Paul Screvane

Margaret Lickdyke of the Citizens' Committee to Keep New York Clean, and Sanitation Commissioner Paul Screvane use new public ashtray installed by sanitation worker Frank Zwolinski. August 26, 1959.

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Scrivane, Commissioner of Sanitation, answers question about the department's initiatives to clean up the city and "Operation Big Sweep."

Marvin Sleeper hosts.

Panelists: Alan Cohn, Marvin Oppenburg and Larry Lipsitz


New York is the cleanest today that it's been in many years. The problem is social and economic. There is a difference between European cities and New York. We tend to be wasteful. Budget is roughly $100 million per year. Alternate side parking has been useful. The Big Sweep pulls together the five major areas of complaint: unswept sidewalks, inappropriate trash cans, people who don't curb their dogs, misuse of litter baskets, and discard of materials in to vacant lots. Bulk trash pickup. Violations and prosecutions. Tickets to litter bugs. Disposal of cigarette butts. Planned receptacles created for cigarette butts. People stealing trashcans. Responds to criticism that sanitation workers are quieter in rich neighborhoods and louder in poor neighborhoods. Inconvenience of alternate side parking, street cleaning. Comparison between neighborhoods in the city, other cities. Discontinued the practice of letting sanitation workers pursue union activities while on the city pay roll. "Lively Louie," the talking trash can has a two-way radio installed.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72052
Municipal archives id: LT7678