Bensonhurst Alliance makes Bath Avenue gleam

May 26, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Volunteers gathered outside the 62nd Precinct station house on Bath Avenue to get their brooms and shovels for the cleanup. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Eileen LaRuffa, armed with her trusty scraper, was busy at work removing a flyer that someone had illegally glued to a street pole on the corner of Bath Avenue and Bay 20th Street. “It’s a mess!” she told the Brooklyn Eagle as she delicately scraped the flyer, an ad for a moving company, off the pole.

It’s illegal to post advertising flyers on city property. But many people ignore the rules, according to frustrated Bensonhurst residents, who said it’s routine to see a street pole literally covered with ads for moving companies or people seeking roommates.

LaRuffa, a longtime Bensonhurst resident, has had enough. She decided to do something about it. She was one of dozens of volunteers who had signed up for a one-day mission to clean up a section of Bath Avenue on a recent Sunday morning.

Called a Community Day of Action, the big cleanup was organized by the Bensonhurst Alliance, a nonprofit group founded by Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello and District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

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The volunteers spent the day sweeping litter off the sidewalks and removing flyers from street poles along Bath Avenue, starting at 18th Avenue and going all the way up to Bay Parkway.

Everyone met up at the 62nd Precinct at 1925 Bath Ave., where they were handed brooms and shovels and received their assignments.

“The Sanitation Department donated the equipment,” Elias-Pavia said. The district manager said she was pleased with the large turnout of volunteers. “A lot of people came out,” she said.

While the main goal of the Community Day of Action was to make Bath Avenue look a little tidier, Elias-Pavia said another motive was to instill a sense of pride in local residents. “This is our community. Let’s be proud of where we live,” she said.

Community Board 11 Vice Chairwoman Laurie Windsor, who took part in the cleanup, characterized the day as a big success. “It went really well and we had a lot of volunteers come out,” she told the Eagle a few days after the event.

The Community Day of Action was first major project undertaken by the Bensonhurst Alliance.

The Alliance was formed to bring residents of different nationalities together to work on common goals, according to Elias-Pavia.

Community Board 11 represents the residents of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Mapleton, as well as parts of Gravesend. The demographics of the area are rapidly changing. It is no longer a predominantly Italian-American area. Asians are the fastest-growing population, according to the U.S. Census.

For more information on the Bensonhurst Alliance, call Community Board 11 at 718-266-8800.


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