(updated at 3:30 p.m.)

Traffic was at a standstill in and around the New Hartford Shopping Center in the village of New Hartford on Saturday for NYS Senator Joe Griffo's annual recycling drop off.  Traffic lined up outside the shopping center as far back as Route 12 as people patiently drove up to the Senator's drop-off station to receive curbside service to get rid of unwanted electronics  that can no longer be thrown into the trash.

"We always get huge crowds for this day," said Senator Griffo said, "but we've never seen anything like this.  Griffo said New Hartford Police estimated thousands of people participated in dropping off computer monitors, televisions, laptops and other electronics  free of charge as part of Griffo's recycling program. Unfortunately, nobody expected this kind of crowd.

Senator Joe Griffo going car to car on Saturday apologizing to people for the wait at his annual recycling of electronics event. Thousands turned out with electronic waste, far more than ever expected. (Photo by Rocco LaDuca)

"We have never seen crowds like this and unfortunately it caused all sorts of problems. People were waiting for 90 minutes or more," said Griffo.  "At one point we got a burst of wind and rain and it blew away our tent and some of the equipment broke down."  Griffo and the recycling crew along with local emergency officials were still working to accommodate people well after the 1:30 cutoff.  At 3 o'clock, the Senator said they were still accepting people's items.

"I can't apologize enough to the people who had to wait," Griffo said. "Even a police officer said to me, 'I don't know where all these people are coming from.'  He explained the intent was to help people who found it difficult to get rid of electronic waste that can no longer go out with the weekly garbage pickup. "We really were trying to do something positive and I hope people understand there was no way we could have anticipated this kind of turn out. I apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced," he added.

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Griffo statement earlier in the day on Facebook: A little rainy today, but thank you to everyone who is coming out to my annual electronics event today with Spectrum, Sunnking, Confidata and the New Hartford Police Department at the New Hartford Shopping Center - and a special thank you to all the volunteers who showed up to help us from the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center and VVS FFA Future Farmers of America! 

Senator Griffo's electronics recycling event at the New Hartford Shopping Center drew a huge crowd on Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Rocco LaDuca)
Senator Griffo's electronics recycling event at the New Hartford Shopping Center drew a huge crowd on Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Rocco LaDuca)
Senator Griffo's electronics recycling event at the New Hartford Shopping Center drew a huge crowd on Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Rocco LaDuca)