‘Stairway to trash’: Community speaks out as Bronx steps are covered in trash

Monica Makes It Happen

A stairway in the Bronx has become a dumping ground for trash. Residents, activists and one city leader say for months they have tried to get the city to clean it up — but it just keeps growing. 

They are called “step streets” — they are a practical way to get up and down steep slopes in the Bronx.

As for the step streets off of Morris Avenue,  residents say you can smell it before you see it.

Marshelle Burgess lives right next to the staircase off the Grand Concourse. Burgess said most days, it’s smelly and disgusting; she calls it a stairway to trash.

Burgess said she’s called 311 to complain. The trash keeps piling up and attracting other problems.

“Let’s hope the city cleans this up, I live right here. It’s a good building,” Burgess said. “The rats are everywhere.”

Bronx community activist Sidney Flores said it’s city property.  Flores has tried to get the city to clean it up, but can’t get a straight answer to find out which city agency can actually do it.

“I’ve been getting the runaround. They press my buttons. More than once they say this is not a priority,” said Flores.

A city councilmember said it doesn’t send community members the right message.

“They wouldn’t allow this in their backyard. It gives people the feeling that the City doesn’t care,” said New York City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera, who brought the issue to PIX 11’s attention.

PIX11 reached out to several city agencies.

The New York City Department of Sanitation got back immediately, and told PIX11 they are responsible — and they are on it.

“Residents can expect more frequent cleaning of this area, and our Lot Cleaning Unit will also attempt to do some hand cleaning in this area soon,” the statement read in part.

They were right: a few hours after PIX11 left, sanitation crews made some progress and sent  us photos of the stairs looking clean. We’ll make sure they finish the job, and that the steps stay clean.

If you have a story reach, out to Monica Morales at monica@pix11.com.

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