Vollie grimebusters make a clean sweep of Mermaid Avenue

Mathylde Frontus, executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services, pitches in for her community.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

An army of grimebusters spiffed up the “People’s Playground” on Saturday, turning eyesores into sights for sore eyes in Coney Island during a beautification effort led by Astella Development Corporation, and the Coney Island Board of Trade.

More than 80 community volunteers, including merchants, activists, kids and seniors, participated in the “Mermaid Avenue Clean Sweep,” bagging trash, clearing weeds and removing graffiti along the commercial corridor — from Stillwell Avenue to W. 33rd Street.

They made sure to arm themselves with the appropriate arsenal: elbow grease, plus brooms, gloves and bags supplied by the Department of Sanitation’s Volunteer Clean-Up Program.

The motley crew — hailing from, among other groups, Urban Neighborhood Services, Coney Island Dancers, and Friends of Kaiser Park — made short work of sprucing graffiti-scarred buildings, storefronts and security gates with a fresh lick o’ paint, while rejuvenating trees with woodchips forked over by the Parks Department.

Their efforts were noticed by appreciative passers-by, who hooted cheers of approval. Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island) even put a photo-op to good use by rolling up his sleeves and painting over wall scrawlings.

The result? A nicer shopping experience along the stretch, according to Astella’s economic development specialist Georganna Deas, who lent a helping hand.

“It was a magnet for trash and looked horrible before. Now, it looks beautiful!”

The prospect of a cleaner backyard had everyone pitching in, added the grassroots gladiator.

“It was gratifying to see the community come together on something positive!”

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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