Councilwoman Ung, QEDC clean up graffiti on Queens businesses

Council Member Ung graffiti removal
(Left to right) Gaspare Longo of Magic Touch, Ricardi Calixte of the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Councilwoman Sandra Ung (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

New York City Councilwoman Sandra Ung announced Tuesday that her office will be working in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) to remove unwanted graffiti from private properties and small businesses across the borough for free until the end of June.

She encouraged community members and small business owners to reach out to her office if they were looking to get rid of graffiti on their properties.

Council Member Ung graffiti removal
Councilwoman Ung and the QEDC are looking to eliminate all unwanted graffiti from Queens. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

Ung and the QEDC have enlisted the services of Magic Touch to work on eliminating the graffiti. The methods that will be used to get rid of it include power-washing and painting over them. Magic Touch and the QEDC have been working together since 2014. The cleanup program is funded through the City Council and there is still enough money to remove graffiti from approximately a dozen more sites in Ung’s district through the month of June.

Council Member Ung graffiti removal
Councilwoman Ung assists in painting over the graffiti outside 41-02 162nd St. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

According to Ung, this program helps to fulfill one of her goals when she took office in January to make Queens a better place to live and operate businesses. When Queens residents contact Ung’s office asking for graffiti removal, her office will then get in touch with the QEDC to arrange the cleaning. However, the cleaning cannot be performed without the approval of the building or home’s owner.

Hardworking business owners have turned 162nd Street into a thriving retail strip, but graffiti sends the message that it is blighted and neglected and, even worse, dangerous,” Ung said. “It is also an invitation to other vandals to do the same. I want to thank QEDC and Magic Touch for the work they are doing here in Flushing and across Queens to remove unsightly graffiti from our homes and businesses. Improving the quality of life is important to my office.”

Council Member Ung graffiti removal
Gaspare Longo of Magic Touch painting over the graffiti on the wall of 41-02 162nd St. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

According to Ricardi Calixte of the QEDC, this program will help achieve one of the organization’s main goals of making commercial districts feel more inviting. He also said that each cleaning process performed under this program will be cataloged with before and after photos to help show the amount of work being put into each site. Calixte said it usually take about two days from the time of the request until the graffiti is removed.

Council Member Ung graffiti removal
The wall at 41-02 162nd St. after Magic Touch painted over the graffiti. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

“Graffiti is not only an eyesore, but communicates neglect and shows disinvestment in the community,” Calixte said. “Cleaning it can be expensive over time, so you should take advantage of this program the City Council is funding. Our goal is to make Queens graffiti-free and that requires a lot of work, so we want to thank the Council member for her support.”

As Ung and Calixte discussed the program, Magic Touch removed the graffiti from the walls of White Noise Coffee Co. at 41-02 162nd St. by painting over it and Leisure Coffee at 43-70 162nd St. through power-washing.

Community members who wish to take advantage of the free graffiti cleaning services can contact Councilwoman Ung’s office by phone at 718-888-8747.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation aims to create and retain jobs in the borough through programming that assists small businesses, encourages entrepreneurship and promotes the community. They place an emphasis on supporting women, minorities, immigrants and those with a low-to-moderate income. The organization can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 718-263-0546.