Trash on Franklin Ave. Is it a mess or a mess?
  • Every day I walk to the subway down franklin ave (from st.marks to eastern parkway) and everyday I notice it is getting more and more covered in trash and broken glass bottles. The areas with small shops aren't so bad, but everywhere else is a mess! Does anyone notice the same trend/ know why this is going on???


  • Because people in the neighborhood who walk down Franklin Ave. use the street as a litter basket. The store owners have to sweep in front of their places or else risk a $50 sanitation fine. And they have to sweep 18 inches into the street. Everyplace else is a "no man's land" and people just don't give a damn.


  • Do you think that the neighborhood would respond to a clean up day? or are we getting WAY ahead of ourselves for this hood?


  • Clean up days have just begun to become a regular feature on Washington, and can largely be credited the work of Heart of Brooklyn and the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association

    Related photo:

    Related thread:

    http://brooklynian.com/forum/prospect-heights/washington-ave-is-dirty

    Franklin Avenue also has a merchants association, and an org known as Crow Hill Association I perceive them as being right on the cusp of being able to pull off regular street cleanings:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Franklin-Avenue-Merchants/125330170861779

    Relying on the city to empty to overflowing trash cans does not seem a valid strategy, nor does it help to discourage litter.

    The associations may need to do what many other groups have reluctantly done: Buy trash cans which the merchants then "voluntarily" empty.


  • Yep. Heart of Brooklyn and the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association do great things for the neighborhood and then idiots continue to dump litter everywhere. Washington was full of trash 2 days after their last clean up day.

    [-X


  • I did a cleanup on Franklin Avenuea few times. It cleans it for that hour but that's about it.

    That said, I think the avenue is way cleaner than it used to be. Less empty stores is the biggest reason but also fewer take out places and more sit down places. I think that more stores should do what Pulp and Bean does and put their own personal trash can in front of their stores. I often walk blocks and blocks with trash in my hand before finding a trash can - some people won't walk as far before ditching it. If there was a place to throw it away more often it might help.


  • Related to this topic, what do people think is a proper and respectful response to witnessing someone litter?

    I can't stop myself from staring but have caught myself thinking that even this might be an act of aggression or be considered condescending.

    Last year in Lower Manhattan, after witnessing an older teen tear off parts of his paycheck and throw them on the ground, I pointed out to that he was dropping trash on the ground. His boss came over to me and started screaming that I was being disrespectful. I found the whole exchange to be quite confusing and frustrating.

    It appears that most people take the approach of seeing nothing saying nothing which I find counter-intuitive to being part of a community.


  • I don't think it's worth the possibility of someone taking a swing at you over littering. And if you're going to complain about that, then complain about jaywalking too. Both minor annoyances but still they both show a lack of courtesy. In any event, there's not much you can do because people think that the street sweepers or the shop owners that have to clean in front of their stores will take care of it.


  • Littering drives me crazy on residential streets where there is litterally a garbage can in front of every home. Why can't you just stick your trash in one of the 100 cans you've passed on your way from one corner to the other? At least on commercial strips you can argue there isn't a garbage can when you need one, but on a residential street there's really no excuse.


  • I suspect that littering is a way for those who are not proud of their own homes to show contempt for the more fortunate.

    In a sense, one could argue that is is a form of "political speech", and thus constitutionally protected conduct... Although I imagine that city and state criminal courts would quickly reject such arguments.


  • I always have to give a little bittersweet chuckle when someone throws trash on the ground when they're literally standing next to a rubbish bin. I've actually gotten nasty looks from people when I see them do that, then pick up their trash and throw it away for them. Hilarious.


  • booklaw said:

    I suspect that littering is a way for those who are not proud of their own homes to show contempt for the more fortunate.

    In a sense, one could argue that is is a form of "political speech", and thus constitutionally protected conduct... Although I imagine that city and state criminal courts would quickly reject such arguments.



    That's a thought, but I think such political expression would make more sense if litters left their own neighborhood more. As it is, they just seem to disrespect their present neighborhood.

    As a result, I've concluded that some people are rude no matter what neighborhood they are in, and/or have settled for "sticking it to their fellow man", when they would like to "stick it to THE man."

    ...I've also heard the argument that littering is a some times subconscious way to stop gentrification, but I don't feel it is well thought out or effective. Such "logic" fails to recognize that wealthy people have business improvement districts and merchant associations.

    As a result, littering to hurt others is like dressing badly to show that you hate your job. ...you only hurt yourself.


  • It has nothing to do with gentrification. I think it has to do with responsibility/maturity. I don't think that anyone who has ever had a job cleaning up after other people litters. I do think that people that have never had to clean up other's messes don't realize, understand or care about the work they are making for others.


  • PragmaticGuy said:

    I don't think it's worth the possibility of someone taking a swing at you over littering. And if you're going to complain about that, then complain about jaywalking too. Both minor annoyances but still they both show a lack of courtesy. In any event, there's not much you can do because people think that the street sweepers or the shop owners that have to clean in front of their stores will take care of it.


    Jaywalking shows a lack of courtesy? If you do it when cars are coming and they have to stop, that's rude (and dangerous) but if no one is coming, I'm not seeing how it affects anyone else...


  • vaportrail said:

    Related to this topic, what do people think is a proper and respectful response to witnessing someone litter


    I don't get littering, either. When I see someone do it, I usually say, "Excuse me, you dropped something." Maybe it's passive aggressive, but then so is using your neighborhood as a trashcan.


  • I find some of these thoughts on littering as a political statement humorous. I work in Midtown east and the litter would be out of control if there weren't people working the sidewalks and emptying trash receptacles throughout the day. Bottom lines is that littering is an accepted aspect of life for SOME in this city on streets with lots of businesses.

    I personally think that much of the trash strewn about is the result of it being summer. Regardless, the city should focus on providing a better means of trash disposal along busy streets in predominantly residential neighborhoods. Even along 7th and 5th Ave in Park Slope litter is a problem during certain times of the year. Trash cans should only be at the point of overflowing in extraordinary circumstances.

    Also, maybe the cops standing around can start writing tickets for littering. That's a perfectly legitimate and easy way of adding to the city's coffers and a good way to discourage such behavior in the long run.


  • I like your idea about ticketing litterers!

    But I suspect that we would soon see the streets littered with littering tickets...


  • Also, we have to remember that the City is actually removing trash cans from commercial strips because they believe it decreases litter.


  • While I would love for the city to step up and provide enforcement and/or additional trashcans, I think savvy business districts (ones that want to attract and retain customers) will suck it up, put out their own trashcans, and/or pick up the litter.

    As a result of other businesses districts doing this, the city city may have figured out that it can reduce the standard of services it provides across the city.

    ...while the city is certainly stating that reducing trashcans reduces litter, and it certainly stops people putting their household trash in said containers, the actual results are mixed.

    ...it it takes much effort, people won't comply.


  • You used to be able to just call 311 and request a garbage can for a corner. They would only put it on commercial streets. This was only a couple of years ago, has this changed? I got one for the corner of Vanderbilt and Bergen because I was tired of crossing the street to just toss dog poop. Lazy, yes, but they put one there with no problem then and it was certainly used by more than me.


  • One of the outcomes of a recent meeting is the formation of a cadre of folks who will focus on the neighborhood's appearance:

    http://crowhillcommunityassociation.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/r/01F1C9642115EEB32540EF23F30FEDED/B53F2E6E2368B7F0A7F290B8E8FDC6A0

    http://www.brooklynian.com/forums/topic/community-meeting-march-23rd

    They are going to pick up some litter, cover up some vandalism and pester the city for additional trashcans.

    This sounds straight forward enough, but some view EVEN IT as controversial. Allow me to explain:

    In the current environment, a cleaner neighborhood may result in a less diverse neighborhood, because real estate prices will increase, and money isn't evenly distributed.

    Because some believe that there are inherent gains from having a mix of neighbors, the mere action of cleaning up an area (or others doing so) causes massive navel gazing and soul searching by some. A few may even conclude that a dirty neighborhood strangely benefits those they wish to protect, and it should be left dirty.

    Others will show up on the date and location of the clean-up [Saturday, June 29, 9AM - noon. Meet at 737 Franklin Ave.], and/or wish the neighborhood do gooders well.

    Still others will not show up, yet support effort to get a BID or Merchants Association to help out, because they believe:

    --The city usually only sets a minimum degree of cleanliness, just about everything above that is the result of ongoing, area efforts.

    --Any "diversity help" that comes from a dirty street is very temporary in nature.

    I think we still have about a year or so until this last group is dominant in Western Crown Heights.


  • i dont really think a dirty neighborhood is good for the long time community of crown heights, nor do i think leaving it dirty retains any sort of old school credibility to it. its just a massive oversight of the city government.

    i also hope this addresses the trash issue beyond franklin. nostrand is just absolutely filthy.


  • Am I the only one who thinks that littering tickets would just be another way for the 77 to target certain residents?

    Does anyone else remember the great pizza/mace/I'll land a helicopter on Franklin to protect my troops fiasco of May 2011?


  • yuppie_scum said:

    Am I the only one who thinks that littering tickets would just be another way for the 77 to target certain residents?


    If by "target certain residents" you mean target residents who litter? Then yes, yes it is. And I'm all for it. There is a reason this city has roaches, rats and mice. And people just chucking bits of food and trash where ever they please is part of it.


  • Let me clarify my original statement:

    Am I the only one who thinks that littering tickets would just be another way for the 77 to target Black and/or Hispanic residents?

    I (white and usually wearing some sort of business casual attire) have never been stopped for jaywalking, but I've seen cops stop black residents for doing the same.


  • Most people have never been stopped for jaywalking, but occasionally it has even happened to rabbis.

    In any case, if there is a nuisance concern such as littering I certainly hope we would not be inhibited from enforcing the law out of fear of police discrimination. If cops do discriminate they should be held to task.


  • yuppiescum wrote: Does anyone else remember the great pizza/mace/I'll land a helicopter on Franklin to protect my troops fiasco of May 2011?

    Yes. Thankfully, we haven't had one of those situations in a while.

    There were a bunch of factors involved, but a big one seemed to be rookie cops trying to force too much change too fast, and not understanding that they were working in a setting in which they were confronting established alliances and animousity.

    Once the cops begin such a battle, they rarely (if ever) are given permission by their superiors to back down.

    Such conflicts are much less frequent now that:

    --We have fewer cops

    --Fewer people hang out on stoops.

    --The do gooders pick up more litter (as explained above)


  • Wait what was the great "pizza/mace/I'll land a helicopter?" :-k I'm new here please explain!


  • Yup, those are the threads!

    While I don't know what happened that specific day, I can state that when one sat at Franklin Roadhouse (now Mayfield's), one could see the cat and mouse game between the cops and this subset of locals as drug sales took place. It was something to do as you waited for a burger.

    Then, one day, a cop saw a person litter..... and the long standing frustrations between the opposing forces came to a head.


  • Hmm, it's my usually my assumption in a situation like this that there is more then enough blame to go around. Man Franklin was a lot different back then! In any case I doubt that handing out simple littering citations or taking steps to curtail it lead to such an event now.


  • Um, I believe is less likely to happen on Franklin between EP and Atlantic, but one does not have to look far to see the same intense dynamics at play.

    -- Present day Nostrand, between EP and Fulton.

    -- Present day Franklin, around Union.

    Remember, the police don't perceive the event as one which should be ALWAYS avoided. I predict a similar event will happen in Brooklyn this summer, likely in an Impact Zone.


  • Bump.

    Date and location of the next clean-up

    Saturday, June 29, 9AM - noon.

    Meet at 737 Franklin Ave.

    More details about the campaign to clean up Franklin Avenue: http://crowhillcommunity.org/category/projects/


  • An attempt to get the merchants to step up, because no one in their right mind thinks they can get the city to clean up all of the trash and litter:

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1V6XKRFysMU0yANxHiidEp62TU6LgCF3qpl0vV4ddASI/viewform


  • The merchants are a start, as are the building owners and even tenants where there are no merchants ('no man's land')...its like the 'broken windows theory', if people see some trash, they think its ok to keep throwing more and then worse.

    There also needs to be a cultural change. It's a certain segment that I see just dropping trash more than anyone else. I once saw a little boy with his grandma, casually throw is paper bag to the floor. A girl walking by picked it up, gave it back to him and politely pointed to the trash can...and the grandma looked at the girl in disgust and anger. Sad.


  • A lot of the merchants that are opening storefronts on Franklin, already have locations in neighborhoods with established BIDs and merchant associations.

    Their clientele expects clean streets, and has the ability to do business elsewhere if they don't get what they want.

    In other words, I believe there will always be people who litter, and lots of trash is generated simply by having a busy street (no matter what the demographics...).

    The smart business districts clean up the streets. ...they know that expecting the city to cleanup and maintain "our business strip" is completely unrealistic.

    This is just a matter of getting them organized.


  • whynot_31 said:

    I predict a similar event will happen in Brooklyn this summer, likely in an Impact Zone.


    I'm calling you out on this whynot. I don't remember any riots this summer.


  • The aforementioned incident on Franklin didn't meet my definition of a riot, hence I would only need to cite an incident in which a group of people briefly battled of group of cops trying to enforce relatively minor laws.

    ...too easy.

    I'd rather talk about efforts to get merchants to adopt a trash can.

    Some of them are quite parent-less.


  • "How do we get rid of the trash on Franklin?" continues to be asked:

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130923/crown-heights/adding-more-trash-cans-wont-clean-up-franklin-ave-sanitation-dept-warns

    By simultaneously fining merchants who don't address overflowing trash cans, and refusing to empty trash cans more often, the city may achieve its wish:

    The creation of a merchants association cleans up the mess.

    ....once the fines exceed the cost of hiring homeless folks, we will see some movement.

    http://www.doe.org/who_we_are.cfm


  • The research begins:

    http://crowhillcommunityassociation.cmail1.com/t/ViewEmail/r/1F31DEC47049B1AB2540EF23F30FEDED/B53F2E6E2368B7F0A7F290B8E8FDC6A0

    Spoiler alert: The answer is "neither more trash cans or less trash cans will solve the problem"

    ...you can't count on the city to solve this problem.


  • This is one of those things where people need to say. "I don't like roaches, mice and rats. So I'm going to stop throwing my trash where ever I damn well please even if that means carrying it to another can."

    I'm going to keep in eye on the trash and fill out their form none the less.


  • I know I'm late to this thread, but it's a good one, as this summer was tough in terms of the amount of garbage. After the weekend, every bench on EP between Franklin and Classon was surrounded by an obscene amount of trash.

    I think a few of the posts danced around, but wouldn't directly address, the real issue at hand. More garbage cans or merchant responsibility or clean-up days will only go so far.

    We all know that CERTAIN old-school Crown Heights residents hang out in the street (or in their parked cars, which has never made any sense to me) far more often than they will ever hang out in a bar or restaurant. And yet the street does not strike them as something they need to take any ownership of, nor do they instruct their children to do so. The street is their bar, their den, their garbage can and their toilet, and yet the responsibility for maintaining the street is entirely the responsibility of "them." Some of my neighbors on Eastern Parkway treat the hallways and stairwells of the building the same way. They'll smoke on a stairwell or even elevator and drop their butts on the floor. They'll stick their trash NEXT to the trash shoot. They'll carry their discarded furniture no further than the hallway, expecting THEM to take care of it.

    No matter that many of their hard working long-time neighbors are as irritated by this behavior as more recent tenants like me. This type of individual could really give a sh-t what anyone thinks of their behavior. The South Bronx of 1977 is embedded in their DNA and no amount of coffee shops or kvetching by effete quasi-hipsters will convince them they're not living in a ghetto.

    So all that to say, until the neighborhood is swept clean of those folks, expect another few years of garbage-strewn sidewalks.


  • Biff, I don't think theres anything wrong or controversial about what you said, its spot on. It's a cultural thing unfortunately, and no amount of cans will solve it. Just as no amount of playgrounds and afterschool programs will solve the gang problem. It all starts at home, and the community (As I pointed out an example in an earlier post, of the little black kid who threw his garbage on the sidewalk in front of his grandmother who didnt even say anything, but was upset when a woman picked it up and gave it back to him nicely pointing at the trashcan. clearly the behavior was learned, or just never corrected)


  • While hypothesizing about the causes to Franklin Avenue's littering problem makes for good conversation, it isn't of much use if we have no realistic means to address said causes.

    A contingent of people is tired of looking at the litter.

    They are unwilling to wait to see if further waves of gentrification solve the litter problem.

    ...however, they do not yet have the means and will to hire an entity like the DOE Fund.

    Hence, they will patiently watch the experiments and try to build a merchants' association that can hire The DOE Fund once enough of its members believes no other solution will work.


  • Well, I certainly have no objection to anyone giving it the old college try.


  • What I find especially fun is the belief that the city provides significantly more sanitation services in the areas with less litter.

    Said belief removes all credit from the merchants associations, BIDs, orgs like the Doe Fund, and people in the area.

    ....without taking the time to realize that the Sanitation Department largely allocates its time in terms of hours.

    I.E. If your Association buys lots of trash cans and hire the DOE Fund to reguarly bag the contents, the sanitation dept will throw all those bags into a truck. It will also step up enforcement (aka fines) in an area.

    However, the dept will not come more frequently to empty its cans on your commercial strip more often than other strips of the same size (no matter how often they get filled), OR spend lots of hours emptying cans that your association bought.


  • This is the city's way of saying, "we are not going to do more than we are already doing":

    basket
  • It isn't hard to imagine the following:

    "Fine. We will hire the Doe Fund to do some work, so you people stop telling us your streets are dirty.

    The Doe Fund is far more cost efficient than hiring people with permanent titles, and union benefits"


    http://nypost.com/2014/06/24/city-council-oks-3-5-million-for-extra-neighborhood-cleaning/