Clean Up Day #2 focused on the southwest section of Greenpoint, which shares a blurry border with Williamsburg and is home to McCarren Park. We partnered with the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA), an organization that works with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, elected officials, and our community to maintain, activate, enhance, and expand parks and public spaces in North Brooklyn.
Volunteers met in Father Jerzy Popiełuszko Square, a section of McCarren Park that is avidly kept clean by Greenpoint Boy & Girl Scout Troops in the spring and fall. The benches and tree cover in the square make it a comfortable place to hang out for long periods of time…and accumulate a lot of litter. OSA installed new trash cans in McCarren and McGolrick Parks and hired clean up crews to maintain these areas, residents complain about the seemingly constant trash in these open spaces. Recognizing this problem, volunteers specifically focused on Father Jerzy Popiełuszko Square to successfully pick up 55 pounds of trash from the square alone. Empty glass alcohol bottles accounted for approximately 20 pounds of this total.
Sometimes, the litter problem is attributed to people that spend long days and nights in the park, who are accused of not taking care of our neighborhood’s precious open spaces. As we set up for the day in Father Jerzy Square, many of the people who are charged with trashing the park actually did the opposite by pitching in to help clean up. We also worked with Good.Clean.Fun, a grassroots effort that sets up a station to pass out gloves and trash bags to people using the track in McCarren Park. Good.Clean.Fun encourages people to pick up a piece of litter while they run by it, a small action that could have a large collective impact.
Southwest Greenpoint holds a lot of our neighborhood’s commercial corridors, including busy streets like Manhattan, McGuinness, Nassau and Driggs. This section is also home to the majority of the trash cans in the neighborhood that flank Manhattan, Nassau and Norman Avenues. Despite the cans, volunteers found these streets to be relatively dirty. Some groups found great mongo (or treasures left by residents as trash). One group found a full bag of brand new books, and another a camera set with multiple lenses, and a photographer’s journal from 1987.
After a long (and hot) clean up, our volunteers gathered in the Automotive High Schools’ cafeteria to enjoy lunch catered by Amarin Cafe, Charlotte Patisserie, Dirck the Norseman, Five Leaves, The Meatball Shop, Park Luncheonette, Spritzenhaus and Urban Rustic!
See more photos from this event on our Facebook page!