to Manhattan, really.
Which may have been one of the stupidest ideas we have come up with yet.
First of all, do you know how much it costs to drive into Manhattan? It is a scandal. I have no idea what kind of scam they are running there, but it cost over $20 to take the tunnel into Manhattan. And what are you paying for? Mostly to sit, bumper to bumper, with other suckers just like you, wishing you had just settled for the view from New Jersey.
And then, do you know how much it costs to park in New York City? Well, we don’t either because we did some sneaky moves to avoid the outrageous parking fees (not that sneaky, really). But when you do park, do you know what it feels like to get out of your car? Like THIS. Because everything is so darn smashed together. NYC is not for the faint of heart.
Despite these travails, get to NYC we did, and it was well worth it. One of the first things you notice walking around the city are the piles of garbage bags lining every sidewalk. This is something I haven’t seen in any other major city we have visited so far. I believe that because the city (or at least the parts we visited) has no alleys, trash is left on sidewalks for pickup. Garbage men jump off the backs of trucks, scoop up what they can, and run to catch up with the truck. Black bags seemed to be for regular trash, and clear bags for recyclables.
As a result, the city is ripe with odors… and you can see all kinds of interesting things people are trying to get rid of.
New York City has recently made a splash in the trash world with Mayor Bloomberg’s Recycle Everything campaign. The idea is that if you don’t know whether or not an item is recyclable, you should just throw it in the recycle bin and someone else will figure it out for you. This campaign seems to be yet another example of a new attitude towards recycling, which relies on improved sorting technologies rather than source separation. It’s interesting to me that these systems are based on an assumption of consumer ignorance – an assumption that people can’t (or won’t) be expected to know about their trash or participate in its management. Is this assumption true?