For over a century, the men and women of the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) have heroically served the City as daily stewards of public health, and as emergency responders in extraordinary circumstances. As the workforce meets its latest challenge, picking up New York City during the coronavirus pandemic, we remember the countless challenges they’ve faced with unwavering strength.
In 1893, it was the Department of Street Cleaning (later renamed the Department of Sanitation), that started working to clear the streets of manure and waste, which had been spreading diseases for decades. From this public health crisis to the September 11th attacks, and Hurricane Sandy, the DSNY has always been there to pick up the pieces, clear the debris, and keep the city running.
These photos offer a glimpse into the Department’s rich history of heroism, inviting us to recognize the workforce for their nonstop efforts to keep New York City alive.