Image: Trash piled higher than cars in New York
Bebeto Matthews  /  AP
For the first time since the Christmas weekend blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow on New York City, sanitation workers pick up garbage in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn on Monday.
updated 1/3/2011 12:12:44 PM ET 2011-01-03T17:12:44

New York City is picking up garbage for the first time since the blizzard a week ago.

Recycled trash won't be collected until further notice, but Christmas trees will be picked up, the Sanitation Department said.

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Trash collection was suspended while crews struggled to plow streets, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

But because the sanitation department still is hauling away snow, it will deploy only half the usual number of garbage collection trucks.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that the next step will be figuring out what went wrong with the storm cleanup.

Asked at a schools event whether budget cuts had an impact on snow removal, the mayor said the city used the same number of workers as in previous storms.

The Christmas weekend blizzard dumped 20 inches of snow on New York City.

The trash has been more than 6 feet deep in spots.

"It is absolutely ridiculous," griped Brooklyn resident Gilbert Lee, who said a week was too long for the garbage to sit. "It's over 6 feet tall. It's a great wall of trash sitting in front of my apartment, all up and down Flatbush Avenue. It's just absolutely unacceptable."

Story: NYC jumper saved by trash uncollected since storm

Bloomberg and other city officials endured days of withering criticism for the city's slow response to the storm. Bloomberg visited some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the snow and confessed the city's handling of it was "inadequate and unacceptable."

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On one Manhattan block Sunday, sanitation trucks with front loaders were busy clearing snow, but garbage bins outside apartment buildings were filled to overflowing, and bags of recyclable beer bottles and milk cartons were stacked helter-skelter along with discarded Christmas trees and wreaths.

Neighborhood resident Daniella Lekach said she could smell the trash but it didn't bother her.

"It's OK in the winter," she said. "I figure it's cold enough that the rodents and insects aren't going to gather."

But Merilu Granato, who owns a midtown Manhattan pizzeria, called the piles of garbage "a very ugly scene."

"We pay so much in taxes," Granato said. "We didn't expect whoever's in charge to be so behind. ... I've been here 30 years and never seen anything like it."

Alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules, suspended since the Dec. 26 storm to facilitate snow removal, will be suspended again on Monday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Interactive: Powerful winter storm bears down on North East coast

Photos: The East Coast digs out

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  1. Snow covers the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4 on Tuesday, Dec. 28, in New York City. Flights have slowly started to resume in New York but lines to rebook have been long. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. People sleep and eat on the floor while waiting for a flight at Terminal 4 of John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A New Jersey Transit train arrives at the Princeton Junction station Tuesday in West Windsor, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A front-end loader removes snow in New York's Times Square on Tuesday ahead of New Year festivities. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A doorman shovels a path on the east side of Manhattan on Tuesday after the blizzard dropped 20 inches of snow in the area. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Dave Duncan sits in his Honda Civic, buried on the street, in Asbury Park, N.J., on Tuesday. (Beth Defalco / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Travelers wait in ticketing lines at New York's LaGuardia airport on Tuesday. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Icicles melt in the afternoon sun as temperatures rise into the high 30s Tuesday in Hamilton, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. This traveler at Miami International Airport was among the many waiting Tuesday for flights after the Northeast blizzard caused backups across the country. (Jeffrey Boan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A young person sleds down a snow covered hill at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia on Monday. A blizzard pummeled the Northeast on Monday, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend. New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Travelers carry their luggage through a snow bank on 7th Ave. in front of Penn Station after a snow storm in New York, Dec. 27. A blizzard pummeled the Northeast on Monday, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend. New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A windswept beach looks desolate following a snow storm on Monday in Westport, Conn. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Children play on a mound of snow on The Boardwalk, Dec. 27, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Gregg Smith shovels out after a heavy snowfall in the Boston suburb of Marlborough, Mass., Dec. 27. A powerful East Coast blizzard menaced would-be travelers by air, rail and highway Monday, leaving thousands without a way to get home after the holidays. (Bill Sikes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Alexa Canning and Talia Quinn fly through the air after hitting a jump on their sleds in Norfolk, Massachusetts. (Matt Campbell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A man shovels snow on a street along the Brooklyn waterfront, Dec. 27, in New York City. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Commuters, who were trapped over night, sit on parked trains at Penn Station in New York City on Monday. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A woman exercises in a snow covered pasture in Durham, N.C., Monday, after a powerful East Coast blizzard that moved through Christmas day. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A strong gust of wind blows snow in front of a man in Philadelphia, Monday. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A woman walks her dog between snowed-in taxicabs following a major blizzard in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on Monday in New York City. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Elena Amaral shovels steps at Trinity College during the storm in Hartford, Conn., Monday. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A homeowner clears snow from the end of his driveway, Dec. 27, in Norfolk, Mass., following the blizzard which brought more than a foot of snow in the Boston area. The storm dumped snow from Atlanta, Ga. to Maine. (Matt Campbell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Michael Howard of Albany, N.Y., shovels out his vehicle on Monday. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A woman walks through the snow in Manhattan's East Village in the early hours of Monday. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A New Jersey state trooper arrives to help after cars crash during heavy snowfall on Sunday near Columbus, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A worker clears snow from the seats at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium. (Tim Shaffer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. The storm moved up from the south, where areas like Raleigh, N.C., saw snow over the weekend as well. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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