I was on my way to the gym this morning and was stopped along the way by images of trash everywhere – literally! All over the grass and it angered me for a number of reasons. Primary reason being, all folks want to do is complain about the problem. Mostly it’s because WE feel that there is very little we can do about it. Or, more to the point, what difference will it make. We can complain until the cows come home, no one is going to listen. I saw a few neighbors as I pulled out my cellphone to take a few photos, and they made comments that let me know they were on my side and were equally disgusted. This is becoming a regular occurrence in my housing development; trash scattered all about our “lawn.” There has always been a trash problem, but for some reason, it’s getting worse – considerably! Despite awareness of the problem, it persists, but is starting to get attention. I feel that now is the time to find ways to bring this issue into a larger discussion among tenants, management, and staff of NYCHA while there is a bit of focus on the problem.
It is time to get tenants involved. I do not believe that because we are housing residents, we should be subjected to these kinds of living conditions. I find myself eager for the weekend so that I can escape the neighborhood and find a more clean and green space in which to relax. My partner and I walk a lot and often comment on how the landscape changes, for example, from downtown Manhattan at let’s say Pier 45 or Central Park to upper Manhattan. You can begin to see the litter scattered on the streets or garbage piled up on sidewalks. Why? Is it demographics, cultural? Is it that low-income community residents don’t care about their neighborhoods or are there less resources available or allocated to keep the streets clean? I am truly perplexed by the plethora of articles on the topic of poor neighborhoods, especially black and latino, being dirtier than others. Is there a legislative fix to this issue? I don’t believe that we can legislate clean neighborhood, as there are already rules in place that are simply not followed. The answer, for now, is a mystery!