Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Neighbors, Let's Talk About All The Trash In Carroll Gardens


Neighbors, have you noticed how absolutely filthy our neighborhood has become? Everywhere one looks, there is litter on the sidewalk and in the streets. The worst are Smith and Court Street, where the public garbage cans are overflowing with refuse on a regular basis. Why is that?

When I first moved into Carroll Gardens in 1985, it was a working class Italian neighborhood. Sure there was garbage littering the streets, but many residents regularly swept in front of their houses and kept an eye on neighbors who did not.  It certainly was a lot cleaner than it is now.

These days, brownstones in Carroll Gardens sell for millions, but it sure does not look like a million dollar neighborhood around here.  Just look at the photos above, which we took in the past few days.

Our streets are a lot busier than they were just a decade ago. There are definitively more residents living here now as several tall developments have been constructed here.  Also, our local eateries attract people from other neighborhoods and there is a whole lot more foot traffic, especially on the week-ends.  

All this should prompt our local government to make sure that we get the proper trash pick-up.  Obviously, that has not been the case judging by how full the public trashcans are.  

So what can we do about this?
-Obviously,  produce less trash ourselves and pick up after ourselves.  We also are responsible for sweeping the sidewalks in front of our own houses.

-Make sure people know that the public trashcans are not for residential trash. (Too many times, local residents just dump their trash bags and broken pieces of furniture at the corner.

-Talk to the business owners on Court and Smith Streets to ask that they join in the effort.  
It is their responsibility to keep the sidewalk and curb of their establishment clean. 

-Call 311 and make a complaint to the Sanitation Department.

-Contact Community Board 6 at  718 643-3027 or to ask for help in addressing this problem

-Make a call to Councilman Brad Lander's office at 718-499-1090.
Councilman Lander, who is now in his third term (thanks to the 2008  Council vote granting then-Mayor Bloomberg and City officials an exemption to the two-term limit) should be advocating for proper services that better reflect our current community need.
Frankly, in the past few months, we have received more emails from his office regarding the upcoming national election than anything concerning his constituents' more local needs. Until he is elected into higher office, if he chooses to seek it, his primary concern should be his district, not Washington.

More development is on the horizon if the proposed Gowanus Rezoning, backed by Councilman Lander, goes through. The rezoning from manufacturing to residential will bring thousands more to the neighborhood. How will we cope if we are not getting the simple services like proper trash pick up we need now?

We need to get a handle on this situation.  Carroll Park is overrun with rats, people have reported seeing rats in their front yards, our children walk past overflowing, smelly garbage on their way to and from school.  Is this really happening in our 'beautiful brownstone neighborhood?

We would love to hear what you have to say and encourage you to help come up with a solution.


Anonymous said...

Your thesis that there are more people living here is incorrect. Brownstones that housed 2,3 and 4 families are now combined for single family use. The populations has stayed roughly the same.

CROD said...

As population increases so does the waste generated by that population. More garbage bins and a more frequent schedule to empty them would be a great start. A BID type of entity by the shop owners on Smith and Court streets to help in that effort might speed things along.

Also, pet owners cleaning up their pets droppings needs to be drilled into newcomers heads. Some of them just don't grasp that concept since it may not be a common practice in their countries of origin. different places have different customs it's up to us to educate newcomers .

Anonymous said...

By the bank, Capitol One across from CVS, that is house garbage. All the trash cans up and down Court St are use by the residents..the garbage should be looked thru and you may find a name and address on something..It really is horrible. AND I dont understand why they don't have special cans for the doggie poop, that's nasty too. They fling those bags and if it misses the can it stays on the floor...

Philly Don said...

As for the trash on 2nd and court, thats because of my neighbor, the crazy-batty old guy on the corner. he thinks that he will get in trouble for putting out his own trash, so he puts in front of our place and others, and if its not trash day, he will just leave it on the corner.

vivien said...

Thank you for writing about this. The situation has been deteriorating. There had been talk for years about a Court Street BID for the area south of Atlantic. that would help, in addition to greater care by shopkeepers and residents. Perhaps the Cobble Hill Association can become more involved.

Anonymous said...

CG Lifer here.....

Katia, I agree with your comments generally. I do not think the neighborhood is more densely populated, now. When I grew up in the 1960s, we had 17 people (yes, I counted) living in our 20 foot four-story brownstone. That same house is lucky if there are 6 people living there now...same for all the Italian-American houses on the block.

There are many, many students walking to and from the 5 schools in the neighborhood. (142, 58, 32, Hannah Senesh, and International School at St. Marys). Lets face it, kids are slobs. So that contributes to the general refuse problems on Court and Smith Streets.

I would point out that in 1985, alternate side of the street parking was two times per week for each side. (i.e., each side got swept twice a week) Sometime afterwards, the city dropped to once a week per side...better for parking, worse for street cleaning.

Also, the sanitation department used to frequently ticket shops that did not maintain their sidewalk. They used to give tickets on the side streets too, but not as much.

Also, when I was a kid, if the sanitation worker spilled trash on the way to the truck, there was a broom on the side and they would scoop it up and get rid of it. I cannot tell you how many times I see a mess on the side street when Sanitation picks up trash. If trash spills, they walk away from it.. (No doubt in a hurry to finish their rounds so they can hang out and get a bagel and coffee at Bagels on the Park!)

So the solution seems to be better service and enforcement by Sanitation. Of course, residents could be a bit more thoughtful about trash.

By the way....if the bat-$#!+ crazy guy on Second Place is throwing his trash in front of the bank then Sanitation should ticket him (they used to go through trash to figure out who was responsible) I assure you Mr. Crazy will get sane very quickly when there's a $100 ticket on his door. You can also resort to a little self help...I once had a fight with bat-$#!+ crazy lady across the street who insisted on leaving her trash in front of my house because I have a fire hydrant. After many polite requests, a screaming match ended when she found the contents of her trash bags IN her garden. It was not pretty, but it worked.

Katia, thanks for an excellent article.

Anonymous said...

It's at least as bad on the other side of the highway in the CSWD too - People should really have more pride in the neighborhood but then again look at how people dress walking around in public these days.

Anonymous said...

Also a lot of the trash on the NW corner of Court and 2nd is trash also from Capitol One and CVS. Overnight people go thru the CVS garbage and it ends up on on the other side. Capitol One only recently stop using the public trash cans and is now correctly using a private trash company. We had to have a talk with them.
As for street cleaning, there is a abandoned black SUV right there, and the trash collecting around it is disgusting.

Sledge said...

Anon oct 17, 2:43..... although it’s not funny, u made me lol re how people dress. I too have a problem with somebody leaving garbage bags (more than one at times) in my tree pit. Absolutely awful! Keep calling sanitation dept. thx Katia for pics. Folks need to know that more garbage breeds more rats!

Anonymous said...

Mental illness is the culprit on my block. Rats and trash piles. Like the Beverly Hill Billies. Sad deterioration. And yes my favorite offender is Kittery. And the building behind it. Although they are really getting better at containing and cleaning the private cans are filthy and the hose water leaves a slimy smelly trail into the sidewalk. In the summer I had to douse it with bleach to kill the flies. They also left a huge cement brick on the sidewalk for months. Children are slobs and when I was a kid we were fought not to litter. I called the DSNY about overflowing trash. And in front of Rite Aid. No one seems to understand the bins and they don’t stay closed on a slanted sidewalk. The little doors swing open. Look to Europe people. Recycling is the law. The bins don’t open. People throw trash out of their cars and miss the bins. What can one do? It’s New York City. :(

Anonymous said...

If you call 311 to file a report with Sanitation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CONTACT INFO. I receive a very threatening call from Supervisor Giovanello and had to file a Dep't of Investigation report. The man is unprofessional and scary.

Unknown said...

There are a number of community members and local businesses working to create a Smith Street Court Street Business Improvement District. The purpose would be to support local businesses and importantly to keep the streets clean. That is at least one possible solution.

Anonymous said...

During the Deblasio administration, all city streets got more dirty and smelly
Creating pressure on our representatives is a must.
If they want to be re-elected they need to work for us (the public)

Mark C said...

Until recently, I lived just south of Atlantic on Court and Pacific St for 15 years. As the neighborhood became a more of a tourist attraction and listed in travel books, blogs and TV shows, you would see the garbage bins on the corners, which were empty on Fridays, would be overflowing by mid-day Saturday due to increased foot traffic. And then you could watch people gingerly lay their coffee cups, food wrappers, poop bags, etc. on top of the overflowing bins, as if their garbage wasn't going to fall or blow all over the neighborhood. By Sunday nights, especially around Starbucks on Dean, the bin would be invisible under a pile of refuse. And garbage pickup wouldn't happen until Tuesday.

Kudos for Pacific Green, who would keep bin liners in their public bin on Pacific and Court, and empty it themselves before it would become a hazard. But walking the dog around the neighborhood (and always--ALWAYS picking up after her) one was always on the lookout for garbage that she might eat.

Anonymous said...

I feel that one of the greatest contributing factors to our dirty neighborhood has been the filthy, disgusting human beings who insist on taking their household garbage and putting it on/in/around the corner sanitation baskets. We have good garbage pickup twice a week and there is not need for this kind of behavior!

chris said...

It's a major reason why my wife and I consider moving. I will reach out to the community board and Lander. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Brad Lander won't do a darned thing about the trash issue in Carroll Gardens, as he's doing nothing about the trash issue in Park Slope. Trash won't get him in the New York Times, won't get him on the union-busting Charter/Spectrum NY1 News. Trash won't make the St. Louis native and de Blasio Mini-Me a national, progressive political figure.

Jim said...

Between the excessive summer growth of weeds that the city and neighbors ignore, trash, dog crap on the sidewalks, the bitter winters when far too few neighbors keep their sidewalks clear of ice, and the multitude of strollers, we finally had enough and moved away, far far away.

Anonymous said...

Can we take a minute also to discuss dog owners who don't curb their dogs and let them pee anywhere? Stoops, gates, doors, walls, parking kiosks, bus shelters, flowers in tree pits, compost bins, trash cans, trash bags left out for sanitation collection... if you look at the parking kiosks, they are all corroded at the bottom from dog pee.

Anonymous said...

There's very little sense of community anymore - it's become the suburbs for rich people who lock themselves away in their single-family brownstones. I've been here for 10 years and I'm looking to move soon because of how homogenized this neighborhood has become. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

There was a Smith St. BID some years back and that did help.
I filed complaint about litter on Smith/Baltic with 311 --- then I looked up and they found no
problem. I give up. Overgrown tree pits and always litter on sidewalk and curb.

Kate88 said...

Dear Anonymous 10/24/18 1:33pm

There has never been a BID on Smith Street. There is a BID formation effort that is still going strong. We have been working to pass a BID for 5 years now. We want a BID that covers Court & Smith Streets between Pacific and 2nd place. Retailers in that area can Vote Yes! Condo Owners in that area can Vote Yes! ( Condo owners pay $1.00 a year to support the BID ) Property owners can Vote Yes! more in on the website ballot on website. Talk to us on Facebook.

Brad Lander has been generous supporter of our effort.

Steering Committee Member

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about compost in Carroll Gardens.
Despite the budget cuts, Carroll Gardens is one of the lucky neighborhoods that has a compost drop off site. Sunday mornings 8-12
A block from the Greenmarket at Smith Street and First Place.
Such an easy way to do something good for the environment.
Bring fruits, vegetables, eggshells, and bread, but please no meat or dairy.
See you there!