Chasing Sanitation

Falling in Love with New York's Strongest
:: The City’s Strength ::

:: What You Don’t Know by Looking at Them ::

They are family.

They love fast and just want a fair shake.

They chose to take the test. They passed the test. They showed up.

They keep showing up.

They are the oldest green-collared profession.

They see the housing market change, the effect of slumlords and fancy real estate developers.

They feel the Recession happening in throwaway Ikea furniture and forced evictions.

They hate the rain and cold. The rain’s the worst, though.

They know what they do is important.

They recognize you on the street and never expect you to recognize them back.

They have a mercurial wit.

They have problems that they’re working on.

They have problems that they’ve gotten through.

They have this job that helps them to keep their lives together.

They have more racial and off-color jokes than Richard Pryor and Bob Saget put together.

They have psychology degrees.

They have been to art school.

They are in school now.

They’re thinking about their retirement now.

They are practicing their bag pipes now.

They have not always gotten their due.

They have not always been lucky or made the best choices.

They have fathers and grandfathers who have seen worse, less respected days at the job.

They have books they’ve written and published.

They have plays they’ve written and produced.

They have bands they play in and Harleys they ride through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

They have photos in their phones of the collection truck, locker room pranks, Derek Jeter and their children.
They show up at the funeral for a coworker who lost a spouse.

They have wives and girlfriends they’d do anything for.

They have sons and daughters that they wish they were better parents for.

They have friends at work to remind them why they do what they do.

They have people that give them hell for not being a doctor,  lawyer or banker.

They have kids that wanted nothing more than to ride in the truck.

They have regret for lives lived outside the work.

They have kids, dogs and old men in the neighborhood that look forward to their arrival the same time every Monday morning.

They have mothers that drive them nuts.

They have sick wives that they take to the doctor all the time.

They have better halves.

They lost too many fellow Sanitation Workers to stupid accidents on the route.  A name on a building will never be enough, but they’ll take it.  And they’ll remember.

They have seen combat days in all the wars in recent memory.

They took this job because they got their girlfriend pregnant.

They took this job because some guy left when they said they were pregnant.

They miss the New York before Giuliani.  Life was more fun, and you wouldn’t get arrested for hot-wiring a street lamp for a dance party.  Sure, it’s safer, but it’s a little sterile.  Yep, that’s right – they miss a dirtier New York.

They hit on my friends now, because my friends are no longer looking away when they pass a Sanitation Worker on the way to the train.

They hate bureaucracy but believe in the union.

They just want to keep moving and then do nothing but sit on the beach or on the porch in the sun.

They are the brawny receptacles of New York’s stories and streets.

In their minds are our histories and secrets.

In their muscles, the weight of our lives destroyed, discarded and discontinued.

In their hearts, quiet, simple hope.

They are the caretakers of all we let go.

And they’re not perfect.

But their hearts and minds are full and passionate.

And THEY ARE STRONG.

::: ::: :::

:: MayDay MayDay – Now What? ::

Monday, May 2, 2011. 1:40am.

Around 11pm on MayDay/May 1, 2011, it was announced to the world that Osama bin Laden had been killed. By Americans. The President confirmed it. Now regular TV network programming has resumed.

But tomorrow? What happens next?

It’s now two hours into watching more Facebook newsfeed than TV coverage. I don’t need CNN. Don’t want Tom Ridge or Napolitano or Bloomberg to tell me what’s going on. What I really need is to hear from Sanitation Workers of New York.

William Holmes at roll call, Bronx 8 Garage

So, Sanitation Workers – tell us.

What does this mean for New York?

Now. Tomorrow. For you. For your job. For your family. For my neighborhood. Tell me what this means to you, a New Yorker.

Post your comments here or email lisa@chasingsanitation.com.

I learned New York through talking to all of you.  Keep talking … we’re still listening.

… and as always, thanks for all you do.

::: ::: :::

A few of the responses posted within minutes of my posting on Facebook. So many of us up and on Facebook …

High alert, and a lot of expert analysis
May 2 at 1:19am

:::

Still gotta watch our backs just a little more.
May 2 at 3:26am

:::

He is just one man… there are still many other wicked people out there. Must always remain on alert.
May 2 at 4:34am

:::

Hi Lisa , its means one less piece of trash we have to worry about .
May 2 at 6:54am

:::

a little bit of closeure.
May 2 at 5:37pm

:::

::: ::: :::

:: Blizzard of 2010 … and New York’s Strongest Facebook Newsfeed ::

Begun on Dec. 26, 2010 … 10 Days and Counting

Perhaps this SanMan says it best:

i swear to u this days..ur words have slain me within, i shall turn from u, and u shall never sense my shadow..i declare it , and we both know its so!

For now, the drama’s died down a little. Well, let’s just say there aren’t three press conferences a day. But there are predictions of half of foot of snow for the weekend and metered parking is back and the trash bags are piled car-high on the curb and it’s Day 10. The slowdown investigations are gearing up, and I’m catching some flack.

I don’t care.

This is a part of Sanitation.

What does it take for any of us to make it to work …? There’s always more than meets the eye. There’s someone worried about one of his brothers going in for medical tests, there’s another guy that just keeps cracking heads to keep his fellow green collars’ anger at bay, there’re single moms missing hair appointments, and we’ve lost the Atkins Diet’s frustrated updates, so I guess he’s made it through New Year’s Carb Withdrawal.

Showing up for work for the tenth 14-hour day straight, taking the incessant media-stoked expletives of the Public and resisting bagels – That’s New York’s Strongest.



Another Brooklyn SanMan says of the New York Daily News article about the slowdown investigation:

the truth is that our union local 831 in june asked the mayor that we needed to hire 400 new guys before the winter but the mayor only gave us 100 new guys we were very short handed for this kind of storm.no way in hell was there any kind of slow down, we also have familys that were on the roads that day


“no way in hell was there any kind of slow down, we also have familys that were on the roads that day”

Let’s not lose perspective. SanFolks will keep telling the truth.

City Council Hearing on Monday, January 10.

Spend some time with their Facebook Status Updates – they’re still soooooo good. I’ve edited out all gastronomical reports, just so you know.

:::

The latest:

NYC blizzard: Feds open criminal probe into alleged city worker conspiracy during storm response

They started today in the districts. The called the supers and wanted to know how many officers came to work and how many went sick.

**** em.

**** em is right

tired of all this bull …

Then a SanMan comes in to stop the grousing –

STOP KEEP YOUR DEDICATION FOR THIS JOB GOING…NO MATTER WHAT

New York Daily News posted a poll on that same article:

Do you think city workers intentionally slowed down cleanup efforts during the blizzard?

19% Yes, they are a bunch of overtime hogs who paralyzed the city with their greed.
61% No, the storm was tremendous, no city would have been completely prepared.
19% …It was just a snowstorm, it’s not a big deal.

I posted it as my Facebook Status Update. Below is the resulting conversation:

5 like this.

… Thanks for posting this!! So how come/whyfore/WHAT IS UP with the media playing the DSNY for fools and malooks, bad guys and ne’er-do-wells?!

… the truth is that our union local 831 in june asked the mayor that we needed to hire 400 new guys before the winter but the mayor only gave us 100 new guys we were very short handed for this kind of storm.no way in hell was there any kind of slow down, we also have familys that were on the roads that day

Lisa Dowda ‎: !! So true …

…‎100 — USELESS NEW GUYS NOT THERE FAULT …I ENJOYED TEACHING SOME OF THEM

Lisa Dowda : RIGHT, …. they have to fill the paper and newscast with something …. even the people on the street interviews are weak … you can attack the SanMan or SanWoman on the street but how do you indict a municipal system in a 90 second tv segment?

… ASK THE POST THEY ARE PRETTY GOOD AT ACTING LIKE THE INQUIRER

… Poor new guys came it at the worst time but I told one today If u can get through this U will b a pro for the next one. I’d rather come in during snow then in the summer when all is nice and smooth

… THE MAYOR AND DM ARE THROWING THE FOCUS OFF THEMSELVES

Lisa Dowda : J – I saw you the other day working the snow removal on 6th Avenue and 45th … :-)

… the fact that city hall is even entertaining the thought that there was a slow down disgusts me

… i had this new kid that started that monday doing his o.j.t with me in a v- plow that day was his first day on the job this poor kid did great

Lisa Dowda : … this is why Sanitation is the political football it is. this is one of the many reasons driving this whole project for me – so easy to blame the people doing the work. that and all of you crack me up regularly.

…I WOULD LIKE YOU TO ASK THE DEPUTY MAYOR ONE QUESTION FOR ME ….HOW DO YOU COME IN AND RIP APART A AGENCY WITHOUT KNOWING HOW IT WORKS?… I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER HES AN IDIOT AND LIVES WERE LOST DUE TO HIS INCOMPETENCE/ EGO

… the doctored up “anonymous source” “slowdown” was probably cooked up by the deputy mayor to 1) put a blackeye on us sanworkers n create leverage for his “union busting”I..2) get the mayor off the hook

Lisa Dowda : I hear ya…

… thank you lisa great post !!!!!!

Lisa Dowda : Wow – that’s some conspiracy theorizing…. that’s why I say about the Feds – go, investigate. Bring it on.

The Updates as of 930pm

Blah Blah Blah…… Sanitation sucks……. Blah Blah Blah…….. Job Action……… Blah Blah Blah……..Well its my turn. Thank you Brothers and Sisters of D.S.N.Y. Thank you for your sacrafices during the holiday seasons. Thank you for the endless hours you have put in instead of spending the holidays with your family. Thank you for your dedication to KICKING MOTHER NATURES ASS!!!!!!

… If it makes you feel any better ~ I fed the Guy … that was stuck in his truck outside my house for over12 hours ~ He shared my daughters bday dinner with us ! lmao And the guy that came at 12 am to releive him – We gave that guy cake and coffee ! The City left these guys for dead and They said they were NOT allowed to leave the trucks THANKS NYC ~

… well said brother………

… I TOOK YR POST

… Thank ypou Joe. For the comment and the dedication Joe Public is to blind to see!

… Its our post Brother!!!

… Well said brother! !!!

… Mother Nature One Day Will Win. . . . but not today!

… Not as long as DSNY continues to wear the GREEN with pride!!!!

Man this is the week from hades…do i really need help from the weak, and guidance from a fool..I think not..Thank God for patience..imma go smash this steel, and let this frustration out b4 i hurt somebody..thank you all for ur support, and my co-workers for their help..they get me thru ! peace be still ! huggzz

With my princess at the hair salon getting her hair done 8 days of neglect on her poor hair Bad mommy

More Snow – Friday and Saturday – Lets see how the city handles this one,,,

9 hour ‘nap’…. now what the hell day is it??

Please, Lord, let me prove that winning the lottery won’t spoil me…

There’s a SanMan reposting a Washington Post article about current religious strife in Pakistan:

Ass backwards. Hardcore third world.

Both sides in blasphemy case pressure Zardari

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – Pakistan’s president faced mounting pressure Thursday to weigh in on the fate of a Christian woman recently sentenced to death for blasphemy, a case that has drawn the attention of the Vatican and sparked street protests in this Muslim-majority nation.

Starting to loose track of the days.

DAY 10

Id like to clarify something…The New York City Sanitation Department was not on a city-wide slowdown during the storm. We have a mayor and deputy mayor who is trying to save money at all cost and it back-fired…plain and simple. Dont blame us san-man for decisions city hall makes and if you believe that rag..the NY Post…you also believe in fairytales and unicorns!

6 people like this.

… Wait unicorns aren’t real?

… Yea and Luke Perry is gay

… And Michael Jackson wasnt a pedephile

… Yah, And I’m half Puerto Rican and half Chinese

… What???? NO UNICORNS ?…but we still got SANTA n the EASTER BUNNY ….Right????.

…i knew my brother was a chino…he snot rockets like no other

Guess who’s still at work

Good night all. One of my brothers from work will be under going sone medical testing tomorrow. Please keep him in your thoughts. Good luck Bro. Talk to you on Wednesday.

… hope hes ok. I know thts stressful when family is Hurtin.

… my prayers are with you, pal

… good luck to your brother i hope all is well we will pray for him.

… Thanks all. It’s one of my brothers in green.

First night of garbage pickup since before Xmas….have no fear, ur friendly neighborhood garbagemen are here

And in a shout-out to my former employer, this is how they handle a slow news day –

TMZ — Paralyzed by California Snow Day | TMZ.com

After thumbing our nose at the East Coast for an entire week … Karma has blasted through the TMZ office like an arctic wind — and today we have two L.A.-based employees who can’t get to work because of ice and snow. Look for an earthquake to hit NYC sometime next week.

:::

… last updated 1.4.10, 12am

The snow is melting – it’s a mess, here. Of course, no denying it. But just think too – in a city of 8 million people – how many thrown out, non-composted Christmas trees is that? And the garbage mountains rise above the cars, and New Years Eve’s been cleaned up and now – they’re predicting more snow for the weekend. So the 16 tons of garbage that just one truck does a day and garbage hasn’t been picked up since a week ago and Christmas wrapping and food cans and carcasses and oh my god, the mind explodes with the double / triple amount of everything that Sanitation’s got in front of them for the next week. You know they’re doing the math.

And there’s still fingerpointing to City Hall.
And there’s a man trying to kill himself by jumping out his 9th story building and landing on the unpicked up garbage that everyone’s griping about. Garbage saved his life.
And there’s just general staying in touch.
And there’s a SanMan remembering his passed on father today.
And there’s still chops being busted on Facebook.
And there’s Sunday Night Football rhetoric.

Read on …

IT IS WHAT IT IS !!!!!!!!!!!!! I HATE THIS SAYING

Happy Birthday Dad…I miss you. R.I.P

… Good man!! I worked many times with him on the truck back in the day!

… Happy Bday Big Gee ..

Can’t help but feel something is missing?!?!?!

Yeah, a day off.

is working with his best buddy Brian …!

… awww…i have a tear in my eye…what a bromance

… the entire 7pm crew at bk 7 must be completely jealous.

Although the Giants are out of the Playoffs, it would be nice if they hold on for the win and win 10 games. To be honest there were too many missed opportunities on the Giants part and they should have taken care of business 2 weeks ago.

One of the SanMen posted photos of the snow removed from a public school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

SNOW January 2, 2011
25 new photos
Is this where u went to school or u showing us more clean up?

BOTH

That’s what happens when I work 12 hour shifts every night, I get delirious and 2 week cruises to Italy, Spain and France get booked. Hurry up September !!!!

driving over the Verrazanno Bridge there is a cruise ship going somewhere warm. wish I was on it.

all that garbage serves a purpose

Garbage breaks suicide jumper’s fall

Yawwwwwnnn! It’s feeling like that movie ‘Groundhog Day’. 85 hours….but NO Taquitos from 7-Eleven!!

85 Hr work week coming to an end & we get to do it all over again tomorrow. Lucky us!

Ok, it’s 2011…Where the hell is my jet pack?

:::

… last updated 1:15pm, January 2, 2010

For a little while, it seems that the D of DSNY has become Delirious Sanitation in New York. After 88 hour work weeks for some, the Status Updates have devolved from political ranting to the SanEquivalent of IVillage Diet Talk. SanMen and their friends counseling each other how to survive the Atkins Diet while working 14 hours shifts to congratulating one’s own self for not flipping out on an angry civilian, SanMen and Women still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel – not just yet.

So in the interim … Please forgive the loose editing on the expletives … some of these crack me up.

My Brain be fried.

… mine 2

… that sucks, i feel great.

:( hang in there …

… I didn’t even know u had one..My bad…((Hehe))

CARB WITHDRAWL…I FORGOT ABOUT THIS…!

Oh … I hate that! … You’re body rips through anything and eveything… You’re brain is like … bring on the motherf*****n Bagles dammitttt ahhhhhggghhhh!!! And you’re like eff you brain and you’re brains like oh yeah?? Eff you too… I will make you miserable!! And your stomache is like a lost child whose parents are going through terrible perhaps violent divorce… It doesn’t know what’s going on but it’s like stomping it’s feet and being rebellious and moody and…. S*** dude…

It’s 7 am I have no one to talk to sry


Lmao I k ow I tried to cut carbs out once I just dint succeed >.<

i wanna eat everything in sight…my body is f***** up…lmao

carbs…they are the bitch…i love them unfortunately…lmao

i did it though….give it 4 days…youll suceed

I did it four years ago I lost over 100 pounds! just be careful when you start taking carbs again. The weight comes back quick…. yeah I know after a couple of good snowshifts your body is craving the absolute most garbage food for it to feel normal again

Not Again I need a day to sleep!!!!

its day what ever!!!!!!! I M totally shot

93 hour work week almost complete. I’ve lost all sanity. No end in sight..

Anyone want to meet me for a drink @ 6am? Lol. Im getting out of work at that time.

I would love to but I need to rearrange my sock drawer

Happy Birthday Pop. I cant believe you’re gone 15 years this year. My mission is to be the man you knew I could be. I love you and miss you everyday pop. Rest in Peace.

Work

worked 88 hrs this week…jesus…i better love my paycheck or imma be pissed!

I got ya beat by 1 hour.

6 to 8 inches on Friday…I guess I ain’t seeing yous guys for a while…

Atkins Day 1. Im not going to stop until I hit 240…unless its St. Paddys Day and Im not there yet…Happy New Years People…the future is looking ever so bright!

TOM IS SUNDAY???? !#$@% I FEEL LIKE I CAME OFF A RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn I truly didn’t know today was Saturday I’m working way tooo much. I need a break!!!! uhhhh tomorrow another 12 hours I’m sooo tired!!!

Bloomberg’s Snow(Plow) Job
“You can never count on the privates, because they don’t have to show up. What obligation do they have? The mayor can’t order them out. The commissioner can’t order them out.”

OH DAMN my neck and my back Y did I just forget I’m driving a garbage truck with a plow on it

:::

… last updated December 31, 2010, 11:45pm

Perhaps it’s Mike (one of many SanMikes) said it best:


All this snow talk this week …. what’s Lindsay Lohan been up to?

Happy New Year to All of Your Strong Folks Out There …

In a Facebook message from another Mike in Queens:

Q6 was good today, Rego Park area. We were shoveling Cross-walk, bus stops, hydrants, and opening up drains. 12 hrs. Many people thanked us.

and the last Facebook status updates for 2010:

12 hour shift with PRIDE..for everyone that believes the media slandering us..what strike? Haven’t seen my family since xmas eve..and won’t for another week..so don’t believe everything u hear..we are new yorks strongest and there should have been a state of emergency to get cars and buses off the road so we could actually get to the streets..be safe enjoy new years fb fam!

Working for New Years…I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday tonight. Have a drink for me. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!

You too brotha. and no matter what anyone says if it wasn’t for you guys busting your a** nobody would be able to get out and celebrate.

Happy New Year! I’ve enjoyed many a beverage. But I’ll enjoy one more for you! Be safe and even though I’m no longer in NY, my family still is so thanks for what you do!!!!

2010 was the year I hit rock bottom. 2011 is the year I rise from the ashes and prove my doubters wrong. 2011 – The re-birth of yours truely!

2011 the year of BIG SEXY

my brothers in arms, I salute you or your fortitude, wisdom and strength. And for your tireless and unrecognized dedication…may God bless you all, and Happy new year

happy new year, i will be shoveling crosswalks for the night,yippie,enjoy and stop the bitching about the snow

i really need a 10 hour night of sleep. :(

happy newyear to all my friends, family and all my DSNY brothers and sisters that are out there breaking there ass for this city.

Happy new years everyone..stuck at work till 7am have drinks for me

Happy new year to all my friends, family & extended family. A BIG shout out to all my brothers & sisters at DSNY, we’re still working & will be ringing in the new year fighting the streets. Be careful & God bless you all

Happy New Years to all of my friends!!! Be safe!

Small DSNY secret: the plow is raised because of too much snow that has to be skimmed, ice that can make you crash into cars and such. By the way, happy new year

Stories are coming out now about people dying, and a newborn too, because of emergency crews not being able to get to them. Amazingly, the story of my best friend trying to escort an ambulance to Luthetan hospital for 2 hours with his spreader remains unknown. Then you get the j*******s who open their stupid mouths and talk of a slowdown.

When all of you are kissing your wives and hugging your children I’ll be clearing snow so you can get down your block safely tonight So I guess my family will just have to settle for a phone call but they understand why….. But guess what I’ll be with the best bunch of people I could think of at midnight. MY DSNY FAMILY. Happy new year!!

To all my Family and Friends, I hope you all have a happy, healthy and safe New Years!!!!

LEAVING CAPS LOCK ON UNTIL 2011

Shutting it down for a few hours. A special Happy New Year wish to the miserable old fart walking down the middle of Union Turnpike at 430am who gave me the finger. Nice shirt by the way.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY ON F/B

Happy new year to all my friends and family!!

Today is new years eve, the last day of the month, the last day of the year, the last year of the the decade so make it last and party like it’s your last day! Have fun and be safe.. And don’t drink and drive because you might hit a bump and spill it on yourself!!!!

News flash from the PIX 11 Whining News… garbage is piling up after a snowstorm. Is that something newsworthy? It’s happened before thus it’s old, not ‘News’.
All this snow talk this week …. what’s Lindsay Lohan been up to?

BUON ANNO ! happy new year !

:::

… last updated, 11am, December 30, 2010 …

There’s Sanitation and plows and politics. Rumors of slowdowns, Mayor Doomberg blame is mounting, tertiary politicians are grandstanding. The Media pulls the paper tiger routine on the politicians and union leaders. The Public roars on the street at the Sanitation Workers. It’s citizen on citizen, corporate entity on municipal monolith. So much anger in the snow … And buried deep in the night (and in these updates) are kids missing their parents, reports of cheap tire chains, lots of lousy coffee, and one SanWoman looking up into the sky and thinking about falling in love in 2011.

Let’s not lose perspective.

Keep asking questions, keep talking and we’re on our way to figuring out why this storm froze the City of New York.

The snow’s begun melting. There’s so much garbage piling up on the sidewalks. And there’s the massive post-New Years Eve and Times Square cleaning just a couple of days away. It ain’t over for a couple more weeks.

Keep kickin’ it, DSNY, and keep perspective, All of Us.

And keep looking up.

:::


If Dsny was in a slow down you would know.. It would much worse then this we would still be doing our primary streets..

I told Marty Markowitz where u live.

Lol yeah is that why the channel 2 news helicopter is over my house? I’m serious it is foe 20 minutes now

Nice, more pressure. Now everyone is gonna try and grandstand for the mayor instead of doing their thing. Also, the truth is slowly coming out. OEM, MTA and others dropped the big one

LocalWireless.com
Mayor to take five-borough tour to check plowing

New York Daily News
Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and his flaky ideas doom New York during storm

The Real Reason Why The Blizzard Crippled the City!!!

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SLOWDOWN!!!!! I REPEAT SANITATION IS NOT SLOWING DOWN, we drive with our plows up slightly on un-plowed blocks because if we dont we will get stuck, and we drive with our plows slightly up on plowed blocks beause we cant plow blacktop …!!!

Well this about says it all…. he wasn’t even in town!!!!!!!!!!

New York Post
Sanitation Department’s slow snow clean-up was a budget protest

The Moon and the planet Venus I hope that means I will find LOVE!!! This yr

Dead man plowing :/

WHAT DAY IS IT??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

What year is it? Still 2010 or is it 2011 yet?

how much longer are you guys on for? I asked Joe and he grunted at me :/ He said people are so angry and were throwing shovels at them, blocking plows and refusing to let then through unless their block was plowed and yelling at them. I feel so bad for you guys. Hang in there.

72 Drive …. Saved!!!!!!!

Wishes I was near retirement…

You digith your car out…. I plowith it back in…. MUWAAHAAHAAHAA >:)

im on like 3 cups of coffee…lol…and im really not bad…i just daydream about being an a******…lol

If you guys want to know why the streets were not plowed it’s because the mayor is cutting back on spending and this year he decided to buy cheaper thinner snow chain that break and don’t do anything.. Thats why we keep getting stuck and have to pull eachother out.. Sunday night we were all stuck.. So say thank you mr bloomberg

That’s right the are more than half the size of the old ones and as of yesterday they have gone through more chains in this storm than in the last 3yrs with the old ones.

Well while everyone is celebrating New Years I will be working 12 hours OH and for the ones that are knocking Sanitation hug ur kids tell them u love them Because I haven’t seen my daughter in 3 days and I sure would love a hug right now. Just spoke to her before I go 2 sleep and she said while joking “what is ur name again” So tell me again how bad are ur streets!?!

If nobody else tells DSNY Thank You, I’ll be the first. You’re appreciated. It takes a whole village to keep the village running and I appreciate the choice you guys made to keep it clean and safe for us. Kniowing some of your colleagues have lost their lives doing this work. Work hard but work safe.

I appreciate ur line of duty n ya co workers also. Thank You … Thumbs up……….I couldn’t ask for any better

Xxxx

Come on up! My daughter is out, and my hubby can watch my son..lol…plowing was pretty good up here BUT I know how hard it is in the city..people can’t let you do your job, where the hell are they going in a blizzard?? I remember how nuts people would get over parking spots on my old block…unreal

You know what … people always have something to say when they’re not the ones in charge of doing the work. If they’re really that concerned, they’ll go buy a shovel and dig themselves out. Some of my teens got their shovels and made some money digging. This is an entreprenurial country, go make some bread instead of complaining. LMBO

What about the 22 year old from bk, who lost her baby? If they wanna point fingers then I’m all for it…..Especially when its Good workers like my girl busting her ass n not being able to spend it with her baby…….Don’t get me started I will start the press conference NOW!!!!!!!

:-( I miss my daughter. I said gdnite to her on the phone n she cried n said “I don’t wanna stay w mommy anymore. daddy come get me I wanna go to work w u

Lol Thank U Ladys I love my Job but I hate when it snows because I just can’t make everyone happy When it comes to garbage its easy U put ur garbage out go to sleep wake up and bamm it gone but It snows and now u want to look for me lol

‎”F” the media!!! We getting it done, all day, everyday, until the snow is gone!!

I can’t wait to post the pics of the mountains of garbage that awaits us after 12 hour shifts with no days off :) and Joseph I fell asleep so maybe tonight I will wait by the snow melter for that hug lol

Been fueling up on coffee and iced tea…wish I had some more snow to break free…I’ve been working thru for 3 damn nights…

so tired from 14 + hrs shifts…this is killing me…but again my hats off to the brave and bold sanitation, fighting cold, sleeplessness,fatigue, insults, and the like just to do a most important task… I thank God for his strength and oversight..Ps thank the mayor for his ignorance, carelessness, and foolish tongue..he is really making a name for himself .lol

Sick and tired of people talking bad….I gave a mouthful to people at the bus stop today….set them right :-)

I’m curious if the fallout from this storm will go something like this: Bloomberg will pretend to take the blame while dodging any actual analysis of what went wrong; DSNY will get tagged by rumors of a work slowdown that will stick because people will wonder why the plows weren’t running immediately; the public will be angry without admitting that, well, maybe we should’ve stayed off the streets after all; and out o ….. Friggin’ FB cut off my rant! The last part was: …and out of all of this will come, surprise, the argument by interested parties that this is proof we should privatize the snow removal infrastructure.

Day 4 of ‘Operation Save the World’

Almost time to get ready. I saw my family for about an hour

nyc deputy mayor stephen goldsmith … go back to indianapolis because you have no idea what you are doing and you have ruined the reputation of the nyc sanitation dept.

When This is all over I’m pretty sure Bloomy is gonna give him a one way ticket back to Indy

I am looking to trade the night shift at Q9; I will plow the street, you take the girls.. Anyone?

alternate side parking AND meters suspended the rest of the week….. a holiday gift to the taxpayers from Bloomberg and Goldsmith

New Yorkers r so spoiled its so sad for the media and the public to knock DSNY Let’s see what’s next will u b pissed because ur garbage is not being picked up Oh well because that’s not gonna happen until the snow gone buddy hehehe If anyone thinks they can do it better hit me up I got an extra uniform u can wear and I’m sure by the end of the day u will b signing a new tune and the media can go kick rocks!!!

I help maybe 4 people a night get unstuck I figure that’s some people that hopefully will think differently when they hear DSNY getting bad talk.

NYers have nothing else to do but sit in their nice cozy homes!

people don’t say anything when we do good and … u know it the public sees us take our 30 min break on a 12 hour shift and they have a fit smh

You should start your own reality tv show in that vain. Name it, ” A Walk in my shoes.” Get that to a producer before someone steals the idea; )

whole dept needs a show lol

have to say my brothers and sisters in DEPT OF SANITATION ARE DOING A GOOD JOB OUT THERE.

I’m a little tired today :(

You should be working like a maniac. Get your rest on. You deserve it; )

Feeling like crap… congested, horrible cough and 101 temperature……sticker on my head reads “OUT OF ORDER”

Has the office been flooded with calls asking if we’re picking up garbage yet?

oh, we weren’t suppose to put the garbage out?? 😉

They picked mine up yesterday.

Another 12 hour overnight in the books. Sunset Park looks 10 times better… More 12 hr plus days to come.

plowwwinnn!

I miss sleep…

Thanks, my friends, 4 the support, the bashing got old real fast 😉

SEND COOKIES! LMAO! Ok, back to work…Ciao!

More cookies??? LOL I sent 9 dozen in last week! and a sheet cake this week…man you guys get hungry when it snows!!! But I will do my best for you…You guys deserve it with all the flack you are getting. Well know that at least you have one fan who knows how hard our men and women of the NYDS are working.
(Oh I made … cinnamon scones today…see if you can get him to bring you one!)

:::

… last updated, 11 pm, December 28, 2010 …

Was just cursed out by a guy blaming me for all the snow. I said “Yea I made it snow!! Just for you tomorrow I will make it sunny and 80 degrees”. Then he got out of his car to yell at me and he fell. I laughed in his face. he left

Our new plows that just came in to open up the streets

everyone wants to blame the sanitation, the guys out in the street are trying there best. you need to thank the way way higher ups for this, so put your middle fingers down and pick up the phone and call Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and give him…

Nobody understands that we got over 2 feet of snow.. It takes time to clear it be patient

An FYI for NYC: everyone I’ve talked to in the DSNY is bone-tired from 12- and 13- and even 15-hour shifts. No one is dogging the work. Among the many factors that the public doesn’t know: every snow storm is unique, and therefore every response is something of a crap shoot, no matter how well prepared the city is ahead of time.

Just used the bathroom @ Afternoon’s on Forest ave and the girls behind the bar and the owner thanked me for plowing their streets and doing a great job…..it made me feel really good n proud!

lasagna for breakfast anybody?

All of this blizzard talk is getting old….. on a lighter note…… Dad, 47, in Germany castrates man, 57, for dating 17-year-old daughter: cops

I hope this blizzard doesn’t destroy my New Year’s Day plans ….. Honeymooners marathon and the ‘Winter Classic’…. lol
gonna start round three with snow wish us luck

Plow plow plow

To all that hate on the DSNY… Keep hating… We love yous.

loves a SanMan.

@$&& all these people who say that the men and woman of this job suck Or are pissed because there block has not been plowed This is on you mayor and dept mayor. We bust our ass to make you look good but you have cut us off at the knees lack of manpower and quality equipment

sleep need lots of sle…zzzzzzzzzzz

I have to clear this up for the public This was a BLIZZARD not a regular snow storm. We had to get to the main roads before the side street Secondary and Tertiarty streets will b done today. If u feel u could have done a better job They are hiring for day laborers Until then move out my way so I can do my job!!

Actual 311 call?? Yes my name is jerkoff jerkovitz and my block hasn’t been plowed yet. I pulled my car out during the blizzard for s**** and giggles buy it got stuck and I left it in the middle of the block. The sanitation workers are useless!!!

People STAY OFF THE ROADS!!!! Let DSNY do our jobs and plow the streets, we are working around the clock, if you need extra money and want to be a snow laborer, go to your nearest sanitation garage for more info.

workin trielessly to free the roads of snow, with my boys in green .>>>big up sanitation…doing great jobs with a few people, and broken machinery…thanks city hall for firing guys and not rehiring,,,job well done thanx to you..at this rate, this winter nyc will be called iceland

Cars everywhere 86th st.

your welcome van brunt st

Break out the “V” plows

Just worked 14 hours, its sleep time for this san man!

:::

… last updated at 7pm, December 27, 2010 …

HEYYY the firemen asked me if I was ok Yes cuties I’m just fine lmao!!!!

Hey I’m a lady I can’t pee on the side of the truck can I get a bathroom break someone come and get me PLEASE lol!!!!

Thanks to Senator Kruger for saying there were no plows or spreaders out in Canarsie, Georgetown or Mill Basin last night. Couldn’t be further from the truth, but I guess that’s what political windbags are supposed to say when sanitation has difficulty fighting a massive storm.

Working in the garage doing plows n chains!!! Hahahahahaha

All our equipment is out in the streets, we need more manpower …

u guys are starting to work like longshoremen now lol

the reason why he didnt get you guys more manpower is because school is not in session. He is crazy obsessed with the kids getting to school and no snow days. If school was in session the sanitation would have more man power. gr

Lol … we still don’t have enough men on the job, guys retire and they don’t hire. … we are working like longshoremen ahahahahaha

I’m not a loser I can’t lose I have to clear these streets ughhh!!!!!!

… don’t let the media tell u we not doing it we r trying this blizzard hit us hard

I no … N I’m grateful for you guys!! 😉

Thank U

Yo go girl & who said females cnt do it um hello “Fe-Male” lmfao …

just be safe out there!…FOR REAL!

we got stuck because we werent able to maneuver around the public and too much time lapsed. overnight, 3 inches an hour fell…when im stuck behind some [car] for 30 to 45 minutes a clip…the snow got to be too much to handle. I sat in gridlock on 63rd and 8th avenue from 215 this morning til someone had to relieve me at 11am. They had to walk from 60th and 5th cause sunset park was at a standstill…it was unbelievable

Getting ready to go back to work…DAMN..I feel like a Coney Island hooker on a two for the price one special..

DSNY + BLIZZARD = POWER…! But we know who always wins in the end. As you rescue the entire city (yet again!), everybody stay safe out there…!

:::

Monday, December 27, 2010

The snow started in the afternoon the day after Christmas.

My Facebook Newsfeed started buzzing late on Christmas Day with Status Updated yelps of “yippee$” and bellyaching about getting the call to work. That’s par for the course – it’s both – “yahoo!” and “&8%$!!” for Sanitation when it snows.

It’s a lot of things for one of the Strongest Municipal Snow Machines in the world today, managing the Blizzard of 2010. While I’m posting this, all City Officials are in the middle of a televised press conference explaining how the strong winds are making everybody’s job impossible and how much an inch of snow costs the City.

A Big Apple ThunderSnow Blizzard costs a lot of things.

It’s long dangerous nights of keeping the main thoroughfares clear. It’s money in the pocket of Sanitation Workers and out of the pocket of taxpayers. It’s spouses and children hoping their dads, mothers, uncles, aunts and cousins are warm and safe. It’s snow chains and mechanics and salt garages and storage facilities. It’s supervisors and Commissioners and Union leaders on the phone constantly with each other, strategizing on how the plows, salt trucks and man/womanpower are spent and sent and when, where and how fast and how long. It’s getting stuck going to work, at work, going home from work. It’s sleeping overnight in your office if you’re Deputy Commissioner Vito Turso or in an ambulance if you’re SanMan Charlie. It’s fielding any and every SanMan or Super or SanWoman’s phonecall and a lot of lousy coffee if your Jimmy Parker at the Local 831. It’s current political and structural struggles with budget cutbacks and reassignments and cut pay and overpay and the wind is gusting up to 40mph and making everyone miserable.

This is “snowrgasmic tandemonium!!” as one SanMan posted.


Here are other selections from my SanFacebook friends’ postings. A range of worry, pride, morale boosting and messages to the public.

… last updated at 2:10 pm, December 27, 2010 …

FUN FUN FUN!

The General Public Sucks! You know we’re getting hit with a blizzard … Did you think that your 1992 Cutlass Supreme with front wheel drive was going to beat two feet of snow … and now because your stuck … I get to wait 4 u to dig out … another 6 inches falls and 1/3 of our equipment is waiting for you. Bottom Line: Snow Storm = Stay Home

It was a snowrgasmic tandemonium!!

14 hours on the plow … Good thing insomnia and psychosis are my pre-existing conditions ; )

My Fb Fam sorry if the streets r bad we are trying our best

Leave your cars at home today, folks. Let New York’s Strongest clear all that snow.

I dunno if I can even make it to work…But lets thank NYC dept of sanitation for doin extraordinary things with ordinary people … write [the Mayor] and inform him of our part in saving this city..we are an emergency service. God has made it show…I thank Him with all my heart !

Time for some REAL ice road truckin’!!

B careful out there. One of my relatives is stranded in her MTA bus.

My hats off to nyc sanitation … who were called on xmas day to come to work at 6 am sharp and do 12-16 hrs str8 work..no excuses, all blood and sacrifice … i am honored to worked with the men and women who do the hard labor and fight the cold, haet and danger … with lil regard for self, and lil honor, we fight the good fight !

I’m stuck and can’t get out. asked how long before help was told hopefully today. feel like one of those chilen miners.

Someone plow my block!!!! This sanitation worker needs to get to work!!!

What a $&@”en night

Wow its bad out.

Nearing a record. 293 emails today. Guess how many were about snow.

THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE ON THE ROAD ARE THE BIG WHITE TRUCKS WITH THOSE ORANGE THINGS ATTACHED TO THE FRONT … GET OFF THE ROAD …!!!! YOUR PREVENTING ME FROM DOING MY JOB!! UN…BELIEVABLE

Please stay inside people, I’m gonna plow over you

Didn’t they tell you people to stay home?????

Good night to my DSNY Fam working 7pm shift b safe out there and someone pick me up @6 I’m going to 9 tomorrow thanks :)

BLIZZZZARD!! Go DSNY!

No probelmo. Becareful out there if you go out. I heard it’s going to come down pretty hard.

Blizzard conditions tonight. 2,400 Sanitation Workers, 365 salt spreaders, 1,700 snow plows, 180,000 tons of rock salt. Go New York’s Strongest!!!

My hats off to nyc sanitation…who were called on xmas day to come to work at 6 am sharp and do 12-16 hrs str8 work..no excuses, all blood and sacrifice..i am honored to worked with the men and women who do the hard labor and fight the cold, haet and danger..with lil regard for self, and lil honor, we fight the good fight !

Good night to my DSNY Fam working 7pm shift b safe out there and someone pick me up @6 I’m going to 9 tomorrow thanks :)

Time for some REAL ice road truckin’!!

The streets are trecherous…stay indoors. Let the professionals do their job :)

Stay strong Q9, be safe.

Question of the week: How many 7-11 Taquitos will I consume this week?

12 hour shifts for the next few days so my brother/sister in laws and my new nephew can get home quickly and safely

Getting some rest b4 I have to go out & fight this coming blizzard with my boys in green, New Yorks Strongest ( DSNY )

So if your parked on the right side .. move it to the left if you can, cause when the plows come on down tonight, they have no mercy and u will be buried in! Every one please be safe & enjoy this holiday season!

LET IT SNOW!!!!!!!!

Prospect Park, Brooklyn. 11:17pm, Dec. 26. Photo credit: DSNY Official Photographer Michael Anton

::: ::: :::

:: Chicks Who Dig Sanitation ::


In this continual Chase, the why continues to chase me, and only occasionally supplying me with rational explanations. I look at my cell phone filled mostly with Sanitation Workers and think I could use more diverse friends.

‘Course Mark here … well, why ask why, huh?

Most days, really, I think that’s the only reason I’m doing this project is …  look – it’s embarrassing.  It’s stupid and it’s simple and it’s embarrassing.

I want someone else to take out the trash.
I hate it.
Like Roy DiMaggio, I hate it.

I don’t know where this comes from.  But when I leave my apartment and see the Green Collars moving all over my neighborhood on a Monday morning, I realize my hood is just an extension of my home.  I should be so grateful I don’t have to pay some overpriced monthly fee for someone to cart away my two bags of trash per week.

Yes, I’m single. WOAH, some newsflash.  The bitching about taking out the trash screams it.  If I was married, would I still be Chasing Sanitation?  If my Italian patriarchs weren’t all Navy, Police and Firemen, would I be Chasing Sanitation?  If my dad wasn’t an accountant who constantly told me to do anything else but be an accountant, would I find these hard-working people so fascinating? Would I be so envious?

There is a part of me that thinks I’m certifiable.  I’m the reverse construction worker – eyeballin’ every collection truck that crosses my path, smiling stupidly at the guys moving all over my neighborhood on my morning dog walks, hootin’ at Hathaway when he snowplows down my street. Who does this???

Truth is:  Liz and I are not the only chicks to Chase Sanitation.  We come from a long line of chicks that have seen past the discarded to the person and City that keeps that garbage moving along. Before us, they all had their own reasons.  And we realize that this book project, this site, has already converted a precious few others.

Namely,

photo by Lisa's cell

Testa Rossa.

She found Sanitation on her own.

I didn’t say a thing to her.

Before that mutt, before Liz and Lisa, there was Robin. Dr. Robin Nagle. She’s Dr. Garbage. She ruminates about Sanitation Workers like I do. She’s even put on the uniform, hauled and dumped the trash, run the street sweeper. She lived to write about it. She’s still writing about it. She’s helming up the Museum of Sanitation. She is actually the DSNY’s Anthropologist-in-Residence. She kicks anthropological ass.

Before her, Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Now she’s a sort of pioneer – as well as being DSNY’s Artist-in-Residence. She connects my hatred of housework with my distraction with 7000 people doing New York’s housework. She’s met a lot more SanMen than we have. It could be that she and Robin have it actually worse than I do.

Jury’s still out on that.

But waaaaaaaaaay before any of us, before HBO’s “The Sopranos” gave everybody a smirky joke to make about Sanitation like they knew anything about anything, there was Josephine. Josephine Shaw Lowell.

An Excerpt from Kevin Rice & Local 831’s

From an excerpt from Dignity & Respect, by Kevin Rice, published by Local 831 (2009)

Women to the Rescue – Led by the Extraordinary Josephine Shaw Lowell

It took the “women’s movement” to focus public attention on the city’s Street Cleaners. Made up of mostly upper-class women, their embrace of political and moral reform led them quickly to the cause of labor. At first, they addressed child labor and the welfare of working women. However, their strong interest in sanitary reform soon acquainted them with street cleaning operations and the labor problems that beset it. For many, it appeared to view “municipal housekeeping” as an extension of their domestic roles. They considered the city their house and the streets “their hallway.”

These women helped Colonel Waring* find a more conciliatory approach to his “labor problems.” The Women’s Municipal League, a powerful agent of progressive change at the time, conducted regular inspections of the streets appointed as the official street inspectors and the Department’s stables. The League even proposed that women get appointed as the official street inspectors.  What had started as a “domestic” interest soon turned political. And, in the process, their desire to improve the conditions of the streets soon evolved into a desire to improve the conditions – and the pay – of the men who cleaned those streets. Before long the Women’s Municipal  League had become the champions of the White Wings.

No woman put her mark on the early Street Cleaners’ labor movement more than the founder of the Women’s Municipal League, Josephine Shaw Lowell. As a leader of the women’s movement, Lowell soon became a fierce advocate for better working conditions – especially for shorter hours – for the city’s workers, including Street Cleaners. She recognized the right of workers to organize and called on other women to help “found trade organizations where they do not exist and assist existing labor organizations to the end of increasing wages and shortening hours.”


Lowell corresponded with Colonel Waring when he was first beset by labor troubles. It was she who, in a series of letters to Waring, recommended the setting up of a “Board of Conciliation” to deal with the Street Cleaners’ grievances and demands. Her influence was at least partly responsible for Waring’s setting up a grievance apparatus, the “Committee of Forty-One,” to settle those matters. As Lowell wrote:

“I believe in the right to strike; but remember that a strike is like war; it brings great misery with it … What I want to do, is, with others, to prevent strikes …

When labor organizations and organizations of employers act together in joint boards of conciliation, they are, of course, far more effective for this purpose than when the two bodies act alone and often in opposition to each other.

If by means of such organizations the relations between employers and employed could be adapted on an enduring and satisfactory basis, all causes of strife and contention removed … wages increased … strikes and turnouts prevented … the health and comfort of the workmen looked after, and other matters discussed and regulated, who would say that such results would not be worth any sacrifice that they might cost?”

… “the women’s movement” focused public attention on the city’s Street cleaners. The Women’s Municipal League’s progressive goals had led them first to the cause of child labor and the welfare of working women, but their campaign for sanitary reform had also made them fast friends with and defenders of the White Wing. She group saw poor worker morale at the heart of the department’s inefficiency.  They also railed against the payoffs rampant in the city’s hiring system, and demanded better training for Street Cleaners. These mainly upper-class women saw “municipal housekeeping” as an extension of their role at home.

*Colonel George E. Waring was the Civil War veteran who was appointed in 1895 to  Commissioner of Street Cleaning in 1895 by then Mayor Strong. (Teddy Roosevelt was Strong’s first choice and opted to be Commissioner of Police instead.)  The Colonel insisted on being called Colonel, not Commissioner.  He was credited with the successful design of a modern sewage system in Memphis, TN. This is one of a few historical intersections between Sanitation in New York and Sanitation in Memphis.

*White Wings is the nickname given to the early ancestors of New York’s Strongest, when Waring changed the Street Cleaners’ uniforms to all white.  For an extra splash, he arranged the first Street Cleaners Parade in 1896 down Fifth Avenue to show them off as a then quasi-military force.

::: ::: :::

:: SanQuotes ::

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
~ Charles Dickens

::: ::: :::

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go;
I owe my soul to the Company store …
~ “16 Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955 song about coal miners but a two-person team of Sanitation Workers move up 16 tons a day, so there.)

::: ::: :::

If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ,  from The Mountaintop in Memphis, April 3, 1968

::: ::: :::

In the morning, the garbage men that go by 57th Street when I come out the door say, “Marilyn, hi! How do you feel this morning?”  To me,it’s an honor, and I love them for it.  The working men, I’ll go by and they’ll whistle. At first they whistle because they think, oh, it’s a girl.  She’s got blond hair and she’s not out of shape, and then they say, “Gosh,it’s Marilyn Monroe!”
Marilyn Monroe, Film actress, all-around good body

::: ::: :::

Growing up training, I use to get up so early I would wave to the garbage men going by. So, I had this relationship with Blue Collar America and I really liked it. I felt that lots of those people looked forward to me winning.
Gerry Cooney, professional boxer in early 1990’s

::: ::: :::

I see a lot of people who love their jobs. I see some garbage collectors smiling as they go about their work.
Willie Stargell, outfielder & first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates

::: ::: :::

I’ve dated men my age, younger than me and older. The only difference is the young ones are quicker at taking out the garbage.
~ Lara Flynn Boyle, Film/TV actress, “Twin Peaks,” “The Practice,” “Mobsters”

::: ::: :::

I’ve worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It’s not that long ago. I like to think that I’m just a regular guy.
~ Denzel Washington, Oscar award-winning actor, “Glory,” “John Q,” “Training Day,” “Fallen,” “Malcolm X,” “Philadelphia”

::: ::: :::

If I have any appeal at all, it’s to the fellow who takes out the garbage.
~ Lee Marvin, film actor, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “The Dirty Dozen”

::: ::: :::

If the working people had all they ought to have, we should not have the paupers and criminals. It is better to save them before they go under, than to spend your life fishing them out afterward.
~ Josephine Shaw Lowell, activist, philanthropist, turn-of-the-century Progressive reform leader, former Staten Island resident

::: ::: :::

My parents would always say, ‘It doesnt’ matter if it’s a guy picking up the garbage or the President of the United States, treat everybody as you would want to be treated.

Dan Marino, former Miami Dolphins quarterback

::: ::: :::

New York City has finally hired women to pick up the garbage, which makes sense to me, since, as I’ve discovered, a good bit of being a woman consists of picking up garbage.
~ Anna Quindlen, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and best-selling author

::: ::: :::

People see my current success but don’t realize I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I used to clean garbage off the Philadelphia docks and put a lot of time into developing my music.
~ Kevin Eubanks, jazz guitarist, Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” sidekick

::: ::: :::

When I go home my mother still makes me take out the garbage.
~ Nomar Garciaparra, Major League Baseball plaayer for Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, LA Dodgers, Oakland Athletics

::: ::: :::

::: ::: :::

:: A Sanitation Worker’s Prayer at Roll Call ::

Sanitation garages are never in the middle of a neighborhood. They skirt the rivers, the edges of communities, the far reaches of the city’s hustle.

Dirty on the Outside, Warm on the Inside

The garages are the size of movie studios, filled with the ways and means to getting the job done. The collection trucks, the offices, the supervisors’ cars, the plows, the chains – the big, the bulky, the steely of Sanitation.

Walk in one and you’re easily dwarfed by the expanse of machines. Continue in, and you’ll bump into a different kind of steely.



At roll call on a dark early Friday morning in August in the Bronx, the crew gathered for roll call and shared a moment together. We were lucky to be here.

We were honored for a fly-on-the-wall witness of what this particular garage does to unify the team – after roll call, after getting their route assignments, after the coffee and whatever it took to get them up and moving at 6am. Not everyone lives in the Bronx, not everyone’s Christian, not everyone’s Atheist. But everyone’s a New Yorker and everyone will be moving the City’s garbage out of the way among people trying to get to work on time.


I’ll keep saying it: it is a dangerous job. Every day, every minute and it’s hard. It’s not all driving in a truck. It’s 16 tons of germ-ridden, vermin-preyed, and criminal evidence we’ll never know the hidden story behind. It’s baby bottles and diapers and kitty litter and doggie bags of leftover gone bad. It’s hypodermic needles illegally obtained and shared. It’s whatever else we waste of what is private in our own homes.

Sure, it’s not taking a shot for your partner – well, you hope it’s not.

And so, on this morning, SanMan William Holmes stepped up to offer up a few thoughts to whatever God or Protector that’s floating around the lives of these men and women. On the edge of the city, before the sun is up, a crew takes a moment.

Here is that request to God:

William Holmes



“Everlasting to Everlasting,

We come to you this morning to give you praise and glory and honor, to thank you for waking us up this morning in our right minds and keeping us safe through the night.

We want to thank you for your love, mercy and grace. And as we pray to you, a perfect God, we come to you as imperfect people asking forgiveness of our sins. We ask these all you Lord for your forgiveness. And we ask that you look upon those today who are out sick, out on LODI, and we ask for special healings for whatever their infirmities are.

Bless the supervisors and officers who have charge over us. Bless them with godly wisdom.

We ask you, Lord God, that you protect us today.
We ask that you cover us.

Cover us with the blood of Christ that was shed on Calvary. Keep us safe on the highways and byways, from dangers seen and unseen.

May the words of my mouth and meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight.

Oh Lord, Our Strength and Our Redeemer, In Christ’s name. Amen.”

Given by William “Reverend Minister” Holmes, Bronx 8, August 28, 2009



::: ::: :::

:: The Brothers, The Sisters Unite After Hours ::

With over 7000 employees, a regimented work schedule, and a culture of teamwork, many convene outside of work, to enjoy what they share in common.

These societies are membership organizations with scholarships and charitable donations made to foundations for children, disease awareness, and other such organizations as the USO. Throughout New York’s paramilitary units – NYPD, FDNY, DSNY, Corrections – all unite fraternally, each membership with its own mission, commitment and activities.

Here are a few of those societies.

The Columbia Association
Ronald Cohen, President
http://www.dsnycolumbia.org/index.html

“The Columbia Association of The New York City Department of Sanitation was formed in 1936 and is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in New York City’s uniformed forces. The Association, which consists of more than 2,500 Department of Sanitation employees of Italian-American descent, is the largest fraternal organization within the Department of Sanitation. The Columbia Association’s mission is to promote fraternalism, education and charity, while projecting a positive image for Italian-Americans. It accomplishes this by granting scholarships, through volunteerism, and through charitable fundraising. … The motto of the Columbia Association is that “You make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give.”

The Emerald Society
Thomas Doyle, President
http://dsnyemeraldsociety.com/

“The mission of the DSNY Emerald Society is to foster a spirit of brotherhood and benevolence among its members; to inculcate in them a high sense of loyalty to one another and to their duties and their government; to stimulate their social, moral and intellectual advancement; to attain a greater degree of tolerance and understanding among themselves and between themselves and other employees of the New York City Department of Sanitation; to advance the welfare and interests of its members; to protect the rights and privileges and promote the economic welfare, insofar as possible, of its members as Civil Service Employees; to hold meetings, social gatherings and lectures for the better realization of these objectives.”

American Legion Post #1110
William Marchuk, Commander

African American Benevolent Society
Vincent Murdock, President
http://www.aabsdsny.org/

“The objective was, is and shall be to foster a spirit of brotherhood and benevolence among its members, to instill, teach, inculcate in them a high sense of loyalty to one another and to their duties and government, to stimulate their social, moral and intellectual advancement, to attain a greater degree of tolerance and understanding amongst themselves and between other employees of the Department of Sanitation, to advance the welfare of interest of its members and elevate their social standing. A body of Black Men employed by the New York City Department of Sanitation met in the Municipal Building of May 22, 1935, for the purpose of forming a Benevolent Society within the Department. The Society was duly formed and named: The Negro Benevolent Society of the Department of Sanitation, Inc. of the City of New York. On March 21, 1991, the name was amended to: The African American Benevolent Society of the Department of Sanitation.”

Asian Jade Society
Chi Gong, President
http://dsnyajs.net/AboutUs.html
“The Asian Jade Society is an Official Fraternal Organization for the Department of Sanitation. Our members are made up of Sanitation Personnel of Asian or Pacific descent. The Society has personnel of different ethnicity such as Chinese, Filipinos, Korean and Vietnamese. Our Goal is to extend our Members and Community the following: to promote tolerance and understanding of the different cultures that make up the DSNY Asian Jade Society; to teaching cultural diversity, tolerance and understanding of the different ethnicities, which will create a strong bond and working relationship between the Sanitation Department and the Asian Communities; to recruit talented, multi-lingual, and educated Asians to increase the number of Asian Sanitation Employees in the NYC Sanitation Department, so that they may represent and assist their communities by working in those Districts; and to design, devise, and apply effective programs that will facilitate education of the public in such critical areas as public health, community liaisons relations, understanding the sanitation Code of Digest, Rules and Regulations, Summons Prevention, Adopt a basket program, Recycling issues and Safety concerns.”

The Holy Name Society
John Livingston, President

The Hebrew Spiritual Society
Sam Libovitz, President

The Hispanic Society
Joseph Maldonado, President
http://dsnyhispanic.org

Islamic Council of DSNY
Muhammad Shareef, President

The Pulaski Association
Mark Ostrowski, President

Retirees
Tommy Nazzaro

Sanitation Association of Latinos
Jose Garcia, President

The Steuben Association
Alfred Steiger, President
http://www.steubensociety.org/
“The Steuben Society of America was founded in May of 1919, in the aftermath of the First World War, by patriotic Americans of German descent. Our mission from the inception of our organization to the present day has remained essentially unchanged. Our goals are to foster good citizenship in the German-American community, to educate the public as to the positive role our ethnic group has always played in American society, and to preserve a sense of ethnic pride amongst German-Americans.”

Trashed MC
Dave Savarese, President
http://trashedmc.com/
“We are a group of New York City Sanitation workers that provide a fraternal, social and non-profit club or active, retire or associate D.S.N.Y. members. Our mission is to unite motorcyclists in the spirit of Brotherhood, as well as promote motorcycle safety. We are an independent, non-political, hard riding club with no attitudes. We abide by ALL A.M.A. by-laws and standards.”

Uniform Sanitation Chiefs Association
Russ Taormina, President

United Women of Sanitation Association
Ruth Joyner, Chairperson

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