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Upper East Side Woman, Darbe Pitofsky, Ticketed For Using City Trash Can

Says Sanitation Worker Was Aggressive, 'Frightened The Hell Out Of' Her

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An elderly Upper East Side woman claims a sanitation agent chased her, threatened her with arrest and slapped her with a ticket for putting day-old newspapers in a city trash can.

Darbe Pitofsky, 83, said she was on her way for a cup of coffee around 6:30 a.m. on June 25 when she threw a brown bag filled with old papers in a city litter basket near her apartment on East 71st Street.

She said a sanitation worker quickly jumped out of his vehicle and demanded her information to write a summons.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria with Darbe Pitofsky

“I froze,” Pitofsky told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “He just frightened the hell out of me, scared me to death, I was terrified.”

She said the worker demanded a form of identification and threatened to “put her away” if she didn’t comply.

Pitofsky said it took the worker 25 minutes to write the summons and when she complained that it would cost her $100,  she said he threatened to make it $300.

A representative for the Sanitation Department said street baskets are for pedestrian use only but added Pitofsky can challenge the ticket if she thinks there has been a mistake.

Litter baskets across the city are marked with stickers that read “no household trash” or “no business trash,” along with a warning of a $100 fine for violation. The Sanitation Department has a platoon of enforcement agents tasked with enforcing litter basket laws. Their duties even include doing detective work on trash suspected of being illegally dumped.

Pitofsky said she has already filed a complaint.

Her story is similar to that of 80-year-old Delia Gluckin, who last December, was also fined $100 for “improper disposal” for throwing her newspaper in a trash can in Inwood.

Do you think the city’s enforcement of the rules are too harsh? Let us know below…

More from Carol D'Auria
  • Intbel

    Where will it end?

    “Excuse me, ma’am, this is a PUBLIC convenience and you have just used it to dispose of your private waste. Here’s your ticket.”

    “Oi! This is a public road – you are using it for a private journey – here’s your ticket.”

    “This is a public election, do not use it to express your personal opinion – have a ticket.”

  • antihero

    Once I saw a Sanitation cop, in uniform, with badge on, toking on huge joint on Prospect Park W. Later saw him on 7th Ave waiting for a car to pull out of a spot so he could write store owner ticket for gum wrapper that was under the car. True story.

  • paul

    Trash is trash. Either way, the city collects it. Absurdity. Stupidity.

  • theshawn

    Wow, only in NYC would they have such a bloated bureaucratic nazi system as to actually hire people to police trash cans.

    Wow, that’s all I can say…..

  • Tenn John

    I am so glad that I read about the “trash can” fines. The next time I am in the city I will just throw my f—ing paper on the sidewalk. Maybe some street urchin will use it as a blanket.



    • Agree

      agreed, I think REMEMBERBUILDING7.ORG is awesome too.

  • snickerdoodle

    “The Sanitation Department has a platoon of enforcement agents tasked with enforcing litter basket laws.” These people are just out there trying to protect their phoney baloney jobs. It’s the new normal, in the USA. God help us.

  • not suprised

    sense, that is

  • not suprised

    Absolutely apalling. Some guy with the IQ of a small rodent enforcing neofacist liberal regulations. Another reason not to live in NYC; it has long been devoid of good old American common sens

  • Mac

    Really? Our cities are broke, taxes are sky high and NYC has the budget to pay trash police? TP who can then harass old ladies for using public trash cans, paid for, in part, by HER taxes? Welcome to Amerika. You will like it……or else.

  • Katie

    Every single American should have to read George Orwell’s 1984 & then watch the movie with Peter O’Toole. And then, every single American should start watching and reading the news out of the European Union because that is where this country is headed!

  • Tom Garett

    Folks should start throwing trash on the sidewalks for these nazis to pick up have kind of NY Trash Party. stupid bozos. watch them get guns and badges to go along with their little ticket books…..I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, PennyTop.c0m

  • J Mattison

    Ik believe you will find that in any event or action of Government will confirm the explanation of “TOTAL CONTROL”. Total control is the direction that communism is going and that is what the future is about IF nothing is done to stop it.

  • bb in va

    No its not eco-fascism…just a story written to get people worked up. She’s trying to use the public trashcans as her dumpster. They are not for household trash they are to keep peds from throwing trash on the sidewalk, not to use as your building dumpster.

  • Paul

    No, it’s just plain fascism. Which of you geniuses in NY thought that giving sanitation workers the authority to issues citations for any reason would be a good idea?

    I was born and raised in NYC, moved away many years ago and have quit going back for visits because of what an utter police state it’s become.

  • Rick

    I would have ignored him and continued on my walk to get a cup of coffee, but that is just me. This is not how you treat the elderly, get over yourself, your a trashman!

  • Icarus Barnabus

    Have we nothing better to do. The whole green movement is a cousin to global wamring. Right now, it still costs more to recycle than to produce new. Gosh…it’s really a tough call, too. Trash can? Or the Ground? Or shove it in the sanitation worker’s *****. This is a sanitation worker? hahahahahah. Wow..great use of the taxpayer money and now look at the money he generates.

  • Ziegler

    If heaven aint a lot like Dixie, just send me to Hell….or New York City, it’d be about the same to me.

  • jamman

    Obviously, we have too much government spending.

    Throw Obama and the Demoncrats in the trash, Pronto.

    • Icarus Barnabus

      Indeed….Ship him to Kenya…He can be King and room with his brother in the hut. They could call it the White Hut. And then they could change the name to Barackastan!!! And his could take his 37 million dollar entourage with him. Heck, they don’t even know what a trash can or sanitation is in Kenya. they could get a fresh start…………first thing Obama could learn is not to talk as much trash and second….don’t step in your own mess.

  • Fred

    “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”. Time for the 2nd American Revolution.

  • Machismo

    This is a perfect example of what is wrong with this country. What would the city like to have? Dumping in the streets and sidewalks, or in trash cans. This lady was not abusing anything. It was only one newspaper, and she was trying not to litter. This kind of abuse to people by those that love to weild power in any form, and make life miserable for as many people as possible. VOTE, Complain, get petitions, and get the stupid laws changed.

  • M.Curran

    A sanitation worker is paid a salary to insure people operate the trash cans correctly? That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard. What kind of salary does a trash can corrections officer draw? Union guy too? When I hear of such ignorant practices it is almost always from one of two Liberal states… New York or California. No suprises here.

  • Jetjockey

    Just another reason not to ever visit NY!!

  • Kevon

    To be honest. i would have just pretended like i was senile and just ignored the man. You’re 83 years old! start taking advantage of some of the best perks! ACT STUPID NEXT TIME :P

  • Gungadin

    Typical New Yawk: Bureaucratic extremism at its FINEST!

  • AJC55ny

    This is why I no longer live on that small, communist controlled island off the coast of the United States, known as Manhattan. There is absolutely no sense of proportion or common sense with this. This is the blunt force of leviathan government. It’s a ridiculous overreach and is reminiscent of authoritarian and totalitarian governments. New York City isn’t a place to live. It’s a place to leave.

  • Big Dave

    He’s not a cop. He’s a garbage man. Tell him you don’t have any ID, then just make up a name and let him write it up. It’ll make him feel important and won’t cost anybody anything.

  • CSI

    Try that in Harlem!!

  • Cogito

    Liberals are out to codify the citizen’s every action and enforce their laws by fine and/or imprisonment. See Obamacare as one of hundreds of examples. It is the good, old Marxist way.

  • Krys

    I thought the liberals hated the idea of government asking for ID when you are stopped or suspected of criminal activity – she should have claimed she was here illegally and had no ID.

  • BG

    In this wretched economy, what offends me most is that our local gov’t thinks it should be charging you to pay for a platoon of trash agents roaming the street looking for ways to fleece citizens over “crimes” that, when you come right down to it, pale in comparison to other problems like mob violence, murder, rape, and do I need to go on? This is exactly the kind of gov’t waste that needs to be eliminated.

    • mfirebrand1

      My sentiments exactly. Wisconsin

  • Melvin

    I would have given this Eco-fascist the news paper alright, I would have taken it out of the paper bag, slowly wrap it up and commence to beat the ever loving stupidity out of this government bureaucrat.
    Don’t complain fight back against Eco-fascism.

  • Chad

    Seriously, the city can’t clear snow in a timely fashion but pays people ridiculous sums to bully people about what some bureaucrat things is bad waste-bin use. What compounds this is this moron is the employee of the harassed woman.

    Little Prince Bloomberg continues to ruin New York – turning the capital of the world into his own personal dreamland. My question is when will New Yorkers stop accepting his dystopia and instead throw the bum and his cronies out?

  • Tom Davidson

    This is just another ‘ordinance’ the sole purpose of which is to provide the city with a revenue srteam.

  • Chaya

    On one hand, I can understand that they don’t want people dumping their personal garbage in these bins……but for cryin’ out loud!! – this was a newspaper! And the lady is 83!! He should have politely said to her “Ma’m, these bins are not for newspapers. Can you remove it, please?” But he behaved like a barbarian towards her! I hope she sues the city for this!

  • CEH

    I wonder if it was one of the UNION sanitation workers who participated in the slowdown during the GLOBAL WARMING blizzard this past winter? I guess that woman was luckyto survive that unlikemant otherNew Yorkers? I’m glad I moved away form that miseryin the 80’s

  • Dan

    I am glad Barney didn’t have his bullet.

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    “The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.” ~ Clarence Darrow


    • Mikey

      Ughh. “Aunt Bee” at it again with the spamming. Comment reported.

  • WDDB


    Let’s see a show of hands of those who think it’s A-OK to put household trash—and newspapers qualify as such—into clearly-marked “Not for Household Use” publicly-owned city street cans.




    • Rolco

      I see these workers leave a ton of trash on the ground and go to the next can and spill a ton of trash again on the ground and on and on. Should they be fined or fired? by the time a street sweeper comes along, it’s nice and ripe for the rats.

      Doesn’t all the trash get dumped in the same place anyhow. Recycle ! Right !

    • WDDB

      Sp: “WHO”

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    Just another degenerate government worker that thinks they own you, your children and the world. —-

  • shredderofmass

    No its not fascism. Old people start thinking the rules don’t apply to them. The city cannot provide trash cans for every residence. Those cans are there for pedestrian trash to keep the streets clean. She was obviously trying to use the city trash cans to keep from buying her own bags and taking care of her own trash. Fine her triple.

    • Rolco

      Better idea, lets raise your taxes to make up for not being able to find all those who we miss and can’t ticket. I’m sure you won’t mind.

      • shredderofmass

        YOu make no sense whatsoever. She was abusing the system.

  • Bob Graham

    Why do they keep saying she’s 83 years old? Do people think that once you reach a certain age you should be able to do whatever the heck you want? She’s cheap and putting her household trash into the public trash barrel. She put a whole brown grocery bag in there.

    Also, how did she have a whole bag of “day old” papers? did she have 30 papers from the previous day, or all of her papers for the past month?

    • shredderofmass

      Exactly bob, If it said , a 24 year old able bodied man tried to throw away full grocery bag full of trash into the city trash can and was ticked for 100 dollars no one would care. In fact many would want his fine tripled if he was an able bodied WHITE man. Its time to do away with all these victim groups.

      • Rolco

        Or better yet, fine someone only once for pooping and peeing in the projects.

      • Rolco

        Do it in Harlem big shots. Fine an 83 year old in Harlem or even a 20 year old. Go for it.

  • Clark

    I would just throw my newspaper down in the middle of the dam street.

  • hkinsey3

    Let me get this straight…we have illegal aliens everywhere and flash mobs on every corner and the authorities are chasing down elderly white women for throwing papers in a trash can…….and they actually pay people to watch the cans? Ain’t liberalism wonderful.

  • BMF

    Hmmmm. 83 year old pedestrian minding her own business walking to the coffee shop at 6:30 a.m. places trash in a can meant only for pedestrian trash.

    Pedestrian: a person who goes or travels on foot.

    I gotta say that she seems to fit the definition of a pedestrian and if she was holding a bag of trash, then it seems reasonable that she would put it in a can marked pedestrian trash only.

    Now if she had driven up over the curb in her 1969 Dodge Charger, parked next to the pedestrian trash can, rolled down the window, and plopped the trash in the can–THEN the city has a slam dunk case to write a ticket because clearly she would not have been a pedestrian at that point.

    Instead, the sanitation employee should have called TSA. That brown paper bag could have contained diapers with poop and she’s 83 years old. That means that she is a perfect match for a TSA profile that would trigger aggressive strip searches of old ladies with dirty diapers and possibly denying entry into the coffee shop.

  • gen

    Motto of New York City under Blumenthal: Fight trash not crime

  • Nellie

    You guys don’t get it. It’s not about the trash. The trash is a means to an end. It’s about the city/government getting its hands on your money. Never mind how!

  • Bob Jenkins

    No, it’s someone taking what little power they have and abusing it.

  • William

    Hey, those of you pointing out that ‘it’s the law’ miss the point entirely. It’s a bad law, made by meddling, short-sighted idiots, and enforced by self-important civil servants. Just because a bad idea has been made law doesn’t give it standing against common sense — there are a multitude of very bad laws or laws that are so overly broad that they can be interpreted in a vast variety of ways. I understand the spirit of the law broken by the woman in the article, but it really didn’t apply to her, or anyone, in this situation.

  • Todd P.

    The LAW says that ILLEGAL aliens get DEPORTED! How about rounding up the leeches that scurry across our borders and suck off the government teat?? NYC is a cesspool run by government hacks and union slobs. How about doing some REAL work for a change?……

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