Woman, 80, Fined For Throwing Out Newspaper

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — An 80-year-old Manhattan woman living on a fixed income, ticketed just for throwing her newspaper into the trash. Now she’s facing a fine and planning to fight City Hall, Kathryn Brown reports.

The City waste bin looks like a trash can and certainly smells like one, treat it like one and you’re likely to get hit with a hefty fine.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

It happened to Delia Gluckin of Inwood on Sunday. “A hundred dollars,” she said. “Lo and behold this woman comes up to me in a uniform and I thought she was going to ask me for directions and she said ‘I saw you putting trash in the can’. I said ‘It’s not trash. It was newspapers’. She came back with me. She opened it. She looked at it and she said ‘I’m writing you a ticket’.”

The official reason was improper disposal.

“I said ‘I’m terribly sorry. I did it inadvertently. I’m a senior citizen. I never did anything. I’m going to take it out’. And she said ‘No you’re not’ and she wrote up the ticket,” Gluckin recounted.

The trash can is clearly marked “litter only” but what happened there raises a question that many people may not know the answer to: what exactly constitutes “litter?”

“Well, litter I would think is something you throw on the ground and trash is something you throw in the trash can,” said Allan Buyer of Inwood.

Dictionary.com defines trash as “anything worthless, useless, or discarded” and litter as “waste materials carelessly dropped, especially in public.”

It’s not clear whether those are the definitions used by the city.

“Maybe the mayor and people down in City Hall should look in the dictionary and find out what litter is,” said Sean O’Keefe of Inwood.

As for Gluckin, she’s learned her lesson. “You never know who’s looking on the street,” she said.

On this one, however, she’s planning to fight City Hall. Gluckin said she was told that if the fine is not paid in time it will increase to $300.

A spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation says agents have issued more than 2,300 tickets for similar violations this year.

More from Marla Diamond
  • marco scoots

    This is what goes on in London….BIG BROTHER orwellian society is building built around us….enough is enough with all this bs. Everyone just needs to say no.

  • LOL over this

    Please lets have a little common sense. Did this poor old women commit a $100 worth of crime? Could the fine be too high for a first offense? Could there have been some compassion on the part of the sleuth that finally captured this hardened and obviously extremely dangerous criminal ? Would that ticket been issued to a large, intimidating psycho? (no reference to Hizoner intended) It’s seems that everything in NYC is punishable by extremely high fines to the public. Fines that were created by the people you placed in office. Does this sound like a government created by the People, for the People as it is supposed to be? Think of the money generated through parking tickets and late fees, bridge tolls, etc. And why aren’t the welfare-ians working a little harder for your tax dollars? Instead of laying people off and cutting city services lets keep these people employed through re-structuring and use the resources available, and paid for, with the welfare recipients. Maybe we could find work for their five kids too. And lets not forget the little one on the way.

  • Keith

    embarrassed to admit I live in NY after reading this. Between the woman with MS that was ticketed for parking in a handicapped spot with a NJ handicapped tag, the man who had no choice but to pull up in front of a medical building to let his wife out so she could get her dialysis since there was no parking (and he was ticketed just for letting her out there) this state government disgusts me. NY Government is full of wasteful spending, unnecessary cutbacks due to their ability to control spending, and corruption. No wonder why everyone I grew up with left New York. Disgusting.

  • CG

    just another smail incentive to get THE HELL OUT OF NYC

  • B.A. Cretini

    The same newspaper would have been welcomed
    in a Subway trash can and have been recycled as well.
    What a strange world we live in.

  • HUGO

    I had no idea sanitation agents were so stupid!

  • Stan

    The proper use of a Sanitation litter basket is that they are placed at the corner of heavily traveled areas for people walking by to dispose of their trash. Those persons who are walking to work while drinking a cup of coffee or eating a Big Mac can use that litter basket to dispose of the empty coffee cup or the McDonald’s wrappings and bag. The litter basket is not placed at the curb for people to bring out their daily garbage because they just missed the garbage truck. If everyone that missed the truck came out of their house with one small bag of garbage and placed it in the corner litter basket, that basket would say the Sanitation Dept isn’t doing their job. Most people don’t know that the Sanitation Dept empties that litter basket every day to make sure it doesn’t become an eye sore or a health hazard. I’m sure that this woman, living modestly in Manhattan, an area that has the most expensive real estate has some sort of garbage can, bin or container located on the buildings premise. Why would someone just casually walk out of a building with a bag of trash to throw in the corner basket and probably pass a few garbage cans that the buildings have on every floor? I’m sure that this is NOT the first time this woman has done this; this is the first time that she has been caught.

    • kplan


  • RON


  • Duane

    Where can I send $$ to help her fight ?

    • Stan


      • Rugbyball

        Thats to pay her fine, @Duane said to help her “fight” the fine. Different things.

  • Alan

    The recycling laws are very important in reducing waste and protecting the environment. Everyone needs to do their small part, at a minimum by simply obeying the law. CBS 2 NY News is very biased and on the wrong side of the issue. I don’t care if this woman is 80 or even 100, she is responsible for obeying the law. The law isn’t secret, the city mails out recycling brochures periodically that explain in detail and with pictures what needs to be recycled. This woman then thinks she should have just gotten a warning and a second chance, but this recycling program has been in effect for many years now. There was a warning period when the recycling program first started, now everyone is expected to obey the law. Instead of taking about how she is going to fight the ticket, she should be apologizing to her fellow citizens for breaking the law and not doing her part to recycle. The sanitation officer was correct in issuing the ticket. If you were reading a newspaper away from home and wanted to dispose of it, there is usually no choice but to throw it in the trash, although I personally would take it home and recycle it later. She took the newspaper directly from her home to the garbage can outside her building, without putting it in the recycling bin or setting it aside for recycling.

    Recycling is not that difficult. I have a basket in my kitchen that I use to toss out paper and cardboard. I don’t have that many cans and bottles but they go in a separate bag, as well as deposit bottles that I return to the supermarket. When I take out the recyclables I always see stuff thrown in the wrong bins, and I wish sanitation would try to catch these people and fine them. Instead of interviewing morons who feel sorry for this woman, they should have interviewed an environmentalist who could have explained how the NYC recycling program benefits everyone. One good thing about this story, maybe more people will start obeying the recycling laws.

    • marco scoots

      March on you drone…march on. Will you bow down to the telescreens when they’re in place? Will you help keep Oceana safe?

    • Rugbyball

      You do know that the city canceled Leaf and Yard-Waste Composting Collection, a form of recycling. And it was canceled because of budget cuts. Why can’t this person fined say she isn’t going to pay because of personal budget cuts? The city is hypocritical, do as I say not as I do!

    • Do Recycle

      Well said Alan. I myself recycle as much as I possibly can from my register receipts to my newspapers. People do not understand that we need to save the earth not only for ourselves but for our children, grandchildren and all of the future generations to come etc.

      • Ted

        Except its so hilarious how non green recycling actually is. Its big business. There are things that should be done, hell I recycle myself. I also don’t think you should fine an old lady 100 bucks…common sense….People just beilve what they’re told…I hate this in our society. Like so many people think cap & trade or carbon credits are going to save the earth..its a massive joke.

    • nyphonejacks

      you enviornMENTAL people are nuts… recycling is a waste of time and money…

    • KPMc

      Thank you for writing a detailed and rational explanation. I’ve been trying to say the same thing all day but I keep getting shot down by yahoos or being deleted by CBS.

      Nice job, Alan

  • Liz

    The sign clearly says “No Household Trash”. She was observed taking garbage from her “household” and throwing it in the litter basket. This is a violation. If she had just gotten off the bus and wanted to throw away her newspaper in the litter basket, this would not be a violation. Here’s a warning – if you like to read your mail during your morning commute, and then throw the junk mail out when you get off the train/bus, make sure you tear off your name and address and dispose of it separately. If they find your address, they could mail you a ticket!

    • nyphonejacks

      so someone steals your mail, ant then discards it in a trash can and then you can get a ticket? i highly doubt that – and i really hope that we have not given up that much of our rights yet…

      • nyphonejacks

        that was a reply to liz who claims that if you throw your mail in one of these baskets they will mail you a ticket

      • kplan

        Kudos to you for the most inane comment.

        Seriously, what does the theft of mail — a federal offense by the way — have to do with this issue? More importantly, how does the concept of stealing mail and throwing it away in ANY way correlate to this woman’s error? And, yes, an error it was: she threw household trash into a waste basket marked for littler. And shame on CBS for skewing the story in such a way to make her seem sympathetic when, in fact, she did something wrong (not something worth a $100 ticket, but wrong nevertheless).

    • KPMc

      Couldn’t agree more Liz… but most here seem to think it is the officer’s job to give the lady a second chance.

      Throw your garbage and recycling with your household stuff. It’s not that difficult and the city picks up your garbage/recycling even if you haven’t paid any taxes in years. There really is no excuse.

      • Ted

        its a joke that we have people getting paid to be the trash police when there are so many other biggers issues in NYC……I was in the Bronx the other day and there was piles of garbage laying all over parking lots, ripped bags, all smelly and just laying there, but we’re fining some old lady 100 bucks for throwing newspaper into a can….stupid.

  • dan

    this elderly woman is lonely and she was caught saying she “opened the bag”. she most likely had trash in there and went out side to throw it out. why? just throw it out inside its cold outside…i am stunned on how hard they are giving her newstime. cop was right.. sorry but there is no reason to blow this out or proportion. and make this look bad on cops.

  • JC

    If she threw the unwanted newspaper on the street she would have got a littering fine. If you throw it in a garbage can you still get fined? So where the hell do you put something that you don’t want anymore? This is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t throw garbage in a GARBAGE can????

    • kplan

      If you listen closely to the report, CBS has VERY purposefully tried to skew it in favor of the elderly woman. They state that she threw out a BAG of trash AND a newspaper. THAT is very CLEARLY a violation. Those things are not litter, and if you do not know what constitutes “litter,” then buy a dictionary. The person in the video who states that litter is something in his home is a moron.
      The ticket was justified. CBS should fairly and accurately report these things.

  • Vito A. Turso

    Here are the facts: “Ms. Gluckin was observed by a plainclothes Sanitation Enforcement Agent leaving her building on Saturday, December 4th, and placing a plastic bag into the street corner litter basket on the southwest corner of Beak Street and Seaman Avenue. When confronted by the agent, they returned to the litter basket and the plastic bag was opened, revealing newspapers and other household garbage. Ms. Gluckin was apprised of the violation, shown the decals on the basket declaring that household garbage could not be placed into the basket, and was issued a $100 notice of violation returnable to the Environmental Control Board on January 21, 2011.”

  • mark silvers

    obviously, this ticket agent had to write her ticket quota for today. A warning would have been appropriate.

  • JD

    I wonder if my dog’s poop is considered litter. I pick up after my dog now what……

    • Stan

      JD cleaning up after your dog is a nyc law if you don’t the sanitation agent can give you a ticket. The proper way to dispose of your dogs business is to colect it in a leak proof container, bring it home and flush it down your toilet. Believe it or not…..

    • kplan

      don’t be daft

  • LOL over this

    I don’t get it. Someone throws trash in a garbage receptacle and gets a ticket. And on a daily basis I see people trowing there garbage, litter, spit urine on the street and that’s O.K.? . Remember boys and girls…”No good deed goes unpunished” copy written by Satan.

    • Stan


  • Jay Gould

    The law is intended to punish people for bringing their entire trash container from the house and putting it in a city basket; doing so can indeed overburden the litter-basket pickup system. The agent who wrote this should be admonished by her supervisor to use more discretion. This was NOT an offense worth a $100 ticket. Hopefully, some kind-spirited attorney reading this thread will offer to represent her pro bono before the Environmental Control Board, because the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) need to hear the matter in a specific way in order to be able to properly evaluate and dismiss the ticket, otherwise the poor soul will sustain a finding of guilt and actually have to pay this ridiculous fine.

    I might add that there is no provision where a kindly-disposed ALJ can even reduce the ticket. It’s all or nothing (unlike parking and traffic tickets).

    I wish her the very best of luck and I wish the despicable agent who wrote this a nice lump of coal in her Christmas stocking…

    • Sarah

      Well said! This agent is just power hungry and wanted to show off her “brawn” in being able to write a ticket! Maybe that lump of coal can be burned to warm her cold attitude.

  • Joe Quimby

    I bet anyone reading this she voted for Mayor Bloomberg.

  • Jojo

    The cop should have let her off with a warning and educated her on what kind of trash should be thrown in public trash cans. I don’t recall seeing any recycling cans for paper on NY streets so, I have no idea why she would be given a ticket. Yes people throw their home trash into public cans all the time. Those people should be ticketed.

    • Stan


  • Don Juan

    I am still unclear what she did wrong: (1) did she wrongfully dump a recycleable in a street trash receptacle? or, (2) did she wrongfully dump household garbage in a street trash receptacle? If she did both, then why not two summonses.

  • Katie

    She can argue that the newspaper was greasy or has gum on it. You can’t recycle that.

  • Borsia

    So she needed to drop it on the ground and then pick it up and throw it into the litter bin? How stupid, obviously just a money pit for the city.
    Another reason I’ve never had any desire to visit New York, corruption.

    • KPMc

      No… she should dispose of it through her household trash and it should go with the recycling to boot.

      Every residence in NYC has garbage pick up, whether you pay taxes or not, which always makes me wonder why people have to throw their household trash away in bins that are clearly labeled.

      That is why all those corner cans are always overflowing. Because this city is filled with selfish people that think it’s ok if “I” break the rules. Problem is EVERYONE thinks they can break the rules.

      • Sarah

        WOW! If you areeally this hard pressed to send this lady up the creek, then YOU need to get a life! A newspaper is NOT household trash. She could have bought it off the street, thereby making it never in her house (no household trash) or even picked it up off the street or subway (making it litter), read it, and tossed it. She did nothing wrong by putting trash in a trash can! I seriously don’t think she was trying to “break the rules” as you say. PLEASE! She did what we are all taught to do and place trash where it belongs. Now, go kiss your grandma and recycle yourself because you need to start over again!

      • Alan

        To Sarah – I recall being taught as a child to throw away all of my garbage in the trash can as well, but that was long before recycling ever existed. Now we’ve all been taught about recycling. This is not an obscure law, the city sends out pamphlets on this all the time. The sanitation officer was actually being nice. As someone else said, she should have received two tickets, one for not recycling, and one for throwing household trash in a public garbage can. That garbage can is meant for people walking down the street, maybe they were eating a snack and need to throw out the wrapper, napkins, etc. When residents dump their garbage there it causes the cans to overflow and creates litter.

  • frank rizzo

    Love it how everyone forgets that she comitted a crime. People please, she broke the law. I wonder if she had any outstanding warrents.

  • Barbara T

    This is ridiculous. So big deal, she threw it in a trash can. Would it have been better if she dropped it on the street? Trash, litter, whatever you call it, it’s all garbage of a sort and belongs in a can, where she put it.

    • Stan


  • MK

    Watch our for the storm troopers. Fuhrer Bloomberg will not tolerate citizens rights!

  • Bernie Sanders

    tipical ny for you . next you will get a fine for walking crooked !

    • Bernie Sanders

      notice how i spelled tip … meaning money not that i dont know how to spell ..

  • otto

    This is, without question, one of the most DISGUSTING stories I have EVER read.

    These ticket THUGS are out of control. She admitted she made a mistake and was going to correct it. But THUG decides to write her up anyway ?!?

    Dear THUG, may someone treat you the same way you treated this poor woman. You are a disgrace to the human race :(

  • Jennifer

    Maybe we can lay off some unnecessary officers and use that money to hire MTA to recycle for us.


  • paul

    If a young guy in a hoodie committed the same offense, the agent wouldn’t dare. Shame on this city we live in.

    • Irina Feeney

      You said it!

  • Jane

    People in the city don’t recycle. We can still throw newspaper out in the subway because, supposedly, the MTA have people going thru the trash and take the newspaper out (or so they claim but I doubt it). Bloomberg needs to come up with a rule and be consistent with it, should we recycle or not and where should we put it?

  • Howard Steinhardt

    How disgustting !! The agent should have thanked the woman for disposing of the newspaper in a can instead of leaving it on the sidewalk. I hope Mike hears about this and pays the fine for her. and fires the agent for ridcculous performance !!!

  • JC 11714

    Someone please tell me how I can pay this fine for her ! I

    • Ron Maxwell

      I’ll contribute money to help pay her fine.

      This is absolutely and completely ridiculous!

    • Devenio

      I’ll throw in a couple of bucks with you. This is crazy. What the hell has NYC turned into?

      • wiliam

        same here

  • Rob

    It is quite funny when I watch the MTA workers who update all the bulletin boards in the subways every week and simply toss all those papers they replace right into trash containers on the platforms. The amount of paper that is being tossed should all be recycled. It must be tons of waste not getting recycled correctly.

    • nyphonejacks

      you do know that it gets recycled after collection dont you? why not pay attention and read the labels on the container…

  • Bronx resident

    New York needs money – how about some of these. Fine anyone who dirties our sidewalks – cigarette butts, water bottles, candy wrappers etc. Fine dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs. Fine drivers blasting their music from their cars. Fine storefront owners who do not sweep their sidewalks. There are many ways do get money – no need to fine someone who is doing the proper thing of disgarding in a trash can.

    • Another Bx Resident

      Heavin forbid! You might just end up like that lady who’s claiming she was abused by the cops for dog poo on the street that wasn’t from her dog. Daily News, today’s edition

  • rugbyball

    Better not get caught passing gas or the NYC DEP will fine you for polluting the air!

  • The Good Samaritan

    She disobeyed and the law and must pay the fine. The agent could have arrested her for disorderly conduct.

    The sanitation officer is doing a good job.

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

    • Gloria Guerriera

      Hey, good Samaritan, I hope you are kidding saying the sanitation officer did a good job. That officer showed she had no common sense, and if you agreed with her neither do you. If any law should be enforced it should be the one about being in this country illegally.

    • Devenio

      I just realized who The Good Samaritan is: Its Mike Bllomberg. It has to be! Who else could be so anal?

    • Sarah

      What law did she disobey? When you read your AM on the subway, do you wait to throw it away at home in your home’s trashcan? I doubt it!

      • Do recycle

        Yes, there are some people who wait until they get home to dispose of their newspapers. I am one of them. My AMNY goes directly into the recycle bin. The others need to be stop being selfish and realize that the earth needs to be protected and if each one of us do our part, then our children, grand or great grand children will be able to happily enjoy their lives on this planet.

    • Anthony

      Since when can sanitation officers arrest you? And when did we as citizens give them that right?

  • Anthony

    Why did she even stop to listen to this “sanitation agent” What authority do they have to stop a citizen walking down the street. Personally if they had tried to stop me to write a ticket I would continue to walk away and ignore them.

    • Rugbyball

      Sanitation Agents aka San Cops are deputized Peace Officers. They have all the authority and power as a Police Officer. This also goes for FDNY personnel. If she ignored the agent she could have been arrested by the San Cop, much like if you walked away from a NYPD police officer if they where writing you up for a summons.
      For reference to what I said:

      • Jay Gould

        This depends. Some are “enforcement officers” much like the Traffic Enforcement Officers who now wear police-like uniforms (used to be dressed in brown) that don’t carry guns and don’t have power of arrest. It’s the luck of the draw. If she was confronted with an “agent” rather than a “police officer” I’m betting on her but she looks like someone who would not do that. It’s worth a try…walk away (or refuse to show ID) and you’ll find out very quickly. If they put a hand on a holstered gun, comply quickly. If there’s a Sanitation Police Officer within earshot (they often work together) comply too, or prepare for trouble. If the agent is working alone I do believe she’s powerless to demand that you stop for her and comply, as a practical matter. Not sure I want to test it…

  • Fred

    Expect more of this kind of thing as the city continues to spiral downward fiscally.

  • jtorres

    So what exactly is she supposed to do with the newspaper? leave it on the subway? Toss it on the street. That guy needs a reality check. It doesn’t matter how old the person is or whether she was a woman or where it happened. At least she made the effort to put the trash where it belongs. Why doesn’t he stop harrassing innocent people and go after real litterbugs who make our streets flithy

    • saywhat

      …because he’s afraid to go after butt droppers. How much could be collected if the City went after smoker litterbugs?

  • Josh

    Who is the Santiation Dept to determine that a newspaper is a household item and not something you buy outside, read on the train, take to work and not bring home? This is beyond stupid and shameful. Thanks Mayor Bloomberg!!!

  • Jimmy

    Wow. What about all these free newspapers littering the street. BTW, these sanitation agent only pick on the weak and defenseless.

  • Bettwe Majore

    Truly, today if it were not for the public trash can who would
    read the newspaper at all?
    You gonna pay for it?

  • Diane

    So sad. Now not only are the working people geting the short end of the stick. But it seems so are old people. Way to go GOP

    • Errol

      What does this have toi do with the GOP?

      • Sarah

        My thoughts exactly. How is this a GOP problem?

    • GoForth

      How is this the GOP’s fault? What a specious, baseless and ignorant comment. You, ma’am, should be issued a ticket for being a moron.

  • C.B. Parkinson

    Why wasn’t she put in cuffs and booked and fingerprinted?
    Watch out folks,bubble gum is next on this Officer’s list.

  • jme

    city is starving for $$$$ – shameful

  • Igor

    Like to see a photo of the person who wrote the ticket.

  • Sarah

    The picture says it all….an umbrella is more of a “household trash” item than a newspaper! That worker needs a reality check and perhaps a pink slip for his abuse of “power”!

  • Kate

    So the Santitation Dept. prefers newspapers, paper cups, food wrappers, bottles, and cigarette butts left on the sidewalk? A newspaper is NOT “household trash.” It is frequently purchased on the street, read on the subway or bus, and then discarded as casual litter. I prefer to see it in a proper litter-bin. By the way, although I am not anti-smoking, I am furious with the filthy smokers who litter the sidewalks with cellophane wrappers, empty cigarette packs, and endless butts.

  • jen

    shame shame new york is getting from bad to worst trying to to rob the poor

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