Teens fight for trash-free Bensonhurst

Teens fight for trash-free Bensonhurst
Photo by Cassandra Giraldo

The kids are alright — just ask Bensonhurst politicians and business owners.

The assessment of Brooklyn youth came after some 250 students from neighborhood high schools came out on Sept. 23 to pick up litter on Bay Parkway, in Seth Low Park, and on Kings Highway.

The community clean-up was the brainchild of Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst) and City Councilman David Greenfield (D–Bensonhurst), who’ve been holding similar events for the past few years. For this event — which Colton said had the second-highest participation rate of any he’s held — the pols reached out to Key Club and Red Cross Society chapters at New Utrecht, Brooklyn Tech, and John Dewey high schools to get young people involved.

“These kids are talking to their peers, they’re talking their parents, they’re talking to their neighbors, and the message is getting out there that we need to keep the neighborhood beautiful,” Colton said.

The Assemblyman said that the neighborhood teens’ dedication to keep Bensonhurst free of stray trash has given him hope for the next generation.

“It’s a very good sign for the future when high school students take a Sunday afternoon and spend it cleaning up in the community,” Colton said. “They set an example for everybody who sees them.”

Greenfield agreed, arguing that the 40 to 50 bags of garbage the students took off the sidewalk helped fight the litter problem physically, and created a stronger sense of community cooperation and morale.

“It was inspiring to see several hundred local teenagers volunteer their time to help clean up Bensonhurst. Our efforts really made a substantial difference, and proves that Bensonhurst residents truly care about their community,” the official said.

Rocky Crupi, owner of Kings Highway Bakery between W. Sixth and W. Seventh streets, said the teens’ work was a huge help to small businesses along the thoroughfares.

“It’s a terrible problem, my business and all the businesses on Kings Highway, we have to sweep up in front of our stores twice a day,” said Crupi, adding that most of the problem is from trash passersby have dropped on the ground. “It takes some of the pressure off the store owners and home owners, and it involves the community, the youth, and it helps them learn why they shouldn’t litter.”