After Vandal Hits Prospect Park Trash Cans, Staff and Volunteers Partner for a Clean-Up

After Vandal Hits Prospect Park Trash Cans, Staff and Volunteers Partner for a Clean-Up
(Image: Prospect Park Alliance)

After dozens of trash cans in Prospect Park were overturned on Tuesday night, covering the green space with garbage and detritus, park workers, volunteers and community members teamed up to get the park back into shape.

“Prospect Park Alliance was saddened by a significant act of vandalism in our park overnight,” the nonprofit responsible for caring for the green space wrote on Facebook on Wednesday morning. “All garbage receptacles throughout the park were overturned, with garbage strewn throughout Brooklyn’s Backyard.”

Images uploaded by the Alliance showed knocked-over trash cans and garbage strewn across green spaces and even on the shores of the park’s lake.

The group called on local residents to assist Alliance and Parks Department staff in a cleanup, and got the response they were looking for—by Wednesday afternoon, Brooklyn’s backyard had been restored.

“We have an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers who come out regularly and the call went out and they showed up,” Alliance president Sue Donoghue told NBC 4 New York. “But then also the public, we had people out walking their dogs who picked up a trash bag and said let me pitch in.”

The NYPD is currently investigating the incident. The Department’s 78th Precinct said Wednesday afternoon that “a sole individual who is unknown at this time” was responsible.

The event comes on the heels of a difficult year for the Alliance: the organization lost $3.2 million in revenue from March through June 2020, and had to lay off or furlough 20 staff members, even as New Yorkers became increasingly reliant on parks to provide safe recreational space during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Alliance relies heavily on a robust yearly volunteer operation to keep the park clean. To celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, the nonprofit is inviting Brooklynites to visit the Audubon Center from 12-4pm to pick up trash grabbers and help clean the shoreline around the Prospect Park Boathouse. Advanced registration is not required.