June 20, 2011: Talkin’ Trash

Just got back from a wonderful family visit to Brooklyn where I spent sweet time with my grandson and grand-daughter and their terrific parents. And experienced my first Mermaid Parade at Coney Island.

Coney Island, classic Last Stop on a Subway Line—with attendant amusement park and miles of beach to attract weekend ridership—vigorously holds on to its tawdry past. Not with its crumbling buildings, freak show/side show attractions, cheap thrills, overpriced souvenirs, faded, iconic billboards , incessant noise. And, just to be clear, I’m not talking about the bare-breastiness of the Mermaid Parade. All these are, arguably, charming!

I’m talkin’ trash. On the face of it, aside from Nathan’s Famous, Coney Island’s business owners seem to have made a conscious decision: We will not provide trash cans. (Kinda skimped on adequate rest rooms, too.)

God knows, if you’re walking around holding an empty Styrofoam cup for blocks and blocks, you begin to really wonder: Should I have ordered that pistachio-chocolate swirl softserv in the first place? (Answer: maybe I should have ordered a cone!) God knows, if you’re seated in the outdoor seating area right next to a Nathan’s Famous trashcan so can observe how often a sweaty employee empties the thing, one’s awareness of the sheer magnitude of  disposable crap intensifies.

[BTW: Spectacle Island, one of Boston Harbor’s islands, has a no trash can policy: Visitors have to remove whatever crap they’d brought or bought from the island. AND THERE ARE SIGNS EXPLAINING THIS!]

But, hey. While I’m always overwhelmed by the Big Apple’s muchness, I am also always impressed by its Let’s Make This City Work energy. If NYC kids are currently reading comics starring The Green Lantern, comics which tout (hector?) responsible electricity usage—and they are—surely another Super Hero spouting Disposable! Recyclable! Bring Your Own Utensils! is already in the works.

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