Hauling trash by day, giving Therapy by night: Anthony Williams
Nayaba Arinde | 10/17/2013, 2:37 p.m.
So what’s the winter like for him?
“I love coming down the block and seeing the lady trying to get out, and we help her get out. I love it. That’s when we make a lot of money. We work these long hours in the winter. You have a sense of accomplishment for what you are doing, especially in my case. I am from Bed-Stuy, and I work in Bed-Stuy. I love it. You’re serving your neighborhood, so it doesn’t bother you that you’re picking up trash. That’s what some people seem to think— that it denigrates you in some kind of way. If I was in Williamsburg, if I was in Brighton Beach, I might feel that you were looking down your nose at me, but I have never felt that way. I am serving my own people. It just feels like we are hanging out together.”
And the community come bearing gifts, sometimes soup, cake, coffee, water or chocolate. “People on your route become your friends over time.”
And what’s with the trucks with the teddy bears strapped to the front?
Williams laughs and says, “It’s just personality, people pick things up. Some people collect knives, some people collect dishes, antique stuff, beds, chairs.”
Got to ask about the stink in the summer.
“When I first started working there, I never figured how can you eat and be on the truck. I’m telling you, after a while, you don’t even smell it anymore.”
Then there is his community work with Therapy Wine Bar.
“I have a partner, Angela Terry. Recently, we did a suit drive with a childhood friend of mine, Gerard Kersey, called ‘That Suits You.’ His mission was to collect suits and train young men how to interview, and at the end of that training process, give them the suit for that interview. I thought it was a great idea, and we got behind it, and it was a really great turnout.”
He also gives back through Therapy Wine Bar, which is co-sponsoring a breast cancer event with Bedford Academy High School. This Friday, Oct. 18, they will be teaming up together to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. Then there was the back-to-school shopping event for parents.
“We wanted to do a backpack drive, but because we are a bar—and we didn’t want to marry our bar to children—because of the negative connotation, we thought we’d do an after-school parents’ night. So after they have gone through all the stress of back-to-school shopping, they could come in for a drink and we gave them parent-focused goodie bags.”
Therapy is four years old. It sits on the pretty Lewis Avenue in Stuyvesant Heights—the posh part of Bed-Stuy. “We opened in September 2009, in the heart of the recession.”
It is very Brooklyn. The crowd can be a little artsy, and sophisticated, with professional, city-working, easygoing folk.
Whether it is providing suits for the unemployed or hosting a breast cancer fundraisers, Therapy Wine Bar (364 Lewis Ave., Brooklyn, 718-513-0686) “wants to keep it community-orientated. I love what we do, and I love my community,” said Williams, the coolest sanitation worker in the tristate.