Among the volunteers were members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Woodhaven Business Improvement District, Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, and Community Board 9. Councilman Robert Holden also chipped in.
“We want to just bring awareness to people in the neighborhood,” said Raquel Olivares, executive director of the Woodhaven BID. “It’s our responsibility to keep the avenue clean.”
Walking down the avenue, Olivares pointed to storefronts covered in graffiti and the workers who were removing it with power washers or by painting over it, an effort that had been going on since Friday.
Sunday’s cleanup was the first of what will be many more community-driven events, said Devina Sanichar, whose Neighborhood 360 fellowship from the Department of Small Business Services centers around the Woodhaven BID.
“We wanted to bring people together,” she said.
Sometimes the effort had to stretch above the street, such as the case with cardboard signs affixed to poles. CB9 chair Kenichi Wilson stood on an elevated J/Z subway support beam and tore down a “cash for cars” sign.
“That’s one down,” he said to applauding onlookers.
Wilson said he was paying attention to trash pickups and their frequency.
“It’s hard to keep up because it seems there’s a lot of dumping in these baskets,” he said. “Not street stuff, but possible residential and commercial garbage. We’re getting there.”
Olivares said when the Woodhaven BID announced the cleanup, the response was overwhelming.
“People love this neighborhood and this community,” she said. “We just wanted to make the avenue look nicer and encourage other people to clean up as well.”