Add to Technorati Favorites Clean NYC Now: 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Keep the poo in the bag.

Ahh, the Upper West Side. A suburban-like oasis in the heart of NYC. A bastion of baby stroller-filled brunches. A Woody Allen movie come to life. Seinfeld's address of choice. A playground of monstrous museums and green parkland. As clean as the City gets, perhaps. Why can't every neighborhood have a little UWS in 'em? Don't get us wrong, we're bored stiff on Columbus and 81st...truth be told, our nose starts to bleed as soon as we cross 23rd Street...but as much as it pains us to admit it, it sure is clean up there in 'dem parts.

Just have a look at the above sign we came across at the dog walk near the Planet-arium...

Can you imagine this posted near Washington Square?

Maybe we're getting old, or maybe a little crazy...but there sure is something nice about the clean, green, UWS.

How can we bring some of that uptown sensibility downtown? Send us your thoughts and we'll post our favorites.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

That trash ain't so bad...

So we're walking down 1oth street and we pass this pile-o-trash and it looks pretty, pretty, pretty big. (Sorry, had to get an ode-to-Larry David on the site...we miss him on HBO!)

So we turn the phone to camera mode and and get ready to snap when our friend says, "That trash ain't so bad," like Clubber Lang putting Apollo in his place.

And yes...wait a tic...we have friends. Just because we write a Blog and quote Rocky III, doesn't mean we don't have friends. Heck, we're not Trekkie's, we never won Zelda, we don't watch the new Dr. Who...ok maybe we watched one or two episodes, but that's just because we love the BBC...and we do have friends. Seriously. We do.

Anyway, we turn to our friend in this moment of panic, horror and shear confusion and say, "That's not so bad?!? Are you looking at the same pile-o-trash, my innocent inept friend?"

And she says, "Yes, I am. It's not so bad. I've seen worse."

At this point of the mind-numbing conversation (YES, mind numbing, what--so we get a little dramatic--we're a Pisces--it's in our stars, ok!?) we realize our dear sweet friend has become desensitized to NYC's trash. And herein lies one of our biggest hurdles in cleaning up our streets--the New York state of mind. And slowly fade-in Billy Joel song....and cut.

Yes, the City needs to find more dump sites, put together a larger budget for more frequent trash removal, be more consistent and strict with fines, and find ways to cut back on trash production. But even if the City achieves these goals, we New Yorkers need to change our mindset. (Here comes the rant): We can't live comfortably among piles-o-trash. We can't silently judge one pile versus another only to cut a hulking stash of trash down to "not that bad". We can't sit idle when pin-head bankers toss Metrocards on the ground, and we can't sit back and expect the City to take care of everything. We need to come up with creative solutions and clean our streets.

So after this momentary blast of emotion and reason we turn to our trash-blind friend and say, "You're an idiot. Get out of the're blocking the toilet."

What? D'you think we got all suburban and cuddly on you? We're still in favor of New Yorkers being loud, pushy, sarcastic and for that reason lovable and magnetic...we just want cleaner streets!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I see your trash is as big as mine.

Yes, we are riffing on Spaceballs...but come on, don't you remember how funny that movie was?

Anyway, any reader who can send us a photo depicting a trash pile larger than the one in our last Trash-arazzi posting will win a limited edition "Trash-arazzi" t-shirt.

"Trash-arazzo" for guys, "Trash-arazza" for the ladies, naturally.

Send shots to

Trash-arazzi: The largest trash pile ever.

August 6, 7:30PM
24th between 5th and 6th

Have a look at this pathetic pile of garbage--do you see the woman walking behind the wall-o-trash? She was of above average height. We saw her on the street. She was at least 5-7 or taller. However, this physically impressive woman nearly vanished behind that massive barrier of refuse. We feared for her life!

After we snapped this picture we tore across the street and dove Commando-like over the bags in hopes of rescuing her from certain doom, via trash-pile suffocation. Luckily she managed to shimmy her way past the bulging bags and narrowly escaped without harm, save for two severely numbed nostrils due to the excessive pressure she applied while pinching her nose shut.

We were not so lucky. Our heroic dive left us bruised and battered; not to mention our heart, broken by the mere site of the wall-o-trash.

This 6-foot wall-o-trash ran 30-feet-long on 24th street...and it stayed there for 12+hours--we saw the trash men remove the pile this morning. Why can't all trash be put out an hour or two before pickup? Isn't that how its done in Tokyo? And Paris? Not the night before, when it can rot on the street for hours on end as a feast for rats, vagrants and B and T's from Eugene (what, Long Islanders gotta eat too!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Readers comments: God bless fornicating, devil worshipping, litterous Americans.

Over the last five days, our readers have had some strong opinions. A few are listed below...along with responses from our editorial staff:
  • "I think you've hit on the perfect idea. The places people are allowed to smoke should be where the City dumps its garbage! Oh, Trashy, GREAT IDEA!!!!"

Dear reader, we never meant to imply smokers should have to sit near fact we are outraged smokers need to sit near garbage. They are putting enough garbage in their lungs already, they certainly don't need to sit on garbage as well.

  • "The garbage problem is unhealthy, gross and frankly an embarrassment to all of us. I once was stopped for directions by a group of foreign tourists (first-time visitors to NYC), and they were shocked to discover how dirty NYC was and asked how that could be. In a city that’s so admired around the world, a place so many people can only dream of visiting, imagine the shock of finding piles and piles of garbage (and food!) all over the streets."

Dear reader, you don't need to preach to the choir, we're with you. We were asked for directions this weekend--someone looking for a bar on Bowery--and we were so shamed by the idea of this tourist encountering trash on their walk through the LES that we gently coaxed them into hanging out in Soho instead. Of course just a block away on Prince street we saw a monstrous pile of trash least there were Prada bags in that pile.

  • "I completely understand the need to keep our environment clean, healthy adn litter free, but violently accositng those who do is not the best way to go about it. In fact, a friend and I were viciously attacked by some fat, balding hippy in Davis Square by my school the other day and he followed us into an ATM vestible, hollering at my friend for dropping a receipt on the ground and not picking it up. I disagree with her action, but as a young woman, I was afraid for the safety of my person. So, if anything, yell at the person if you must (although its really not the MATURE thing to do). But don't terrorize people. I've got the right to drink bottled water, smoke cigarettes, fornicate, worship the devil and drop shit on the city streets if i feel like it. This is America."

Dear reader, this is America, you're right about that. And please know we never meant to encourage violence. In fact we never mentioned anything of the sort. We did detail our pure anger directed towards litterers and we can't hide that fact. But we didn't encourage violence towards these heathen. And yes, dear reader, as an American you have the right to smoke cigarettes, and fornicate, and even worship the devil--as long as you are fornicating and smoking and devil worshipping in the privacy of your own home, one-hour motel room or designated public space. You see, as an American you can't fornicate anywhere you please...these things called laws prohibit that sort of thing. It should be noted these same complicated laws prohibit you from littering, i.e. "dropping shit on the city street." Quite frankly, it's Americans like you--Americans that adhere to such an arrogant and ignorant thought process--that give all other Americans a bad name and keep our city streets covered in trash. So my fellow Americans in closing, we pray...God bless America...God bless fornication and bottled water, and God bless those crazy things called laws.

Monday stains.

D'you ever take the time to look down at the sidewalks of NYC? D'you ever notice the nasty trash-stains?

You see, trash doesn't just make for a smelly, dirty eyesore it also stains our streets and these stains are...smelly...dirty...eyesores.

So at the end of the day, you can take the trash off the street, but you can't take the, trash...?!? Hold up, that doesn't make sense...does it?

Wait a minute...fool me once, and shame Fool me twice and...what was that line President Dubya used?'s been a long Monday.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dirtier than: Readers comments

In our July 31st "Dirtier than..." post we asked you to clarify the dirtiness of 24th street between 6th and 7th--your creativity never ceases to amaze...some of our favorites below:

-Christine claims 24th street is dirtier than, "New Jersey"...that's pretty dirty. We hope Jon Bon Jovi isn't reading this...but Jon, if you are, tell The Boss we love him!

-Maverick5483 chimes in with, "a goat's rectum"...that's downright horrid. One question, Mr. Maverick, how do you know if a goat's rectum is dirty? Hmmmm.

-Claudia says dirtier than, "Sicilian revenge"...which is truly quite dirty...and brings to mind our favorite line from the Princess Bride. All hail Wallace Shawn.

And finally, the most depraved response comes from Immon--which, for purposes of keeping our PG-13 rating here at Clean NYC Now, we paraphrase below:

-dirtier than, "a [lady of the night's] [undergarment's] after a long night in Hunt's Point."

Immon obviously owns a laundromat in the Bronx and is prone to vivid, psychotic hallucinations. Please seek professional help.


Friday, August 3, 12:10AM
MacDougal Street

From one of our most trusted readers (thanks Claudia!) comes this emetic photo. This is downright nasty...and who's to blame? Overzealous cat-sized rats? The City? The building outside of which the trash piles up? Frankly, at this hour, we don't care. Evidently a gaggle of Thursday-night-partying NYU students and bridge and tunnelers pranced past this plethora of garbage and not one person stopped to pick it up, or make a comment about how gross it was, or laugh at the girl taking a photo of it, or even to puke (we would have!). Actually, we take that dude was puking but that was from too many Jager shots at Off The Wagon. Puke in your mouth you overgrown frat any self-respecting drunk.


Thank you to the must-read City Room Blog from the New York Times for including Clean NYC Now in their recent Blog roundup.

We only hope we can keep up the good posts and of course we hope some of this positive exposure spurs our dear readers to Clean NYC Now!

(We also wouldn't mind if it lead to the capture and incarceration of that damned Metrocard-tosser.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Thank you to the always clued-in folks at's Daily Intelligencer for mentioning Clean NYC Now in their "Neighborhood Watch" section today.

Our founder - the merciless maven of trash himself - Mr. von Trashowitz, is humbled.


Wednesday, August 1, 9:40PM
6th Avenue between 15th and 16th streets

Fine, perhaps some people see smoking as a "trashy" habit. And yes, at least these fine ladies are smoking outside rather than inside some restaurant. But should their only refuge for having a drag be sandwiched between bulging bags (alliteration!) of trash?

Apparently in NYC this is considered a smokers lounge. We consider it depressing, dirty, dismaying and down right disgusting (alliteration again and again...and again!).

PS: From now on, all Trash-arazzi sightings will include an actual photo of Trash-In-Action (TIA). But wait...there's more! If any of you--our dear readers-- spot Trash-arazzi worthy TIA, please send us your shots and write-ups and we'll post our favorites. Of course if you can get a celebrity in front of some trash, or mingling with some trash (or even littering!) we will try to sell said photos to OK! Magazine (our favorite celebrity mag) and we'll split the profit. As we've said in the past, nothing better than environmentally friendly capitalism.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thanks MUG.

Just a quick thank you to the fine folks at Manhattan Users Guide who very kindly mentioned Clean NYC Now in the New York focused Blog roundup today.

We're honored, and let's hope it leads to tons of readers determined to Clean NYC Now!

The Metrocard-tosser and the "Circle of Hate"

If you check online, trash is defined as: Rubbish: worthless material that is to be disposed of.

Garbage is defined as: Food that is discarded.

We assume by the above definitions that old Metrocards would be considered trash. However, we also assume whether you call it trash or garbage, a used-up Metrocard is clearly meant to be discarded or disposed of in a proper manner and recycled if possible, of course.

It seems however that a rather hurried gentleman entering the subway on 23rd and 6th (the F train) sees things differently.
Let's break it down: As we gracefully slid through the subway turnstile this morning on our way to our real job, this bloated bloke next to us quickly pushed his card in and out, in and out, fighting the depleted monetary value of his card to no avail. Defeated, he pulled out another card...swiped through...and tossed the used-up card to the ground with no hesitation and a clear disregard for the Princeton Dictionary's definition of trash and what one is meant to do with trash (worthless material that is to be disposed of) (see above).

We yelled at the goon--"Stop...litterer! Stop, you slob!"--but he sprinted towards the downtown line, quickly out of sight and ass-kicking range. Quietly we turned and picked up his card and tossed it into the recycled card bin. Anger does not do justice to our rage. We bit our hand like Sonny when he finds out Carlo beat his sister Connie, in The Godfather.

We hated this man. We still do. He has entered our "Circle of Hate". And there's nothing wrong with having a "Circle of Hate". Ours consists of several extraordinarily awful people, including a friend of a friends mother who showed up drunk to our Grandmother's Shiva and proceeded to Saran wrap 7 sandwiches and some side salads to take home as dinner for her family.

Well welcome to the "Circle of Hate", Metrocard-tosser, and enjoy the company you litterous punk...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dirtier than....

24th street bewtween 6th and 7th is dirtier than_______.

Our favorite answers will be posted.

Reader comments...and forbidden chocolate cake.

Yes, we're back. Sorry for the delay but this isn't our full-time job...and isn't that the attitude that probably keeps our streets dirty? Who has time to pick up trash? Heck, if you walk down West 4th street you might wonder who has time to put trash in a garbage can...seems like most people are in such a rush they just toss it in the street.

From one reader:

This is one of the funniest AND useful web-posts I've seen. Kudos. Unfortunately, I've noticed that many, if not most, New Yorkers are somewhat disinterested in cleaning up after themselves, let alone cleaning the greatest city on earth. I live near the park on West 4th and have seen people leave their garbage (wrappers/brown bags/empty bottles) after they're done eating. Don't the police give quality of life citations to people who do this? The City won't be clean until each of its inhabitants does his/her part!

Thank you...and yes, the City supposedly gives fines. But they should be more serious about it. They should treat litterer's (is that a word?) like speeder's (is that a word?) on the Garden State Parkway on the last day of a month. The only way to really stop people from tossing trash all over our great city is to scare the hell out of 'em--just look at how our President convinced half the country to vote for him 3 1/2 years ago. Scare tactics work. Why not take all those officers in training and put them on trash patrol while they're out and about learning the ropes. In Tokyo its simply a way of life--not littering--you just don't do it. Cigarette butts go into your pocket ashtray (really) and trash goes into your can at work or home...or if you have to, in the can on the street corner. We need to change the mindset of New Yorkers.

Another comment:

Hi Trashy! Finally someone working to clean up our dear city. I'm wondering how can we focus all these people determined to 'go green' and get them to do the most basic greening of NYC...picking up trash? Hybrid cars, solar heating, techno trash, but does any of that matter if our streets are littered with french fries and chocolate cake?

MMMM forbidden chocolate cake. Oops, sorry, got distracted there for a sec. Back to the comment, yes, thank you...great point. Take all those folks that stood in line for the Whole Foods shopping tote...did anyone walk by the store after the line let out? Trash all along the sidewalk. Yes, we should have taken pictures...but we don't carry a camera around in our work bag...but maybe we'll start doing so. But trust us...after the environmentally friendly hipsters left with their branded bags the street looked like a post-concert Grateful Dead parking lot. Just remember-- all our hipster organic friends--the first step in greening the world is cleaning your own backyard.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


We live in a lovely neighborhood just west of Soho and south of the West Village. Some folks call it Hudson Square others call it West Soho....we call it home. Unfortunately its also home to trash. Bucolic as it may be, it's still NYC and there's still plenty o'garbage to be jumped over and pranced around.

This morning we went for a cup of coffee at our favorite new neighborhood spot, Local. If you haven't been to Local, its probably cause you're not one...or you walked past the bolthole-sized shop without noticing it. The coffee is the best we've had since we were studying pharmacology in Colombia. It's reasonably priced, comes with a smile and can be paired with a delightful list of finger food, like fig and mozzarella sandwiches and an out of this world zucchini bread.

But, as expected, along our leisurely morning stroll we spotted not one, but two heinous mounds of trash - spread across the street like a Jackson Pollock canvas. How does this happen? A) some cat-size rats had a field day and pre-dawn snack or b) about 65 people missed the trashcan by 2 to 35 feet. We can't really fathom why this happened but it seems to occur every day somewhere in the city. Maybe we need locks on cans? Maybe we need to pick-up trash every day, rather than two-to-three times a week? Maybe...maybe...maybe.
We're depressed...going to get drinks at Blue Ribbon Wine Bar. Give a hoot...

Show me trash and I'll show you garbage art.

We obsess about trash. Don't envy us. It's a dirty job...but someones got to do it.

That was the thinking -- we imagine -- behind Justin Gignac's entrée into the niche market of garbage art.

Mr. Gignac digs into a world filled with empty soda cans and beer bottles, chocolate stained candy wrappers and lipstick smeared cigarette butts to create dynamic collage pieces housed in minimalist-chic glass cube boxes. We at Clean NYC Now applaud Mr. Gignac for his unique vision and for doing his part to not only clean up the streets of NYC...but to also turn a small profit in the act. Environmentally-friendly capitalism is the new celebrity porn.

Mr. Gignac's work is for sale (including limited edition Yankee Stadium garbage art) on his artfully designed website - buy a cube and Clean NYC Now in the process.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Clean ideas: Upcoming contest alert!

Yes, that's Boy George picking up trash. Is our city so undermanned that we need to employ c-level celebrity cross-dressers to make the rounds?

From one reader: "Maybe merchants on each block should be responsible for cleaning? Or start offering sponsorship opportunities for city blocks like they have on highways?"

These are good ideas...not earth shatteringly creative...but solid, simple ideas, that could work and are cost-effective. Personally, we here at Clean NYC Now think we should fine merchants with dirty sidewalks and fine any litterer; take it really seriously, like jaywalking in LA...don't laugh we got a ticket...over $100...we said we were New Yorkers and didn't know the law and the officer said, "I thought New Yorkers knew everything?" He might have punctuated his sarcasm with the word, "dude," but we can't be sure.

Send us more ideas on how to clean up the city and we'll post our favorite. And once we start garnering a real readership, we'll give out prizes for the best ideas...we will...we promise...and good stuff too. What's wrong with buying friends? We did it in grade school with fruit roll-ups and it worked beautifully.


Friday, July 27, 8:07AM
6th Avenue between Carmine St. and West 4th

Each concrete slab on the sidewalk is stained with trash. The tree-boxes along the street are littered with dirty paper plates, plastic cups, and just this morning a half-eaten bagel with what looked like scallion cream cheese. Fact: This stretch of street consistently stinks of trash. Fact: This is a very popular block in beautiful, historic Greenwich Village. A block across from the famous West 4th Street basketball courts. A block bordered by Joe's Pizza (some say the best in the City) and Father Demo Square (recently refurbished by the city) to the south and the IFC Film Center to the north. Sure, there might be one, two or five XXX DVD shops/tattoo parlors and head shops crowding this stench-filled block...but is that a valid excuse for such a smell? Each step we take we further grasp our nose, squeezing so tight by the time we've reached the F-train on the corner our nostrils are numb.

No wonder there was a rat romper room in the former Taco Bell on the block. (Was this the inspiration for that Ratatouille movie?)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunny days, compacting the trash away...

First of all, please note the above title should be sung to the tune of "Sesame Street". If you did not sing it to the tune of "Sesame Street" please go back and do so.
Got it? Good.

Now, speaking of that magical, perhaps a bit peculiar street - as Dave Chapelle sees it - you certainly didn't see any trash 'round there did you? Maybe a few tads of this or that to make ol' Oscar feel kinda grouchy...but not much litter flying around Sesame's sidewalks.

Heck, maybe they had the BigBelly Cordless Compaction System ™?

This ingeniously simple idea from the folks at Seahorse Power offers a slightly industrial looking but certainly no worse than average trash receptacle that also operates as a solar powered compactor. Brilliant!

"The solar-powered, cordless design of the BigBelly Cordless Compaction System ™ allows the units to be deployed virtually anywhere, eliminating the costly trenching/wiring required for conventional plug-in compaction technology. This self-powered capability provides clients with great flexibility to locate units where trash collection is a challenge, thus dramatically improving service levels, reducing or eliminating unsightly overflowing trash bins, and reducing collection trips. "

Harvard University has tested them out around campus and several progressive cities have planted them around town - including Santa Cruz and Palm Springs, CA, San Antonio, TX, and Baltimore, MD, the heroin capital of the country.

If the Big Belly is good enough for the nerds at Harvard (then again they invited Ali G to address their 2004 graduating class - see here) and the junkies in Baltimore, than gosh darn-it its good enough for NYC!

Mayor Bloomberg, if you're reading this...and I'm sure after only 36 hours of posting, our humble Blog has made it to your 'bout tossing some of that money from the Mayor's Fund and putting it towards about 500 or so Big Belly's?

Just make sure poor Oscar doesn't find his way into one of those cans...


Thursday, July 26, 3:25PM
47th and Madison
That's right, Madison Avenue. A bastion of sophisticated shopping. Home to a glittering array of high-end designer flagship stores...and...TRASH. We were literally dodging old newspapers, plastic cups and pizza slice-stained paper plates. Sure we still managed to get to J. Press and score some great buys on our late summer WASP wardrobe, but seriously...what gives? What other city have you visited lately where you dodge trash...and not just along some back alley, but along one of the most famous stretches of luxury real estate in the world.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


These posts will be dedicated to our own version of Gawker's celebrity stalker...but instead of reporting on Famke Janssen on Houston St. we'll report on trash.

Please send in your own reports each day and will post the best ones.

Wednesday, July 25, 8:06PM
Broadway and Prince

Overflowing trashcan and trash on the sidewalk
Directly in front of gourmet-purveyor Dean and Deluca and across the street from the uber-chic Prada flagship store stands an overflowing, pathetically small trash much so, trash is all over the sidewalk five-feet in each direction and blowing down the block...and it smells...badly. Shouldn't Dean and Deluca care/do something? Shouldn't Prada? Shouldn't the city clean these trashcans out more often? GROSS! Oh well, at least the trash was mostly empty Fizzy Lizzy bottles, and gourmet chocolate wrappers...

Must view.

They just don't make 'em like they used to. Great David Lynch PSA's on cleaning up NYC:

Dirtier than....

New York City is dirtier than______________.

(*Our favorite comments will be posted.)


"Ooh, ooh that smell...can't you smell that smell...ooh, ooh that smell..." The smell of trash surrounds you.

Ahh, that sweet nectar of NYC. Trash. It's everywhere. It's nasty. And there must be a solution, or several. Yes, old time New Yorkers tell us the Big Apple is cleaner now than anytime in history...well if that's the case, our history is truly pathetic.

We're exhausted from breathing out of our mouths on the way to work for fear of trashy smells penetrating our nostrils. We're tired of watching litter roll down Prince Street like sagebrush blowing along the dirt roads of Tombstone. We're sick of that greenish-brownish sludgy stuff next to the trashcan on the corner that we might have stepped in this morning spurring this Blog. And, it's time we do something.

But what to do? Letter writing is a waste of is, write one, you'll see. Protesting is pointless--just read Ted Nugent's article on the Summer of Love. But in this age of viral marketing we can create a commotion. We meaning you and us. You meaning the vigilant, creative, strong New Yorker. Us meaning the "too much time on our hands" folks at Clean NYC Now.

Each day we will post idea-sparking stories, contests, quizzes, interviews, and rants (sorry, it's a blog and just like MTV reality shows having to depict hot-tub make-out sessions, we are required by the Blogger guidelines to rant.)

In return we ask for those sparked-ideas. Clean NYC Now should become a portal for ideas on how to clean up this great city of ours. Why should Sydney be cleaner? Why should Tokyo be cleaner? Why should Paris be cleaner? Why should Marrakech be cleaner - MARRAKECH! And it is...we were just there...the inner-sanctum of the darkest souk is cleaner than Houston Street on a Friday afternoon. Ugh.

We need to not only urge our politicians into action but to also give them viable solutions. Our elected officials are struggling to find answers to our trash problem. So let's give 'em some. And let's Clean NYC Now.