East Bronx communities have been laden with clothing donation bins, placed illegally on city sidewalks.
Leaders from Community Boards 10 and 11 are peeved over an influx of for-profit companies dropping the bins anywhere they can find a space, including illegally on sidewalks.
The Sanitation Department is tagging the illegal bins and removing them within 30 to 45 days, said CB 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke, but community leaders add that as soon as they disappear, they seem to show up in other places on city streets.
“They were popping up everywhere in some areas, and we are concerned in some places that they are places that people can hide behind them or leave things like drugs inside,” said Community Board 10 chairman John Marano, a former narcotics detective.
“They are like billboards for graffiti.”
Some shopkeepers are being paid to keep a watch on the bins for the for-profit companies, said CB 10 chairman John Marano and Westchester Square community activist Lou Rocco, who has blazed a trail in fighting the bins left on sidewalks.
“They making our community dumps…when people move out at the end of the month they dump at the bins,” said Rocco.
Marano was particularly concerned about a bin that was left on Throgmorton Avenue between Lafayette and Barkley avenues, which has since been removed after it was tagged by DNSY. Calls were placed to a phone number on the bin, but it was found to be disconnected.
Rocco said that when bins are removed near Westchester Square, they are replaced, and the for-profit companies are directing clothing away from The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other non-profit organizations.
According to sources, some of companies placing the bins distribute the donations to those in need – for a profit, while others ship the clothes overseas for sale in developing countries.
The bins are proliferating in Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Van Nest, Bronx Park East, Westchester Square, and Zerega.
Morris Park Community Association president Tony Signorile fought to get one bin removed on Morris Park Avenue, only to see another one crop up on the sidewalk outside of a nearby business.
“They are on the sidewalk, and the sidewalk is made for pedestrians, not for bins,” said Signorile.
Former CB 11 district manager John Fratta said that about seven years ago the board had issues with a clothing collection bin at a gas station on Bronxdale Avenue that saw homeless men and women digging through it and leaving clothes outside, as well as people leaving clothing and furniture next to it when it filled.
Because that bin was not on public property, it made it hard to deal with an eyesore, he said.
But on Bronx Park East, local civic leader Raphael Schweizer has also called to have bins removed, but they keep springing up on sidewalks, he said, including outside of the Pelham Parkway Houses on Pelham Parkway North, between Bronxwood and Wallace Avenue.