Cleaning up Sheepshead Bay

Cleaning up Sheepshead Bay
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Sheepshead Bay got swept away last weekend!

A community cleanup day hosted by Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) brought out dozens of volunteers — kids, teenagers, and adults — to sweep the streets on July 27 with brooms and shovels provided by the Department of Sanitation — paying special attention to Sheepshead Bay Road.

But Deutsch said the cleanup day was just the start of of the solution for the area’s chronic trash problem.

The councilman hopes that seeing their neighbors put so much effort into cleaning up litter will make people think twice before dumping their household trash into city wastebaskets.

“This is a message to people walking the streets, dumping garbage,” he said.

Volunteers at the cleanup day also brainstormed ways to reduce litter.

“A fine would be good — $50 fine if you litter,” said Shari Kaplan, a member of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “Something should be enforced.”

Kaplan also said since cigarette butts are a major source of the litter, every business should have an ashtray outside.

Sparkling streets: Gabrielle Bennett, from the Dynamite Youth Center, sweeps Sheepshead Bay Road on July 27 for the neighborhood’s community cleanup day.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

“My idea is you should have something out in front of stores and restaurants for people to put their butts,” she said.

Deutsch has asked the Department of Sanitation to schedule daily trash pick-ups for Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue U, rather than the current four and two days a week, respectively.

He is also asking the department’s enforcement officers to do overnight surveillance on the neighborhood trashcans to catch residents illegally dumping their household trash.

“I sat down with sanitation enforcement to do a few sting operations throughout the evening,” said Deutsch.

The Department of Sanitation said has no immediate plans for a solution for the neighborhood’s ongoing trash battle.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Council Member Deutsch to best address the needs of the neighborhood,” said a department spokeswoman.

Whether or not the city takes action, Deutsch said he’s encouraging individual businesses along the strip to monitor their storefronts, pointing out that a well-kept street can help deter criminal activity.

“A clean place is a safe place,” he said.

Cleaning crew: Steve Barrison of the Bay Improvement Group teams up with volunteers from the Happy Houses Daycare.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.