Glass Patrols To Help Clean Up, Beautify Fort Greene Park

Glass Patrols To Help Clean Up, Beautify Fort Greene Park
Photo courtesy of David Barker/NYC Parks.
NYC Park workers Miriam Morales, Sonya Holmes, and Lord Rhodes pick out glass pieces from Fort Greene Park’s greenery. (Photo courtesy of David Barker/NYC Parks.)

Tonight, Fort Greene residents will be meeting to discuss a proposed restoration of Park lawns as part of an effort to “love our lawns.” Another way we can show our love, though, is by volunteering to help clean it up by joining a “glass patrol.”

Glass patrols are clean-up crews that will remove the dangerous shards along walking and running paths, as well as in some grassy areas where glass both new and old — possibly decades-old — are working their way up to the surface. Last year, one patrol was sent out, but this year will mark the start of more regular maintenance.

“We are starting to get the word out now but expect it to really kick into gear in the spring when the ground thaws and it’s more pleasant to be outside,” said Fort Greene Park Director David Barker. “Fort Greene Park maintenance workers are already addressing the issue by focusing on areas especially concentrated with the broken glass as part of their daily rounds, [but] any time that volunteers set aside goes a long way and frees up park workers to address other maintenance tasks.”

Recycling bins are not currently part of the maintenance plan, but may be added in the future, particularly “in areas where people play sports and dispose of bottles and cans [such as] the tennis courts,” noted Barker.

However, that’s only part of the problem since “much of the glass has accumulated over the years and is deep in the soil.”

Explaining that history, Charles Jarden of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy said that “starting from 1776, [the park and lawn] was a focus of the community as a green space, with gardens and buildings, [so] some of the glass could be quite old.”

Barker added that “we are going to look for creative ways not just to recycle the glass but to reuse it.

“This neighborhood has a wealth of artists and crafts people in the industrial design field. The Conservancy has helped establish ties with jewelers and even found someone to build a bench with the glass a few years ago,” he said.

That bench was made out of glass and cement and sat outside The Greene Grape “until a truck backed into it and broke it,” said Jarden.

“As the glass gets removed, the addition of clean soil or mulch will help the clean-ups have a longer-lasting impact,” said Barker. “Volunteers can help with this aspect as well.”

If you’d like to volunteer to join or organize a glass patrol with your school, block association, company, or friends, or to simply volunteer in Fort Greene Park throughout the year, contact the Conservancy at


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