NYC Sanitation white uniforms


When Colonel George Waring was appointed to be the Commissioner of the Department of Street Cleaning (DSC) in 1895, he molded the department into a quasi-military style structure that DSNY still uses today. This drastically altered the department's approach to its work, enabling it to effectively tackle the city`s sanitation crisis and pervasive corruption that had been preventing the City from solving it. Part of Waring`s restructuring process included enforcing a strict dress code that required sanitation workers to wear all-white uniforms, which coined the nickname the “White Wings.” While not a practical color for refuse collection, he wanted the public to visually associate street cleaners with public health professionals.Although Waring`s tenure with the department was only three years, the all-white uniforms endured for several decades. The color evolved several times in the 20th century: shifting to green in the 1930s, khaki in the 1970s, spruce in the 2000s, and forest green today. Here is a look at some of the current uniforms of DSNY.

Launched, 1895

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