Inside the Salt Shed and Sanitation Garage

I was delighted to be included in the New York City Department of Sanitation’s “Instameet” at the Spring Street Salt Shed and Garage. I figured the focus of an “Instameet” would be on taking (and sharing) photos, but it was more of a limited tour with a few photo ops. Not complaining, just explaining why I wasn’t prepared to scribble notes.

We started off on the roof of the sanitation garage on the north side of Spring. I got a laugh when they told us that the mechanicals were hidden behind slatted fences so as not to bother the residential neighbors—who don’t exactly return the favor. And my friend Andrea, also on the tour, says that the reason the sedum planted on the roof may not need much fertilizing is because goose poop was abundant. Nice to know that the geese haven’t been priced out of the neighborhood.

DSNY garage roof3DSNY garage roof2DSNY garage roofThe east side of the roof is sloped because that’s where the ramps are.

DSNY garage roof4Also, I loved the aerial view of the Salt Shed.

Spring Street Salt Shed seen from DSNY garageThen we went to the fifth floor, where we split our time in the office area (we learned a lot about the process by which DSNY staffers are allocated to various jobs) and in the garage itself, while standing next to a truck outfitted with a snowplow. The organizers handed out “NYC recycling” and “NYC organics” buttons, which put Andrea and me in a bind: Accepting them was the gracious thing to do, but we didn’t plan on wearing them, ever, and throwing them away is at odds with the DSNY’s big “zero waste” mission. Anyone want a button?

While at the office area, the organizers insisted we not take photos inside the actual garage, but then everyone totally ignored that, so I took one, too. I hate being left out even more than I hate breaking rules. Anyway, it’s a garage with trucks in it, and if you wanted to blow up a city building, you could probably find a better target elsewhere.

DSNY garage window2DSNY garage interiorTwo final garage-related infobits that were news to me. First, before the garage was built, UPS used the land as a parking lot for its trucks; as part of the deal with the city, the company gets the ground floor. Second, at night, the building appears to be lit up in various colors, but those aren’t LEDs—that’s just light reflecting off the interior walls, which are painted red, green, yellow, etc. Each floor gets its own color, and there appear to be two floors of green in the photo below because the office areas have locker rooms tucked above them on a mezzanine level.

DSNY garage exteriorNext: the shed. I love this building! But you knew that. I geeked out on the control panels embedded in the exterior, and I was delighted by how much the salt reminded me of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park.

Spring Street Salt Shed entranceSpring Street Salt Shed salt2Spring Street Salt Shed saltSpring Street Salt Shed control panelBut even a fan of the shed might have to admit that the best part is what you can observe from the street. I guess I hadn’t been over there in a while, because this was the first time I’d seen the “illuminated moat.” Now I just need to get there at night….

Spring Street Salt Shed illuminated moat



  1. I drove past the salt shed after dark last week and it’s even more striking under illumination than in the daytime.

  2. I am glad the Tribeca likes it, because considering all the ridiculous DSNY fines we have been subject too we pretty much paid for it.

    • Adam,

      Vey funny indeed… And quite on point :)!

      We routinely pay fines because of all the lunchtime garbage that construction workers dump while loitering on our sidewalk.

      • How about a $100 ticket because the garbage bag had the possibility to rip and scatter the garbage. It never did, but this guy knows no one is going to go the court to fight it.

        • So we’re not alone, here on Murray Street, in being inundated with absurd tickets from Sanitation? It seems like we receive two summons every week, for just about anything. They’re written up by some inspector at 7 or 8 am, before we have a chance to sweep up the sidewalk, so it’s mostly for loose litter or cigarette butts that someone dropped overnight, or trash that someone too lazy to walk to the corner to a public trash receptacle instead tossed on top of our carefully sorted and placed garbage bags. Anyway, I’ve been wondering if anyone in TribeCa has organized to confront Sanitation around the endless tickets – they’re becoming a nightmare and it certainly appears abusive, an easy way for them to raise cash at our expense.

          • Since DiBlasio has decided he isn’t going to prosecute minor crimes (fare beating, public urination, etc.), he has to make up the funds used for income redistribution some how! Relax and be happy knowing you’re making helping to make a real crooks life a little easier.