CORONA, NY — Council Member Francisco Moya, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the NYPD’s 110 and 115 Precincts partnered up on Wednesday for a sweeping graffiti removal effort on Wednesday, cleaning up nearly 50 separate Queens locations across several neighborhoods.
“Our Graffiti Cleanup Day is an effort to return these neighborhoods to the residents and workers who make them the unique and special communities they are,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “Whether it’s gang-related graffiti or general vandalism, the people who live and work in these neighborhoods deserve better than to have to pass scrawls on buildings and storefronts on their way to or from work and school.
“I want to thank the NYCEDC and NYPD for partnering with my office to make this initiative possible and the Long Island Rail Road for supplying paint supplies to clean up vandalized LIRR underpasses,” Council Member Moya said.
“We are proud to celebrate 20 years of improving the quality of life for our residents and beautifying the city through our Graffiti-Free NYC program,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We look forward to furthering our work through partnerships like this, and with social service organizations and local businesses to enhance the five boroughs. I thank Councilmember Moya for organizing this event.”
Council Member Moya, the NYPD and the NYCEDC worked together and with the public’s assistance over the past several weeks to identify 48 vandalized locations within the vicinity of District 21.
Wednesday’s cleanup effort began at 11 a.m. when four vehicles made available through the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s Graffiti Free NYC program were deployed to locations throughout Corona, North Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Each vehicle is specifically purposed for graffiti removal services, outfitted with pressure washers and state-of-the-art paint sprayers.
The NYCEDC established its Graffiti Free NYC program in 1999 to provide graffiti removal services in the city’s in-place industrial parks in 1999. The program has since expanded to become the city’s first ever street-by-street, city-wide graffiti cleaning service that is absolutely free of charge to all property owners.
Though the EDC, NYPD and Council Member have all regularly participated in graffiti removal services, there’s been a concerted effort to address the issue in this area of Queens after gang-related graffiti has ticked up in recent months. In February, Gang activity was thrown into stark relief, commanding national attention when an MS-13 gang member fatally shot a rival gang member on the platform of the 7-train’s 90th Street station.
The proliferation of graffiti can erode civic pride, increase the perception of crime and contribute to urban neglect. With respect to gang graffiti, however, vandalism is merely a symptom of a larger problem — one that will require a holistic approach and involves not just law enforcement but community-based solutions, education, diversion and access to mental health and employment programs.
This Graffiti Removal Day is a step toward restoring a sense of safety and esteem in our communities and part of a continuous campaign to improve the quality-of-life for Queens residents.