Western Brooklyn

200 Volunteers Clean Up Trash-Ridden Bensonhurst Streets

Photo via Assemblyman William Colton’s office.

On Saturday, more than 200 young volunteers worked to clean up Bensonhurst.

The clean-up event on Saturday, June 17, was a part of the bigger “Speak-Up & Clean-Up” campaign (launched in 2011) organized by Assemblyman William Colton, District Leaders Nancy Tong and Charles Ragusa, Councilman Mark Treyger, and Young Democrats of South Brooklyn.

Volunteers from many youth groups showed up to pitch in, including Midwood High School’s Key Club and Stuyvesant High School’s Red Cross.

“Every New Yorker deserves safe, clean streets, which are a sign of a thriving, caring and welcoming community,” Treyger said. “It has been great to see so many teens and community members get involved and give back and it has had a tremendous impact on our neighborhood. We must continue with the same determination that has gotten us this far to make sure our neighborhoods can remain clean.”

Sweeped streets included 86th Street between 14th Avenue and 26th Avenue, Bay Parkway between 82nd Street and Shore Parkway, Benson Avenue between 18th Avenue and 24th Avenue, Bath Avenue between 18th Avenue and 24th Avenue, and 18th Avenue between 84th Street and Bath Avenue.

About eight months ago, we reported on the overflow of trash plaguing the neighborhood. On February 2016, a flash flood in Bensonhurst brought attention to the litter and oil slick.

Photo: Benjamin Cohn

But this problem goes back even further. In 2012, angry Bensonhurst residents blasted the city’s handling of garbage at a town hall. People who lived in the trash-ridden area complained about illegal dumping of supermarket waste, overflowing trash cans, and garbage pick-up schedules. At the time, Councilman David Greenfield pointed fingers at then-Mayor Bloomberg and his sanitation budget cuts.

(Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)

But the issue still has not been resolved, which is why the community decided to take matters into its own hands. The Department of Sanitation supplied the volunteers with tools, gloves, and trash bags. The students also received free refreshments and community service hours.

This clean-up event was the first of the year, and future dates are tentative. For anyone interested, they can email Kenny Zheng, the president of the Young Democrats of South Brooklyn, at [email protected]

Comment policy


  1. People have become so nasty, guess that’s the way they live, the garbage should be picked up more often so there won’t be overflow in trash cans, common sense.

  2. Yeah and by looking at the people they are the reason the neighborhood is so dirty. What about cleaning 18th Avenue.

  3. To Emerald5Forever – I take it you have not been in the neighborhood that long to see how bad and dirty it became because of big influx of people from other countries that live with filth so the bring their way of living here. It’s a shame what the neighborhood turned into. And I am not ignorant – I know what I am talking about. I was born in this neighborhood and I’ve seen the change and it’s not for the better.

  4. The new residents in Bath Beach are not assimilating to our way of living and that is the main issue. With our property taxes rising so rapidly we are entitled to at least have clean streets and sidewalks. Bath avenue is getting worse and worse. We now have a graveyard of discarded bicycles on the sidewalk between Bay 16th and Bay 17th Streets and Bath Avenue. Why hasn’t sanitation removed them. There are so many of them piled one on top of the other. Sanitation needs to start handing out tickets and you’ll see how fast people will assimilate. Something has to be done now as this is getting worse and worse.

  5. As you can see, the majority of the kids who volunteered to help enrich the community and clean the streets in this photo are of Asian descent. I am sick and tired of the real presence of racism against asian people in bensonhurst. There are so many negative stereotypes and stigmas that you can feel just walking down the street, people mutter idiotic comments about how the neighborhood is being overrun by asians and they are creating trash, opening stores, etc. Open your eyes, change happens with our kids and our every day interactions. PLEASE USE YOUR HEAD AND THINK ABOUT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY BEFORE YOU TRY AND BASH OTHERS WHEN YOU MAY NOT HAVE EVEN VOLUNTEERED TO CLEAN THE STREETS, ETC.


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