CW Palma graffiti cleanup

Clinton Langston from CitySolve removes graffiti from the side of Cross Bronx Pizzeria on Wednesday, July 30.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico
by Silvio Pacifico

A new clean-up program to fight the scourge of graffiti is now underway in Castle Hill and Soundview.

Councilwoman Annabel Palma joined with business and community leaders on to announce the launch of a new graffiti removal program focusing on her 18th City Council District.

Councilwoman Annabel Palma joining with local officials and CitiSolve graffiti removers to clean graffiti off of the corner store, whose sidewall has been a favorite target of graffiti vandals.

“I’ve seen how the Bronx has changed over the past few decades – safer streets, better schools, and thriving businesses,” said Palma, who is funding CitiSolve’s efforts through the Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation. “But graffiti continues to be an ever-present problem that detracts from very real economic and social gains.

Palma said that the mayor’s office operated its own graffiti clean-up program in the area, but that her’s will address not just removal of graffiti, but continue to monitor the tags and locations to make sure they are kept graffiti-free.

The program will start with cleaning of five major commercial corridors in Palma’s district – Westchester Avenue between Glebe and Wheeler avenues, and all of Watson Avenue, White Plains Road, Castle Hill Avenue and East Tremont Avenue – including roll-down gates, doors, storefronts, sidewalks, and mailboxes, said CitiSolve representative Bruce Pienkny.

The residential part of the program will help individuals in the 18th City Council district who can call Palma’s office at (718) 792-1140 for a fast response clean-up on homes.

The owner of the Castle Hill Pizzeria, Joe Djonbalic, said that graffiti on his side wall sometimes forced him to paint weekly.

“A lot of people who are walking along or even driving along, and see graffiti on walls, don’t want to stop there,” said Castle Hill Merchant Association’s Joseph Cioro. “They think there is going to be trouble…I think that once we clear graffiti, it will give a different appearance and a different vibe for people who are coming into the neighborhood.” “This initiative we are starting right now is one of the great steps in trying to revitalize this business corridor along here,” added Cioro.

Felicia Contreras, a homeowner near Castle Hill and Seward Avenues, said that the graffiti diminishes property values.

“It does not represent the homeowners in the community who work hard to take care of their homes,” she said.

NIDC executive director William Foster also supports the new clean up and monitoring program, calling graffiti a community issue that reflects disregard for other’s property and imposes costs on taxpayers who work hard to build businesses and maintain homes.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

Seen here are 43rd Precinct Community Affairs Officer Eric Hernandez; NIDC executive director William Foster; Councilman Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez, Councilwoman Annabel Palma; Hazel Miura of NIDC, Joe Cioro; Lisa Sorin; and Bruce Pienkny of CitySolve turning out to fight graffiti.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico
by Silvio Pacifico

More from Around NYC