An Upper West Sider upset about the sudden disappearance of trash cans throughout the neighborhood — and resulting garbage pileup — recently sent a letter to the Department of Sanitation. She was particularly upset that the department had removed garbage cans from 95th and West End, an intersection close to two schools that generates overflow levels of trash (see photo above).
A deputy director at the department responded. And the email she sent said a few things that come as news to us.
1. “While the Upper West Side area does not meet the criteria for litter basket placement, we installed two (2) litter baskets on the north-east and south-west corners of several intersections in the area,” the email said.
The clear implication of this is that the Upper West Side doesn’t deserve trash baskets at all! As in — we’re lucky to have any garbage cans in the neighborhood, so count your blessings folks!
2. “Litter baskets are intended for pedestrian litter – while canine waste may be placed in litter baskets, that is not their primary purpose. Dog walkers should not be placing their canine waste on, or in other residents’ receptacles placed out for DSNY collection services. New York State Public Health Law requires that each person who owns or controls a dog must remove any feces left by that dog on any sidewalk, gutter, or other public area and dispose of it in a legal manner; ultimately, by carrying it away for disposal in a toilet, or placed out with their own trash.”
That’s right, your dog’s poop does not belong in the trash can. It belongs at your house. This isn’t a novel idea — the EPA does mention flushing dog poop in one bulletin, for instance. But it may come as a surprise to Upper West Siders, who tend to use corner cans for the waste. And that EPA bulletin is from Utah, where presumably people don’t have to travel up the elevator with a bag of poop.
The larger trend in trash-management has been to get people not to put their garbage in public cans, instead getting them to take it home. Central Park pushed this policy a few years ago, which led to a brief, gross “poop-bag rebellion” where people left their dog poop at the former site of trash cans. The city has been removing garbage cans too, telling us previously that trash cans tend to “attract” litter so removing them ought to make blocks cleaner — “the corner without a basket is the cleanest corner,” a spokesman said last year.
But several locals have said that the policy simply leads to more trash piling into the street and on the sidewalk, creating a health hazard.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal has advocated for the city to add garbage cans at some corners (we’ll have more on her campaign in a separate story).
The Sanitation Department did not respond to requests for comment on Monday on the policy about dog poop.
The local advocacy group Neighborhood in the Nineties, which sent us the letter, is up in arms about the removal of the trash cans.
“Sanitation has chosen not to engage the community,” says Aaron Biller, president of Neighborhood In The Nineties. “If Sanitation believes that people are not using litter baskets properly, they could have enlisted elected officials and the community board and educated the public through the media. Instead the baskets were removed with no warning. The City now treats our neighborhood, which has dozens of schools, institutional facilities, Riverside Park, and mid and high rise residential buildings like a sparsely populated single home community in Staten Island.”
“With the arrival of warmer weather, we must not sit by. The policy of putting a litter can on every corner goes back a few decades. It was done to encourage people to pick up their dog’s poop, and not throw trash into the street. We urge our neighbors to speak up now.”
Biller suggested people make complaints about the lack of trash cans using this Sanitation Department complaint form.
If you take your dog’s poop home and flush it down the toilet, can you let us know (in the comments or at westsiderag at gmail)? Never really heard of this!
Where do I make complaints about uws dog owners not even picking up after their damn animals?
Please – I don’t want to read anyone comparing NYC to any other city or country. Whatever you say is NOT going to work here just because it worked elsewhere. It’s a totally different culture here, and people don’t change. Maybe bike riders stop for red lights and stop signs in Amsterdam, but this is NYC, you fools, and no one stops. Raise your hand if you married someone because you thought you’d change them. It’s not gonna happen. Wake up and smell the 5+ dollar cup of coffee.
This should be really obvious.
1. There’s an obvious increase in unscooped dog poop in these parts.
2. This sanitation directive will make it worse.
3. Therefore the directive is stupid.
4. Notwithstanding, there is absolutely zero excuse for the increase in poop and we need some enforcement measures.
And, while we’re at it, can dog owners stop letting their charges pee mid sidewalk? Between the baby strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, shopping carts, etc., this is plain inconsiderate.
I agree. It is absolutely disgusting!! Pick up after your damn animals!
ONE MORE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK
YAS. Thank you, Ben!
I disagree! Pet owners should be allowed to throw away poopy bags in public trash cans… there’s enough poop along the sidewalks of the upper west! Its getting worse and worse.. we are literally dodging the poop as we walk. With nowhere to throw the poop… its only going to get worse. BTW I’M NOT A PET OWNER… SIGH….PLEASE CURB YOUR DOG WHEN THEY POOP AND CLEAN IT UP!!!!!!
You can drop off dog poop in litter bins. This article is wrong about that.
There’s a Pooper Scooper law that makes it illegal to leave one’s pet poop without picking it up. Police and Sanitation Inspectors should enforce it by giving out summons. The sidewalks are disgusting with poop!!
Here’s a way to get UWSers (Well, some UWSers) to pick-up-da-poop:
1. Have them double-bag it carefully;
2. Place it in a TurdeeSturdee envelope;
3. Add a personal message, something like “Here’s your latest opinion-poll” or “Your administration smells worse than this!”
4. Mail it to OUR DEAR LEADER, KIM JUNG TRUMP at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500
Of course, his presidency already smells so bad that a bit more poop will make hardly a difference.
I would much rather Upper West Siders throw dog poop in a public garbage can than leave it on the sidewalk, as so many dog-owners (in the 80s at least) are wont to do. I cannot fully express how sick I am of having to sidestep poop on my way to anywhere in this neighborhood. Animal waste carries diseases. Come on, people.
I rather watch people on their cell phones step into the poop 💩
I am a dog owner and I always clean up after my dog. In fact, I often yell at any gross dog owner I see who doesn’t pick up the poop…it’s disgusting. BTW, we need those waste baskets on UWS.
What planet is DSNY on? People are not going to pick up dog feces and return to their apartments with it. Can you imagine how quickly the city’s sewage system would be clogged with plastic waste bags?
No, instead, people will stop picking up their pets’ waste bags AT ALL. Things are bad enough as they are.
What absolutely boggles my mind though is the number of bags of feces left in the middle of the sidewalk, or in the street, or on park paths less than one minute’s walk from a waste container.
Are there guerilla cells of the Great Poop Rebellion still active? Or is it just inconsiderate SOBs too lazy to dispose of their dog’s poop bag in a garbage receptable WHERE IT BELONGS!
Odd that Sanitation’s own website contracts what they say for the article. Under “Litter Baskets,” it says, “…Bundle any loose trash that can blow away, and when discarding dog waste – wrap it first.”
I was told when I first moved here that it was OK to put dog poop into the Big Belly (closed) trash cans but not in the wire basket trash cans. That makes a lot of sense. However, there are not very many Big Belly cans around so that advice is of limited use. If we are close to home, I do use my own building’s trash.
I am sure there are plenty of people without jobs who would just be fine getting paid the salary of sanitation workers to pick up the garbage cans regardless of what types of garbage is in them. Or maybe just find a way to automate garbage retrieval and we will not have to worry about anyone’s feelings. They are garbage receptacles. Any and all garbage should be allowed.
Hey UWS, I agree with all the comments below. If you want a dog….please,please clean up after your dog!!! I don’t care where you throw it out (house or garbage can) just don’t leave it on the street. One day I walked four blocks to 92nd street and counted 14 separate piles of dog shit on the street. As neighbors, we should do better for our community.
Saw a woman walking a miniature poodle who just pooped as he walked, making me think that was how the owner got around the scoop law. Poor dog. Dirty lady.boo
Well it could be worse I suppose, we could do like the Brits, who bag their canine poop and hang it from trees, like an ornament from hell.
I guess if I’m going to flush my dog’s poop I have to go to the park with a roll of toilet paper and a plastic container of some sort, put the contents inside the container and take it home. But if they’re saying I can *also* put it in my personal trash what difference does it make what trash stream it goes into?
You should count your blessings that most dog owners ARE picking up after there dogs and putting it into BLUE/Green recycling baggies and drop into the corner garbage baskets. If you’re not careful us dog owners will take revenge and “curb our dogs” and NOT pick up! The law is still on the books…”Curb Your Dog”.
Consider yourself very lucky….
“Most dog owners” are pciking up poop – really? Where is your proof that this is true? Especially after it snows, it is always surprising to find poop on the sidewalk once the snow melts.
Whatever happened to “curb your dog”? I have yet to see anything about how to prevent the rivers of dog urine all over the sidewalks.
Does the dog control the owner, or does the owner control the dog? If the owner cannot control the dog, the authorities should take the dog from the owner. A “one strike and you’re out” rule should be the law.
Who is with me?
NOT ME !
Such a lovely neighbor
No public trash can in the street should work. It works in Japan where public trash can barely exists. Even in stations, there are only very few near turnstiles. However, the streets in Tokyo are way way cleaner than in New York.
In Japan, everyone take back home their dog’s poop, or any other trash they happen to have during they’re walking outside.
When we had our first EarthDay April 22, 1970 in Central Park we removed all the garbage baskets in to prove that this can be done. We celebrated in Central Park with Simon and Garfunkel on the great lawn with over 100,000 hippies. We gave out green recycling bags to everybody who entered the park… Anything you walked in with you leave with… there were sanitation trucks at the exits you entered…”This is nothing new in New York” but…unfortunately all mayor administrations never follow through.
People in Japan and other parts of the world have respect for their neighbors. I see people throw trash on the ground with no regard ofr who has to clean it up or if their is a trash can nearby. It is sickening. New Yorkers are animals…
How about have compost bins in Riverside/Central parks where this crap (pun intended) can be dumped (or more if there are already) Win-win.
As I understand it, dog poop isn’t compostable in part bc their diets include things that can’t be composted (meat)…
Last I checked, rules for NYC compost pickup indicates that animal waste is not compostable. Nice thought, though. If there were a better “non-landfill” way to dispose of animal waste, that would be fantastic!
I could be wrong; and I know I’ve seen “compostable” poop pickup bags — so that’s confusing. But I remember being very surprised to read that bit in the NYC composting guidelines
There are constantly arguments about this on Nextdoor. I can’t have pets, allergic, but I do love animals. Yet I’m sick of the sense of entitlement. Why should we have to walk through dog pee & poop on the sidewalk? It’s not what it’s meant for and if you can’t take care of it properly, don’t have one. Curb your dogs. Thanks
The many of us who post on Nextdoor Neighbor have recently exchanged countless emails about a surge in dog poop on UWS streets and few its parks. West End Avenue is especially bad. The laws worked for a long time but need to be reinforced via fresh signage or something else. Stepping in it is awful for all, especially in summer, New ideas should be invited by Sanatation.
F**kin’ surreal. No wonder this city is one big garbage can. Does Sanitation even stop to think about what they’re suggesting? There’s something wrong with these people (might be sheer laziness; more public cans does mean more work).
“…while canine waste may be placed in litter baskets,…”
How does that translate into:
“Take your waste bags home and flush them”, or
“Have your building staff put the poop out with the trash.”?
Not gonna happen.
In any case, I bet Milkbones to Pounce that the DOS functionary who responded is a cat owner.
Who does the city think puts household trash in corner cans when everyone has trash pickup right in front of every building? Ridiculous. Put a can on every corner; if they fill up too fast, put two on every corner.If those fill up too fast, put three on every corner. Stop being deliberately stupid. Give us what we need to keep our city clean.
Anyone not picking up after your dog, PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG–if your dog shits, it’s your shit–PICK IT UP.
That’s not what they’re saying. They’re saying dog owners should not place the dog waste in bins set out for collection outside residences. Not the corner waste basket.
I am a dog owner and a religious pooper scooper. Yet I find the idea of limiting garbage receptacles on the streets both senseless and undermining. I also believe that there should be separate receptacles for dog poop waste so that people can dispose of their human litter in a different place from dog poop. I cannot imagine that a person owning a big dog (mine is little) would dream of carrying the poop home. That would simply add to the mess that is out there. I am horrified at how often I pick up poop left by other very inconsiderate dog owners. If you walk your dog, stay off the cell phone and pay attention to when your dog is pooping in the first place. Then pick it up!
I agree that dog poop on UWS sidewalks is getting worse. I have a dog and think it is absolutely the most disgusting thing. I don’t know why it has gotten so so bad! Taking away the trash cans WILL NOT improve the situation!
Whatever happened to the large black plastic bags that used to be placed in the wire trash cans? Wouldn’t they be easier for the Sanitation Department to pick up than loose trash? They would alleviate the smells coming from poop and food waste in the trash cans.
I live on a block on W93rd which has an entrance to Central Park. It also has Trinity school on one end and Columbia Prep on the other. There is far more trash littering the street from traffic from the children thandogs, unfortunately. The prime example being bottles from expensive “health” drinks like kambuchu, thrown in flower boxes, etc. Tell the kids to pick up after themselves. Problem solved.
This is admittedly debatable, but as someone who works professionally with dogs I must say: it is a LOT more challenging to train SOME dogs to “curb” than non-dog-handlers realize. Are there some dogs who catch on to it easily? Sure. Can maybe the majority of dogs be trained to “curb” if they are taught by someone with a decent amount of dog-training knowledge? Probably. Are there still dogs who will either try to defecate 5 feet into an intersection & risk getting hit by a car — and dogs who will simply stop doing ANY business outside AT ALL if their humans continually pull them away from spots that are NOT the curb? Absolutely. I’d even wager that the vast majority of dogs fall into one of the latter 2 categories.
That said: at least TRY to curb your dogs. And for the love of all sanity: PICK IT UP no matter where your dog makes their business.
On a slightly different topic: I’ve seen some buildings that have posted signs informing their residents that they may not dispose of “animal waste” in the buildings’ trash receptacles. Yes: they forbid placing used cat litter, puppy wee-wee pads and bags of dog poop in the basement area where residents bring all their other household trash. Now THAT seems ridiculous: not only like it was an impulsive, spontaneous & poorly-considered rule implemented by someone in a position of power who didn’t bother to think out the logistics of said rule; it also seems nearly unenforceable (unless the building has literally ONE pet owner and/or they have cameras trained on all chutes & bins).
The fact is that it’s only been very recently that I have noticed many more people not picking up after their dogs. The only way I see reducing that is enforcement. More signs, more trash cans, more blog entries won’t help. Unless there is either an incentive (can’t think of any) or some negative ramifications things will only get worse.
“Only very recently” – oh please. It’s been going on for decades. Either you are new to the neighborhood, or you haven’t been looking where you’re walking.
Our school children should taught and encouraged to NEVER LITTER – Receptacles should be placed at schools and parks for their litter. Receptacles should be on all corners so we are not tempted to litter and we need encouragement – campaigns, posters, I LOVE NY, etc. As a dog owner, dogs should be curbed, not allowed to pee on stoops, peoples property but off the curb. Dog owners also need education regarding this matter. It is also seems to me, that dog owners with big, very big dogs tend NOT to pick up after their dogs more so than owners of small dogs. I believe bagged poop in plastic bags placed in receptacles is where it belongs. Since De Blasio was elected the streets on W 109, amsterdam are disgusting. Furthermore, in building 205-212, tenants place their garbage in front of large metal bins – on floor – instead of lifting the bin cover and placing garbage in. Landlord should be advising the tenants that this practice is not acceptable and what they need to do. The filth on our block – w 109 broadway to columbus is becoming a slum…. sadly – it is a neighborhood. with great potential that is beginning to deteriorate. Our neighborhood is friendly and vibrant. Lets make it even better>>>
Just gonna put this out there…there are no public litter waste receptacles in Tokyo and yet it is one of if not the cleanest big city in the world. It’s all about giving a hoot about your neighborhood and city. That goes for both the sanitation department and residents.
Ahahahahahaha, I wish UWSers picked up their dog poop and put it in trash cans. The average block has about 4 piles of poop just left for people’s kids to step in.
@Pooper scooper thinks we are “lucky” that dog owners deign to pick up poop at all. How arrogant!
In fact, the “curb your dog” law applies to pee as well as poop. Even if you pick up poop, which increasingly dog owners do NOT, you are supposed to take the dog into the STREET to do its business, whatever it is. I owned dogs most of my life and always did this. Why should we have to walk on sidewalks wet with pee and brown and smelly with poop?
Come on, dog owners, get with the program and be good neighbors!
Decades ago, before the advent of recycling and Pooper-Scooping laws, many UWSers had dogs–which we walked and “curbed” (even without signs instructing us to do so). Many of us also kept our dogs both paper- (this was also long before Wee-Wee Pads, so the large-format newspapers of the day were those of choice) AND street-trained, in case inclement weather or other reasons prevented walking them. Using a “dedicated” pair of rubber gloves, the poop was flushed down the toilet, and the dampish NYT (or Herald Tribune or World Telegram) wadded up into a separate bag, and put out with the rest of one’s garbage. None of this seemed a problem at the time–with or without streetcorner garbage baskets. If one wants the pleasures of dog ownership, the responsibilities–whatever they are–come with them.
PS: Am reminded of a sign I once saw in London, near St. Paul’s Cathedral: “A Person in Charge of a Dog That Fouls the Pavement Shall Be Fined £25.” Indeed!
So bascially, decades ago, there was no recycling? And basically, decades ago, no one had garbage disposals?
As society evolves, ‘responsibilities’ change, including those of pet ownership.
Small poodles? Or labs, retrievers, and shepherds?
Frankly the thought of keeping gloves in the house for fecal removal sounds disgusting, unsanitary, and uncivilized. Where were the rubber gloves cleaned and rinsed? Can one even fathom the bacteria count?
No, just no.
As an UWS owner of two dogs I
1)always pick up after my dogs
2)pick up at least one strangers poop per day
3)always twist and tie bags I put in trash
I am furious at dog owners who dong pick up, and I reprimand them when I see them.
However the removal of cans is nothing more than a cost cutting move and New York San should be ashamed of themselves.
Are you kidding me? This is NYC, not Mayberry and the dog population in the city has risen exponentially over the past few decades. It’s hard enough to get people to pick up their dog poop already without adding any more obstacles, which only discourage more people from cleaning up after their pets. Sorry, DSNY this is completely idiotic.
Doesn’t anybody want to do their job anymore?
I am a dog owner. I do pick up my dog’s poop, and I do my best to control where he pees. It ticks me off when other dog owners don’t. Aside from being arrogantly rude, it’s breaking the law.
And it ticks me off when garbage cans keep disappearing. Particularly in the parks. It’s just another symptom of this city prioritizing the wrong things and allowing it to become a more and more difficult to place to live.
In California, they have separate disposal units for dog excrement. They also provide bags.
You are correct Wendy, I travel to California a couple times a month and I bring my dog Zac with me and I am from Westchester County and every township has dog disposable baskets and right next to them are the plastic bags for you to pick up after the dog. I do notice there are dispensers at the dog runs that they put up the end of last year and the New York City Parks are to keep them filled… Guess what! They don’t… I asked and they said they’ve never received bags to fill them from the city….more of our moneys down the drain.
Raise the price of dog license to $500 or more per year to cover the cost of waste disposal, and to pay for more luckless dog-enforcement police. With all the posh dog accessory stores in our neighborhood, not to mention dog day care and dog walkers, local dog people can certainly afford it. Also, dogs tend to encourage irresponsible behavior of dog owners (not all, but enough to make sidewalks hazardous waste site. Dog owners should bear the burden of dog externalities.
I agree. It is absolutely DISGUSTING to have to regularly side-step dog feces (and, frankly, dog urine).
We regularly have dog feces and urine right in front of our apartment building, and my 3.5 year-old son often comes very close to stepping in it.
The UWS streets are getting dirtier by the day, thanks in part to people not cleaning up after their damn dogs. It is a complete disgrace, and it is unfair to those who have to share these streets.
Huge increase in dog ownership has resulted
In all this and including bringing dogs in food
Places which is against ny state law and against
Sanitation Dept laws
Dog owners must be more responsible
On our block we are marching to demand
dog owners CURB their dogs. I don’t thintheybknow where the curb is actually
Reductio ad absurdum.
Take away all the waste baskets and stop garbage collection completely. It only attracts garbage after all !
I’m a dog owner and I always pick up after my dog. On the rare event I run out of bags unexpectedly I flag down another dog owner and ask to “borrow” a bag.
BUT even as a dog owner, I must admit, it is pretty gross that the dogs pee on the sidewalk. I feel like I always have to step over the dog pee. I feel like there has to be a better solution to the dog pee on sidewalk situation. Does it gross anyone else out? It must if it grosses me out and I’m a dog owner. I take my dog to the park to pee but I know that’s not an option for everyone bc not everyone lives right by the park. Any ideas? Just a thought.
New York is a city of frustrations. I don’t think anyone likes dog poop not picked up but you shouldn’t alienate the dog owners that try to be responsible (like myself) telling us we are doing something wrong. Remember I may not like the food/candy your kid drops from his stroller or your cigarette butts or your construction debris or your irresponsible throwing out of things on trash (like glass mirrors that break and are never cleaned up) or your need to have a parking space but I realize that is part of living in a large city with so many people. We all need to keep in mind there are others living here with us and try and be as respectful as possible of each other whether that be picking up dog poop, your kids food, your cigarette butt, or any whatever.
I am a huge advocate of diapers for dogs.
I do take the poop home and flush it. I use flushable poop bags so everything goes in and whooshes away.
The cleanest city I’ve ever visited is Tokyo. There are no litter cans anywhere
Now that I’m temporarily in the burbs, we do flush if there is an accident in the house….although sometimes we pitch it into the yard….wonder how DSNY would like that.
I hate seeing dog poop on the sidewalk.
But I do rather enjoy watching people step in it when they’re staring at their phones.
That’s a good one!!!
I totally agree !!!
Can we also “forget” dog urination on our steps, sidewalks and buildings—ruining everything from shoes to building stones to our morning or evening mood? The Sanitation Department should take active measure to bring this problem under control.
Dog poop is bad enough to have to deal with every day on every street. There was a thin line of it that I didn’t see and I slipped and almost fell over while flying down the street on it! Meanwhile, what about the dog pee all along the walls.. On 61st and West End Ave the smell of dog pee next to the bus stop… that’s right, you have to stand there waiting for the M57 for-ever sometimes breathing in that awful stench.
Enough already with dogs in the City!! They’d be so much happier in the suburbs where they can have their own back yard!!
Don’t flush the poop in its plastic bag! Plumbing will get backed up!!
We are overlooking an additional scourge — human crap. Telltale signs include the wadded up paper thrown next to the piles. Usually between parked cars or under scaffolding. Let’s not solely blame dog owners…our homeless friends contribute to this mess on a regular basis. And I’ve eye-witnessed it on West End. Fun times in the big city.
I’m a dog owner in the West 90s. The disappearance of cans on West End, Riverside Drive, and within Riverside Park is creating a trash overflow onto the streets. It’s disgusting, unsanitary, and clearly a result of city budget cuts not concern for the neighborhood.
I’m also curious about people who DON’T pick up after their dogs. To be honest, I see the waste everywhere but I have never seen anyone in the midst of the crime. It’s certainly not the dog walkers but lazy residents but where are they all hiding?
How about how they leave the poop in the plastic bags on the street and all over the parks rather than pack it out? I hate saying this, but regarding the dog poop and the ridiculous amount of litter everywhere (how can 21st century people be such slobs?), we need Guiliani again.
SOLUTION: require all dog owners to pay for DNA testing that would be registered with the city. Then, when poop is found on the street, test it and send the bill plus a $1000 fine to the dog’s owner. Dogs without DNA registered with the city would be subject to forfeiture. Three strikes if not picking up poop would also result in forefather of your dog. Problem solved.