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Tuesday, August 03, 2004



In case you can't read this sign, it says,

Cancer and lung disease hazard
personnel only
Respirators and
protective clothing
are required in
this area

What area? Right on the sidewalk on Greenwich Street behind the American Stock Exchange.

When I took this photo on Saturday...

Actually, let me interrupte myself for a sec to say that it's pretty tricky trying to be a photoblogger in a neighborhood that is sensative and secure. Almost everything down here is a landmark or an icon or houses a mega global corporation, or else it's associated with a horrible tragedy. There are tons of cops down here, plus quite a few feds, plus the Downtown Alliance, plus vigilant and involved residents, plus, a whole crapload of paranoid and angry tourists. So wandering around taking pictures of things is not always the safest thing to do. I've been yelled at a couple times, and I understand why they don't want folks taking pictures of some things, and I'm fine with not taking pictures of some things. (In fact I do have pictures that I've decided not to publish here precisely because I think they show too much. I know no one reads this blog, but that's all the more reason not to take risks with compromising the security of the neighborhood.) This is both my excuse and my explanation for why some photos are blurry and a little crooked. You can't really set up and start taking photos of dumpsters outside the American Stock Exchange. But at the same time, this photo in no way compromises anything. It's in plain public view from a sidewalk, nothing tricky or locked down.

Back to the story... It was actually Friday night that I first saw the sign (coming home from Shore, which I'll review later) but since it was dark out I told myself I'd wait for Saturday to take the photo in the light. Saturday afternoon there were guys in bunny suits dumping wheelbarrows full of toxicity into the dumpster, so the sidewalk was blocked off. What struck me at that point was that the sign warning of the cancerous materials is on the sidewalk side. But if you walk on the street side of the dumpster, there's no sign. In fact, even if you're standing on the sidewalk next to it, you don't really see the signs. This bothered me because it seems kind of sneaky, but OK, whatever, why bust balls. I took the photo while walking by later in the day when the workers had gone and the sidewalk was no longer closed.

But today I rode by that dumpster on my ride home, and there are two cops standing exactly next to it. So the toxic dumpster is there since Saturday blowing its contents all over the neighborhood, and now some cops who are there to protect the neighborhood are guarding the building, standing right next to a dumpster full of asbestos -presumably without knowing it or they'd stand somewhere else.

Do I have to spell out that this is the same NYPD that has members, along with other city rescue workers, who are still struggling with lung problems caused by their working on almost that exact same spot?


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