New York City's police are "The Finest," it's firemen "The Bravest," but it's sanitation workers are known as "The Stongest." And they maintain a fleet of 2,500 refuse trucks and 4,500 other heavy and medium-duty trucks as well as cars and pickups as they earn that title collecting some 9,000 tons of trash and recyclables every day.
On any given day 10 percent of that fleet is brought in neighborhood garages around the city for preventive maintenance during off-duty hours. Another eight to 10% is down for repairs and restoration, much of it performed at the NYC Dept. of Sanitation (DSNY) Central Repair Shop. Covering six floors with more square footage under roof than the Empire State Building, CRS not only preps all new vehicles, but also contains a full range of shops that can do anything from rebuild hydraulic systems and automatic transmission to reupholster hard-used truck seats. It even includes an $18-million atmosphere controlled heavy truck dynamometer for testing emissions and fuel economy.
"The beauty of all this is we're completely self-sufficient," says deputy commissioner Rocco DiRico. "Many of these things can be hard to get, but we can fix them ourselves."