On March 20, 2023, the Parks Department announced that 240 new “second shift” employees had been recently hired to address park cleanliness issues on evenings and weekends. The new deployment of workers will operate on Thursdays through Sundays during evening hours to address trash, litter and graffiti at certain hotspots around the city. The staff’s efforts to clean up trash and litter will also serve as part of the city’s efforts to push back against pests like rodents.
Dedicated Parks staff originally cleaned parks in a first shift on weekdays in the mornings and afternoons. Late afternoon and weekend maintenance would be done through overtime and by seasonal or part time staff. The new deployment of second shift workers is the agency’s first dedicated staff for evening and weekend hours.
The staff will focus on 100 “hot spots” in 62 parks citywide. Some of the parks included in the initiative are:
The Bronx: Claremont, Crotona, Joyce Kilmer, Macombs Dam, Van Cortlandt, Williamsbridge Oval, Soundview, Ferry Point, Starlight, Haffen
Brooklyn: Bensonhurst, Dyker Beach, Fort Greene, Marine, McCarren, Owl’s Head, Sunset, Herbert Von King
Manhattan: Jackie Robinson, Fort Tryon, Highbridge, Inwood Hill, Morningside, Marcus Garvey, J. Hood Wright, Wards Meadow, East River Park
Queens: Alley Pond, Astoria, Bayswater, Highland, Cunningham, Meadow Lake, Queensbridge
Staten Island: Clove Lakes, Owl Hollow Fields, Silver Lake, Wolfe’s Pond, Willowbrook, Lemon Creek, Bloomingdale, CPL. Thompson
The initiative is part of Mayor Eric Adams’ “Get Stuff Clean” plan, announced in November 2022. The $14.5 million investment helps multiple city agencies including the Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation to upgrade cleanliness protocols.
Mayor Eric Adams stated, “Since taking office, one of my biggest priorities has been ‘Getting Stuff Clean’ for New Yorkers, and today is a great step for NYC Parks as they roll out their new dedicated Second Shift maintenance staff. Our parks are some of our best places to relax and connect in the city, and these new staff will help make our open spaces cleaner and greener than ever.”
Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue stated, “Our goal is to create and maintain inviting, clean spaces for people to enjoy, and we are proud that for the first time ever we have added new dedicated staff to help keep our parks free of litter during peak hours. With these new employees in our parks later in the afternoon and into the evening hours, these additional staff will help us reach a new level of cleanliness in some of our busiest greenspaces. As always, we continue to urge New Yorkers to do their part: please take out what you bring in, and dispose of refuse in proper receptacles.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)