BY GABE HERMAN | It has been almost a year since a caravan of garbage trucks were first stationed on an East Village side street, drawing complaints about bad smells, early-morning noise and half the block’s parking being used up.
This past Sunday, locals and several politicians gathered on E. 10th St. between First and Second Aves. to say enough is enough. They called on the city to finally find a new home for the trucks.
The problem started last September, when the Department of Sanitation’s garage lease expired at 606 W. 30th St. between 11th and 12th Aves. That block of Hudson Yards is being developed. D.O.S. has since been searching for a new home for its trucks that serve Community Board 6, which covers most of the East Side between 14th and 59th Sts. Due to the loss of the W. 30th St. garage, two other East Side blocks have also been used for garbage-truck parking: Mt. Carmel Place at E. 26th St., between Second and First Aves., and York Ave. between E. 59th and E. 60th Sts.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that the residents and businesses along E. 10th St. have suffered for this long,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at the press conference. “Today, much like every day, the foul smell of garbage lingers throughout the block and negatively impacts this community. The Sanitation trucks also attract rodents, pose security concerns, and take up nearly half of the parking on the block.”
Maloney called on D.O.S. to find an immediate fix to the problem.
Other local politicians at the event included Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Councilmember Carlina Rivera and state Senator Brad Hoylman.
Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, said of D.O.S., “There has been no attempt to address concerns of residents and businesses on 10th St.: Residents are living with smelly garbage, disabled residents don’t have accessible curbside use or transportation, and a restaurant cannot successfully sell food with a smelly garbage truck right outside. There have been suggestions but no followup nor ongoing attempts to resolve.”
Residents have reported being woken up at 5:30 every morning by noise from the trucks. And the stench affects business for the five restaurants on the block, several of which have outdoor seating.
Avi Burnbaum, owner of PINKS, a bar and grill on the block, said the city is simply doing the block wrong.
“These new conditions have made it extremely difficult to do business at the level required in order to survive, let alone succeed,” he said. “We have felt forsaken by our own city.”
S. Jeanne Whitt, who has lived at 240 E. 10th St. for nearly 20 years, said the flotilla of parked trucks have a ton of negative impacts, from a reduction in residential parking to an increase of rodents.
“Not only do the trucks make parking for the residents difficult,” Whitt said, “the foul odors emanating from the trucks and the noise from their idling engines have drastically decreased our quality of life. The trucks are a magnet for rodents, and the diesel fumes from the trucks are deleterious to our health.”
Whitt added that it’s also a security issue since the trucks block the building from view by Ninth Precinct patrol cars.
The elected officials at the Aug. 18 event also sent a letter to Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. Their missive noted that Mayor de Blasio last Sept. 28, said, “I’ll talk to the commissioner and figure out what we can do to relieve the immediate pressure. We certainly don’t want those residential areas to feel the burden.” The politicians’ letter continued, “Nearly a year has passed and the trucks remain.
“Many of our offices and other elected officials have held numerous meetings and made several appeals to DSNY to address this situation, yet your agency has not updated us on any alternative options or timelines,” they added.
The pols’ letter asked for details about other locations being considered by D.O.S. for the displaced trucks, and requested a meeting to discuss what is being done to find another spot for them.
A D.O.S. spokesperson told this paper that the agency has been looking for another garage space since last year, but that finding one is not easy.
“This has been a challenge given Manhattan’s tight real estate market,” the spokesperson said. “We have also been evaluating alternative parking location options, which may require other city agencies, like the Department of Transportation, to be involved in locating and evaluating any alternate spaces.”
E. 10th St. is being used for parking because it’s close to a section station at 155-157 First Ave., between Ninth and 10th Sts., the spokesperson said.
“Our section station has small offices with toilet facilities, lockers and communications equipment, and it is where our workers get their morning and evening roll call and orders for the work day,” the rep explained. “The Department of Sanitation is committed to being the best neighbors possible at this location.”
The spokesperson said D.O.S. is continuing its search for a new garage, but did not provide details about a possible location or timeline.