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West Village Residents Fed Up With Proliferation Of Trash, Graffiti And Homeless: 'It Is Not Acceptable'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - In a throwback to the bad old days of the '70s and '80s, the West Village has become overrun with graffiti and garbage.

CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer demanded answers and got action - at least when it comes to the garbage.

One driver thought he had it bad when he had to step over a pile of uncollected garbage in the West Village to reach a parking meter.

"This is not good. Really not good. The smell," one man said.

West Village Garbage
(credit: CBS2)

But the owner of a nearby news stand has it worse: Piles of debris surround his stand, day in and day out. He's fed up.

"It's terrible. It is not acceptable," said Earfanful Haque. "If Sanitation Department out there working properly, this is not possible. This should be cleaned."

On a tour of the West Village, CBS2 cameras found uncollected garbage on block after block. So Kramer called Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson.

"People say it's an eyesore," Kramer said.

"I would agree with them. It's absolutely an eyesore," Grayson said.

Grayson blamed the piles on a number of problems, including people not following pickup schedules.

But, having said that...

"We can certainly divert a resource to come," he said. "So what we now have to do... is take this in as a complaint of an eyesore... and then dispatch a crew to come and service this," Grayson said.

Grayson also listened to the news stand owner's gripes, and promised to have his teams do a better job of picking up the trash surrounding his business.

"It didn't fall on deaf ears and I thank you for the feedback," Grayson said.

West Village Graffiti
(credit: CBS2)

Unfortunately, it's not just the garbage. The West Village has become a trifecta of quality of life problems. There's a big homeless problem. The manager of Papaya Dog says a few weeks ago, a homeless man threw a brick through the window, doing $1,000 worth of damage.

"We called the police, and I just saw the guy yesterday. He's not arrested," Medlat Ghaly said.

And then there's the graffiti. It's everywhere. A proliferation of colors and designs on walls, storefronts, news stands and mail boxes. Residents blame the mayor.

"He doesn't walk the street. He doesn't know what's going on.  He could stay up on his high horse all he wants, but people need help, and nobody's doing it. He's not doing a very good job," said Joe Gerardi.

"It's pretty sad. It's pretty sad. I wish it would get better," said Harriet McGurk.

"Honestly, it's a problem. I do not feel safe," said Augustine Lockhart.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says things will get better when his Cleanup Corps starts working, but not everybody believes him.

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