Seen & Heard: Sanitation Department Shakedown?

••• Someone emailed me a month or two ago about this happening to them, which didn’t strike me as out of the norm. But if it’s a concerted, neighborhood-wide effort, that’s something else entirely. From R.: “I’ve noticed over the last six months, countless, fancy looking, Sanitation Department cars driving around Tribeca (we’re in NW, but I see them in all parts) at all times of the day/week, passing out fines to buildings that have trash in front or, even more odd, going into garbage bags to find a recyclable and then fining. They often fine numerous buildings for the same, single infraction as well.  Because the fines are relatively small and to fight them would take numerous, many hour visits to hearings where the outcome is uncertain, they get away with it. It’s clearly a fundraising tool and strikes me very intentional and unfair. Saw one doing his thing this morning on N. Moore and thought of your site….” Has this happened to you?

••• I just heard last night about a stray cat in northwest Tribeca, and today it (one assumes) crossed my path…. UPDATE: This just in from J.: “Did you know there are actually two of them? I think it’s a mom cat and her full-grown baby; both black. They live underneath the loading docks on the Washington St. side of the River Lofts, and pop up onto the walkway (where you photographed them) a few times a day and often at night. I think someone feeds them regularly because they seem well-nourished. I’ve spotted the mom cat venturing as far as Laight and Greenwich late at night, looking for spoils. They’re a delightful little part of our neighborhood.”

NW Tribeca cat••• The gallery Launch F18 is leaving its Broadway space for the Lower East Side.

••• The celery root schnitzel sandwich on the lunch menu at Little Park is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long, long time (the entire meal was excellent). But it’s served with a sizable kale salad—did Carmellini cave?

••• The new hotel(s) at 2 Renwick has revealed a bit of itself. The afternoon light makes it  look more golden that it is. Would a little ornamentation up top have been too much to ask?

2 Renwick••• Also more on display: the Sterling Mason (at Greenwich and Laight). By the way, the ground floor wall is where there will be a metallic finish.

Sterling Mason••• Continuing the construction porn series: 56 Leonard. Have the balcony railings been there long? Can’t wait to see them all with furniture etc….

56 Leonard



  1. Happens all the time and not only that, but some savvy neighbors put their bags in front of other buildings to ensure that they don’t get the tickets.

  2. That’s the same spot where we saw the cat other night! Emmett and I almost got him. Aw well, next time!

  3. That’s a breaded chicken sandwich. Schnitzel my ars.

  4. I have seen a sanitation vehicle and worker meticulously picking through the trash between 2-3am. It was in front of TriBeCa Spa of Tranquility, so I figured the dig was connected to the money laundering charges. Too many L&O episodes!

  5. They should ticket 171 Duane Street for throwing their trash in the Scalini Fedeli pile on Staple Street or in the sidewalk trash cans at the corner of Hudson & Jay and Hudson & Duane.

  6. The cats have been living under the loading dock in that building for a while now – my dog is obsessed with hunting them down – there used to be at least 3 of them, but lately I have only seen one. As several locals have been feeding them, I wonder (and hope) they are not so fearful of people and maybe they can recused before winter weather becomes too harsh.

  7. Re DSNY fines – this happens around this time every year. Quota’s? Who knows. And yes certainly not worth fighting unless you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time.

    What I find amusing is that Tribecamom referred to people who put their trash in front of other people’s buildings as savvy?

    Well the adjective I would choose to use also starts with S and ends with a Y
    Here’s today’s crossword of the day
    S _ I _ T Y

    Savvy is certainly not the word I would use for the people who dishonestly dispose of their garbage in front of other people’s buildings leaving someone else to face the consequences of their unlawful actions

  8. DSNY:
    We have had the same problem in NE Tribeca. After our third fine (they get more costly as they accumulate), I called the DSNY and they sent out a supervisor who I talked to. Their garbage inspectors look at the bags and if they see a violation they write a ticket for the building where the trash is setting. They are supposed to try and get an address from inside the trash, but can’t/don’t always do this. We are a small building with 4 units and for the most part we are diligent recyclers. Our neighboring rental building puts their trash in front of our building. I had to take photos and show to the DSNY but that still hasn’t stopped us from getting violations.

    A couple of months ago I bumped into the inspector digging through our trash. He was writing us a violation for one small ball of foil and one yogurt cup. Of course the trash was from the neighboring building so I had to show him past photos. He changed the violation to the neighboring building. I don’t think this is the last of this.

    It seems that we should have some recourse other than going to court.

  9. Yes, on North Moore the DSNY has been doing this for years and years. Sometimes the tickets are legit, but a lot of times they are not- occasionally they are for bags in front of the building next to us, but as they have no door or number, the ticket is written to us, or another time I threw away some reflector flood light bulbs (as the DSNY website specifically says not to recycle them) plus a used water filter, and they gave us a ticket for not recycling “glass bottles.”

    No one has time to go to “garbage court” to fight a $50 or $100 ticket, and it is not worth the managing agent’s time either, so it becomes a nuisance tax, or really more like a shake down. If the ticket falls off you door and blows away, or you don’t pay it right away, fines start going way up.

    And don’t get me started on what happens if they catch you actually using the public trash receptacle on the corners for anything…

  10. To add to the irony/aggravation of the DSNY, if the City or your private contractor does not pick up your trash as scheduled, a DSNY Agent can then ticket you for having your trash out on a non scheduled day/time period.
    I spoke with 311 and they advised to call them and take a picture of your trash so you can fight the ticket if you get one. Again the time vs money debate will cause most people to just pay to make the ticket/DSNY go away.

  11. 171 Duane Street is still dumping their trash in the public sidewalk trash cans. WTF?