New York, NY—An important day in New York City with the onset of early voting. Still, approximately 20 individuals volunteered with the East 86th Street Association to clean up the corridor between 2nd Avenue and Park Avenue.
They first gathered at the Shake Shack between 3rd and Lexington Avenue where they met with the vice presidents of the neighborhood group, Andrew Fine and Susan Gottridge, who distributed rolling garbage cans, pickers and sweepers.
The volunteers wasted no time getting to work right away, picking up litter and refuse from the sidewalks, the streets and the 39 tree pits that dot East 86th Street between 2nd Avenue and Park Avenue.
The volunteers separated into two teams, with one group going west to Park Avenue and another going east towards 2nd Avenue. Both teams eventually regrouped at 86th and 3rd Avenue to complete the two-hour cleaning effort.
Fine noted that today’s effort was completely voluntary, but the association has worked tirelessly with local elected officials to ensure that the corridor is cleaned at least five days a week.
To that end, the Council Members who represent different parts of the corridor, Ben Kallos (D) and Keith Powers (D), secured the services of two neighborhood improvement programs—Ace Contract Services and Wildcat—to provide supplemental sanitation services along the corridor.
The two programs provide critical employment opportunities to individuals with histories of homelessness, incarceration and addiction.
“This clean-up is entirely voluntary, and it’s organized by the East 86th Association, however, through these efforts and through our advocacy, we have managed to convince our local elected officials to fund street cleaners that sweep five days a week, and we’re working towards seven days a week,” said Fine.
One of the volunteers, Michelle Doty, said that she was glad to be participating. She noted that she’s walking in her father’s footsteps, who used to make sure that the sidewalks were clean by picking up litter on his daily walks through the neighborhood.
“My father modeled this behavior for me when I was young, he always thought that the community belonged to everybody. Everywhere we walked he would be picking up things along the streets or the sidewalks to help keep it clean,” said Doty.
“He just felt it was our responsibility without anyone asking us to do it.”
Fine’s sister, Liz Fine, first started participating in the clean-ups when her brother spearheaded the initiative four years ago.
“I think being here with the East 86th Street Association is so important, just being involved with the community, keeping the streets clean and keeping the morale up during the pandemic. It’s a good way to pitch in,” said Fine.
Two of the volunteers who pitched in today are running for elected office.
Kim Moscaritolo is one five candidates trying to succeed Councilman Ben Kallos for the 5th District Council seat on the City Council, who is term limited and is running to be the next Manhattan Borough President.
She said the campaign is going as good as it can in light of the ongoing pandemic.
“Look, we’re coming into a time when it’s going to be really tough for the city, and so I think it’s invigorated me even more to work hard to try to come up with hopefully some solutions and work with people to get the city back on track because coming off of the pandemic, I think it’s going to need everybody working together to make the city better,” said Moscaritolo.
Her campaign website is available here.
And Liz Crotty is running to replace Cy Vance as the next Manhattan District Attorney. She hails from a long line of public servants and believes that she has the best qualifications for the job because she’s worked both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.
Like Moscaritolo, she’s facing a crowded field.
“Listen, it's a big job, and it’s a talented field. I think I bring a certain amount of experience to the job that no one else has as being both the prosecutor and the defense attorney, and I’m the only one who’s worked on both sides of the courtroom for the past 20 years downtown,” said Crotty.
“I think my experience really speaks to the best qualifications of the job. I have been practicing criminal law for the past 20 years, I know the system better than anyone else and so I think if you know the system better than anyone else you can help fix it the best as well.”
Crotty’s campaign website is available here.