Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Picking up : on the streets and behind the…

Picking up : on the streets and behind the trucks with the sanitation…

by Robin Nagle

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
342329,500 (3.63)1



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 2 of 2
Sympathetic, pro-labor portrait of the job of people who are generally disrespected when they aren’t invisible. Nagle portrays the physical demands of the job along with the status toll it takes, and argues that the least we can do for the people who keep the city from becoming quite literally uninhabitable is to respect their work. ( )
  rivkat | May 21, 2013 |
Perhaps we all should read this book to fully appreciate the "unseen" heroes, yes and heroines who are daily out there making our lives better,actually saving our lives from disease. An anthropoligist actually took the job to further her research. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Mar 4, 2013 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For ZXDN, who is my heart.
First words
I don't usually name my trucks, but this one I call Mona, after the sound she makes when I push her toward her top speed.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374299293, Hardcover)

America’s largest city generates garbage in torrents—11,000 tons from households each day on average. But New Yorkers don’t give it much attention. They leave their trash on the curb or drop it in a litter basket, and promptly forget about it. And why not? On a schedule so regular you could almost set your watch by it, someone always comes to take it away.

But who, exactly, is that someone? And why is he—or she—so unknown?

In Picking Up, the anthropologist Robin Nagle introduces us to the men and women of New York City’s Department of Sanitation and makes clear why this small army of uniformed workers is the most important labor force on the streets. Seeking to understand every aspect of the Department’s mission, Nagle accompanied crews on their routes, questioned supervisors and commissioners, and listened to story after story about blizzards, hazardous wastes, and the insults of everyday New Yorkers. But the more time she spent with the DSNY, the more Nagle realized that observing wasn’t quite enough—so she joined the force herself. Driving the hulking trucks, she obtained an insider’s perspective on the complex kinships, arcane rules, and obscure lingo unique to the realm of sanitation workers. 

Nagle chronicles New York City’s four-hundred-year struggle with trash, and traces the city’s waste-management efforts from a time when filth overwhelmed the streets to the far more rigorous practices of today, when the Big Apple is as clean as it’s ever been.

Throughout, Nagle reveals the many unexpected ways in which sanitation workers stand between our seemingly well-ordered lives and the sea of refuse that would otherwise overwhelm us. In the process, she changes the way we understand cities—and ourselves within them.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

Charting New York's four-hundred-year struggle with trash, an anthropologist who spent ten years with sanitation workers of all ranks reveals what it takes for the Department of Sanitation to manage Gotham's garbage.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
23 wanted1 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.63)
3 4
4 3
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,815,628 books! | Top bar: Always visible