Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I wish this was fixed...

Sometimes, I get asked about New York. Isn't it a great place to be? Certainly: there's the Met, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and many other wonderful cultural icons. But one of the things that comes to mind is the smell. It's like a well kept secret, but in summer the city (Manhattan in particular) smells. Or, rather, stinks. Every so often I get a look when I describe the stench. How can I say that about New York? Isn't "stink" a bit harsh? Well, thanks to the New York Times, now I can say that the term "stink" is appropriate. Check it out here. Some snippets:

As mounds of refuse go, this one was neither unusually tall nor unusually messy. At about five bags, it rose about two feet off the ground.[...] But by mid afternoon, the temperature had reached 103 in Central Park, and the heat that cooked people’s nerves and the city’s subway platforms roasted this mound of trash, and hundreds like it around New York City.[...] “We don’t have enough trucks and personnel to do everything at once,” Mr. McKeon said. “It takes some time. We do have a large amount of extra trucks today. We’ll put out extra trucks tomorrow also. We’ll be working around the clock until we catch up.” In the heat, the trash that the department and the commercial haulers had not yet collected proved both an olfactory and linguistic problem for New Yorkers. People tried to explain just how awful it was when a piece of chicken sat in a plastic bag on a sidewalk in 103-degree weather. [...] She was at a loss to explain why the nine empty trash bins she stood next to still emitted a repulsive odor. She figured it had something to do with the mysterious liquid dripping from them. “It smells like cat or dog feces mixed with food that been there for weeks or something,” Ms. Bumbury said. [...] “Last night it was smelling something rotten,” Mr. Morales said. “My kids were crying, ‘What’s that smell, Daddy? It smells like a rat that’s dead.’ I said, ‘No, mami, it’s not a rat, it’s the garbage.’ ”

How about doing trash collection at night, when it's cool and trash doesn't have to stand in the heat all day, making the stench unbearable? Or how about not dumping all the bags on the street grates? They puncture the bags, and all the juices go down into the trains and subways just to come up later as hot, sticky, humid stench. I swear am not making this up. Fix it, yes? Please? You can't say there's nobody rich enough to collect taxes from...

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