MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY – Large, containerized waste bins have arrived in Times Square, the city announced Wednesday, inching closer to a long-held goal of putting garbage into sealed receptacles instead of dumping trash bags on the sidewalk.
More tantalizingly, the two new Times Square containers are just the first in a series of bins that could be installed across the five boroughs as part of an expansion of the Clean Curbs pilot program, city officials announced.
“I hear the complaints loud and clear, New Yorkers: you want clean streets,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference in front of the new bin on West 41st Street and Seventh Avenue. “You want trash off our sidewalks, you’re tired of the rodents, you’re tired of the smell, you’re tired of seeing food waste and spillage.”
Rather than handling the new bins by itself, the city will partner with Business Improvement Districts, resident groups and other commercial organizations to install and maintain them. The Times Square bins, for example, were installed by the Times Square Alliance, a local BID. (Groups can apply online to host one of the new bins, which can accommodate residential or commercial waste.)
The city will spend $ 1.3 million to pilot the waste bins around the city, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi said.
Still, some details remained absent, such as whether the new bins would be installed in the street – the preference of many advocates – or on the sidewalk, where they would risk taking up pedestrian space. (“On sidewalk or street?” asked Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso after the mayor’s announcement.)
Containerized, below-ground garbage bins have long been basic facts of life in cities like Paris and Amsterdam, but remain an alien concept in New York, which has earned the nickname “trash city” for its rubbage-strewn sidewalks.
Still, some advocates applauded Wednesday’s announcement, such as City Council Sanitation Committee chair Sandy Nurse, who has long focused on improving the city’s waste management system.
“Today’s debut of containerized waste bins and expansion of the ‘Clean Curbs’ pilot are important steps that will bring us closer to cleaner streets,” she said in a statement.