New Yorkers Complain about Trash and Rats, While Mayor Adams Fights to Clean Up NYC
By Yehudit Garmaise
Keeping the streets clean and the public safe are the two most important jobs of any mayor, according to former NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.
Under Mayor Eric Adams, not only have complaints about trash and rodents on the streets increased, but crime has continued to spike.
Although some still blame the city’s dirty streets on former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who slashed $100 million from the New York City Sanitation Department (DSNY) during Covid to tighten spending, many residents say that now that Adams is in charge, he must take ownership of the problem, Politico reported.
It’s Adams’ city, “so that also means it’s his trash,” said Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University, who added that the public’s perceptions that streets are both filthy and unsafe could spell political disaster for Adams.
“The perception of a dirty city means an unsafe city,” Greer said. “Eric Adams does not want to get in a position where he’s battling a narrative that the city is in the 1980s.”
From January to July of this year, 311 complaints about trash on sidewalks and streets rose from 13,026 complaints to 17,749, which shows a more than 36% jump compared to the same period in 2021. Calls about rodents also increased by approximately 17% for the period.
Complaints about missed garbage collection, however, thankfully decreased so far in 2022, as NYC residents lodged 18% fewer complaints about their trash not getting picked up.
To clean up New York City, Mayor Adams, who has many times said that New Yorkers “deserve to be able to walk down the street and not feel their senses are assaulted,” has undertaken many measures to show that he takes seriously his responsibility to clean up the city.
Since taking office, Adams has restored DSNY’s budget to $1.88 billion, cracked down on illegal dumping, rolled out trash containers with lids to keep out rats, re-launched twice-a-week street sweeping, and proposed that residents put out their garbage containers at 8pm, so that trash is not left out on the streets for as many hours to create unpleasant odors and attract rats.
Yesterday, Mayor Adams began to dismantle the abandoned, decrepit outdoor dining sheds that were formerly part of the Open Restaurants program the city launched during Covid to preserve not only 100,000 jobs in the dining industry, but a fun part of city life.
“Outdoor dining is here to stay,” said the mayor, as he took an axe to a shed that attracted both rats and illegal and inappropriate behavior, “but we have to get it right.”
“I think most New Yorkers are savvy enough to know that governing New York is like captaining a giant ship, said Chris Coffey, the CEO of political consulting firm Tusk Strategies. “It takes time to turn the ship around.”