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Garbage Disposals, a New York City Luxury

The Amenity New Yorkers Kill For: A Garbage Disposal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    bradleypjohnson via Flickr
    The garbage disposal has become a sought-after amenity amongst other luxuries like wood-burning fireplaces, Juliet balconies, terraces and pools.

    Wood-burning fireplaces, Juliet balconies, terraces, pools and spas--these are a few of the things that make house hunters salivate.
    But in New York City, according to the New York Times, an unsung hero is appearing on listings, and for some, it's definitely bragworthy. I'm talking about a garbage disposal.

    Residential garbage disposals were illegal in New York City until 1997. In the '70s, it was because garbage disposals weren't good for the aged sewer system. (That's the real reason, but there was a rumor going around that police had feared that the bodies of murder victims might be disposed down the drain, and in Joan Didion's essay in The New York Review of Books in 1991, she wrote that a city employee had worried that people might "put their babies down them." 
    Before lifting the ban, the city tested the sewers by distributing more than 200 disposals throughout.
    The laws have changed, but many buildings still ban them, still worried about the aging pipes.
    So now, on upscale listings for penthouses and townhouses for $5 million, we're seeing the amenities listed: Gym! Stunning views! A garbage disposal!
    Still, if a building's board wants to ban disposals, they are allowed to do so. (Not that everyone has to listen. But for many people in New York City, where space is rare and kitchens are the size of most people's pantries, there just isn't room for a garbage disposal, legal or not. 
    And chances are, if you've been living in New York City for awhile, you're used to not having one. But, just add one more thing to the list of things that make people say, "only in New York."