Fourteen Bronx parks included in city’s new weekend cleaning crew effort

Macombs Dam Park garbage can with advertisement that says: Lets make NYC clean and rat free, a little litter can lead to big problems
An NYC trash can encourages parkgoers to clean up after themselves, warning about the presence of rats at Macombs Dam Park in Concourse.
Photo ET Rodriguez

As part of a citywide push for cleaner parks, 19 “hot spots” in 14 Bronx Parks will be better tended to on weekends.

The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation this week announced the hiring of 240 full-time staffers tasked with cleaning city parks during a new weekend evening shift in select park locations.

The workers will focus on trash, litter and graffiti at 100 “hot spots” across 62 city parks citywide. And not surprisingly — under a mayor known for his distaste for rats — they are also tasked with mitigating the presence of rodents.

Out of the 240 new employees, about 50 will be stationed in the Bronx, an NYC Parks spokesperson told the Bronx Times. The new workers’ salaries citywide will total about $10 million, the spokesperson said.

Of the 100 hot spots throughout the city, 19 are in the Bronx, across 14 parks. In total, there are about 400 parks across the borough, according to the Parks spokesperson.

A chart that shows: Bronx Park, Claremont, Joyce Kilmer, Macombs Dam, Concrete Plant, Haffen, Starlight, Soundview, Williambridge Oval and St. James parks each have one hot spot; Crotona, Pelham Bay and Ferry Point parks each have two hot spots and Van Cortlandt Park has three hot spots, according to the Parks spokesperson.

Hot spots are specific areas in city parks that attract intense use during warmer weather, which are typically picnic and barbeque locations, the Parks spokesperson told the Bronx Times. These areas, which have been identified by Parks staff over the years, have traditionally been points of focus for summer cleaners, though the new workforce will be in place year-round.

Historically, Parks staff had cleaning shifts in mornings and afternoons during the week, and worked overtime on late afternoons and weekends, according to the Parks Department. This new Thursday-Sunday evening shift cohort is the first full-time staff dedicated to evening and weekend peak hours, according to the department.

While the second shift workers will mainly focus on the hot spot areas, they will clean nearby areas in the same parks if time allows, the spokesperson told the Bronx Times.

While the workers’ main responsibility is simply keeping parks cleaner — which can make the public areas less appealing to rodents — they will also follow the direction of Parks’ exterminators by physically closing burrows and trimming vegetation to minimize harborage, the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bronxites in Macombs Dam Park, one of the Bronx parks selected for weekend cleaning, told the Bronx Times they found the park to be free of litter and graffiti.

Yasmine DelaRosa, a Concourse resident, said she usually sees more garbage during the summer, particularly when games are played there. The park, right next to the new Yankee Stadium, is in the footprint of the Yankees’ old ballpark.

“They come and drink and stuff, and it’s horrible,” she said. “But during the winter time when no one is playing, then it’s not that bad.”

The workforce initiative, which was announced on Monday, is part of Mayor Eric Adams’ Get Stuff Clean initiative, which allocated $14.5 million this fiscal year to cleaning protocols across the city. The workers started on March 9, according to the Parks spokesperson.

“Our goal is to create and maintain inviting, clean spaces for people to enjoy, and we are proud that for the first time ever we have added new dedicated staff to help keep our parks free of litter during peak hours,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said in a statement. “With these new employees in our parks later in the afternoon and into the evening hours, these additional staff will help us reach a new level of cleanliness in some of our busiest greenspaces. As always, we continue to urge New Yorkers to do their part: please take out what you bring in, and dispose of refuse in proper receptacles.”

– E.T. Rodriguez contributed to this report