Tag Archives: DSNY

Civic fumes over a trashy situation in Woodhaven


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Frustrations aimed at the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) over their overnight enforcement policies came to a head during the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) meeting on May 16 at the Emanuel United Church of Christ.

The WRBA has repeatedly petitioned the DSNY to change its practice of issuing pricey overnight summonses to business owners along Jamaica Avenue for illegally dumped trash. In recent months, the WRBA has received numerous summonses over garbage found in front of the group’s headquarters, located at 84-20 Jamaica Ave.

“They ticket overnight because that’s when people bring their bags to the curb for pickup,” explained Gregory Mitchell of City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office. “Unfortunately, there’s an issue that if people dump garbage in front of somebody’s business, the property owner can get a ticket themselves.”

The WRBA held a recent closed-door meeting with board members, elected officials and DSNY supervisors. According to WRBA Communications Director Alex Blenkinsopp, the DSNY officials explained that if they wanted a change in policy, they would need to petition their local city council member to change the regulations.

“When we were told by our city agencies to go to our City Council member because they’re not going to do anything about it, we realized this is a screwed up situation,” he said. “What are we supposed to do?”

Ulrich was considering changes in legislation back in October 2014 in the form of an “LS request” to investigate the feasibility of the proposed policy change.

“There’s really no way for us to legislate our way out of that problem,” Mitchell said. “We can change the law, but that’s not going to stop people from dumping garbage in the street.”

Blenkinsopp voiced his frustration over the situation to Mitchell. “It sounds like it took an awfully long time to find out we wouldn’t get any results from that process,” he said.

Assemblyman Mike Miller also voiced his displeasure over the situation.

“They don’t care,” said Miller, who participated in the aforementioned closed-door meeting with DSNY officials. “When we challenged them, they said, ‘That’s the way it is. This is the process. This is how we do it.’ It has to be changed.”

Miller explained that he has introduced legislation calling for a Citizen Review Board to deal with and discuss incidents such as wrongly issued summonses.

Mitchell proposed a follow-up meeting between WRBA board members and DSNY officials. He also mentioned that he would try to bring a DSNY supervisor to the next public WRBA meeting to address these concerns. In addition, he advised WRBA members to keep reporting incidents of illegal dumping to 311.

However, according to WRBA President Martin Colberg, the group once reported an illegally dumped mattress in front of their office, only to be hit with a pricey summons while sitting inside. Colberg said that he was considering installing security cameras outside WRBA’s Jamaica Avenue office to not only catch violators in the act, but to prove the group’s innocence to DSNY.

When asked if they could take their fight beyond City Council, Blenkinsopp explained that they have yet to receive a reply from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office regarding the matter.

“Back when he was public advocate, Bill De Blasio wrote a letter supporting a change in this law, but now that he’s mayor, he’s no longer responding to our reminders,” he said. “We can’t get the mayor to respond to his own previous policy decisions and to be consistent in his stance on this.”

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Middle Village block renamed for fallen sanitation worker


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's office.

A Department of Sanitation worker from Middle Village killed in a tragic accident last year will be remembered forever on the block where he grew up.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley helped family members, friends and former colleagues of the late Steven Frosch unveil on Sunday a street sign renaming the block of 67th Drive and 78th Street as “Steven Frosch Way.”

Frosch, 43, died in June after being fatally struck by a street sweeper while performing maintenance work at the DSNY’s Maspeth garage. He spent 15 years with the agency after serving for four years as an NYPD officer and briefly as a member of the FDNY.

“Steven dedicated his life to helping others, even before he became a uniformed serviceman. Those who were close to him tell stories of his selfless ways, always encouraging those around him to be their best,” Crowley said. “People like Steven Frosch are few and far between, and will always live on in the hearts of those they touched. I’m proud of this street renaming and thank my colleagues and everyone who helped make this possible.”

Frosch is survived by his wife, Bina, their four children Stevie, Charlize, Frederica and Jesse, and his brother Robert.

“We always had a group and endless laughs,” said Frosch’s close friend, Frank Ciccione, to the group of over 100 who were at the unveiling. “The city just recognized what we already knew—that this is Steve’s block.”

Last September, Greg Heihs, a friend of Frosch, came to Crowley’s office to request the co-naming. After a push from her office, the community and Frosch’s DSNY family, the name change request was submitted in November and approved by a City Council vote in January.

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‘Commuter Composting’ coming to Ridgewood and Kew Gardens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

BY ANGELA MATUA

Queens residents will soon have “Commuter Composting” in order to properly dispose of their household food waste, according to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

The DSNY is expanding its curbside organic waste recycling program and also adding 11 new food scrap drop-off locations. Residents will also see 19 more seasonal sites this summer, for a total of 64 sites throughout the city. The drop-off program offers composting opportunities for New Yorkers in neighborhoods or buildings that do not receive curbside collection of organic waste.

The “Commuter Composting” program will be offered in Ridgewood outside the Fresh Pond Road M train station, located on Fresh Pond Road near Putnam Avenue, on Wednesdays from 8 to 10 a.m.; and in Kew Gardens outside the Union Turnpike E/F train station, on Kew Gardens Road between 80th and 81st avenues, on Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

The collected compost will be distributed to local greening groups such as urban farmers, community gardeners and street tree stewards to improve the quality of the soil.

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said the program will help redirect organic material from ending up in landfills.  Last week, the DSNY announced it would expand its household organics collection program in Maspeth, Middle Village and other areas of the city.

“Organic material makes up about a third of our city’s trash,” Garcia said. “We are excited to be able to provide more opportunities for New Yorkers to recycle their food waste. By increasing the number of food scrap drop-off sites, more organic material can be composted instead of going to landfills.”

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DSNY to expand curbside food and yard waste recycling collection


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Get ready to see more brown compost bins in Queens starting the week of May 18, as more areas of Maspeth and Middle Village are added to the city’s organics waste pilot program.

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) voluntary curbside food and yard waste recycling program is expanding into both neighborhoods and communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island later this spring.

The program, which began in May 2013, currently serves more than 100,000 households and 700 schools throughout all five boroughs and has collected more than 6,500 tons of material. This latest expansion will add approximately 35,000 more houses to the program.

“Organic materials make up about a third of our trash,” DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said. “When you [recycle] your food and yard waste, you decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills and help create a greener and healthier New York City.”

All single-family homes and buildings with nine or fewer units will automatically be enrolled in the voluntary program. Residential buildings with 10 or more units may apply to participate. All eligible households will receive a starter kit, which includes an indoor kitchen container, an outdoor brown bin or a larger bin to share for a building with three to nine units and an instructional brochure.

To participate, residents should place their food scraps and soiled paper products, such as paper napkins and paper plates, into the kitchen container, then transfer the material into their outdoor bin for collection on their pickup day.

Examples of items that may be placed in the bin include food scraps such as fruits, vegetables, egg shells, pasta, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, baked goods, meat and bones; flowers and house plants; and food-soiled paper such as paper towels, napkins and paper plates.

Some items that may not be placed into the bins include plastics of any kind, even if labeled biodegradable, liquids, foam items, animal waste, cigarettes and ashes, and medical waste.

The collected organic material is managed both locally and regionally, with some of the waste being turned into compost and being used locally by greening groups such as urban farmers, community gardeners and street tree stewards to rebuild the city’s soil.

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Middle Village street to be named after sanitation worker who died in line of duty


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DSNY; THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Steven Frosch, the sanitation worker who tragically lost his life in June, will never be forgotten in Middle Village now that a street is being named in his honor.

At the end of January, the City Council unanimously voted and approved to rename 67th Drive between 78th and 79th streets after Frosch in memory of his sacrifice and for all of the work he did for the city. He worked with the Department of Sanitation for 15 years and also previously served as a member of both the NYPD and FDNY.

“Steven was a devoted family man who gave himself to our community and loved his wife, Bina, and their four children with all of his heart,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who represents Middle Village and Maspeth in the City Council. “His tragic death should serve as a reminder to all of us about the very real risks our uniformed workers take each single day in the service of everyday New Yorkers. Throughout his life, Steven truly personified New York’s finest, bravest and strongest, and he deserves to be recognized and remembered by our city.”

Frosch, 43, was working on a street sweeper when another sanitation worker accidentally hit him with another street sweeper and pinned him between the two large vehicles.

Police found Frosch unconscious and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Frosch was honored once before in November of last year at the sanitation garage located in Maspeth. The Queens West 5A garage was renamed in his memory, as he used to be deployed out of it.

“I am pleased that 67th Drive between 78th Street and 79th Street in Middle Village will be renamed to honor fallen sanitation worker Steven Frosch, who died in the line of duty last year,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “This meaningful act demonstrates to the Frosch family what Steven meant to this city and to the Department of Sanitation that he served so well.”

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Snow threatens Thanksgiving travel


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 5:01 p.m.

A winter storm is set to arrive just in time for the Thanksgiving rush.

The storm could bring 3 to 5 inches of snow to the city and is expected to impact holiday travel, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm advisory is in effect for the city from 7 a.m. Wednesday until 1 a.m. Thursday. The city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a snow alert for Wednesday, starting at 7 a.m. To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management also issued a hazardous travel advisory for Wednesday.

After a spring-like Monday, Wednesday daytime temperatures will be in the 30s and rain starting that morning will change to snow.

A mixture of rain and snow will begin about 10 a.m. Wednesday and transition to only snow by the early afternoon. The snow will continue falling, along with the temperatures, until Wednesday night. Winds will be breezy at up to 22 mph.

By Thanksgiving, the snow will be gone, but cold temperatures will impact Black Friday shoppers on Thursday night and the following day, with lows around 30 and highs in the mid 30s.

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City issues season’s first snow alert


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/NYC Sanitation

Winter may still be more than a month away, but the city’s Department of Sanitation has already issued its first snow alert of the season.

The alert begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, and the department has its salt spreaders ready to go in case of bad weather.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s, however, the forecast is only calling for the possibility of less than half an inch of snow overnight. Rain is mainly expected to fall, and taper off by Friday morning.

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Residents and business owners lock horns over Ozone Park plaza


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Supporters of the controversial Ozone Park pedestrian plaza defended the space during a meeting about the plaza’s future, calling it an oasis in a neighborhood that is starved of public space.

But others said the plaza, located on Drew Street and 101st Avenue, is detrimental to business owners who feel that the loss of parking and the cut-off of two-way traffic is causing sales to drop.

“We wanted to create an open environment for the community,” said Darma Diaz, chief operating officer for the Bangladesh American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation (BACDYS), which is responsible for the upkeep of the plaza. “This plaza gives the opportunity for the community to have a place to go.”

She noted that public space is so minimal in the area that children have to use the nearby municipal meter lot, located at Elderts Lane and Glenmore Avenue in Brooklyn, for activities.

“This is the only place we have in our neighborhood where children could get together,” said one attendee of the Aug. 21 meeting at Queens Borough Hall. “We have never had a place for us to get together [until the plaza].”

But Khemraj Sadoo, owner of Super Clean Laundromat, located on the same street as the plaza, said there is viable space just two blocks down on Elderts Lane in Brooklyn and wants the plaza moved.

“We need the plaza moved,” Sadoo said. “Who will accept such a plaza in front of his face with such loss of business?”

The plaza was first put in the area in the fall of 2013. Originally it was only designed to take up the tiny intersection of Drew Street where vehicles were once able to turn from Liberty Avenue to 101st Avenue. But Dalila Hall, DOT commissioner for Queens, said when the department came to assess the area they came to the conclusion that part of 101st Avenue would also have to be used for the plaza, which now has taken away parking spaces for customers.

Hall said the DOT did realize that many parking spaces were cut off, which is why they implemented a municipal meter on the Liberty Avenue side of Drew Street recently. She says with the introduction of the metered parking there is only a net loss of one or two parking spots.

But business owners say they need more than just the parking spaces back to survive. Restoration of two-way traffic and the removal of garbage were other top priorities for those who were against the plaza.

“We need two-way traffic back,” Sadoo said. “All the garbage from the plaza flies into my Laundromat. I have tickets from the city.”

Hall said the department is working with the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for more frequent pick-ups of garbage. The DSNY picks up twice a week in the plaza now, but Hall is hoping to increase that number to keep litter minimal.

Giving two-way access to the street again would mean the plaza would either have to be placed entirely on the sidewalk or be moved elsewhere. Issues such as that will have to be looked at more deeply, Hall said.

“We need to take this information in as an agency to see if more can be done to address everyone’s concern,” Hall said. “We will listen to both sides of course.”

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Activist dishes dirt on Jamaica garbage


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Joe

JANAE HUNTER

When Joe Moretti moved to Jamaica, Queens, back in November of 2010, New York City was about to experience one of the worst blizzards in its history. As more than a foot of snow covered the streets and sidewalks of his new neighborhood, Moretti was unable to see what really lay beneath. It wasn’t until the snow started melting months later when he saw that the piles of snow covered up piles of garbage.

“There was a vacant lot next to my building that always had a bunch of garbage all over the sidewalks around it and people would keep putting more. I started taking pictures and sending them to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and 3-1-1 because I wanted it cleaned up,” said Moretti, who has now been living in Jamaica for almost four years. “As I started walking all around Jamaica, I kept seeing more and more garbage, so more pictures and more reporting to the [DSNY].”

Moretti even took to YouTube, and posted music videos about it. While the videos garnered some media attention, Moretti wanted to get even more attention on the problem.

“I thought, ‘How can I crank this up some notches?’” Moretti said.

And that is when “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” was born. “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” is a blog Moretti started in 2013 to highlight the worst problems in the area: garbage strewn in to vacant lots, sidewalks and streets. He uses harsh language and writes in a tone that many might find offensive, but at the end of the day, he gets his point across.

“That has helped to bring attention to this major problem in Jamaica. Everyone is now talking about the garbage problem, whether they are offended by what I say or not. People are starting to do something. At the end of the day we all want the same thing: a cleaner, safer and better community, I just happen to do it in a loud and different way,” Moretti said.

He posts pictures that he takes around the neighborhood and writes a few choice words for some of Jamaica’s elected officials.

“Our leaders have been completely useless on this issue and have failed to do anything. They need to make sure that all the laws on the books such as littering, uncovered garbage cans and household garbage in public garbage cans are enforced,” he said. “People here feel they can do whatever they want because there are no consequences. It truly is the Wild Wild West of Queens.”

The blog is not all negative though. While its main focus is to bring attention to Jamaica’s garbage problem, Moretti also takes the time to talk about the good.

“The best thing [about Jamaica] would be the inside of the former Loews Valencia Wonder Theater (now the Tabernacle of Prayer Church) on Jamaica Avenue, which is completely intact and the only one in NYC that has been preserved. It is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see,” said Moretti. “The homes in the Addesleigh Park section of Jamaica are also gorgeous. At one time many of the jazz greats lived there back in the days. People think Jamaica is all crap, but there are some beautiful homes here and especially in that section.”

In recent months, there have been plans to revitalize and beautify Jamaica. Earlier this month, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz revealed plans to install dozens of light posts along Jamaica Avenue to encourage nightlife. The Sutphin Boulevard Improvement District plans to replace awnings in front of businesses, and a new department store on Jamaica Avenue is in the works. All of these changes are great, Moretti said, but pointless if the trash issue is not handled first.

“If you are not going to clean up the area and take care of the garbage problem, all those things are just the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. I mean, what good does it do to put new signs or awnings up, when the community is filled with garbage?

How about cleaning it up first?” Moretti said.

As long as he continues to live in Jamaica, Moretti said he will continue to post on his blog and continue to shine light on the problems.

“There is this bizarre part of me that gets off in taking on the powers to be here in Jamaica. It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Moretti. “Will it ever be what it once was? Probably not. But it can be great in a different way.”

 

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Residents skeptical as Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village begin composting in city program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Liam La Guerre

Little brown plastic bins have begun to appear in Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village as those neighborhoods have been chosen as the vanguard in the city’s new composting program.

The first bins were installed on June 2 as the city attempts to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills by recycling organic waste.

The neighborhoods were chosen because they’re a microcosm of the rest of the city with the rich variety of housing from single-family homes to larger apartment buildings, said sanitation representative Lisa Brunie-McDermott.

The city-run program’s goal is to collect organic waste like food scraps and turn it into renewable energy or compost, which is used to enrich soil.

But many in the communities are skeptical about how effective the program will be and say that the city didn’t warn them that they would be chosen for the composting experiment.

“It’s an inefficient program at this point,” said Gary Giordano, a resident of Glendale and district manager for Community Board 5. During a meeting that the Glendale Property Owners held on June 5 to discuss the pilot program, Giordano noted that in order for the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to collect the organic waste, an extra truck would have to be sent out on each block where there are brown bins.

“So what we’re looking at is an oxymoron. You’re wasting extra fuel in the name of going green,” he said.

Many residents at the meeting were also concerned that the city would ticket them for not participating in a program that they never wanted to be a part of in the first place. But, Brunie-McDermott explained, since the program is not law yet, there are no fines.

“It’s likely that if this becomes law, then there will be tickets involved,” she said. And whether or not the program becomes law is dependent on how communities like Glendale respond to it and whether residents participate. The DSNY is holding similar programs in the other four boroughs and by this time next year, the city will gauge how successfully the programs worked in the pilot areas.

Brunie-McDermott noted that during the first recycling period on June 3, just a day after the bins were given out, residents in Glendale had filled up their brown bins with all kinds of organic waste. And that’s a good sign for her, even if some in the community express trepidation.

“It’s a behavior change and it takes time,” Brunie-McDermott said. “I’m sure there were similar growing pains when the city decided to have regular recycling.”

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Get a closer look at the city’s snow clearing budget


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m.

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) spends millions of dollars on salt each year to keep the city’s drivers from slipping and sliding.

Millions more are spent in overtime for the men and women who clear the city’s roads.

The DSNY’s current budget for the 2013-2014 snow season is $57.3 million, and is spent on salt, vehicle and equipment parts, maintenance, cleaning, plows and motor vehicle fuel, according to a department spokesperson.

The 2011-2012 budget was $51.7 million. Each year’s budget is calculated by averaging the snow budget of the past five years, excluding the most recent year.

“I don’t have the most up-to-date figures, but I can say we’re within the parameters of what’s budgeted. We’ll see how it goes from here.”  Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday.

DSNY Commissioner John Doherty, in an interview with Good Day New York Wednesday morning, said the department would “no doubt” exceed its budget this year. The budget, however, doesn’t dictate how DSNY operates, he added.

Every snow season, the DSNY starts with approximately 250,000 tons of rock salt, the department spokesperson said. This year it cost the city about $13.4 million.

But with three major snowfalls already this season, that amount is gone, according to the spokesperson. The DSNY, however, “can replenish the supply at any time.”

Though the amount is likely to go up, more salt has been used in past years, according to city statistics.

For fiscal year 2011, 61.5 inches of snow fell, and 353,769 tons of salt was utilized.

During that period, $62.4 million was spent on snow overtime. When deployed to clear snow and ice, DNSY employees are on special 12-hour shifts.

Last season, 24 inches of snow fell and 183,597 tons of salt were utilized, with over $16 million in overtime, according to a DSNY performance report.

 

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Organics collection service extending to Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Department of Sanitation’s organics collection program is branching out to Queens.

Starting in April, residents in Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale will be able to participate in the program, which targets food scraps, food-spoiled paper and yard waste, such as leaves, to recycle. The program is already underway in parts of the other four boroughs.

The organics collection program is part of the city’s plan to expand recycling. The city spent more than $85 million exporting organics to landfills last year, and hopes that an expanded recycling program will lower that cost.

“If we can collect organics, we can avoid landfills disposal fees and convert the organic material into compost, an organic fertilizer, or clean renewable energy,” said Ron Gonen, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability. “It’s a win for taxpayers, it’s a win for the environment and it’s a win for local jobs.”

The containers are brown and come in a small kitchen size and a bigger curbside size as well. The program is volunteer-based, but the bins will be delivered to all buildings with nine or fewer residential units.

The Department of Sanitation asks that residents put only food-soiled waste, food scraps and yard waste in the bins. This means no metal, glass, plastics, cartons, animal waste, foam items, clothing or electronics are allowed in the organics bins.

People participating in the program do not need to line their organic trash bins, but if they want they can line them with newspaper, paper bags, cardboard, clear plastic liners or compostable liners approved by the Department of Sanitation.

The organic trash collected from Queens will be transferred to a composting facility upstate, according to a Sanitation Department representative.

For more information on the organics recycling collection program, visit www.nyc.gov/organics.

 

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Hercules flexing his muscles in first storm of 2014


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated Friday, January 3, 7:05 a.m.

The year is starting out with a shot of nasty weather that is predicted to bring near-blizzard conditions to the city.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday afternoon to prepare officials for winter storm Hercules, which is forecasted to bring five to nine inches of snow to the city.

“To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a statewide state of emergency, so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible,” he said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning until 1 p.m. Friday.

Cuomo also announced the Long Island Expressway will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. on Friday from the Queens/Nassau County border and east. The Northern State Parkway and all MTA bridges and tunnels will remain open.

“As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel and stay indoors,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized the “forecast could change at any moment.”

“That’s why it’s so important for everyone to pay close attention to updates in the coming hours,” he said at his administration’s first press conference Thursday evening.

Alternate side parking has been suspended Friday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

All express subway service will run local for the start of the morning rush hour, until all stored trains are moved from the express tracks. Riders should expect delays on city buses due to the weather. The Long Island Rail Road is operating on a weekend schedule effective 12:01 a.m. Friday. The Metro-North is running on a reduced schedule after 8  p.m. Thursday, and a Saturday schedule on Friday. To see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The weather is also affecting air travel. All flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) were suspended as of about 6:12 a.m., but the airport will remain open. Flights could resume in a couple of hours, said the FAA. Thousands of flights have reportedly been canceled across the country Friday, and travelers are urged to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

City officials have no plan to close specific streets yet, but will monitor that need as the storm progresses, de Blasio said.

The City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has put 2,300 workers on 12-hour shifts, and 1,700 trucks with snow plows will be deployed once two inches of snow hit the ground. To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Kew Gardens and South Ozone Park had accumulated more than 5 inches of snow as of 4 a.m., according to NWS.

Senior centers throughout the city will be closed through Friday, and de Blasio urged city residents to keep a close eye on the homeless population.

Joe Bruno, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) commissioner, said the NYPD, FDNY, EMS and other emergency officials will “work around the clock until this is over.”

OEM has issued a hazardous travel advisory for Friday, and is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service.

Temperatures will be blustery, with a high Friday of 17 and low around 8. Wind chill, however, could make the weather feel as cold as 10 below zero, de Blasio said.

Borough residents hit grocery stores and gas stations Thursday afternoon to prepare for the impending storm. People were piling into the Waldbaums on Francis Lewis Boulevard just “picking up extras,” but said “the crazies” would be sure to clear the shelves in the hours to come.

“I’m getting extras just in case,” said Anita Oberwiler, who anticipated frantic shoppers to come rushing through as the afternoon pressed on.

 

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Pol, businesses battle bulging baskets


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0479w

Trash cans stationed on community corners and reserved for pedestrians have been bombarded by household rubbish, causing the receptacles to overflow, much to the dismay of local leaders and business owners.

“Monday morning, I come in and bags are piled up,” said Kenny Patel, owner of a fruit store along Myrtle Avenue, where much of the problem has occurred.

Some Glendale residents have been taking full trash bags and dumping them in city litter baskets, which quickly fills the cans, say locals.

“We need to educate the residents to not use these for household trash, that’s what makes the cans overflow,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller.

The assemblymember has been working with the Department of Sanitation to register businesses in the Adopt-A-Basket program to help keep sidewalks clean and prevent fines for local stores.

Business owners are responsible for trash in front of their store, which can become more difficult when trash cans are filled past capacity.

Sarsia Sabudin, who owns a deli on Myrtle Avenue that adopted a basket, said almost daily he needs to collect debris that litters the area in front of his shop due to an overstuffed wastebasket.

“I’ve seen people drive up, roll down their window and dump their bags into the garbage,” he said.

If a business adopts a trash can, the DSNY supplies the owners with green bags to line the receptacles. When these near capacity, the proprietor replaces the bag and places the full bag next to the container for pick up.

“It’s a lot better to have two or three garbage bags tied up neat, than an overflowing garbage can,” Miller said.

The program and increased enforcement will aid in the battle of bulging trash, Miller said.

“Once we identify a corner where we know the basket is being abused, we’ll have our enforcement agents monitor it,” said Ignazio Terranova, DSNY community affairs officer.

Dumping household or business trash in litter baskets carries a $100 fine.

Miller said he will contact the Sanitation Department with trouble areas and business that want to adopt a basket. The assemblymember also said he plans on requesting request additional days of collection.

The litter baskets along Myrtle Avenue are currently collected twice on Monday, once on Wednesday and Thursday, and once a month on Sunday.

Jamaica’s trashy situation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Joe Moretti

Not long after Joe Moretti moved into his Jamaica apartment nearly two years ago he realized there was a problem.

The former Long Island City resident noticed his new neighborhood had a trash crisis, the result of illegal dumping in the LIRR tunnel on 170th Street as well as excessive littering in private lots, streets, sidewalks and even in St. Albans Memorial Park.

“This is not a way for a community to be,” Moretti said. “I had never seen anything like this. The more I walked around in Jamaica, the more I would see garbage. This had to be addressed.”

Moretti, a self-proclaimed clean-freak, began to contact the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), media outlets, and various community leaders at least once or twice a week for what he called “an embarrassment.”

As a result of his inquiries, many areas around his neighborhood have been cleaned repeatedly. However, the trash is reappearing. So Moretti is planning to start a grassroots organization with other locals that share his passion to combat the problem.

“It’s becoming too much for one person to do,” he said. “One voice is fine, but it’s better and more powerful if there are more behind it.”

According to Moretti, the problem is threefold. It starts with people who litter instead of throwing garbage in trash cans. Property owners are also to blame, he said, because many do not clean their lots and sidewalks. Finally, he said community leaders aren’t following up with the issue.

“The problem is going to be addressed,” said Yvonne Reddick, district manager of Community Board 12.

Reddick said CB12 has been asking business and land owners to clean their lots, the sidewalks and 18 inches from the curb into the street.

“If someone dumps a black bag in front of your door and you don’t see who did it, it becomes your job to remove it,” Reddick said. “You can’t wait for collection day.”

Reddick has also urged business owners to use the DSNY’s Adopt-A-Basket program, by which they can monitor chained litter baskets provided and collected by the city agency to prevent overflow.

Moretti and public officials agree that the DSNY is not to blame, because the agency has cleaned lots and picked up trash when contacted, and even posted violations and warnings to property owners that have neglected cleaning practices.

Moretti’s area in Jamaica has two scheduled weekly pickups, and residents should call 3-1-1 for any complaints of dumping or trash in private lots, said a DSNY spokesperson.

“Anything behind a fence is private property,” said Keith Mellis, of the DSNY. “We can’t just go in there and clean it.”

He added dumping, which has fines up to $20,000, is a hard issue to deal with because “it takes place in the wee hours of the morning.”

Councilmember Leroy Comrie said the garbage problem won’t go away in the near future if the community mindset and habits stay the same. It’s the reason he is willing to back Moretti’s grassroots organization.

“The only way we can do that [cleanup] is have a real campaign to get people a real respect for their neighborhood,” Comrie said.