BY LYNN EDMONDS
Two lone garbage bags at 9 a.m., tucked close to the side of Happy Food restaurant, on the corner of Main Street and 40th Road, were a very far cry from the dozens of bags and cardboard boxes that the Queens Tribune had photographed in the area the two weeks before.
It seems that for now, the Tribune’s exposé on commercial garbage blight in Flushing, alongside with a crackdown by the Department of Sanitation on the day of its publication, have spurred a clean up.
Last Thursday, the Department of Sanitation issued 18 violations to perpetrators near 40th Road, Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation Vito Turso told the Queens Tribune.
On the ground that day, Iggy Terranova, Citywide Community Affairs Officer, had just finished issuing four $300 tickets to a restaurant on the corner of 40th Road and Main Street. The violations were for trash being put out too early, sidewalk obstruction, a dirty area and loose rubbish.
Employees could be seen stuffing cardboard boxes and other times into storage space to clear the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Holding the $1,200 worth in tickets in his hand, Mr. Ho, who identified himself as a partner at the restaurant, lamented the added expense to the $100,000 rent they paid each month. He said the garbage overflowed on the sidewalk because there was nowhere to store it.
“We have no choice,” he said.
Commercial trash pickup times are 5 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight, but some high-volume restaurants seem to outpace the collections.
The question is what to do about it. One resident, who declined to give her name, said too much blame was being put on the sanitation department and not enough on the restaurant owners.
“They come to America, they need to obey American laws,” she said, referring to the predominately Chinese business owners in Flushing.
The Tribune had reported that city officials were working with the department of sanitation to look for solutions and that more city resources may be needed to deal with the issue.
Trash has traditionally carried a moral and symbolic weight in urban life. In 1969 East Harlem’s Young Lords, a militant Puerto Rican group, launched an action to fight for increased trash collection in that area.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana