I passed this ash urn entering the library by the Park Avenue steps this morning, and had to laugh. I know it well, because it stands on the first floor landing in the smoking area, where I used to smoke.
There are two of them there, one on each side of the main stairway leading up from the street. Two larger trash receptacles of a similar design stand on the second floor landing. On the first floor landing, there is no place to throw trash, only these ash urns.
Being the smoking area, a lot of living goes on here, and living generates trash: not only cigarette ash and butts, but food wrappers and drink containers. You have to give people credit for trying to be tidy, but the poor ash urn is not up to the task. It was not made to hold trash.
The cleaning crew has tried to make the best of the situation by putting in a bin liner. The trays for these ash urns are rusted out, with great holes in their bottoms. The urns have been there for twenty-three years, since the building opened in 1991, as have I.