Sanitation worker serves wine to nurses outside hard-hit NYC hospital

He’s a trash master and a bartender to NYC’s most deserving drinkers.

New York City Sanitation Deputy Chief James McGovern treated hard-working health-care workers on the coronavirus front lines to an open bar last Friday, transforming his car into a free booze cabinet.

In a video posted to Twitter on April 12 by McGovern’s niece, Emilee McGovern, the sanitation chief is seen greeting several nurses with an assortment of drink options after they finish their shifts at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

“Don’t tell me, you want a libation!” McGovern says as three nurses jog down the sidewalk toward his bar car. “You girls worked hard all week, it’s Friday in New York.”

McGovern then guides the health-care workers through the drink selection in his trunk, and a supply of clean glasses they can imbibe from. Other nurses begin to wander over and join in on the hard-earned bit of fun, telling McGovern where they’re originally from behind their masks, and thanking him.

“My uncle Jimmy, who is a hero himself, working hard to keep New York running, as deputy chief of the New York department of Sanitation, went and spent his Friday night serving cocktails to nurses after they finished their shift at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens,” the chief’s niece captions her tweet of the video.

Elmhurst Hospital has been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with 13 patients dying in a 24-hour span and one man, wracked by coughing, choosing to give up and go home after finding the emergency room overwhelmingly crowded in late March.

The Department of Sanitation has been continuing its normal collection schedule during the COVID-19 outbreak while suspending some services to limit person-to-person contact, the agency writes in a press release.

“As with other emergency situations, our employees remain steadfastly committed to serving the public and keeping the city healthy, safe and clean,” says Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “New Yorkers depend on us, and we will continue to provide our most essential services to help keep our city healthy. We ask for residents’ patience and cooperation as we work to deliver these services as quickly and safely as possible.”


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