"Have some dirt!" yelled the 45-year-old singer, as he swept dust onto reporters near the on-ramp to the FDR drive near the Brooklyn Bridge. "Do you think you're better than me?"
Born George O'Dowd, the British pop star had been sentenced to a week of community service after filing a false police report.
"I feel pathetic," O'Dowd told reporters who crowded around him as he tried to push a city-issued trashcan to the curb.
Sanitation officials pulled George and two young co-cleaners off the streets after just two trips outside.
"It's a safety issue," said Deputy Chief Albert Durrell, who pulled back the sanitation van that was supposed to shuttle O'Dowd and the gang around Chinatown for their 8-hour shift.