Garbage To Compete With Snow As City Trucks Divide Duty


Garbage is the new snow in New York City.

Bags of trash tower on the sidewalks outside apartment buildings, while garbage cans left buried since the city’s last pickup, on Christmas Eve, poke through dirty mounds of melting snow.

New Yorkers still cursing City Hall for seldom-seen plows after the Christmas weekend snowstorm are transferring their ire to garbage trucks, which will make their first reappearances on Monday. Alternate-side parking rules will still be suspended.

But the Sanitation Department said it would resume residential garbage collection — beginning Monday at 7 a.m. — in only a “limited” fashion.

“We will have 50 percent of normal collection trucks out,” said Keith W. Mellis, a department spokesman. “We still have 50 percent of the trucks out for snow-clearing operations.”

Those who get regular Monday garbage collection, he said, should put their trash (including Christmas trees) outside, but not items to be recycled. Workers will collect the bags. Eventually.

“We will be behind,” Mr. Mellis acknowledged. “We’re going to be working on Monday’s material on Tuesday. As soon as we finish Monday’s, we’ll get to Tuesday’s.”

He added that he could not say exactly when trash would be collected because that depended on which districts needed more crews to remove snow. The lack of specifics left some city leaders fuming.

“It could mean too much garbage will end up being on our streets for too long, and the likelihood of rat and health issues arising will increase with each passing day,” City Councilman James Vacca, a Bronx Democrat, said in an e-mail. “If these problems occur, those who thought snow removal was problematic will have seen nothing yet.”

Councilman Vincent Ignizio, a Republican from Staten Island, said in an e-mail that the trash problem was “just the continuation of a poorly implemented snow-removal plan.”