Beautification in the City of New York
By Hudson Berry
New York City is a big and beautiful glory. Or maybe not? From the skyline or a bird’s eye view, it may seem to be beautiful, but a slightly closer look shows that’s not true. New York City is not full of beauty, in fact it is terrible at it. Why is that an issue? Because living in an ugly city is not the greatest. So the public is taking action instead, in the form of bags in bins, trees in planters, rats out of bins, and uncreated parks and plazas.
The most eye-catching eyesore is the trash. And the friends that come along with it. But it’s not the trash itself, rather the way it is collected. New York City is far behind in an issue solved by other cities long ago. You may notice that the trash bags are not in trash bins. Only certain residents get these color coordinated bins. Otherwise, apartments, and other businesses have to manually stack the bags in pyramid shapes. No bins. No protection. Open. And that’s when our friends come in. The rats! These little buddies will get whatever they can get, whenever they can get it. And a nice stack of trash with an easy to tear barrier in-between? Perfect. Just…great.
Now how do we solve this? Most easily with 2 processes.
- Getting bins that are closed.
- Getting rats to not be in the bins.
So simple. Just some time and effort. Well, the city doesn’t think so. Instead, they slashed the budget of the sanitation department by $108 million dollars.
And so with time and effort multiplied, we’ll move on to the next step. Rats. Certain people are helping to fix rat problems by informing the public, such as groups of BID (business improvement districts). When interviewing Joanna Tallantire who runs the 5th Avenue BID in Brooklyn, I learned about a one day program called Rat Academy where a rat specialist comes in and gives us information on rats and other similar pests.
Along with that, she said she hires 3 people who work from 8:15AM to 4:00PM to clean up litter. Their district is from Dean Street — 18th Street, so around 30 blocks. They split that into 10 blocks each. One man circles for 8 hours picking up trash, in the hot sun, or cold skies, and other combinations. Along with that they even clean up graffiti from anyone who calls in. That dedication is just a fraction of the effort to clean our city. So supporting businesses like this is a good start to help the beautification of the city.
Although trash is a big issue it’s one that takes years to solve, and only takes bad to regular. What are other things you can do to turn regular to better? Well, we can make space! Add greenery and nature. You can start by doing something simple like requesting a tree.
Well you used to for some people. Trees used to cost $1,000 to plant. Nowadays it’s $3,000. Nonetheless you still can plant trees. Open community gardens, and even create plazas just within your town. And it’s all about group effort. According to Shahana Hanif, our newest City Councilmember, “Everyday neighbors have a say in expanding space.” And that we deserve our “fair share of open streets.’’ You probably don’t know, but Shahana created Avenue C Plaza, which is a small spot that is utilized for tables, chairs, and plants. All created with a little bit of teamwork from her neighbors and neighborhood.
At this point you may be asking why beautification is so important? Well beautification is everything at one point. The Center For Active Design has done a study on how this works. They went to multiple cities and out of 5,000 people, a quarter of them chose to clean up litter, in a survey of things they wanted from their city. Even things just like softening signage language, and potting plants makes us feel more appealing and trusting. How this graph shows well maintained places make us feel that the community cares.
In conclusion, the city and our community needs to come to a higher standpoint and fix the big issues with our city because they aren’t too helpful and we have to do most things ourselves and beautification makes EVERYTHING better in general.
About the author: Hudson Berry — as in the Hudson River and Berry as in the fruit. Not Hamilton Barry, which I have been confused as before. (Fun fact: Blue raspberries are real fruit but the artificial flavor has made it fake, as it does not use actual raspberries.) I am a professional at living, in fact I have been working in the living region for around 12 years now and never once have died.