Citizens Committee for New York City, Community Volunteers and Lowe’s Heroes Partner with Friends of Hudson River Park to Bring Nation’s Largest Community Improvement Program to Chelsea Waterside Park

STAMFORD, Conn. (May 3, 2016) – Keep America Beautiful and its local affiliate, Keep New York City Beautiful, will be joined today by Citizens Committee for New York City, community volunteers and local Lowe’s Heroes for a Volunteer Day with Friends of Hudson River Park to improve and beautify the gardens in the Chelsea section of Hudson River Park as part of Keep America Beautiful’s 2016 Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program. Lowe’s is a longstanding national sponsor of Keep America Beautiful and the Great American Cleanup, with hundreds of employee volunteers participating in events throughout the country this year.

The Great American Cleanup New York City Volunteer Day event will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00p.m., kicking off with a press conference at Chelsea Waterside Park featuring Keep America Beautiful President & CEO Jennifer M. Jehn; Vito A. Turso, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Sanitation/Co-Chair Keep NYC Beautiful; Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO, Citizens Committee for New York City; and Gregory Boroff, Executive Director, Friends of Hudson River Park.

“Friends of Hudson River Park is so grateful for the support of the thousands who give back to the Park through volunteering,” said Gregory Boroff, Executive Director of Friends of Hudson River Park. “We’re thrilled to partner with outstanding organizations like Keep America Beautiful, Citizens Committee and countless others who value civic engagement to make events like today’s possible.”

Hudson River Park, the nation’s longest riverfront park, runs along the West Side of Manhattan from Chambers Street to 59th Street covering over 500 acres with over 17 million visits annually. The Chelsea section of the Park is home to numerous species of flora and fauna and frequented by families, active professionals and senior citizens who use the Park on a daily basis as their very own backyard. Volunteers will concentrate their efforts in the Chelsea Waterside Park area of Hudson River Park, home to a soccer field, a basketball court, a children’s water playground, a dog run, and areas to sit and enjoy the nature or have a picnic. Volunteers will plant annuals that line the main walkway, replace areas of overgrown grasses with small perennial shrubs, and spruce up seating areas, tables and fencing.  

“We are thrilled to partner with the venerable Keep America Beautiful, which puts into practice the often-used phrase ‘think global, act local’ by working with grassroots organizations such as Friends of Hudson River Park,” said Peter Kostmayer, CEO, Citizens Committee for New York City. “Citizens Committee is also honored to be part of a cleanup effort with our longtime partners at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Community cleanups that inspire young people, revitalize neighborhoods and contribute to tangible connections between New Yorkers, city agencies and national organizations directly lead to a more beautiful New York City and today we are witness to an amazing neighborhood-led cleanup in the heart of Manhattan.”

“The Keep New York City Beautiful coalition of city agencies and nonprofits is honored to accept the support of Lowe’s in helping to keep our great city looking spectacular,” said Vito A. Turso, Deputy Sanitation Commissioner and co-chair of KNYCB. “Neighborhoods across New York City will sparkle thanks to the generosity of Lowe’s and our Keep America Beautiful partners.”

“Keep America Beautiful believes that people and places are profoundly interconnected,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “There’s no better example of this than the relationship New Yorkers have with their public parks and the work that volunteers from Friends of Hudson River Park and Citizens Committee for New York City do to help keep New York cleaner, greener and more beautiful.”

In addition to today’s Great American Cleanup New York City Volunteer Day, a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant will support nine different community projects throughout the city. Leveraging Citizens Committee for New York City’s unique combination of micro-grants, project planning assistance, and skills-building workshops, the groups supported by the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partner Grants are painting murals, creating living classrooms, providing much-needed maintenance to parks and other public community gathering areas, and much more, in neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs. Project snapshots include:

  • 5th Avenue Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn): 5th Avenue Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk is creating a public art installation in its neighborhood’s Business Improvement District.
  • Artists Unite (Washington Heights, Manhattan): Artists Unite is choosing works by local artists and installing art exhibits in six subway elevators, which will be seen by tens of thousands of subway riders, including residents, non-residents, and tourists.
  • East Bronx Academy (Crotona, Bronx): East Bronx Academy for the Future is beautifying several parks in the neighborhood and working with local community gardens to train volunteers on how to get involved with park maintenance and upkeep.
  • I Love My Hood (Washington Heights, Manhattan): I Love My Hood is working with local youth to create a neighborhood-themed mural to beautify its communal space. Local youth will design, plan, and paint the murals.
  • P.S. 13 Margaret Lindemeyer School (Rosebank, Staten Island): P.S. 13 is transforming its lawn space into a food-producing teaching garden and improving its learning atrium by planting perennials and refurbishing benches.
  • P.S. 186Q The Castlewood School (Glen Oaks/Bellerose, Queens):  PS 186Q is creating a service garden in an unused plot of land at the school. By partnering with the manager of a nearby farm, the group is creating a vegetable garden which will be tended to by students throughout the year.
  • P.S. 317 Waterside Children’s Studio School (Rockaway Park, Queens): P.S. 317 is transforming neglected space in front of the school into a community garden. Students and teachers are building raised vegetable and flower beds, and integrating the garden into their curriculum.
  • Parkside Plaza Committee (Flatbush/Prospect/Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn): Parkside Plaza Committee is building on the successful establishment of a public plaza in 2015 by maintaining the transformed space with regular cleanups, and cultural and educational programming.
  • Sprout Farms (Williamsburg/Bushwick, Brooklyn): Sprout Farms is building a multi-functional outdoor classroom and constructing additional raised beds for the garden. In addition to the outdoor classroom, the group is creating an after-school cooking club where participants will use food grown in the garden to create healthy recipes.  

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals.
About Keep New York City Beautiful
The goal of KNYCB, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is to improve the cleanliness and beauty of our city by encouraging volunteers to become involved in urban beautification efforts, such as community cleanups, street sweeping, parks beautification, graffiti removal, tree and flower plantings, street median cleaning, and more.

About Citizens Committee for New York City
Citizens Committee for New York City’s mission is simple: to help New Yorkers -especially those in low-income areas- come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Residents are uniquely situated to define and act on the issues affecting their communities. When provided with modest support, neighborhood and school groups can effectively mobilize community resources to improve quality of life.  Citizens Committee for New York City supports these grassroots efforts by offering grants, skills-building workshops and further technical support in the form of project planning assistance and an equipment share library. In 2015, we provided 366 projects with $1.6 million in grants and services, and our staff facilitated 30 workshops to over 500 social entrepreneurs. Since 1975, we have promoted the spirit of volunteerism, local engagement and social justice that drives our work.

About Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park, which extends from Chambers Street to 59th street along Manhattan’s west side, is the longest waterfront park in the United States. This free, urban recreational oasis is home to award-winning skate parks, playgrounds, sports fields, gardens and nature exhibits, boating and maritime activities, art installations, and myriad year-round events that celebrate the diverse cultures and neighborhoods along its shores. The Park plays a critical role in protecting the Hudson River ecosystem, and though it receives no public operating funds from city, state or federal government, its development has transformed four miles of decaying piers and parking lots into a premier New York City destination for local residents and visitors alike. The non-profit, Friends of Hudson River Park helps to ensure ongoing sustainability by serving as the Park’s primary source of fundraising, advocacy and support, working in concert with the Hudson River Park Trust, the city-state entity that oversees the design, construction and operation of the Park. Friends of Hudson River Park engages thousands of volunteers annually and is valued by corporate partners for providing meaningful engagement opportunities such as Volunteer Days that provide employees with a chance to give back to the communities where they live, work and play. For more information, please visit  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @HudsonRiverPark, and LIKE us on Facebook at: