Members of NYC Community Cleanup paint over graffiti that has long besotted the base of a building near the onramp to the George Washington Bridge. PHOTO: Gloria Pazmiño
A long standing eyesore that lined the walls along the West Side Highway near the ramp for the George Washington Bridge and I-95 is gone.
The graffiti, which has lined the walls along the highway for years, was painted over on Thurs. August 11, with the help of the NYC Community Cleanup, a citywide initiative designed to address neighborhood hot spots and eyesores with the help of low-level, nonviolent offenders, who work throughout New York City to complete their community service sentence.
NYC Community Cleanup, which has been in operation for two years, is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Its goal is to create meaningful community service work projects that emphasize the importance of service while offering real value to the larger community through the improvements made.
“We do this work hoping that the group doing community service feels like they’ve done something for the greater good of the city,” said Benjamin Smith, a spokesperson with NYC Community Cleanup.
Lieutenant Gaglio, from the 33rd Precinct, who was present at the site, said that although graffiti is not a big complaint coming from the community, it is a quality of life issue that the 33rd precinct is dealing with.
“We want to involve the community so they know that this is a service that’s available. Businesses and residential buildings should be tag free, so we can keep our neighborhood beautiful,” said Lieutenant Gaglio.
Thus far, the group has cleaned up approximately 60 sites in Northern Manhattan and over 150 locations across the City. The NYC Community Cleanup seeks input from the community boards, elected officials, community residents and also consults 311 data.
Anthony Vargas, Borough Manager for NYC Community Cleanup, juggled between bringing buckets of paint and instructing the group of where and how to paint. “At the end of the day, [they] end up thanking us because they feel they’ve done something good for a community, and they know the community is thanking them too,” he said.