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A Hollis site was recently repainted and cleaned up through a joint effort from the Long Island Rail Road and the NYC Community Cleanup partnership.
The area, under and along the 195th Street bridge, was cleaned of trash and graffiti. There were dozens of bags of trash collected as well as hundreds of feet of graffiti painted over.
“Graffiti is a scourge of many neighborhoods,” said Joe Calderone, vice president of public affairs with the LIRR.
He said it was important to clean up because “if you let the little things slide, it can lead to bigger issues down the road.”
The partnership, which started in October, has tackled nine sites so far and has one more planned – all in the greater Jamaica area.
The community cleanup work is done by low-level, non-violent offenders that have been sentenced to community service.
There were about 25 offenders helping with the Hollis cleanup on Tuesday November 23.
“Thousands of people every year are sentenced to community service in New York City,” said Ben Smith, deputy project director for NYC Community Cleanup. “People really only hear about it, though, when it’s Boy George, Naomi Campbell and it’s a celebrity.”
He said that NYC Community Cleanup’s goal is to promote the benefits of community service and the good it can do within a community.
“Today, everyone can see how tangible and beneficial the impact of these projects are,” said Smith.
NYC Community Cleanup is a citywide initiative designed to address neighborhood eyesores. It is funded by the American recovery and reinvestment act of 2009. Smith said that the non-profit organization is not just focused on the cleanup, but continuing “to make sure the sites stay graffiti free.”
The partnership has cleaned over 170 sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. It will continue to have stimulus funds through next October.
The next cleanup is at 143rd Street between Archer and 94th Avenues.
Smith said he knows they’re doing a good thing and choosing the right sites because “people drive by, roll down their window and say ‘Thank you.’”

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