It’s official–Greenpoint is Crowned NYC’s King of Illegal Dumping

Photo by Mitch Waxman via The Newtown Pentacle
Photo by Mitch Waxman via The Newtown Pentacle

We all know Greenpoint has a rep as being a pretty filthy hood.  Not only do we process the lion’s share of  NYC’s poop, but our backyard is infamous for its catastrophic oil spills and industrial superfund sites. Unfortunately, Greenpoint has and still remains a dumping ground for a myriad of things.

Our current garbage situation is so out of control, several test programs have been implemented to eliminate the scourge: The smelly composting pilot program, Big Belly Solar Compactor Cans installed on select corners, and we even have a neighborhood organization called Curb Your Litter, whose sole mission is to clean up our streets.

Just to put things into perspective about how insane our trash problem really is, in just one day of cleaning 25 Greenpoint streets, Curb Your Litter plucked 400 lbs of trash from curbs and gutters. Even worse—this poundage doesn’t even include the overflowing NYC garbage cans!

Talk about disgusting.

Now, I’m a proud Greenpointer like the rest of you, but after encountering a recent article declaring Greenpoint as “The Top Neighborhood in NYC for Illegal Dumping”, well…let’s just say I wasn’t feeling very patriot. In fact, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh, yeah? What else is new?”

The sad truth is I’ve grown so accustom to the filth I hardly even see it anymore; akin to hanging around in the monkey pen for too long and not being able to smell the stench.

Well Greenpointers, I’m pulling my blinders off and unplugging my nostrils. I’m urging the same of you, too.

Consider this: Of the 224 cases of illegal dumping from 2013 to June 2015, Greenpoint led the charge with 15 illegal garbage dumpers, only besting neighbors such as Canarsie (14), East New York (10), Maspeth (12) and Ridgewood (12).

Just a decade ago, Bushwick was at the top of the illegal garbage heap with 70 convicted dumpers versus only 9 within the past 2 years.

City officials point a finger at gentrification and the building boom for Bushwick’s declining number of dumpers. Greenpoint might have to wait a couple more years for illegal dumpers to move onto more isolated and sketchy pastures. For now though, it’s number one on the illegal dumpers hit list.

And where is all this dumping occurring? Well, if you thought Newtown Creek, you’re wrong. The winner for best illegal dumping ground in Greenpoint goes to an isolated industrial block known as Cherry Street.  It’s location—a stone’s throw from Newtown Creek and BQE—make it a perfect place to dump and get away.

Cherry Street. Photo by Mitch Waxman via The Newtown Pentacle
Cherry Street. Photo by Mitch Waxman via The Newtown Pentacle

Local activist, Phil DiPaolo told the Post, “If you’re going to dump, Cherry Street is the place to do it. It’s no man’s land—except for the homeless. It’s pretty shady and a very creepy area at night.”

Given the street’s record for illegal dumping, it’s hard not to see why Cherry Street is a place you’d want to avoid, day or night.

Since 2013, eleven separate parties have been caught on Cherry Street for illegal dumping. Eight of them were forced to pay fines of $1,500 or more. The other three guilty parties managed to get the charges dismissed.

The courts don’t take to kindly to illegal dumpers and regularly hit offenders with fines ranging from $1,500 to $10,000. Tack on several hundred dollars more for vehicle impound fees by either the Department of Sanitation or NYPD and the violations certainly and rightfully add up.

As for the grand prize winner for the biggest illegal dumper in all of NYC—that distinction goes to a Ridgewood-based trash hauling company called GW Metals Inc. Owner Jun Hui Guo and his employees were slapped with $22,500 in fines for eight separate violations since April 2013. Most of these violations occurred at or nearby their listed place business at 56-03 Cooper Avenue, located along an isolated manufacturing spot close to NYC’s largest graveyard—Calgary Cemetery.

So as the public service announcements say: If you see something, say something. If you happen upon some shady truck dumping god knows what into the street, don’t just stand there and text your BFF, call 911 and report them! Heavy fines and neighborhood vigilance will go a long way to help Greenpoint get cleaner.

About Kim M

Kim is a native New Yorker, local activist and writer. When she's not writing books or playing Erin Brockovich with her Save Greenpoint peeps, you will see her whipping around Greenpoint on her bike, chatting it up with folks, and sharing stories about what it is about her hometown that makes life worth living. Follow her on twitter @kimasson or www.kimmassonwrites.com

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