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What’s Up With These Meat Buckets in Alphabet City?

The truth behind the unloved meat buckets of Avenue D.

12:15 PM EDT on September 8, 2023

The meat buckets, quite a pair. (Hell Gate)

Oh to be a bucket of rotting meat in the heart of Alphabet City during one of the steamiest mornings of the year, oh what a lonesome, languid existence. 

What's that? Two buckets of rotting meat on Avenue D? Now that's a sausage party. 

YUM! (Hell Gate)

On Friday morning, we received a tip about some meat buckets. "Can Hell Gate investigate these buckets of raw meat?" the tipster asked. So we sprang into action (while we were out walking the dog) and found the buckets near the corner of East Seventh Street and Avenue D, outside the Food City Market.

The meat was a mixture of filets, bone-in chicken, meat chuck, sausage, and cuts of steak, along with a sprinkling of what could only be described as "gelatinous meat pellets."

As we were observing the meat buckets, a staffer came out of Food City and wheeled them back into the grocery store. They looked very heavy.

Why was the meat out on the street? Why was the meat…now back in the grocery store? Was the meat dropped off? We had many questions about the meat. 

Returning to the store a few minutes later, a kindly manager at Food City provided some answers.

"The meat pickup guy, he got the grocery store down there, he got the one up the street, but he missed us," the manager, who did not share his name, told Hell Gate. "Once we saw they missed us, we brought it back inside. It gets gross out here. We've called the manager at the company to come back to get it."

So what happens to the old meat, fat, and bones? 

"It gets rendered into soap, things like that," the manager told us. "When the truck comes by, it smells, but it gets it out of here quickly."


One such company is DAR PRO SOLUTIONS, which serves the NYC area. According to their website, 50 billion pounds of meat byproducts come from ranchers and meat processing plants every year, and another 2.3 billion pounds are picked up from supermarkets and butchers. DAR PRO picks these scraps up and then renders them into materials that are used in "a wide range of industries to make products used daily, including: animal feed, pet food, renewable diesel, organic fertilizer, green energy, cosmetics, industrial/household goods and more." They wrote an entire blog post about this process but strangely didn't include any photographs.

While the meat buckets' time on the sidewalk was mercifully short, we can't wait to see where they will turn up next. That's a wonderful mascara you're wearing, but I can swear I've seen it before…so…familiar…

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