EAST VILLAGE — An East Fourth Street recycling center that neighbors complain teems daily with unsavory characters causing noise, drinking and relieving themselves in public is taking steps to curb the situation, staff and police said.
The Fine Fare supermarket’s self-serve recycling machines near Avenue C have have created untenable conditions in the area, with nearby residents claiming that visitors to the facility bring round-the-clock noise and blight their tree-lined block.
After a meeting with the head of the local police precinct last week, the supermarket has agreed to erect a small fence surrounding the site and add “No Trespassing” signs to prevent loiterers from camping out there at all hours.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do,” said Fine Fare manager Conrado Tavarez, who had staff paint a portion of the sidewalk demarcating the new off-limits area on Wednesday. He noted it was difficult to manage the dozens of daily visitors who sometimes cash in up to $600 worth of recyclables per day at the machines.
“It’s the police’s job — I can’t do nothing about it.”
The move comes in response to neighbors’ complaints about the facility, including a damning video filmed by block residents showing crowds appearing to do everything from fighting and urinating on the street to drinking, littering and changing clothes in broad daylight.
A police source said that the supermarket could also opt in to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Trespass Affidavit Program, which would allow police to arrest anyone trespassing in the cordoned-off area.
In addition, the rolling carts sitting next to the machines that were used to transport groceries from delivery trucks into the store have been removed, Tavarez noted, after residents complained that loiterers used them to sleep on and relieve themselves on.
However, the new measures weren’t greeted positively by one block resident, who’s led the charge against Fine Fare and claimed the fence simply creates another eyesore at the already unsightly location.
“This doesn’t sound like a good idea at all,” said block association president Ayo Harrington. “I don’t see this whole idea of them building another tacky-looking structure as a way of resolving the problem.”
Instead, Harrington is holding to her demand that the recycling facility be removed completely — a move echoed by block residents at their meeting with police last week.
“I look at all of the things that they’re doing as stop-gap measures,” she said. “It’s not a permanent solution. Everybody on this block still wants it gone.”