Tag Archives: New York City Department of Sanitation

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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Forest Hills restaurant files claim demanding city pay for damage done by snow plow


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of Exo Cafe

A Forest Hills restaurant that suffered thousands of dollars in damage from a Department of Sanitation plow truck accident wants the city to pay for the repairs.

Customers were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. on Feb. 13 when the city snow plow struck a garbage can full of snow ice, which then hit the restaurant, police said.

The accident damaged the eatery’s winter vestibule and shattered some of its windows, according to the establishment’s owners, who captured the incident on their surveillance video.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The restaurant was able to quickly clean up the mess and resume regular business, but still needs money to repair the nearly $50,000 in destruction, said owner Peter Kambitsis.

Though Exo Cafe has filed a claim through its own insurance, Kambitsis believes the city is financially responsible.

“Why should we go through our insurance when they have their insurance,” Kambitsis asked.

Kambitsis said he filed a claim with the City Comptroller’s Office on Feb. 18. Since then, representatives from the city have come to the restaurant to examine the structural damage.

As of Monday, he is still waiting to see when or if he will be reimbursed.

A spokesperson for the Comptroller’s Office said the claim was still under review.

The Department of Sanitation conducted an investigation into the accident and said it “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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VIDEO: NYC plow truck sends trash can of snow, ice into Forest Hills restaurant


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photos courtesy of Elias Kalogiros/Exo Cafe

Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 12:00 p.m.

Several customers were injured after a New York City Department of Sanitation plow truck sent a trash can of snow and ice into a Forest Hills restaurant Thursday night.

Diners were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. when the accident damaged the restaurant’s winter vestibule and  shattered some of its windows, according to Elias Kalogiros, the establishment’s owner.

Police said the city plow truck hit the garbage can, which then struck the vestibule.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to the NYPD.

“We were really upset about what happened. We thought it was complete negligence,” Kalogiros said.

“If somebody was standing inside of the vestibule…they would have got hurt or even died.”

The truck driver, who said he didn’t know what had happened, kept going, but was flagged down, according to Kalogiros.

Kalogiros wasn’t at the restaurant at the time of the incident, but was able to see it later through surveillance video.

“It looked from the video that [the plow truck] was reckless,” he said.

In a statement, the Department of Sanitation said it conducted an investigation into the accident and “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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Snow slams city again; more in forecast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Monday, Feb. 3 1:45 p.m.

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Another round of snow is impacting New York City, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted six more weeks of winter.

“Things are going to be messy today,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Monday afternoon.

“Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it.”

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a “snow alert” starting at 1 a.m. Monday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Monday and Tuesday to facilitate with winter weather preparations, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The mayor also said that the timing of the storm could also make it difficult for snow clearing, and urged New Yorkers to stay off the road after rush hour so streets could be clear for the morning commute.

After receiving criticism about plow response during the  Jan. 21 snowstorm, de Blasio said a review was done and changes were made.

One change, he said, was to cancel garbage and recycling pick-up earlier, which was decided Sunday afternoon.

NYPD cameras have also been accessed by the DSNY to better target snow clearing operations.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has also issued a “Hazardous Travel Advisory” for Monday.

A winter storm warning has been issued citywide from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. by the National Weather Service (NWS) and 4 to 8 inches of snow are expected Monday with temperatures in the 30s. Visibility is expected to be low.

The snowfall will taper off by about 7 p.m., but the bad weather won’t end there.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch for late Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon, with 2 to 4 inches of snow along with sleet predicted. More snow could also hit the area over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Monday’s snowfall was already causing delays of several hours at local airports by the morning as well as delays on local bus routes.

The MTA has canceled Fastrack maintenance on the A and C lines in Brooklyn. During mid-day hours, subway trains will be stored underground on express tracks to for protection, impacting express service on portions of certain lines, the transit agency said. Express service, however, will be restored for the p.m. peak period. MTA bridges and tunnels are open.

Though the city’s public schools were open Monday, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that due to the weather, after-school programs and PSAL activities are canceled.

“Since snow is expected to make roads slippery, we urge New Yorkers to exercise caution when traveling to and from schools. Safety is a top priority for the Department,” she said.

 

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NYC to get more snow this weekend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Saturday, December 14 10:10 a.m.

After one snowfall earlier this week, the city will be hit with another round of flakes this weekend.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Saturday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management has also issued a “hazardous travel advisory” for Saturday.

The snow will start falling Saturday morning, with 4 to 6 inches of snow accumulation expected and a high of 31, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Around 10 p.m., the flakes will begin turning to rain.

The rain should stop by mid-day Sunday and temperatures will be warmer, with a high of 43, according to the NWS. But it will be breezy, with winds at 16 to 21 mph.

For anyone traveling on public transportation this weekend, the MTA said has plans in place to keep its transit services up and running during bad winter weather conditions. The transit agency has cancelled scheduled weekend work with these exceptions. To see any MTA service changes, click here.

 

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Snow hits New York City; 3 to 5 inches expected


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Winter is still more than a week away, but the snowflakes are already falling.

The New York City Department of Sanitation issued a “snow alert” starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Alternate side parking has been suspended today to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The snowy weather will continue throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).  A winter weather advisory is in effect until 5 p.m., with 3 to 5 inches of snow predicted in the city. Drivers should expect icy and dangerous travel conditions.

For anyone traveling on public transportation, the MTA said has plans in place to keep its transit services up and running during bad winter weather conditions.  To see any MTA service changes, click here.

 

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Sanitation workers not told about Sandy-related payment errors


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

FEMA/Photo by Andre R. Aragon

Last week, some of the city’s sanitation workers got a surprise in their paycheck — a deduction. In the chaos of Sandy’s aftermath, downed computers and closed garages caused payment errors for the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), according to Harry Nespoli, president of Local 831 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association.

Some workers were overpaid, while others received less than they earned, he said.

After realizing the error and the involvement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — which is reportedly giving the DSNY $26.3 million to cover Sandy-related overtime work — a review of payment records began. But before the audit was complete, the city started to make the adjustments in workers’ paychecks.

They didn’t inform the union until the day those checks were given to some of the affected workers, Nespoli said. “When you are expecting $500, $600 and have $130 in this economy, there are bills that are not going to be paid,” he said. Nespoli said it was wrong to not inform workers of the pay changes, adding the union should have been involved in the audit from the beginning. The city told me “we always wait until [the review] is over with and then we contact the union,” said Nespoli.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

Once the union found out about the review, it made sure that no more money would be taken out or added to pay checks until the investigation was completed, and that it would be involved with the audit going forward.

“The DSNY is continuing to discuss the results of the audit with the Sanitation Workers’ union in order to reconcile any differences,” said DSNY spokesperson Kathy Dawkins.

Nespoli said he expects the audit to continue through the summer.

 

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Snow alert issued for NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Although it will be nothing close to what Nemo brought to the New York City area last week, there is more snow in the forecast.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” for Wednesday, starting at 4 p.m., in preparation of a possible snow event.

According to the National Weather Service, there will be rain after 5 p.m., which will turn to snow mainly before 3 a.m., with accumulations of one to three inches possible.

Snow is also forecasted for Friday night, but with the low around freezing, the precipitation should be mixed.

 

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Effort to keep Roosevelt Avenue clean


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras is trashing old garbage pails that permitted refuse to overflow onto the sidewalks of Roosevelt Avenue.

The councilmember joined New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Comissioner John Doherty on October 18 to announce the installation of 14 new, high-end litter baskets along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

“Today’s announcement is just the beginning of a much larger plan for improving the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor,” said Ferreras. “The new litter baskets have a larger capacity to better meet the demand of this high traffic area.”

The councilmember, who is sponsoring the trash receptacles, is also funding extra basket collection service along the avenue, in the hopes of quelling the garbage problem faced by members of the community.

“I want to see a thriving Roosevelt Avenue,” Ferreras said. “Creating a cleaner, safer place is a top priority for us. These high-end litter baskets will help keep overflowing trash off the street and help create a better environment for the residents and businesses alike, as we work to make Roosevelt Avenue a safer, cleaner destination for all.”

The larger baskets will be placed along Roosevelt Avenue on the corners of 82nd Street, 90th Street, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and 111th Street.

The extra collection service, which began in July, increased pickups from every other Sunday to every Sunday.

“By funding these initiatives, Councilmember Ferreras provides a great example of how elected officials and residents, working together with the Sanitation Department, can make a real difference in helping to keep their communities clean,” said Doherty.

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras:

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.