2003-12-03 / Front Page

We Painfully Learn How Being N.I.C.E. Isn’t Very

By Charles Rogers
We Painfully Learn How Being N.I.C.E. Isn’t Very

We Painfully Learn How Being N.I.C.E. Isn’t Very

While workers (elves?) were preparing the Seddio house decorations, Sanit police ticketed them for putting refuse out on the wrong day. Charles RogersWhile workers (elves?) were preparing the Seddio house decorations, Sanit police ticketed them for putting refuse out on the wrong day. Charles Rogers

By Charles Rogers

Amid grumblings of "Humbug!" and "Why you #@$%&*!," the New York City Sanitation Department has apparently decided to target Canarsie — and perhaps many of the surrounding neighborhoods — for a ticket blitz for not keeping sidewalks clean.

Besides checking with officials of the department as to whether they’re aiming those summons guns at us — which they say they are not — residents and merchants alike have been looking out the door and trying to keep the area (up to 18 inches from the curb) as clean as possible, sometimes to no avail ("that cursed wind’s to blame!").

A case in point that the Grinch does indeed live and work in Brooklyn, though, would be the incident last week in front of Assemblyman Frank Seddio’s Holiday House at the corner of East 93 Street and Flatlands Avenue, where a Sanitation Enforcement officer gave workers a ticket for apparent littering even while they were putting up those beautiful decorations!

More Grinch-ness: Don’tcha know the Canarsie Courier got a ticket that day too — even though the area in front of our office was, while not pristine, not too bad, especially when compared to other sidewalks around. When the ticket-giving person was accosted and questioned by our business manager, Catherine Rosa, he didn’t give his name but assured her the summons was not a case of discrimination on his part — and that anyone else who appeared to deserve one would indeed get it as soon as he could get around to it.

The Sanitation Department calls the crackdown "Operation NICE," that’s Neighborhood Intensive Cleanup Effort. But they’re really not very NICE.

Shortly after having given the ticket to Assemblyman Seddio, the agent was spied parked on Avenue J near East 93 Street and was told that the house-lighting and decorating was a holiday tradition exemplifying "good cheer" and "how could you do that?" The agent just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I’m not from around here and I don’t know from holiday decorating. I do know there was garbage on the sidewalk, so I gave a summons."

When asked if that’s the general philosophy of the "compassionate" city administration, the enforcement agent again shrugged his shoulders and wouldn’t answer, although one didn’t have to try very hard to hear the word "humbug" permeate the air.

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