Stars oppose NYC's stinky garbage plan
Actors and artists are using their star power to fight a plan to build a garage for 95 garbage trucks in a New York City neighborhood.
Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 04:03 PM
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
No one wants garbage on their street ... or garbage trucks barreling past their home ... or garages for said garbage trucks.
But that’s just the predicament residents of one New York City neighborhood are in, according to the New York Times.
Under a stinky proposal, the city plans to build a 138-foot garage for 95 garbage trucks in TriBeCa, the once-industrial neighborhood that has turned increasingly tony in recent years. With a price tag of more than $500 million, the installation would occupy two city blocks on Spring Street, with construction set to begin in the spring.
Undaunted, some celebrities in the neighborhood — which is home to James Gandolfini, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly and John Slattery — are fighting back.
Opponents say the garage and the added truck traffic will add more diesel fumes to the air, bring unnecessary noise to the neighborhood and block river views. A proposed storage shed for 4,000 tons of road salt would pose an environmental hazard should the salt leach into the ground and reach the roots of nearby trees or the Hudson River.
Instead, critics of the city’s plan have spent $50,000 on a competition to come up with alternatives. (The winning design, the 70-foot Hudson Rise, would house 62 trucks and include a rooftop park that connects to another planned park on the nearby Pier 40.) They’ve also filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, arguing that the community is being overburdened.
“If that’s what it takes — people in TV and the movies — to get people to pay attention, then it’s a good use of that celebrity,” said Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling in Mad Men.
So far, the city is standing strong. It has no choice, it says, and under a 2005 agreement must evacuate the trucks from their current garage on an eight-acre site near Gansevoort Street. The city insists the new garage would bring little extra noise and pollution to Spring Street; its garbage trucks would be low-emission models.
That hasn’t swayed neighbors.
“The Department of Sanitation is like an ocean liner,” said Richard Barrett, a painter and leader of the TriBeCa Community Association. “Once they’re set on a course, it’s nearly impossible to make a quick turn.” However in recent months, they were able to get a meeting with a deputy mayor for operations under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We couldn’t get an entree into the mayor’s office until Gandolfini got involved, and suddenly the door was open,” Barrett said.