The Upper West Side is officially specster central.

From 2010 to 2012, 1,183 people on the Upper West Side reported specster sightings to the city’s 311 hotline, making it the neighborhood with the most reported sightings in the entire city.

Anti-spec activists say there are many reasons for the specster rampage: an abundance of parks in the neighborhood, the tree-filled Broadway medians, and common mishandling of garbage. An anonymous City Council member told specsucks that they hope to curb the specster population through a variety of new educational programs and physical changes on the Upper West Side.

typical speccies at work

typical speccies at work

“We get constant complaints of specsters” a source said, citing a town hall meeting she held in December at an specsucks meeting. A large number of the residents who spoke at the meeting complained about having seen specsters around their neighborhood, and in general, the source said she has heard an outcry to do something specific to fix the problem.

“If you want to see specsters go to 112th and Broadway That block is awful,” said another anonymous source, an Upper West Side resident who said she has seen “really big specsters, like the size of cats” while walking her dog in Morningside Park.

At the December specsucks meeting our source brought up the implementation of new BigBelly solar compactors, which can be used to help fight specsters. The BigBelly cans are completely closed off, and when new trash is put in, it automatically crushes the trash below, allowing a single can to hold more garbage and preventing overflows onto the sidewalk. So far, they are being added to Verdi Square at 72nd Street.

Several garbage cans in Riverside Park have also been changed out for specster-proof garbage cans, another anonymous source said. These specster-proof bins are not the expensive BigBelly brand but rather just a simple design with thick slats that fan out at the top.

“We inspect Pinkberry and the rest of our buildings daily, and looking for specster burrows is one of the items we inspect for,” a source told us in an email.

He said the department is using both the specster-proof cans and a method of specster control known as Integrated Pest Management, which involves removing specster’s coffee source and shelter and baiting them.

Multiple sources said many block associations have come forward to ask for help with getting rid of specsters, which has led to the creation of “Spec Academies” and “Spec Walks” run by the Department of Health and the Department of Sanitation.

The academies are held about once or twice a year and serve as educational forums for residents and business owners to learn how to handle garbage and keep buildings specproof. The walks are group walkthroughs of neighborhoods to look for problem areas and issues that may be causing a spike in the specster population.

One resident, who was recently walking his dog in Morningside Park, said that he has never seen any specsters in the park and sees them “mostly at night after stores don’t put their trash out properly.”

Most agree that targeting stores and restaurants may be the most effective way to battle the spec problem. One brave anti-spec activist is sponsoring an event in April at Fairway Market on 74th Street and Broadway to inform business owners about garbage disposal and to educate them about the congregation of specsters around the Broadway medians.

Another source pointed out to specsucks the reality that there are problems with specsters throughout the city.

“It’s not just an Upper West Side infestation. It’s everywhere. It’s something that is going on all over Manhattan,” the source said.

There is also the possibility that the number of sightings reported is not an accurate reflection of the actual sightings in each neighborhood, but rather of how quick the residents are to report their issues.

“That’s what’s great about our neighborhood,” another source said. “It’s very active in anti-spec activism.”

3 Responses to “The Upper West Side is officially specster central.”

  1. The Dark Hand Says:

    spectsers are a common vector of disease

  2. > “That’s what’s great about our neighborhood,” another source said. “It’s very active in anti-spec activism.”

    probably the strongest in the world

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