You might have noticed the new recycling bins along Broadway. They're certainly shiny.
4000 of these perforated steel suckers are being installed throughout the city. It's all part of the New York City Department of Sanitation's movement to promote recycling. (Apparently New York stinks at recycling its trash. Our recycling rate for this fiscal year was 14.8%. The national rate was last reported as 34%.)
Why should you care? For one, it's just one other instance of big government trying to influence how we act. Recyling? Pshaw! More like nanny state. But that's only to be expected these days.
The real reason you should care about the metal cylinders is that you have to look at them. You shouldn't.
The recycling bins are very "space-age," to borrow an expression from my father. They're elegant, slick, and shiny. (Although Apple outshines them to this end.) But then, you see, in the context Morningside Heights, the bins look like they are from outer space.
DSNY's press release states that the new design of the bins "will better blend in to the streetscape." This is rubbish. The slick metal bins fail to blend in. They impose their presence on the esthetic of Morningside Heights. And this pains the eye.
It's worth noting new receptacles aren't the first move of recent years to sanitize how New York City looks. For over six years, the city's worked with the Cemusa, a Spanish ad company, to install steel and glass newsstands and bus shelters throughout the city. The product of this partnership has been one of the most visible and, in all likelihood, enduring legacies of the Bloomberg era. On nearly every block a some large hunk of metal installed by our local government glitters.
A new regime occupies city hall, and one can only hope that they never realize the final objective of these efforts...anodizing the populace.