Trash bash: New Year's party brings tons of garbage
Sanitation workers clean up trash in Times Square this morning. AP photo
By The Associated Press
One million revelers packed into Times Square plus a ton of confetti and countless noisemakers equals a whole lot of garbage - about 40 tons, according to the city Department of Sanitation.
Cleanup crews hit the streets shortly after midnight today following the 2009 ball drop. Sanitation spokesman Keith Mellis said 163 people worked until 8 a.m. to sweep up the party trash, and a new shift started at 11 a.m. to tidy the area.
Because of the wind - nearly 25 mph gusts throughout the city - the department wasn't quite sure how much trash was strewn about, but Mellis expected a little more than last year's 40 tons. The Times Square Alliance, which puts on the event, said about 1 million people attended.
The biggest cleanup challenge is shooing away the massive crowd so crews can begin work, Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty said.
"It takes a while," he said. "Last night was a windy night. There's probably confetti as far as the East River."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was out early today praising the department's work and expressing optimism about 2009 despite the economic gloom of 2008.
"There were an awful lot of good things that took place in 2008," he said. "Fewer people went to bed hungry, fewer people slept without a roof over their head, democracy continues to work in this country."