Live From Dupont Street: Green Sweep Greenpoint

So today was the big day: Green Sweep Greenpoint. I got up nice and early, did a little work around the house and made it to Red Star Bar right on time.  We had to wait a bit because the establishment’s proprietor, Eric, had a flat tire but soon enough we got down to business. Ed Veneziano (the proprietor of Cato’s Army Navy Store and co-chair of the Greenpoint Business Alliance) read out a list of block captains and then inquired as to whether there were any volunteers present. There was one. He then asked yours truly where I had planned to focus my garbage eradication efforts. My reply was as follows:

Dupont Street between Franklin and the sludge tank because it pisses me off.

As many of you have probably ascertained, I am not the kind of person to mince words. This is especially true when I am operating on (maybe) six hours of sleep. On that note I would like to apologize here and now to anyone at this morning’s convocation who had children in tow. I was not trying to be insensitive. Rather, the condition of this particular stretch of road infuriates me to no end. Soon enough, gentle readers, you will learn why.

We collected our garbage bags (I took four), put on our gloves and went our respective ways. I noted to my friend Teresa that I was going to be an “army of one” waging war against trash this morning— and that’s the way I wanted it.

Upon arrival I quickly sized up the situation. I quickly ascertained I had several types of litter to contend with. They were as follows:

1. Residential (as seen at left)

2. Construction debris

3. Discarded automotive parts/products

4. Trappings of a homeless colony (including— but by no means limited to— empty liquor bottles and food containers).

I decided to tackle the latter most first. Roughly forty five minutes into the task at hand my efforts began to get noticed. First it was by two very friendly workers from the adjacent DEP facility (as seen at right).  The driver said my efforts were laudable and then went on to explain that sadly people will only return and add more trash. When I asked him for specifics, he told me that men frequently work on their cars along  this stretch and simply toss aside their unwanted hubcaps, anti-freeze containers, etc. What I discovered as I was cleaning later on supports this chap’s assertion.

Once I had two bags ready (and realized they were really, really heavy) I called Eric to come by and pick them up (so as to to take them to the garbage container secured for the day). When he and Ed arrived I had four bags waiting. They were quite impressed. That’s when I confessed that I had only filled two bags myself; someone prior to my arrival was thoughtful enough to leave two large bags filled with sheet rock to make me look “good”.

When they finished loading the aforementioned bags I took them on a little tour. What they found of particular interest was the fire pit (as seen at left). We quickly ascertained what (or I suppose who) found their way into it: nearby we found two boxes which had clearly contained chickens. Live chickens— or as I put it to Ed: EX-chickens. They went on their way and I continued working.

A man of (maybe) 18 years of age asked me if I was clearing the area for a garden. I answered to the negative but added that having a garden at this location is a wonderful idea. He admonished me to be careful and then proceeded to walk off while lighting a joint.  That’s when I made the first of several incredibly repulsive discoveries:

Yes folks, that there is an value-added tampon! I also found (in no particular order):

1. One condom wrapper (empty)

2. One condom wrapper (unused)

3. One condom (soiled)

Next to the latter most I found ( at right) 4.

I suspect I speak on the behalf of many people reading this tome when I write that really, truly hope this item was used in concert with the aforementioned condom. Call me jaded but there is something about kinky clown sex transpiring in the shadow of a sludge tank that yours truly finds almost charming. The key word in the previous sentence being almost.

5. No less than three bloody rags.

6. And of course what would any trash pick-up be without a shit-filled diaper?

Here you go!

7. And I suppose I should mention one thing I did not find: drug paraphernalia. I was quite surprised by this.

After two more people stopped and asked me if I was clearing the area for a garden (once again I said no but that I was growing to like the idea) I was left alone and started to get bored. Fortunately being an only child has made me very adept at finding ways to entertain myself.

I decided moving forward I was going to play amateur urban anthropologist. My project would be to determine the drinking patterns of the people who use this area as their personal landfill. It was just like something out of National Geographic except instead of arrow heads I was in search of fifths, forties and airplane bottles. These I arranged rather artfully for everyone’s edification and christened the end product “The Dupont Street Drinking Museum”.

Although I didn’t keep count, beer (especially Corona and Budweiser) was the beverage of choice by pretty significant margin (I’d hazard to guess two to one). Following that came all manner and variety of distilled spirits. Vodka and rum were the peoples’ choice. Wine came in dead last with two paltry bottles. I will leave you, dear readers, to draw your own conclusions as to what this data means.

In any case I continued working and found myself getting a bit peckish. No worries: someone was thoughtful enough to leave me some snacks!

Here’s the deal folks: I could continue outlining in explicit detail everything I saw while cleaning Dupont Street this morning. Instead I am going to leave you with a slide show and a few thoughts:

  1. We have a chronic littering problem here.
  2. The question is how do we go about changing this.
  3. Given the interest shown today by passersby in clearing this space and creating, say, a community garden I’d say that may very well be the way to go. If anyone reading tome this agrees with me (and would be interested in making this happen) please shoot me an email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com.
  4. In order to get the ball rolling I am going to reach out to a few elected officials and see how we can turn this block into something our community can be proud of. If and/or when I have any news on this front, I will pass it along here.

Miss Heather


2 Comments on Live From Dupont Street: Green Sweep Greenpoint

  1. eagle_teater on Sun, 5th Jun 2011 9:05 pm
  2. HEY!! First of all, I’ve got dibs on any property over there for a dog park! So get your garden in line behind me. Second, as much as I love your little archaeological exhibition, you’re taking up precious parking over there, toots!

    Kidding aside..none of this surprises me…I’ve been watching people fix their cars and dump the resulting shit all over those streets for 3 years. The chicken boxes have been there for going on a year now. The construction debris isn’t bad right now; it’s been much much worse. As for fixing it, there is a camera on the corner of Dupont and Franklin. There are also cameras watching the fences at the end of Commercial Avenue and there is a camera watching the DEP plant entrance as well. That’s three cameras covering that entire area. A monthly review of any of those security cameras could give you a good number of license plates to start fining people. That and the police could actually maybe patrol up there in the wee hours of the morning. Judging by how often I see parking tickets on cars up there (no parking midnight to 3 am) the NYPD Traffic Enforcement peeps have no problem getting their asses up there every night so I don’t see why the actual precinct can’t. It ain’t hard.

  3. missheather on Mon, 6th Jun 2011 8:45 am
  4. Methinks what we need to do is ascertain exactly who owns this property and approach them about doing something with it. If it is the guys at the impound lot I’m guessing they’d be very keen on the idea. I’d also like to see a monthly clean up of this space. Thoughts?

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