Do you agree that #nycisbroken?
by Ed Wendell
Jun 20, 2012 | 1344 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Each summer, the residents of Woodhaven flood the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association (WRBA) with complaints about residential noise wondering what, if anything, can be done to alleviate this problem.

Councilman Eric Ulrich proposed changes to the noise code that would make it easier for the police to issue summons and the penalty for noise code violations would have increased. Two years later that bill, which would increase the quality of life in neighborhoods all around New York City, is "Laid Over in Committee" with no passage in sight.

And in the process, the residents of Woodhaven are subject to an assault of the senses that regularly goes unpunished.

Concurrently, two singers get into a fight in a nightclub over a girl and, in the melee, bottles are thrown at each other. In response, Council Speaker Christine Quinn calls an emergency meeting of the City Council to discuss changes to the bottle laws in nightclubs. The City Council's priorities are skewed and it is one of the reasons I've begun posting tweets under the hashtag #nycisbroken.

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, you can attach “tweets” that cover a similar theme with a "hashtag" so that they are grouped together and others can find them easily. And we encourage residents of Woodhaven (and other neighborhoods) to vent a little and shed light on the ways they feel that New York City is broken.

For example, it appears to me that the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) views residents and businesses as "guilty until proven innocent" when it comes to the issue of illegal dumping or improper disposal of garbage.

Last week, we had one resident of Woodhaven come home around 1 a.m. and take out his garbage, only to wake up to a $100 ticket for a mattress dumped on his sidewalk. Not only did this resident not dump this mattress, he never even had the chance to see it. The ticket was written at 8 in the morning on a Saturday and the mattress whisked away before he'd even awakened. #nycisbroken.

Jamaica Avenue has become a dumping ground for old furniture and soiled mattresses and the WRBA spent three early mornings out there trying to establish a pattern of dumping so we could help DSNY.

And wouldn't you know it? In the middle of the night, someone dumped a bag of illegal recyclables in front of the office of the Block Association. And DSNY ticketed us. At 2:30 in the morning. Way to go, guys! #nycisbroken.

Did you know that you could catch someone dumping garbage on camera, you could get a clear shot of the dumper's face, and DSNY will not accept that as evidence? Only one of their "highly trained" enforcement agents witnessing the dumping will suffice. Except when it's on your property, of course. Then they are there bright and early writing you a ticket. #nycisbroken.

These are all problems that should be fairly easy to resolve. Depending on when snow stops falling you have "x" number of hours to shovel your sidewalk. The exact same courtesy should be extended when garbage is dumped on your sidewalk instead of snow.

But because any such change to the law would result in less fines for the city to collect, it will never change. And as long as the laws benefit the city as well as those who are dumping garbage, the problem of garbage being dumped all over New York City will continue to grow. Simply put, #nycisbroken.

If you feel the same way, come out and make your voice heard. Contact WRBA at (718) 296-3735 or email us at Maybe if together we make enough noise, we can get something done. Or knowing this city, if we make enough noise the NYPD will finally come by and issue us a summons. It wouldn't surprise us because, after all, #nycisbroken.

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