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197 Minutes With the Vox Populi of the Upper East Side

Don’t throw their trash in their backyard.


Mayor Bloomberg wants to relieve the South Bronx of its trash-processing monopoly, cutting down on garbage-truck trips through the city. Part of the plan calls for dumping a marine transfer station on East 91st Street. This idea is not terribly popular with Yorkville residents. A well-heeled crowd of Upper East Siders gathered for a public hearing October 9 in the bright-orange auditorium of the New York Blood Center, just out of fumes’ reach of the proposed waste center, in a desperate effort to stop the facility. They talked trash for hours that afternoon, explaining why they can’t possibly have a local waste station.

2:41 “The new garbage can sit for up to 24 hours in the building, and in containers for 48 hours, creating a permanent food supply for vermin.”

2:48 “Garbage juice drips onto the streets. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the people who do the job.”

2:53 “It’s 147 yards from the Stanley Isaacs projects! It’s low- and middle-income people whose lives will be negatively impacted!”

3:05 “The special-needs children of the Gillen Brewer School are extremely fragile.”

3:07 “The city is saying we’re an elitist neighborhood. But other neighborhoods have marine transfer stations and a high level of asthma and they don’t want to exacerbate it. So it’s okay to bring it here?”

3:14 “Gracie Mansion is a national treasure, and in the days of heightened security, is it smart to place this close to a site that could be a potential target in a terrorist attack?”

3:20 “The rule is not within 400 feet of a public park. Asphalt Green park and Carl Schultz park. I can only say park park park. Park.”

3:25 “The Upper East Side that Bloomberg and Trump live in is not ours. The East Side is a middle-class neighborhood. The children don’t do weekends in the Hamptons.”

3:28 “This is a hurricane-risk Zone A. Clearly the repercussions of this could be dire, and are also unclear. We could have waterborne bacteria.”

3:30 “My concern is traffic. The mayor is proposing congestion pricing at 86th Street, which will be swamped with people looking for parking, compounded by the Second Avenue subway construction until 2014.”

3:36 “All the girls at Chapin use the field.” [Begins sobbing.] “The toxic fumes make this a crime. As a mother, I beg you to reject this.”

4:12 “I have asthma and take four medications per day, which I have attached for you to see.”

4:40 “A few weeks ago, I got in a car accident in Battery Park. And I looked up over a four-lane highway and industrial area and saw a waste-transfer station. And I thought, That’s an appropriate place.

5:01 “I feel sad that children in the South Bronx are breathing bad air, but that doesn’t mean children on the Upper East Side should.”

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