The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Back to Trash

Been awhile. You KNOW the Q hates trash as much as you. Each morning and evening I pick up a dozen pieces of litter from my house to the corner. A lot of times it's stuff that's blown all the way from the corner bin, which is usually overflowing with household garbage and pieces of crap that people "lay" on top. Sure there are litterers, but after 11 years of watching this play out I can see now that the litterers are basically just tossing things down on an already filthy street. They do it way less on a spotless surface. So like Sisyphus, I continue to roll that boulder up the hill...a piece here, a piece there...

Last night I called a meeting at CB9 to talk trash. (I chair the Environmental Protection Committee). The heads of the Kingston, Nostrand and Flatbush Merchants Associations were there (Sholom Goldstein, Lindiwe Kamau, and Desmond Romeo/Shelley Kramer respectively). They were extremely helpful in identifying the real problems, and after enough study and frustration I'm inclined to agree. It's household trash - dumping - that causes most of the debris. Why do people bring their personal garbage to the corners and tree pits in shoddy bags that bust open and create a daily trashcastrophe? I tells you why. Landlords are not making it easy for tenants to do the right thing. If you don't give your tenants somewhere to put their trash when it accumulates, they're gonna put it wherever they can, because they don't want to keep it in their house (except the hoarders). Many times there is simply no trash system; no barrel alongside the building, no backyard holding pen, no basement access, to hold the garbage til trash day. And then, some Supers let it pile up, if there's a Super at all.

For those too new to remember, twas a time in our fair city when most every merchant had a crappy looking dump ster outside their business. The City did away with those eye and nose sores, wisely I might add, but the trade-off was that people had no place to (illegally) dump their trash anymore. Come to think of it the Q used to do that too! Naughty, naughty young selfish Q. For shame. But I cop to it to tell you that HAD there been an easy, better alternative I would have done it. I was living on Vanderbilt Avenue at the time, right near the corner of Prospect. The neighbor was pretty dismal back then, but it was rarely filthy the way Flatbush is today. And that, my friends, was because there was always somewhere to dump your rubbish.

In many modern cities of Europe they have a crafty solution (don't they always?). Everyone takes their garbage to bright, cheery communal bins just down the block or around the corner. Yes, it's not the European City's job to come directly to your house and do the dirty work. YOU have to do it, then they simply come by and empty the big containers. Even when they get all graffiti covered and wheat pasted they're still built with this primary directive in mind - "Keepen Zie  Müll off the Straße, Günther!"

So what decideth the Brain Trust last night was actually in the realm of possibility? Well, other nabes have gotten their councilmember to allocate money for these kinds of corner bins:

They cost about $500 each, and it's much harder to dump in them cuz of the small hole at the top. AND the trash can't fly around as much, what with that roof on the rubbish. (Tear the Roof Off the Rubbish, Tear the Roof Off the Rubish, Tear the Roof Off the Rubbish - G. Clinton)

Some neighborhoods have the solar powered Big Belly bins that cost a few thousand bucks:

But let's get reasonable here. That ain't gonna happen on the struggling-to-get-organized stretch of Flatbush from Empire to Parkside.Thank you Pratt Area Comunity Council for helping to get the merchant's act together, but in the meantime here's the plan:

  • Go to our council people to get new bins out of the budget
  • Bring the Sanitation Manager for District 9, Mr. Williams, to a meeting to discuss how to ticket the scofflaws
  • Put more emphasis on the household garbage and stop harassing merchants who are doing the right thing
  • Identify worst offenders and find out who the landlords are and bring some garbage to their houses and dump it on their living room couch


rose lefferts said...

All of the above!

The Snob said...

Our corner of Lefferts and Bedford has one of these problem buildings. The super is useless, and trash is often left on the street in shopping bags, shoe boxes, McDonald's bags, etc. Then it blows everywhere. So what's the best way to curb this behavior when the landlord has been less than responsive?

diak said...

Here's a proposal: Scale the fines for Sanitation violations to the number of housing units. A violation that draws a $25 ticket on a single-family house is $50 on a two-family and so on. The logic being, more people=more trash=more litter mess=bigger fine.
When landlords in these bigger buildings start to get fines in the hundreds or thousands of dollars maybe they'll start to pay some attention. In addition, Sanitation's Enforcement Division should include fine-paying enforcement as well. As it is now, large landlords routinely ignore tickets knowing it will probably be years before anyone catches up to them. And if by some chance they do get caught, they know they can settle for pennies on the dollar.
Any chance of this or anything similar actually happening? In a city where it takes years of untangling red tape to give even the most egregious slumlord a slap on wrist, I doubt it...

Curious27 said...

This is my first thawing in BK and I must say, snow is deceptively well equipped at hiding trash. When everything started melting away, I was absolutely astonished at how much had been trapped beneath layers of snow and ice and started wishing almost immediately for rain to wash it all away...

Speaking of CB9, I'd like to draw attention to the problem of doggy-doo on Empire from Nostrand to Rogers, specifically on the south side of the street, where you've got to be Fred freaking Astaire to navigate the huge (HUGE) piles of dog crap that litters the length of the block's sidewalk. Kinda like Pharrell's "Happy" music video, except the people in it are "Crappy" and hopping over heaps of waste...

Or not. I'll see myself out

Sean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clarkson FlatBed said...

As to the poop, I'm again convinced that it's a relative few - yet they walk their dog ALL THE TIME...thus the persistent messes in the same places. I know people who've confronted dog owners. In a civil society that should be okay...except the sort of person who doesn't give a #$*@ about his dog's #@(* is probably not going to give a crap what you have to say either.

To Snob, I'd say, THIS is an example of a problem where direct confrontation would be helpful. If you can identify the landlord for me, give me their contact info, then I'll do my best to sic Sanitation on them, so help me God! I don't have time to inventory the situation, but with a little help from y' guy has been sending me pictures of a problem on Ocean, and we're getting him ticketed by gum!