Cleaning up what Sandy left behind

November 9, 2012 Editorial Staff
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Our city needs all the help it can get to recover from Hurricane Sandy, which is why last Saturday morning, kids from different parts of Brooklyn showed up to give a hand in cleaning up the areas surrounding Kings Highway where days after the storm, the streets were still filled with downed branches, garbage and leaves.

The cleanup was spearheaded by Assemblymember William Colton, with the help of young community activist Priscilla Consolo; given the short notice to local youth groups, they expected no more than about 70 participants.

To their surprise, at 10 a.m., on November 3, Colton had about double the number in front of his community office located at 155 Kings Highway, in the corner of West 13th Street.

Midwood High School student, Mamadou Ly, 16, was among the over 130 volunteers. Watching the news and getting a feel of the chaos the city is experiencing encouraged him to attend. He took two buses and walked the opposite way, getting lost in his way in. Nevertheless, the teenager said he felt an obligation to turn up.

“My neighborhood [Prospect Park] wasn’t that destroyed,” he exclaimed. “But I saw in the news, and just had to come and fix it.

“It’s the least you could do,” he added.

Bensonhurst might not have been one of the most devastated neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but this was residents’ way of showing that they care about their community. The clean-up held the weekend before the storm – which focused on cleaning catchbasins — prevented some of the flooding that could have hit the area, and Colton thanked those who were present for showing up once again.

“I’m so proud of our neighborhood’s young people,” he remarked. “This neighborhood is alive and well.”

Seventeen year-old Raquel Papert, from Brighton Beach, took her bike and rode to Bensonhurst. Twenty minutes later, she made it, saying “I had to do something; in New York everyone cares.” Papert , who had no power for two days and three nights, explained that she likes volunteering her time.

The teenagers worked in groups of five, helping to pick up small branches, raking leaves and cleaning up debris from the sidewalks. They were urged to stay away from wires, and told to put their safety first.


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