Annual Bronx Summer Cleanup Series kicks off at Crotona Park East

A group of volunteers cleans up Louis Niñé Boulevard during the kick-off of the Bronx Summer Cleanup Series.
A group of volunteers cleans up Louis Niñé Boulevard during the kick-off of the Bronx Summer Cleanup Series.
Photo Keke Grant-Floyd

On Saturday, June 22, more than 80 volunteers showed up in the blistering heat to participate in the kickoff for the fourth annual Bronx Summer Cleanup Series at Crotona Park East. The series is hosted by Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, the Sanitation Foundation and the New York Yankees.

Armed with pickers, brooms, gloves and bags, volunteers were divided into three groups that headed out from Crotona Park to begin the clean-up. Each volunteer received a voucher for two Yankees tickets.

At the end of the series, the group that has the most pounds of trash collected will receive a special VIP experience at Yankee Stadium when the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers on Sunday, Aug. 11.

A group of volunteers cleans up Louis Niñé Boulevard during the kick-off of the Bronx Summer Cleanup Series.Photo Keke Grant-Floyd

One group picked up 264 pounds of trash in under two hours, but the Sanitation Foundation was still tallying the total amount across the three groups. All volunteers received a cold treat from the Mister Softee’s ice cream truck after the event was over.

Vladimir Gomez, a Bronx resident and SUNY New Paltz alumnus, attended the cleanup series with his fraternity and other New Paltz students. He said he’s participated in the previous cleanup series and expressed that it’s a great way to network, have fun and give back to his community — and the Yankees tickets are a plus.

“Before when it first started, it was kind of small and empty and there weren’t that many people,” said Gomez. “But now you can see that people are starting to notice that cleaning up our community and cleaning up our environment not only just helps us, but the future generations also.”

A group of volunteers worked to clean the sidewalk and grass on the Claremont Parkway side of Crotona Park.Photo Keke Grant-Floyd

John Clemons, an Air Force veteran, attended the event with his group, The Mission Continues NYC and called the volunteer work as a “pleasurable” experience.

“I love doing this stuff – this stuff just makes me feel so good,” said Clemons, who added that he plans to attend the remaining events in the series.

Joshua Tejada started as a regular volunteer cleaning up Bronx neighborhoods. His first year participating in the series was in 2022. The Sanitation Foundation would then hire him as a lead volunteer and outreach associate.

“For me, it’s just bringing a collective group of people [together] for a common goal and that’s just to make New York City a better place to live by cleaning the streets, by working hand-in-hand with each other from so many different backgrounds,” said Tejada.

He recounted his volunteer experience when things slowly started to open back up during the pandemic.

“I was just trying to find a way that I could use my time and help others, and once this opportunity came around, it was a no-brainer – let’s just clean our streets,” said Tejada. “There’s no better way than to be in the forefront — boots on the ground, cleaning our own neighborhoods.”

The upcoming dates for the rest of the cleanup series are:

  • Friday, June 28, at Westchester Square
  • Saturday, July 13, in Mott Haven
  • Friday, July 19, in Bedford Park
  • Friday, Aug. 2, at the Yankee Stadium

For more information, visit the Sanitation Foundation website.