Home View from Underground Photo of the Day: The trash that sits

Photo of the Day: The trash that sits

by Benjamin Kabak

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Omura

Take a look at this pile of trash. SAS reader Jeffrey Omura spotted it on at the 157th Street station on the 1 train a few weeks ago, and he noticed that it never went anywhere. For approximately a week, this pile of garbage remained at the end of the platform, neglected by all but a pack of rats that settled in for the long haul. By the time it vanished, the scene had turned disgusting.

Perhaps, then, as we have explored who is to blame for subway rat infestations and as one politician has tried to ban food in the subways, we should also keep an eye on the MTA’s garbage-collection policies. I often see workers dragged ripped and leaking bags of trash across station platforms, and I’ve noticed garbage cans overflowing with refuse. Keeping stations clean should be everyone’s responsibility, and right now, no one is picking up the slack.

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ferryboi February 15, 2011 - 2:33 pm

Whatever happened to the station manager program? Who is the person in charge of 157th St Station (if anyone)? What happened to the garbage train that goes thru the stations at night? Did the snow somehow cripple the garbage train? Accountability anyone?

Scott E February 15, 2011 - 2:46 pm

While more public trash cans and more routine emptying of these cans seems to be the logical approach, I find it a bit unusual that the PATH, aka the “Bizarro-World Subway” system has no public trash cans whatsoever — yet is incredibly clean. Perhaps the solution is to get rid of trash cans entirely, then there will be no trash bags to pile up and no need to hire workers for these less-than-glamorous jobs.

Personally, I find it incredibly annoying, but I also find myself carrying my newspaper to the street-level trash cans rather than defiling the otherwise clean platform.

ferryboi February 15, 2011 - 3:44 pm

That would work for about 5 mins before disgusting NYers would throw their chicken bones and other filth right on the platform. PATH is basically a commuter railroad disguised as a subway, so most riders are neater than your average NYC subway rider, who, for some strange reason, thinks it’s their right to eat, drink and sometimes shit on the subway. It’s getting really disgusting down below.

Scott E February 15, 2011 - 3:47 pm

I tried to avoid generalizing about the cleanliness of New Yorkers versus New Jersey residents, but I must admit that it did cross my mind….

ferryboi February 15, 2011 - 3:49 pm

Not so much NY vs NJ as office worker/commuter vs slob who jumps the turnstile so he can travel to Times Square and hang with the other ‘hood rats. Sad but true.

Kid Twist February 15, 2011 - 4:28 pm

The Port Authority has been hyper-sensitive about potential hiding places for bombs ever since 9/11. There were no trash cans in the bus terminal for years, either, until they came up with a semi-transparent design that basically consists of a plastic bag hung from a lightweight frame.

But I think the fact that PATH stations are cleaned vigorously and frequently has something to do with it, too — people are reluctant to mess up a clean space, whereas in the subway, riders think, “who’s going to notice a little more filth anyway.”

Al D February 16, 2011 - 9:13 am

“But I think the fact that PATH stations are cleaned vigorously and frequently has something to do with it, too”

If only the MTA could figure out to achieve this.

petey February 16, 2011 - 11:19 am

“slob who jumps the turnstile so he can travel to Times Square and hang with the other ‘hood rats.”

you’re about 20 years late, you know that right?

Edward February 16, 2011 - 12:08 pm

Really? Have you boarded a train in the Bronx and rode down to Times Square? Hang around 8th Ave and 41st St for a few minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

Al D February 15, 2011 - 3:10 pm

Another problem with the trash collection process is how it damages the station tile work where the bins are placed on the stations. This makes bad looking stations even worse. Why can’t they just employ a simple solution like putting rubber bumpers around the bins and station walls/columns?

Anon February 15, 2011 - 10:33 pm

We need a “Stationmaster Rat”

Who would have thunk a “mouse” name mickey would be a mascot for a multibillion dollar media conglomerate?

Or a Cat could save a Railroad?


I dub thee “Neil The Stationmaster Rat”

I see Neil the Stationmaster Rat action figure in the making—
collect them all—-
Neil comes with 5 different color garbage bags—
hot pink, burnt umber, pickle pete green, gotham snow white, and banksy paisley

Bruce M February 16, 2011 - 1:10 am

The main problem is that the MTA apparently has no guidelines for what constitutes a good state of cleanliness. They claim that they lack sufficient funding to keep the system cleaner, but who is seeing to it that the few station cleaners that we do have are actually working hard, or at all? When stations show obvious signs of neglect such as peeling paint, water damage, missing tiles, and a permanent layer of soot and grime, the low standards of garbage collection are simply the tip of the iceberg.

Highlighting the trash that lingers :: Second Ave. Sagas June 27, 2011 - 11:31 am

[…] SAS reader, sent me the above photo of the 157th St. platform with a note explaining how the trash would stick around for a few weeks. MTA workers would bag the garbage, but no one would ever come to collect it. Rats would move in […]

‘GUYS, there are rats in the subway, and the Daily News is ON IT’ :: Second Ave. Sagas August 30, 2011 - 12:02 pm

[…] problems despite assurances a few years ago that they would. It’s a story we’ve heard over and over and over and over again. Rats, it seems, just come with the […]


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