BTS: Operations in an NYC neighborhood
July 28, 2020
Meatpacking District Sanitation Team: William Griggs (left), Vance Lawson, Larry Sweeney, Clinton Evans, Leon Genebra, Blake Von Haack (right). Not pictured: Louis Robinson, Kevin Cromer, and Jason Cruzgiangrasso.
Keeping the Meatpacking District clean day in and day out is not an easy task. Every day our 102 garbage cans are emptied, and those in popular locations like Gansevoort Plaza are often emptied more than 3 times a day. Oftentimes this means over 100 bags of trash get collected each day. In addition to taking out our neighborhood’s trash, our hard-working sanitation team constantly patrols the neighborhood performing a host of other duties including sweeping 94 block faces and 30,000 square feet of public plazas within our neighborhood, setting up our plaza furniture (30 umbrellas, 35 tables, and 140 chairs) every morning, wiping down and cleaning them during the day, and then securing for the overnight. The team also performs regular maintenance around the neighborhood such as painting fire hydrants and mailboxes, power washing cans and corners, and cleaning more than 2,000 instances of graffiti a year.
This work doesn’t just happen when it’s sunny with a light breeze. Garbage doesn’t stop, and no matter the conditions our team is out, rain or shine, winter snow, and summer heat and humidity. On a normal day, this work is tough, and when it’s over 100 degrees even tougher. While this was always part of the job description, this year the unexpected challenge of COVID-19 meant we weren’t just asking our team to do difficult work, but to step into a new role as essential workers.
Throughout NY on PAUSE, our team worked hard to ensure the neighborhood was kept clean. While office workers in the district remained quarantined at home, our essential staff commuted into work and made sure nothing fell out of place, and trash was collected. During this time the total shift force was reduced to minimize cross exposure within our team, and overall shift hours were changed to allow for staggered commuting during off-peak hours.
As the neighborhood reopens and we respond responsibly to COVID-19, our team’s work cleaning the neighborhood is more crucial than ever. Successfully reopening the Meatpacking District requires residents, workers, and visitors to feel comfortable within the neighborhood. To support the public’s comfort we have taken additional steps to ensure neighborhood cleanliness is maintained, particularly through greater sanitization of plaza furniture and setting up plaza space to better accommodate social distancing.
With the Meatpacking District participating in a number of City programs including the Open Streets program, our sanitation team has become integral in the management of the neighborhood. As our main presence on the street, they now set up, monitor, and breakdown our shared street program, as well as report on other neighborhood issues that need to be addressed, such as illegal dumping, vandalism, and persons in need of assistance within the neighborhood.
As a BID, our mission is to create a safe, clean, and engaging environment to support the great businesses and communities in the Meatpacking District, and it is the sanitation services this great team provides that are at the front and center of this mission. We are immensely grateful for all of their hard work during this difficult time and throughout the year.
Say hello if you see one of them, and extend thanks, too. We’re a better district because of them all.