Hey @NYCHA @NYCMayor, how about we try to start the new year off right for the tenants of the Sotomayor Houses?
These are disgusting, unacceptable conditions that foster rats and vermin infestations. This needs to be cleaned ASAP. #nycha #bronx #nyc pic.twitter.com/LdhhaC2l1S
— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) December 30, 2018
Residents of the Sotomayor Houses in the Bronx spent the holidays with towering piles of trash mounting outside their doors, a reeking mess NYCHA failed to clear until the borough president tweeted at the agency on Sunday.
"How about we try to start the new year off right for the tenants of the Sotomayor Houses?" Ruben Diaz, Jr. wrote, sharing a jarring video of the trash bag mountains. "These are disgusting, unacceptable conditions that foster rats and vermin infestations. This needs to be cleaned ASAP."
In addition to providing rats with their ideal den, the rotting heaps reportedly produced a hellish stench. "It smells like a lot of cabbage and a bunch of dirty diapers," resident Bella Rojas told CBS New York. Another tenant added that, while timely refuse disposal always seemed like an afterthought at the Sotomayor Houses, last week's situation set a new low: "I'm not surprised because it's always very stinky over here. Trash always looks like it's going to go up into the trees," Jordan Robinson said. "But this is the worst I've seen."
According to the NY Post, NYCHA and the Sanitation Department did dispatch clean-up crews to clear the area within hours of Diaz Jr.'s public shaming. The garbage mounds reportedly resulted from broken trash compactors and the surplus of waste that comes with a holiday week.
As to the wait time, a NYCHA spokesperson said in a statement, "While we usually see more trash build up after the holidays, this is unacceptable, and staff were on-site yesterday cleaning the area. We also coordinated an immediate pick up."
Earlier today, I posted video of absolutely disgusting conditions at NYCHA’s Sotomayor Houses.
Just a few hours later the mess is completely gone, thanks to the hard work of a @nycsanitation crew that came out to move a mountain of garbage. pic.twitter.com/B2dXrTwrsm
— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) December 31, 2018
NYCHA has a nearly $32 billion emergency on its hands, which represents the estimated cost of rehabbing apartments, roofs, and building architecture; updating infrastructure; and fixing heat and hot water systems. Residents of the Sotomayor Houses have felt the effects of this gaping deficit firsthand: Last winter, they were among the 80 percent of NYCHA tenants to weather lengthy heat and hot water outages. The drinking water has reportedly proved to be a problem, running brown from the tap on occasion.
Of course, lapses like these persist at public housing complexes across the boroughs, the primary reason why the city itself was recently named New York's worst landlord.