Volunteer cleanup on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village honors clean storefronts

Volunteers for the Metropolitan Avenue cleanup event in Middle Village gather in front of Opulence Glamour Skin Clinic, located at 75-06 Metropolitan Ave., on Friday, June 28.
Photo by Anthony Medina

A beautification effort on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village attracted over two dozen volunteers eager to keep their community clean by picking up trash.

The community cleanup event also recognized a handful of businesses along the avenue in Middle Village that continue to keep their storefronts in pristine condition.

Paul Pogozelski, president of the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association and the neighborhood hockey team, spearheaded the cleanup effort.

He said helping to keep Metropolitan Avenue clean benefits the area by increasing foot traffic to the businesses and creating a stronger sense of community.

“We’re just trying to bridge the community here in Middle Village and get people to come out and support the local businesses,” Pogozelski shared. “Have the businesses keep their storefronts clean so people want to come in, and that’s really what we’re trying to do, just to bridge that gap.”

Paul Pogozelski (left), president of the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association and MVP Roller Hockey League, spearheaded the Metropolitan Avenue cleanup with the help of Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. on Friday, June 28. Photo by Anthony Medina

The initial idea for the cleanup event comes from the work of Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Pogozelski told QNS. The legislator’s work to bring similar events to Forest Hills and Rego Park motivated Pogozelski to involve Hevesi in the event.

Hevesi participated in the event wearing a pair of gloves, with a broom and dustpan, at the Middle Village cleanup event. He said the importance of these events is that they allow residents to feel healthy and safe in their neighborhoods while helping the kid volunteers get their community service hours.

Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi cleans Metropolitan Avenue sidewalks during the group cleanup event on Friday, June 28. Photo by Anthony Medina

“We think it’s important to get the community out here and let the businesses know that we support them,” Hevesi shared, adding it is a win-win for everyone when they volunteer.

Another co-sponsor of the clean-up event, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., who also represents constituents in Middle Village, came out to show his support. He agreed with Hevesi on the event’s positive impact and added that it helps highlight and keep the businesses out of trouble.

“The stores benefit because not only do we clean their storefronts, but we highlight the need for them to do their part too,” Addabbo said. “We don’t want them to have violations. We want them to understand their responsibility.”

Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. and Paul Pogozelski walk down Metropolitan Avenue to distribute award citations to businesses for their clean storefronts. Photo by Anthony Medina

Addabbo and Hevesi, along with volunteers, delivered award citations to businesses with outstanding storefronts:

Furthermore, parents and guardians accompanied the players of the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League as they picked up any remaining litter left on the street.

Volunteers dedicated themselves to beautifying the neighborhood, collecting nearly 15 heavy-duty black bags of litter between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Middle Village Metropolitan Avenue Volunteers stop by Michaels Funeral Home to award the business a special citation for the owners’ beautification efforts. Photo by Anthony Medina
Middle Village Metropolitan Avenue Volunteers give Crifasi Real Estate a special citation for its cleanliness. Photo by Anthony Medina
Integrated Internal Medicine, at 79-15 Metropolitan Ave., receives its citation for beautifying the sidewalk and adding flowers in front of the business. Photo by Anthony Medina

Michael Donohoe, Vice President and Branch Manager at the Middle Village Cross County Savings Bank, also acknowledged the impact of localized cleanup efforts in the neighborhood.

“We want to help small businesses together,” said Donohoe, adding that these events also help people to get to know the community.

Eleanor Diaz, 65, walked to Metropolitan Avenue from her residence in Glendale to help keep the busy business corridor free from excessive litter. Photo by Anthony Medina

One volunteer at the cleanup, Eleanor Diaz, walked to the Metropolitan Avenue location from Glendale.

Although the 65-year-old told QNS she has always been accustomed to the work involved in keeping the streets clean, her dedication served as an example for others to hopefully share the same responsibilities for their neighborhoods.