Green-thumbed Brooklynites gathered at Bushwick Inlet Park on May 7 to help beautify the shoreline as part of an annual citywide cleanup day.
The 40 volunteers at the waterfront Williamsburg park planted new greenery, assembled new picnic tables, and picked up trash, and say the work inspired them to help keep the park in tip-top shape year round.
“It was an empowering thing to be a part of, making you want to continue to do good things and keep the park as great as it was that day,” said Williamsburg resident Noel Cline.
Locals say Saturday’s work also motivated them to keep fighting for more parkland in the notoriously green-space-deficient nabe. They have been pushing the city to make good on its 10-year-old promise to expand the currently 8-acre Bushwick Inlet Park out to 28 acres — which officials now claim they now can’t afford to do due to soaring land prices.
“It just gives you courage to keep going, even though the city says it’ll cost so much money,” said Scott Fraser, a member of local activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, who planted rose bushes and indigenous plants on the day.
Riverkeeper, a group that works to keep the city’s rivers clean, organized the event as part of its yearly Riverkeeper Sweep.
This year, it staged more than 100 cleanup events at waterfront sites around the city, and volunteers picked up 39 tons of trash — mostly bottles, cans, pieces of plastic, and Styrofoam, according to organizer Lydia Thein.
Thein said the most unusual item cleaners found was a plastic doll and a ripped up letter addressed to a river nymph.