UES Residents, Lawmakers Protest Proposed Garbage Station Along East River

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some Upper East Side residents and lawmakers are protesting a proposed garbage station on East 91st Street along the East River.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports: Garbage Station Would Be Blight On East River  

Sarah Bliss Hamblet grew up this neighborhood and remembers what life was like the last time there was a garbage station by the river.

“In the 70s, this area was disgusting,” she said. “There were rats all along this area there was trash. The beautiful waterfront that you see here, that space that was just gross.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says after years of revitalizing the East River waterfront, building a garbage station would damage the health and safety of those living in the residential neighborhood that has two large public housing developments, schools and a sports complex that serves thousands of children.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports: Residents Say Neighborhood Would Be Ruined By Garbage Dump

“Plans for the garage dump need to sleep with the fishes,” said Maloney.

Many say the plan is not adequate and that the parade of garbage trucks would make the neighborhood intolerable.

“We have the worst air quality in the city of New York and this plan would make it worse,” said Councilmember Jessica Lappin.

Maloney has asked that the public comment period by the Army Corps of Engineers be extended beyond the Wednesday deadline. 

A spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office says the East 91st Street location is the best and most cost-effective option.

The proposed facility would process as much as 4,290 tons of garbage per day.

What do you think about the proposed garbage station? Sound off below in our comments section…

  • DC

    I think the dump should be placed next to Bloomberg’s townhouse or the townhouse of someone in his family. Do you think he would be okay with this?

  • bonnie

    Liz Krueger
    NY State Senator

    Policy Spotlight

    Marine Transfer Station

    Last month, I submitted comments to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to reject New York City’s application for a permit to expand the dock on which the proposed Marine Transfer Station (MTS) at East 91st Street would be built. From the inception, I have expressed serious concern regarding the plan to build a MTS on East 91st St.

    My long-standing opposition to a Marine Transfer Station at East 91st Street is based on many factors. Individually, any number of the problems with this location provide enough reason to kill this proposal, but collectively they make this decision a no-brainer.

    The residential neighborhood that surrounds the proposed site includes numerous public parks, a major recreational facility, as well as one of Manhattan’s largest public housing complexes. The site is just 100 feet from the closest residence, and less than 280 feet from the Stanley Isaacs/Holmes Houses New York City Housing Authority complex which is home to more than 2,200 residents. According to census data from 2000, 13,500 people live within a quarter mile radius of the proposed site, including 1,850 children, 1,622 senior citizens and more than 1,500 people living below the poverty line. For comparison purposes—the next most populated community in which the City proposes to locate a MTS, Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn, has less than 1/3 the number of people (4,300 people) living within a quarter of a mile radius of that site. Additionally, and disturbingly, 91st Street is the only proposed MTS site not separated from nearby residences by a commercial buffer zone. In short, putting a Marine Transfer Station at this location defies common sense.

    Before the former 91st Street MTS was closed in 1999 (which was less than half the size of the one currently proposed), the trucks would line-up all the way to 86th Street and beyond, and the surrounding neighborhood suffered greatly from odors, vermin and other pollutants. I have no doubt that the noise, noxious fumes and pollutants from the MTS, as well as the exhaust from the hundreds of trucks that will line up to enter the MTS each day, will dramatically affect the health and safety of the surrounding residents and community facilities.

    Adding insult to injury, the Solid Waste Management Plan actually calls for the MTS’s truck access ramp to directly bisect the Asphalt Green park and recreational center. Located between York Avenue and the River between 90th and 92nd Streets, Asphalt Green is visited approximately 675,000 times each year. More than 110,000 of these visits are made by public school children at no charge, most from East Harlem. Each year more than 11,000 community members enjoy Asphalt Green’s free sports, fitness, theater and educational programs. Even after construction is complete, the noise, fumes and pollutants from the MTS, as well as queuing trucks will likely force Asphalt Green to cancel many of these thriving programs. With dozens of schools sending thousands of children to Asphalt Green for recreational activities, permitting diesel-fuel trucks and other heavy polluters to constantly idle nearby imperils a population particularly susceptible to respiratory ailments. This is not only unsafe but negligent.

    But it’s not just the surrounding community that would be harmed; this station would also do irreparable harm to the East River, which is not actually a river at all but a tidal straight/estuary. The unique nature of the ecosystem found in the East River cannot and should not be subject to any further disruptions or pollution, which could easily upset the delicate balance of this estuary and reverse the environmental gains of the last four decades.

    I have long been a strong supporter of the environmental justice movements in New York City and believe that we all must be responsible for our own garbage. I am well aware that for too long, as a result of environmental racism and poor planning, Manhattan’s garbage has unfairly burdened low-income and minority communities in the outer boroughs. The inexcusable concentration of waste disposal facilities in a few neighborhoods has contributed to childhood asthma rates communities that are among the highest in the nation and has severely undermined economic development. However, because the SWMP does not require private commercial waste haulers in Manhattan to use the more expensive city-owned facilities opening in the borough, it is very likely that haulers will continue to use the much less expensive private ones located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. As a result, it is unlikely that the SWMP will actually lead to a noticeable reduction in the amount of commercial waste brought from Manhattan to the other boroughs.

    Finally, locating new MTS sites anywhere in the City is a short-term solution to a long-term problem that will only get worse as New York is expected to see an increase in over one million residents and tourists in the coming years. New York City must make a real and lasting commitment to expanding recycling, reducing waste and finding high tech solutions to our garbage problems. Focusing on moving waste out of the City on barges and trucks to other localities places us in an extremely vulnerable position. Should the small and uncompetitive market of waste acceptance turn on us, New York will be left with an increased number of MTS sites but nowhere for that waste to go.

    As I have said many times, this is an entirely inappropriate location for such a facility and I will continue to fight in every way possible to derail further development of this project.

  • Upper East Side Rentals

    This is horrible… Take the trash somewhere else.


  • Nim-By

    Still, nobody has identified which SPECIFIC neighborhood “deserves” the transfer station instead of the Upper East Side.

  • alaskachic93

    Some idiots just don’t learn from history and traffic patterns (animal and human) around dump sites.

  • dale

    To those writing above, while i understand your NIMBY responses, there is more to the story than meets the eye. This facility was mothballed over 10 years ago because of it’s affect on the neighborhood, the water, the air and the traffic. Since it’s closure the neighborhood of Yorkville has blossomed, many new buildings have been built and subsequently many thousands of children now live in Yorkville, so much so that new schools have opened.

    Are you aware that there will be 64 trucks per hour every day for 24 hours per day 6 days per week on York avenue just before the one lane entrance to the FDR?
    That the trucks will bisect Asphalt Green Park where thousands of children play every day all year, since it is the ball playing fields for most of the area schools?
    That puts the trucks less than 20 feet from the children in the ball playing fields. The only playing field in the neighborhood and thousands of children per week will need to cross in front of 9216 trucks per week.

    In addition what you may not know is that the facility will be expanded to 10 stories high, in the water at Hell’s Gate, the most treacherous waters in the New York Region.
    The transfer station will threaten the fish and wildlife that have settled in and around the area.
    The station also lies in the flight path to LaGuardia which already has more dangerous bird strikes than any other airport in the region.
    The FDR Drive north of 61st Street has been closed 5 times in the last 3 years because of flooding. The transfer station would likely flood when the road floods.
    The transfer station would be located in “Hurricane Zone A”, meaning that the City expects this area to flood when a strong storm hits.

    Lastly, the trash is being barged from the Yorkville East River location to New Jersey. Please also make no misunderstanding, this is trash facility is being located here because Bloomberg (who was given his third term by Quinn) and Quinn are committed to developing the West Side Rail-yards where the trash facilities currently exist and could be expanded. This is about Bloomberg’s friend’s money, not about what is right for Yorkville, or Manhattan doing the right thing about their garbage. The plan does not make environmental sense, nor does it take into account that this neighborhood is considerably more populous than any other trash facility in the region.

    • Bonnie

      Thank you Dale for your comment, injecting some sanity into the debate. It boggles the mind that anyone could think that putting the MTS on East 91st Street is a good idea.

  • Nim By

    So Upper East Siders don’t want THEIR garbage to be handled in THEIR neighborhood. Which other neighborhood have they nominated for the task??

    • NNM

      Actually, they want to route the garbage from the entire burough of Manhattan through this facility. If you review the statistics, you will see that most of the garbage generated in Manhattan is commercial, and this garbage is generated not only by upper east side residents, but by residents from all over the burrough, people who commute to the city from the other buroughs and the suburbs — people of all backgrounds and socio-economic status. So the better question is, why is it fair for one densely populated residential neighborhood to have to handle the garbage of millions of people.

      Moreover, the argument that the residents of this neighborhood are making is that such a facility does not belong in ANY residential neighborhood. It is not “NIMBY,” but not in ANYONE’S backyard. A facility such as this should be in an industrial area designated to handle these types of functions. Any competent urban planner would approach it that way. In this case, politics have overruled common sense, and the politicians are seeking to satisfy other interests rather than to do what is right for the people they represent.

      If you look closely at the plan proposed by the administration, the facility propsed for 91st street in manhattan is the only one in a residential neighborhood. The other facilities designated for the other buroughs are all in industrial areas or with a much larger buffer area from residential buildings.

      Even the city sanitation department has a buffer rule for private facilities, requiring that they be no closer than 400 feet to a residential building. But, for some inexplicable reason, their own rule does no apply to city facilities — and the proposed facility will be less than 300 feet from a residential building.

  • Millie Gonzalez

    Would you all be protesting so loudly if it was stationed say, 10 or 12 blocks further from you? I seriously doubt it.

  • Jonathan

    every neighborhood has to do their part, not just poor neighborhoods. this is a sensible plan to transport garbage

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