Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City
Written by Robin Nagle
Read by Beth Misco, assistant director, WID.
“An interesting read covering the last 400 years of trash and snow removal in New York City. This book will make you think about all the systems that enable everyday life — and you will never look at a sanitation worker the same again!
The historical aspects of the book speak to the how a problem may be constant, but the solution evolves. People threw garbage — both quotidian and hazardous — into the streets and gutters for hundreds of years, imperiling the general population. Now that only a small number of people deal with the trash, they have one of the most dangerous jobs in NYC. It is more dangerous to be a sanitation worker than a police officer or fireman, and the stories of injury and death are riveting and eye-opening.
There are also interesting management lessons to be learned from this book. The byzantine system of management and work allocation seems absurdly complex – but it works, until an ‘outsider’ changes everything and the city is buried under feet of snow.”