Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Since When Has It Become Okay For Carroll Gardens To Look So Dirty?

(photo credit: Theresa Bartenope)
 (photo credit: Theresa Bartenope)
(photo credit: Theresa Bartenope)

Just before the New Year, I received an email from Carroll Gardener Theresa Bartenope, who was wondering when it became okay for our lovely neighborhood to look so dirty. The email was accompanied by photos showing trash-strewn streets.

Theresa writes:
I am a life long resident of Carroll Gardens. In fact, my three year old granddaughter represents the fifth generation of our family to live in Carroll Gardens. Needless to say, Carroll Gardens is my home and I love it! I am, perhaps, among the minority of "leftovers" who has always embraced the many ways in which our community has evolved. And though it is not the neighborhood I grew up in, it is certainly a more diverse, interesting and exciting place to live.

But of course, change does not come without some disappointment. When I was growing up in Carroll Gardens the sidewalks and streets were clean. Store and homeowners took care to keep the sidewalks and streets tidy. Residents were careful with their trash, parents taught children to toss trash into cans and everyone benefited from it. As I walk the same streets today, I see so much litter it actually breaks my heart! I wonder every day, when did it become okay for Carroll Gardens to look like this?

I could probably list at least a handful of reasons for the trash being strewn about, but the greater question is how do we remedy this problem? I have been brainstorming to come up with solutions, none of which seem easy to accomplish. I thought, just maybe, that bringing the issue to everyone's attention in a post might help. Perhaps folks will make a greater effort. Sometimes simply raising awareness helps.

I thank you for hearing me out. And again thank you for loving Carroll Gardens and for sharing you chronicles with us.

Theresa Bartenope

I could not agree more with Theresa. When I moved here 32 years ago, local residents did seem to take more pride in keeping Carroll Gardens looking its best. Every morning, my elderly Italian neighbors were out on the sidewalk, sweeping up. It did not take long for them to let my husband and I know that the same was expected of us, the new 'kids on the block.'

These days, trash is everywhere. Personally, I find it embarrassing to walk through the neighborhood with out-of-town friends. Yes, they admire all the pretty brownstones lining the streets, but they also notice the litter.
The problem seems to have gotten worse, especially now that it is cold outside, which obviously discourages people from cleaning up in front of their property.
For the past few months, Carroll Park has been overrun by rats. No doubt, the problem is a reflection of how dirty the neighborhood has become.  The Park's Department has been baiting, but our first line of defense should be to pick up after ourselves.

Perhaps we can do something about this as a community in 2018?  Can we all make an effort to keep our streets clean, pick up after our dogs and teach our kids to put litter in its place?



chance bliss said...

i blame the despair and feeling of hopelessness that has fallen over this neighborhood because of an illegitimate electoral victory by a certain unscrupulous misogynistic property developer and entertainment figure who now resides in the white house. it's been a year of gathering strength, thus no one cares about cleaning up the sidewalks.

fear not however, because with the renewed determination that inevitably will come, i do predict an overall improvement in morale, as political victories will be achieved, however small, and as a reflection of that, sidewalks will soon be tidier again.

JMB said...

I've been noticing it too! We are newcomers as of about 4 years ago. It seemed to get really bad, this year specifically, and mostly on Court and Smith streets.

When you look at is, most of the trash isn't household trash. It's either stuff that blew out of an overfilled trash can or ripped bags, wrappers or containers from a business consumed by a person, or trash from businesses's poorly managed sidewalk trash situation.

One guess of mine to add among other theories is that people assume there are "sidewalk cleaners" in NYC who will take care of it, or complain that they aren't taking care of it. With the exception of some Manhattan intersections, I've almost never seen a person employed by the city or non-profit (such as the DOE fund) cleaning up the sidewalk. It's up to citizens and businesses to clean up after themselves.

Another problem I've noticed is the lack of trash cans in certain areas, but, to me this shouldn't be a problem. I pop open a neighbor's lid and toss my trash in the right container if I can't find a public trash can. I don't know if it's technically legal, but seems to help.

John said...

Those signs on the garbage cans that read "Put LITTER in its place" kill me. Litter's place, by definition, is out in public view. Not in a garbage can. Put litter in a garbage can, not in its place! :)

Anonymous said...

The smith street businesss association used to have people sweeping up. Those people are gone.
People drive up to the designated recycling bins and dump their car trash.
My neighbor hasn’t cleaned his yard in years. Piles and piles of trash and rats. My ignorant landlord thinks a tidy beautiful garden is causing rats and has threatened to fill it with concrete.
People don’t get the bins for glass and paper and trash. They just throw it anywhere. And the bins sit on slight inclines so their little doors swing open. And stay open.
Kids litter and are not taught not to.
Wind blows stuff around.
Rite Aid can’t and won’t clean up. The trees die from neglect and the tree pits become trash cans.
Sadly, rich people in our hood are lazy and raise lazy ignorant kids.
I suppose the rats are escaping the gowanus.

Concetta said...

I constantly see people dump their trash into tree pit outside my home. When I call them out on it I get attitude. I miss our once clean neighborhood.

Bklynldy said...

The problem is the overpopulation In this neighborhood . Pails are overflowing everywhere . It’s disgusting . Rats running around all over . Really a shame .

Anonymous said...

Bottle collectors, who seem to make regular rounds every day, also contribute to the problem by ripping open bags of recycling and regular garbage, or in opening and scavenging through recycling bins on the street, and then leaving whatever they don't want scattered on the street or in non-recycling receptacles.

Of course, one also sees many people just dropping their cigarette butts and other garbage on the street or sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

Rite Aid is terrible about the trash. They killed the cherry tress from neglect and never replaced them. Lots of trash leftover from the farmers market too.Too much Manhattan attitude from the newbies.... " somebody else will do it...

Jill said...

I do not agree with the anonymous comment above regarding bottle collectors. The bottle collectors are hard-working people and I do not fault them one bit and respect their initiative. We throw away nickels -- they find them. I have only ever seen them be good citizens.

AJtheTrainer said...

You have failed as a person if Donald Trump causes you to be a low life. Suck it up buttercup, the orange buffoon is going to be our president whether or not you are too distraught to throw away garbage. Have some pride in your neighborhood and stop shoe horning politics into everything. The neighborhood would look exactly the same if Clinton won.

Anonymous said...

The decline in the last 10 years is remarkable.

Rite Aid should be fined.

Graffiti is all over the USPS green boxes, blue collection boxes, lampposts, etc. 311 calls aren't making a difference. Will calls to Community Board 6 help? (718) 643-3027

An earnest "Hey, you dropped something!" to litterers sometimes works.

Seconding the defense of bottle collectors: they are mostly courteous and tidy.

Anonymous said...

If you are looking for the culprits who have turned this neighborhood into a pig pen, look no further than the people right here in Carroll Gardens! The garbage that seems to be everywhere, is not brought here by people from the Bronx or Staten Island or Queens! It's from the people who live here. Why should somebody (the Court Street Merchants Association) clean up after these pigs? Do these people have maid service that cleans up after them? We have good garbage collection, so why do so many of the brainless idiots in this neighborhood put their garbage in the street baskets? The enemy lives all around us!

Anonymous said...

I agree, as a life long resident the streets and sidewalks in our neighborhood are full or litter, leaves and dog poop! When did it become ok to walk your dog and not pick up after them? If you have a dog it is your responsibility to clean up after them!!! As for the littered sidewalks, it seems like very few homeowners and business owners sweep in front of their property anymore. We have neighbors with mounds of wet, decaying leaves in front of their house. It looks terrible! On the days that garbage and recycle is scheduled for pick up I see overflowing pails on the curb. What do you think happens to your paper and plastic recycle when the wind kicks up? It gets blown all over the street. I understand that some try to avoid using plastic bags because they believe is it bad for the environment but if your trash is littering the street isn't that a problem?!