Noticing who’s left NYC by checking the trash pickups

https://patch.com/new-york/upper-west-side-nyc/garbage-pick-map-shows-where-nyers-have-fled-city-report

Garbage Pick-Up Map Shows Where NYers Have Fled The City: Report

A look at how residential trash loads have changed during the coronavirus from THE CITY reveals shrinking Manhattan neighborhoods.

By Anna Quinn, Patch Staff
Apr 13, 2020 2:40 pm ET
A look at how residential trash loads have changed during the coronavirus from THE CITY reveals which Manhattan neighborhoods have shrunk.
A look at how residential trash loads have changed during the coronavirus from THE CITY reveals which Manhattan neighborhoods have shrunk. (Shutterstock / Cory Seamer)

UPPER WEST SIDE, MANHATTAN — Upper West Siders produced 200 tons less of trash last month than they did the year before, even as a statewide “PAUSE” during the coronavirus forced them to stay at home.

But, that might be because they’ve been staying in a different “home” altogether, according to an analysis by THE CITY.

THE CITY’s look at how the Department of Sanitation’s trash pickups across New York City in March compared to the year before shows that while the coronavirus stay-at-home order has increased trash loads in many parts of the city, it has also revealed where New Yorkers have likely left their neighborhoods as the pandemic spread.

Both the Upper West and Upper East had more than 3 percent, or about 200 tons, less trash in March than the year before, the analysis found.

Those differences were particularly stark when compared to neighborhoods in other boroughs, like Astoria, where trash loads increased by almost 12 percent.

“Garbage itself always, like a canary in a coal mine, is a key indicator of social change,” Department of Sanitation anthropologist Robin Nagle told THE CITY.”Manhattan is considerably wealthier than Queens, so I’m assuming more Manhattanites left the city, while more Queens residents have no choice but to shelter at home.”

(To keep up with coronavirus news in the Upper West Side, subscribe to Patch to receive daily newsletters and breaking news alerts.)

The largest decrease in trash loads was in the Lower East Side, where pick-ups were down 5 percent. Harlem, SoHo, Chelsea and the West Village also saw dips, though smaller than the Lower East Side and Uptown, according to the analysis.

A few New Yorkers who spoke with THE CITY said their neighbors had have gone everywhere from homes in the Hudson Valley, to The Hamptons and back to where they had moved from in North Carolina.

To read the full CITY report and see the map click here.

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