Flag Day Parade in Sunnyside

After the two-year hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 52nd annual Kiwanis-sponsored parade took place along Greenpoint Avenue culminating with a patriotic ceremony at Sabba Park at Queens Boulevard and 49th Street.

(Photos by Walter Karling)

Miu Tsuneki and her mother Mikiko Tsuneki

Carlos Acta at the Flag Day Parade in Sunnyside

Marvin Ramirez beams for the camera

Members of the Sunnyside Drum Corps taking up the rear of their marching contingent.

Parade crossing the busy intersection of Queens Boulevard at Greenpoint Avenue.

The National Anthem was sung by Beatrice Ross.

In Sabba Park: the war memorial around which the ceremony was held.

The Reverend Paul Kim, the Pastor of St. Raphael’s RC Church in LIC gave the invocation.

The Manhatitlan Club Folklorico Mexicano Dance Troupe gave a well-received terpsichorean presentation

Former Kiwanis President MARC CRAWFORD LEAVITT(left) led the gathering in a rousing rendition of George Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
Dr. Gerald Lederman (right), also a former President, emceed the patriotic proceedings.

Animal clinic in Middle Village seeks rezoning

Dr. Thomas seeks to house staff above clinic

By Jessica Meditz
[email protected]

Known for its cornerside navy blue awning and roof with a white picket fence and pet statues, the Animal Clinic of Queens is seeking a makeover.

The clinic, located at 78-46 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and owned by Dr. Robert Thomas, is slated to undergo a rezoning map amendment, involving the enlargement of the current one-story building with the addition of two stories and two dwelling units.

This rezoning would change the property from an R5 Zoning District to an R5D/C2-3 Zoning District, and will also bring the existing ground floor legal non-conforming Use Group 6 Veterinary Medicine Office use into conformance.

Land use and zoning attorney Sheldon Lobel is handling the case, and his son, Richard Lobel, presented the case for the record at last month’s Community Board 5 meeting.

“Many times, Dr. Thomas and his staff give full time care, including overnight care, to animals. This would allow for convenient 24-hour access to the facility,” Lobel said during the presentation.

The neighboring building, 78-44 Metropolitan Avenue, is also included in this rezoning.

Lobel said that nothing would change pursuant to that property, and it would merely become complying and conforming to city standards.

Thomas’ intention with this proposed rezoning is to allow clinic staff to live above their workplace, as well as maintain the presence of the property in the community.

He added that the two additional stories would be set back roughly 40-feet and 55-feet from Metropolitan Avenue as well as from 79th Street on the north side, meaning they would not change the street view too drastically.

“In short, Dr. Thomas has been a valued member of the community and has provided these services for over 30 years, so this would be a huge benefit to him,” Lobel continued. “I know it’s something that he’s attempted for years in the past, and so this is kind of an opportunity which has presented itself.”

Thomas did not respond to a request for comment as of press time, but he did speak at the CB5 Zoning and Land Use meeting, which was open to the public.

In order for the proposal to be approved and for construction to commence, the plan must be approved by a series of entities as part of the land use review process.

Prior to reaching CB5, seeking their recommendation, the proposal was screened by the Queens City Planning Department.

It will then go to the Department of City Planning, City Planning Commission and the City Council.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will also have the opportunity to comment.

Walter Sanchez, chair of CB5’s Land Use Committee, noted that the committee and ultimately the full board voted in Thomas’ favor. “The main reason for our request that the city approve the application is that the proposal is not out of character for the next-door buildings or the neighborhood. Dr. Thomas spoke to the adjacent building owners about the project, and he’s been a really good neighbor for the last few decades,” Sanchez said. “We think it looks like a really good improvement to the property, and to us, the setback of the second and third floor shows he cares about his neighbors.”

If all goes according to plan, it is estimated that construction for this rezoning would start in the spring of 2023.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Walter Sanchez is the publisher of BQE Media (Queens Ledger). His recent remarks were made in his capacity as chairman of CB 5’s Land Use Committee.

Wild West shootout in Maspeth

By Daniel Offner
[email protected]

Gunfire erupted in the early morning on Saturday, June 11, at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 58th Avenue in Maspeth, sending people scrambling for their lives. Police responded and made an arrest, recovering a firearm from the scene.

The incident occurred at approximately 6 a.m., when a man, who was described as disheveled with ripped clothing, reportedly walked into Pat’s Service Station on Rust Street. Witnesses said he was robbed of his wallet and cellphone and asked to use the phone at the station.

Kevin Coyne of Pat’s Service Station said that a man walked in with scratches all over his face claiming he just got beat up and mugged. “A couple of minutes later I heard shots,” he told The Queens Ledger.

According to eyewitnesses, the man then ran off and gunfire erupted.

“This is out of hand. Maspeth is supposed to be a safe place,” one eyewitness to the event said. “Police showed up rather quickly, but nonetheless there are so many guns on the street, what are they going to do?”

While attempting to close the roadway to secure the crime scene, a 67-year-old man driving a 2020 Tesla T2 traveling westbound on Rust Street was directed by officers to stop his vehicle. According to police, the driver inadvertently pressed on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, causing him to veer right. The car then mounted the sidewalk and proceeded to collide with the rear of an uninvolved and unoccupied truck at the location.

According to eyewitnesses, the car drove underneath the truck and decapitated the driver who is reportedly in critical condition.

Police indicate that the operator of the vehicle is likely to die as a result of sustaining severe head trauma as a result of being pinned inside his vehicle. FDNY personnel were able to extricate the driver and EMS transported him to Health and Hospitals-Elmhurst in critical condition.

Juan Gonzalez, 31, of Brooklyn, was subsequently arrested at the corner of 59th Avenue and 58th Place, around 8 a.m. According to investigators, he allegedly discharged his firearm following a dispute. The firearm was later recovered at the scene.

Gonzalez faces charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a disguised gun, and the possession of a large-capacity ammo feed device, according to a DCPI spokesperson.

Maspeth Pre-K student diagnosed with brain tumor

St. Stan’s community supports August Vinti’s family

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Like most four-year-old boys, August “Auggie” Vinti has a contagious smile, loves spending time with his family and friends, and has big dreams of being a firefighter when he grows up.

That’s why it was so devastatingly shocking for all who know him when he was diagnosed with aggressive Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG.

DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem, which controls breathing, heart rate, and the nerves and muscles that help people carry out necessary functions. It has a survival rate of less than 2 percent.

Vinti’s family shared that the first signs of DIPG happened in May during school at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy in Maspeth, where he attends.

Like most four-year-old boys, Auggie Vinti has a contagious smile, loves spending time with his family and friends, and has big dreams of being a firefighter when he grows up.

School faculty thought he was having a seizure after waking up from a nap, and his parents immediately took him to the doctor, who told them he only had a sinus infection.

But his aunt, Nicole Vinti, knew there was something seriously wrong.

“I sent him right to the emergency room to a specialized hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian, because I knew they had a traumatic brain injury and neurology department,” Vinti said. “So we went there, and they found the tumor. His speech was slurred and he was off-balance.”

Vinti said that although the hospital was able to diagnose this rare, aggressive type of cancer, that fact unfortunately doesn’t give the family more optimism.

“We have clinical trials, so we might try those. But he’s in the middle of radiation right now,” she said tearfully. “It’s really scary, and who could ever think this could happen? You can’t imagine it happening to your family.”

To support the family through this difficult time, a GoFundMe was started on behalf of Vinti. At the time of publication, $57,760 had been raised.

In addition to the overwhelming community support for Vinti through the GoFundMe, the St. Stan’s school community came together last week for a Disney Dance-A-Thon and Bake Sale to raise funds.

The event raised an excess of $19,000 to benefit Vinti and his family.

Students, family, faculty, and community members came out for an afternoon of fun in support of August Vinti.

“It’s so amazing that our community comes together to have a good time, but at the same time raises a tremendous amount of funds for one of our own families who is going through what no family should ever have to go through,” Catherine Mangone, principal of St. Stan’s, said.

“This is what I love most about this school, and what we raised from today does not count what we’ve raised before this, and what will come after,” she continued. “The GoFundMe is right on our website, and there’s a tab and it will take you right to it.”

Vinti and his family attended the Disney Dance-A-Thon on June 6.

His mom, Bailey Overko, expressed her gratitude for the Maspeth community coming together to support her son.

“It’s very nice, what they’re doing. It makes us feel really good,” Overko said. “We’re lucky we chose St. Stan’s as a school in the first place because we didn’t expect any of this or the way they’re coming together as a community. It’s just really great.”

Class parents Daisy Montalvo, Ivana Perrone, and St. Stan’s Pre-K Education Director Joan Forgione.

 

Found objects shop opens in Ridgewood

By Stephanie Meditz
[email protected]

The corner of 60th Lane and Catalpa Avenue was closed to the public until Eric Oglander transformed it to share his passion for art with the Ridgewood community.

The 34-year-old artist and collector opened the shop, “tihngs,” last month, where he sells various relics from his own collection dating back to the 18th century.

Vintage seller “tihngs” houses a multitude of objects, including photographs, sculptures, jugs, bowls, chairs, repurposed items, and even pieces whose original purpose is unclear.

Artifacts in the store include but are not limited to photographs, sculptures, jugs, bowls, chairs, repurposed items, and even pieces whose original purpose is unclear.

Oglander prizes history, utility, and uncertainty in the pieces he collects. The works that most appeal to him are not necessarily the most beautiful ones, but the ones that reflect their creator’s humanity and leave the viewer asking questions.

“I really love one-off, unusual objects. I love objects that were made out of necessity or happenstance,” Oglander said.

“And then there are things that take a little bit of explaining. This might just look like a clay bust of a head, but this is actually an end-of-day piece,” he said while picking up the artifact. “This is made at a brick factory. So at the end of the day, one of the factory workers would have sculpted this out of the brick clay and fired it.”

Oglander started buying and selling artifacts at the age of 18.

He first started dealing art for profit, but as the son of artists and an artist himself, he fell in love with many of the pieces he came across.

After accumulating an abundance of beloved pieces, Oglander recognized the need to part with some of them.

“A lot of this stuff was in my apartment and they were keepers,” he said. “They were things that I was not going to sell because they made a lot of sense in my collection. But now, doing the store, I decided to make them available.”

Six years ago, he started an Instagram account, @tihngs, to showcase his most interesting pieces. The account boasts 26.2k followers.

His carefully curated aesthetic and strong social media presence connected him to people who shared his artistic interests.

This community of artists, curators, collectors, and lovers of history became part of his niche market for art dealing.

Eric Oglander holding a clay bust of a head, which was made at a brick factory.

Oglander hopes to expand his clientele to include the Ridgewood community, especially since its location had not previously been open to the public.

When he moved to Ridgewood five years ago, Oglander was already interested in the property on the corner of 60th Lane and Catalpa Avenue.

Contrary to the popular neighborhood belief, the building’s paper-covered windows did not mean that it was abandoned.

“It’s been used as an art studio for 10-ish years,” Oglander said. “So it was so fun taking the paper down and washing the windows. The response was pretty remarkable. I think people were a little blown away.”

For Oglander, opening “tihngs” to the public did not undermine the space’s prior use as a private art studio.

He works on his own small-scale, minimalist sculptures in his studio, which is situated behind the shop.

Oglander’s artwork has been featured in several exhibitions at Patrick Parrish Gallery in Lower Manhattan.

In addition to owning his business and practicing his own art, Oglander works for sculptor Robert Gober in Manhattan.

Originally from Nashville, Oglander has lived in New York for eight years. Before calling Ridgewood home, he lived in Prospect Heights, Lefferts Gardens, and Bushwick.
One of his favorite things about living in New York is the diversity promoted by the five boroughs.

“Just being amongst so many different walks of life, it’s just so refreshing to me,” he said.

By sharing his collection with the Ridgewood community, Oglander hopes to inspire in others the same sense of wonder he feels when he finds a fascinating object.

He encourages people to visit the shop by appointment or on select Saturdays.

“I just kind of hope to expose people to stuff they’ve never seen before,” he said. “I’m usually finding things I’ve never seen before, so I want people to come in and kind of experience the same curiosity.”

Students promote social action through public art

Bench murals dedicated to social change on display in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

By Juan Arturo Trillo
[email protected]

Queens elementary school students gathered at Flushing Meadows Corona Park early on Monday, June 6, to unveil a series of murals, which they painted on park benches to highlight social change.

The artwork unveiling included speeches from organizers with CEI Benchmarks, a student arts residency program operated by the New York-based Center for Educational Innovation.

Two of the social action bench murals displayed in Flushing Meadow Park.

Students from area schools worked with classmates and art instructors to choose a social issue, and paint a bench dedicated to that topic. CEI Benchmarks slogan reads, “youth setting the standard for social change.”

The students chose a variety of different topics, including racism, inequality, bullying and climate change.

“Our message with this bench is to show everyone that inequality is unfair and we should all be treated equally,” one fourth grade student from P.S. 128 said.

Others, who were disgusted by the videos of bullying they saw on the internet and that they witnessed at school, painted the “no bully” bench, dedicated to condemning bullying and promoting friendship.

Theresa Rosinsky, a CEI teaching artist, said, “it’s important for them to know that people are listening to them and that they’re not forgotten.”

She added that the youth is the future who will one day take over the planet.

“It’s important to listen to them and listen to what matters to them,” Rosinsky concluded.

Another bench mural on display, focused on the topic of discrimination. The bench seat includes names of people of color who were victims of discrimination that caused them to die.

The bench murals will be available for viewing in Flushing Meadows Corona Park until September 19th, and throughout the U.S. Open, which will be held at the neighboring Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Twice in Two Years: Water Main Break Floods Queensbridge Houses

By Daniel Offner

[email protected]

Last week, a water main burst in Long Island City flooded over a dozen cars in the vicinity of Vernon Boulevard and 41st Road in the area surrounding the Queensbridge Houses.

The break occurred around 2 a.m., leaving about 450 customers in the surrounding area without water service as crews excavated to find and patch the source of the leak.

Repairs were completed later that afternoon and water service was restored. Meanwhile, crews continue to work on repairing the roadway.

This is the second time in two years that the main has burst, flooding the entire block surrounding the NYCHA residences. According to CBS 2 New York, the leak originated from a different location along the same main.

Queensbridge residents are again without water as a water main break flooded our neighborhood five feet,” Senate candidate Kristen Gonzalez said in a statement on Twitter. “Our infrastructure is crumbling in the face of a worsening climate crisis. We are not prepared, and Black and brown New Yorkers are paying the price.”

Gonzalez is currently running in the Democratic primary for the New York State Senate seat which represents Long Island City, Astoria, and Greenpoint, against candidates Nomiki Konst and Elizabeth Crowley.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also tweeted that the flooding outside Queensbridge was “wholly unacceptable.”

“Today’s water main break outside Queensbridge, just 18 months after last year’s break flooded the same area, exemplifies why we need to make massive investments across Queens to upgrade our underground water and sewer utilities,” Richards said, reminding residents that anyone whose vehicle was damaged by the flood can file a claim with the City Comptroller’s office.

Youth organization relieved after restoration of funds

SAYA was slated to lose half its budget

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

South Asian Youth Action, or SAYA, is a 501(c)3 youth development organization headquartered in Elmhurst, whose primary mission is to provide immigrants and students of color with exposure to new opportunities.

It is among several other organizations funded by the New York City Community Schools Fund, which is essentially a partnership between school staff, families, youth, and the community to ensure that students have the tools they need to learn and succeed.

According to the Community Schools website, these services include “health care, mentoring, expanded learning programs, adult education, and other services that support the whole child, engage families, and strengthen the entire community.”

For a brief period of time these organizations and their respective school communities were worried, as they were slated to lose about $9.16 million of their allocated funds from the city.

But on Friday, the city reached an agreement on a $101 billion budget for the 2023 Fiscal Year, which will restore the funds and add an additional $14 million to support the initiative.

Youth organizations like SAYA, whose most expansive program serves the South Asian student population at Richmond Hill High School, were overjoyed by the news that they’d be able to continue their services.

“I think it made us a lot more hopeful about the advocacy that we do on behalf of our youth, and that as a coalition of organizations, when we work together, we’re able to affect change on a larger scale,” Saphia Najafee, chief development officer at SAYA, said.

“We’ll certainly be doing advocacy work to make sure that we’re all set for next year,” she continued. “We’re obviously really thrilled by everything, but we also know that there’s a lot more work we need to do.”

Richmond Hill High School houses SAYA’s largest program

SAYA is part of the Coalition for Community Schools Excellence, which rallied in front of City Hall in early June to call for the restoration of funds.

They were joined by City Councilwoman Shahana Hanif, Councilwoman Alexa Avilés, Councilwoman Sandy Nurse, and Councilman Lincoln Restler.

“Community schools in my district have become the cornerstone of our community, providing much-needed health, mental health, and family services,” Nurse said at the rally.

“The fact is, our schools alone cannot provide the full support that students and families need for our youth to get the most out of their education. These schools need partnerships to help address the life challenges that our students and families are going through: homelessness, housing insecurity, poverty, and lack of access to health care,” she continued. “The community school model has proven to increase attendance, graduation, and college acceptance rates. We need the mayor to invest the $9.16 million in funding to the 52 community schools that are facing major cuts that will completely undermine their success.”

Through this funding, SAYA receives about $900,000 to carry out their work. With the proposed cuts, they were at risk of a $400,000 total decrease.

In addition to its programming at Richmond Hill High School, SAYA also serves local schools including Thomas Edison High School, P.S. 124, and J.H.S. 202 Robert H. Goddard, where they provide mental health services, outreach for student attendance, college access programming, and after school clubs.

Sonia B. Sisodia, executive director of SAYA, said that the reason for the proposed cuts was given last year when the funding formula was changed for Community Schools by the Department of Education.

“It was framed that the DOE had created a more equitable formula, but the formula is not very equitable when it results in cuts in a high need neighborhood made up of many immigrants and mostly folks of color. Richmond Hill High School is a large high school that really relies on partnership with SAYA and the services that we’re able to provide.” she said. “Fast forward to this year, we were under the assumption—given the focus of the city on things like mental health, getting students back into the school building, and enrichment offerings as students continue to get accustomed to school and life post-pandemic—that the cuts were not likely, since these are all the various services that the Community Schools model actually supports.”

Until more details about the city’s budget become available to the public, Sisodia did not comment on the restoration of funds.

She does, however, want people to remain aware of the situation and the overall goal of SAYA, which continues to offer essential services to students since its founding in 1996.

“Our mission is to really affirm our students and our young people who don’t typically have spaces that center them, that are for them. As a South Asian myself, who went to public schools, I never had that affirmation from my school community,” Sisodia said.

“It’s so important that folks have mentors and role models that they connect with … and I think that New York City really needs to invest more in nonprofits that are led by people of color,” she continued.

“There’s not enough investment in true community based organizations.”

Gennaro criticizes Albany’s “soft on crime” policies

By Evan Triantafilidis

[email protected]

City Councilman James Gennaro voiced his displeasure with the governor and the state legislature, claiming that Albany’s “soft on crime agenda” is to blame for not addressing rising crime and public safety concerns.

Gennaro pointed to a spike of major crimes in New York City, citing a nearly 60 percent jump in February compared to the same month last year. He expressed concerns with how the state has failed to allow judges to consider dangerousness when deciding whether or not to remand a defendant.

“New York State is the only state in the country whose judges cannot consider dangerousness with regard to defendants,” Gennaro said at a press conference held at Pomonok Houses on Monday morning. “And that has led to many defendants perpetrating repeat violent crimes.”

Gennaro, who represents portions of Kew Garden Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills and Jamaica, gave Governor Kathy Hochul a failing grade in regards to public safety.

“This failure of leadership on critical safety imperatives has led me here today to state that this represents a gross failure of leadership on the part of the governor and the state legislature,” Gennaro said. “And now that the state legislative session is over for the year, we have to wait for next year’s legislative sessions to hope for a functional and effective criminal justice system that the city and state needs and deserves.”

Joining Gennaro at the press conference were Tamika Williams-Moore, president of the Pomonok Houses Association, and Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council.

Nussbaum stated that the criminal justice system in the state is, and has been, broken.

“It’s been broken for years,” Nussbaum added. “There has been a failure from the city level as well as the state level.”

He called upon Governor Kathy Hochul to call a special session of the state legislature in September to deal with the singular issue.

Williams-Moore said that two recent shootings in the NYCHA complex last month has residents fearing for their safety.

“As far as crime goes in our communities we see a lot of robberies, we see people breaking into cars, we see vandalism, but we don’t see a high incidence of murders, which we’re very proud about,” Williams-Moore said. “We want to keep it that way. And we would be happy if we had no shootings at all. So there has been years where Paumanok hasn’t had any shootings or murders. And we want to go back to those days. Those were the golden days.”

A green and clean southeast Queens

Adams calls for beautification of southeast Queens neighborhoods

By Evan Triantafilidis

[email protected]

Despite not attaining one percent of the city’s agreed upon $101.1 million budget for its parks and green spaces, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams spent her Saturday morning advocating for a greener and cleaner southeast Queens.

NYC H2O interns Adid Rahman and Yael Colchero go into Baisley Pond as part of Saturday’s cleanup event.

A rally held at Baisley Pond Park in Jamaica highlighted the need for community involvement in beautification projects and praised the ongoing efforts already underway for cleaner streets, parks, and open spaces.

Representatives from city agencies and community advocate groups were in attendance to cheer on each other before a community cleanup of Baisley Pond Park.

“For a long time, southeast Queens has grappled with issues of traffic in our neighborhoods, from consistent illegal parking to inadequate litter basket service,” Adams said. “During the height of the pandemic, the people of our communities have bore the brunt of this long-standing problem.”

Within the city’s budget for parks is $43 million added for upgrades and maintenance, and an additional $4 million is slated to bring 50 Urban Park Rangers for programming, wildlife management and staffing at nature centers.

The budget also calls for $22 million to increase litter basket service above pre-pandemic levels and funding a waste containerization study and 1,000 rat-resistant litter baskets for $5 million.

An additional $488 million in capital funds will go towards funding parks improvement projects, including planting 20,000 trees per year, and adding new greenways in Brooklyn and Queens.

The one percent threshold for parks was a campaign promise of Mayor Eric Adams that will fall short by a few hundred million dollars.

Carl and Zara Williams

“Our beloved green spaces and waterways like Baisley Pond Park also require improved maintenance and care,” Councilwoman Adams said. “They have been and continue to be a haven for all of us throughout this pandemic. So it is imperative that we invest in their upkeep.”

Adams, the former chair of Community Board 12, added that her former Community Board has one of the highest rates of illegal dumping complaints in the city.

New York State Senator Leroy Comrie says he believes in the leadership of Council Speaker Adams and Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers, to transform southeast Queens’ open spaces into an example for both the borough and city.

He expressed the importance of community cleanups like Saturday morning’s event, where volunteers from the Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan of New York showed up to pick up litter throughout the park.

“You want to be able to come to a clean environment, near your home, that is maintained by a community effort,” Comrie said. He also applauded the local initiatives that “increase the opportunity for local participation and do everything else necessary to make our parks beautiful.”

Brooks-Powers honed in on the local problem of illegal dumping that she called a chronic issue across the city, especially in southeast Queens.

She cited a recent cleanup on the boardwalk in Far Rockaway where organizers and volunteers collected over 80,000 pounds of trash.

“This surprising number is a testament to how serious the issue for our community really is,” Brooks-Powers said. “Every day, my staff and I field calls from constituents, reporting another incident of littering, and we are hard at work to respond to the dumping issues and cleanup requests.”

As part of Saturday’s cleanup, interns from NYC H2O went into the park’s pond to remove debris and garbage. Students learned about the history and ecology behind Baisley Pond, which was once a reservoir built in 1858 to supply what was at the time the City of Brooklyn.

The pond serves as a native habitat for wildlife including turtles, frogs and red-headed ducks, says Matt Molina, director and founder of H2O NYC.

“We are cleaning here today because we want students to see the beauty of the park rather than the garbage,” Molina said. “And these cleanups are something that we love doing because they bring out the best in the best New Yorkers.”

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