Residents of City Island took to the streets on Saturday, September 18 to collect weeds and garbage in an effort to beautify the island.
Organized by the City Island Civic Association, the Garden Club of City Island, and the City Island Chamber of Commerce, the cleanup drew out a broad section of the community, from 8th grade students at P.S. 175 to senior citizens, who all gave four hours of their time on a Saturday.
Barbara Dolensek, volunteer coordinator, said she was grateful to the Department of Sanitation for donating material for the cleanup.
“Sanitation loaned us rakes, shovels, and brooms, and they will be doing a special pick-up of bagged weeds and trash,” Dolensek said.
Last year, the cleanup effort was done twice, in the spring and fall. This year there is talk of having more than two events.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said that he was glad to see so many young people from the community giving their time. He also took time to plug upcoming cleanups that his new volunteer initiative, the Vacca Volunteer Corps., will be having.
“City Island has such large numbers of people willing to volunteer,” Vacca said. “It is a good feeling to give back to your community, and I congratulate them all.”
Former Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. took time to greet volunteers. Carrion Jr. is back on City Island after leaving his post as head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs to serve as regional Housing and Urban Development director for New York and New Jersey.
“Everywhere that I have lived, I always felt I have a responsibility to take care of the community,” Carrion said. “Whether elected or not, I still feel an obligation to my city. I am still just a regular Joe Citizen.”
The efforts of the cleanup focused on City Island Avenue, which runs the length of the island and is approximately 1.5 miles long. Pauline Shanley, a resident of City Island for the past 15 years, said that she and her whole family decided to work on the project after becoming active in the City Island Civic Association.
“We live here and are proud of City Island, and want to keep our community clean,” Shanley said. “We have been a part of this community for the past 15 years and the novelty has never worn off.,”
“My two kids and husband also participated in the cleanup, so this was very much a family affair.”