On Saturday, September 10th, the 48th Mill Island Block Association hosted a block cleanup in collaboration with the Parks Department Stewardship Team, Department of Sanitation and NYPD. The stewardship team, led by Elizabeth Kim, consisted of volunteers, including children and adults, from the five boroughs.
The event started at 9 a.m. with Kim explaining the proper way to care for tree beds as well as the correct tools that should be used. More than 25 residents and volunteers broke into smaller groups and cleaned the tree beds. First, they loosened the soil gently one-half to one-inch deep with a hand cultivator, clearing away all the debris from the soil. Next, they added two to three inches of mulch around the tree followed by rainwater from rain barrels, donated by the Department of Environmental Protection (courtesy of Assemblywoman Jaime Williams’ office), until the tree beds were saturated.
The second phase of the project was identifying the type of trees on the block, which residents discovered include Japanese Tree Lilacs, London Plane Trees and Northern Red Oaks. The project concluded with the Stewardship Team handing out gifts to all the participants. Refreshments were served by the block association to all volunteers as a sign of appreciation for their hard work. Sanitation arrived around Noon to thoroughly clean the street and collect any garbage that had accumulated throughout the day.
This was the second successful event held by the 48th Mill Island Block Association in the past two months, since its inception in July 2022. The association, which covers East 48th between Flatlands Avenue and Avenue L, is the product of the efforts of Roderick Wilcox, a longtime resident who had become increasingly concerned about the issues that had arisen on the block. Mr. Wilcox, who presently serves as president of the block association, was persistent in creating the block association not only to preserve and promote the values of pride, respect and community for the neighborhood, but also to foster neighborliness and engagement. The collaboration with the Parks Department reflects the essence of that vision.
Courtesy of Dr. Joanne Hyppolite
Photos by Kreem Llewellyn