‘Men in Blue’ fight Jackson Heights litter

When the “Men in Blue” came to Jackson Heights, the streets became much cleaner.
That was four years ago, but the community is still grateful, so on Tuesday, August 12, Councilmember Helen Sears and local business owners held a press conference to recognize the efforts of the “Men in Blue” - employees of the Doe Fund, a city organization which helps individuals who are homeless, formerly incarcerated or recovering from substance abuse achieve self-sufficiency by providing them with things like jobs.
“It used to be a sea of litter, I mean a sea. You couldn’t see the sidewalk,” said Joe Galindo, who’s lived in Jackson Heights for 20 years.
Clad in blue T-shirts and blue pants, every day the Doe Fund employees sweep, take down posters and remove graffiti on major neighborhood streets such as Corona Avenue, 37th Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue and 74th Street.
The Doe Fund provides a vital service in the congested streets of Jackson Heights, said Francisco Brathwaite, senior supervisor for the Doe Fund, explaining that the Department of Sanitation does not have any employees sweeping the streets which the Doe Fund cleans.
“If it wasn’t for them, this place would be packed with rubbish,” said Earie St. Hilarie, a Jackson Heights resident.
However, St. Hilarie added, Doe Fund employees work between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., so outside that period, the streets again see litter generated by people who constantly congregate there. They are usually attracted by street vendors who stay open till the wee hours or 24 hours, St. Hilarie.
The Doe Fund receives funding from the City Council for its cleaning services in Jackson Heights.