from Battery Park to Inwood Park, across five boroughs. What a load of stuff we throw away.

Tags: Deep Thoughts · East Coast v. West Coast · Sights & Scenes · Why I Hate This Town

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