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Residents Plan Another Rally Against East 91st Street Trash Station

By Amy Zimmer | June 27, 2011 8:26pm

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — Tenants from the Stanley Isaacs public housing development will speak out on Tuesday against the East 91s Street garbage transfer station that's slated to be built less than 280 feet from its doorstep.

Rose Bergin, the resident leader of the complex, is organizing the rally against the East 91s Street garbage — the area's second in two weeks — at the plaza at First Avenue and East 93rd Street of the housing complex where she's lived for nearly 30 years.

The trash facility's ramp — which will bring up to 54 garbage trucks an hour barreling through the densely populated neighborhood on their way to dump up to 5,280 tons of trash a day at the station — would be just feet away from the popular ball fields at the Asphalt Green.

It would also close to the Stanley Isaacs/Holmes Houses complex, which is home to more than 2,200 residents.

"We lived through a transfer station here for 60 years," Bergin said. "We know what the stench was. We know what the traffic [on York Avenue] was. We know what the rat population was."

The smell was so bad from the garbage facility that had been in the neighborhood from the 1940s up until 1999 — and was less than half the size of the newly proposed waste transfer station — that Bergin could never open her window.

The neighborhood blossomed after residents successfully fought to close the facility, she said.

The $125 million East 91st Street garbage facility is part of the Bloomberg administration's larger plan, passed in 2006, to enable each borough to handle hauling its own trash and help the city move more garbage onto barges to cut down long-haul truck traffic.

It aims to lessen the burden on neighborhoods that have had a disproportionate number of trash facilities.

"For decades, New Yorkers who live in communities of color have endured more than their fair share of our city's trash," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had said in a statement after the first rally at Asphalt Green. "This plan achieves greater equity and environmental justice for all New Yorkers."

Bergin didn't think dumping a trash facility so close to her housing complex constituted environmental justice.

"I understand no one wants it in their backyard," said Bergin.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick, who represents the residents in the public housing complex and is expected to speak at Tuesday's rally, said even though the city has "crossed a few regulatory hurdles," there are still "legal, budgetary and political issues" that remain.

"People are extremely concerned that this garbage station might open and they are determined to fight back," he said.

Putting a trash facility like this in a densely populated area made little sense, he said. "This is a bad idea and will be destructive to the neighborhood."

Tuesday's rally will be at the Isaacs/Holmes Plaza at First Avenue & 93rd Street, 6 p.m.