Directed by The Rauch Brothers. Art direction: Bill Wray. Storyboard: Rafael Rosado.
Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves worked together for nearly ten years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village.After 31 years on the job, Angelo retired, at StoryCorps, the pair remembered their days on the route.
Everybody would just come out just to talk to you.People would say, ‘Oh, good morning Angelo. Good morning, Eddie. You want a cup of coffee? You want lunch?’And the nuns kissing us, too. We had nuns on our route. You know, I never had that before.
The younger guys would ask me, ‘How did you get that?’ It’s just a little good morning, have a nice weekend.Hey, you look great today. I could do 14 tons of garbage.I can’t lift a baby carriage off a step and carry it down? Or hold someone’s baby when they went to get their car? The garbage ain’t going nowhere. You know? The garbage will be there a half hour from now, an hour.So when you get it, you get it.
He made a statement one day that he does all the work and I do all the talking. It came out wrong. Look how he’s getting out of this, ‘It just came out wrong. I deserve it (laugh).
When I first came on the job, there was one old timer I remember, Gordy Flow his name was.One day, he stopped the truck. He tells me, ‘Angelo, you look down this block first. See all the sidewalks are all crowded up with garbage?’ So I think nothing of it.My father always told me to respect my elders. I get to the end of the block, and he stops me again. ‘Get out the truck, look back. Nice and clean right? People could walk on the side walk. Guys can make deliveries. Be proud of yourself.’
The day that people learned that you were going to retire, we went maybe a block or two blocks and six people came up to him saying,‘You’re crazy. What am I going to do when you leave?’I’m a little bit of a marshmallow anyway, but I never thought my last day would be so emotional for me.He’s crying. They’re crying. I am crying watching them cry.
And I’ve been very lucky because he’s been the best partner I ever had.We used to try and take the same vacation and try to have the same day off.And I miss my partner. I feel the same way Eddie.I’ll be honest with you-- I miss it terribly, I’m like the little kid looking out the window now when I hear the truck.I think I could have done another 31 years.