Our yearly OCA trail facelift in Yonkers was an unqualified success in 2016
Some of the numbers:
THE TARGET ZONE : the new emergency retaining wall extended our "clean" zone to a 3/4 mile stretch between Palisade Ave and Prescott St
THE TONS REMOVED : hmmm, not quite sure. C of Y DEP separated the metals/electronics/construction debris from the trash/bulk items and deposited all at the county recycling center (along with weekly trash & debris from other clean-up efforts). Total take for our 4 hour effort was estimated to be the same or greater than last year (13+ tons). WOW!
THOSE VOLUNTEERS! : 200 registered, 220+ with late shows/unregistered/walk-ons
9 AM, we started the day with a press conference and pep rally. I had specifically asked Lesley to order some good weather for the day. She did, and it was provided as ordered. Huzzah!
We then moved on to the mini-speeches by mayor Spano, council prez McLaughlin, senator Stewart-Cousins, minority leader Sabatino, assemblywoman Mayer, and other esteemed locals.
I sensed the crowd growing restless. The coffee boxes were drained, the food platters licked clean, photo-ops taken, retaken, re-retaken, and finally Instagrammed.
At long last, at 10 sharp, we grabbed our gloves, found our bags, our rakes, our bug spray, and we got to WORK!
I must say:
This event looks like Yonkers...all ages, all colors, all shapes, all bank account sizes. We were all equal in the eyes of the Parks Department.
This event feels like Yonkers...enthusiasm with a hint of pessimism, organization with a threat of chaos, joy and exhaustion in equal measures.
This was man, woman, and machine working together for the good o' the 'hood.....and we love that!
Some brief editorializing by me:
Trash/litter/dumping remains the lingering bugaboo for the "New Yo", an historic burg of 200,000 that is otherwise sprinting ahead to it's hipper, healthier, happier future self. Trash remains our Achilles heal, the fly in our Campbell's soup, the uninvited uncle that just won't leave. And whilst the "take out the trash" annual has blossomed into a perennial...fully adopted and supported by the City of Yo & our uber-supportive Mayor, we have yet to find that elusive path to the path we all desire....a cared-for, self-cleaning, safe, all access trail we can be proud of. I continue to hope that we find the perfect cocktail of mitigation/education/citation that will make our yearly efforts easier, then redundant, then unnecessary, and then eventually obsolete.
Special thanx to Mike at Manor Bagels for food, and especially Stew Leonard's for food and volunteers, Stew's always comes thru for us!
HUGE thanx to Steve Sansone and Laura Boatswain at Yo City Parks for adopting this project and lending their organizing skills every year.
Also thanx to our board members Lesley, Katharine, & Joe for getting the word out, organizing, and coming down and getting dirty.... you three can now add "extracting Snapple bottles from thorn bushes" to your resumes.
Photos by Lesley Walter and Andrea Minoff
See y'all next year!!