Add to Technorati Favorites Clean NYC Now: July 2007

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.