The war against graffiti in Queens is never ending, but Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer has no reservations about arming himself with a brush and leading the charge.
The councilmember united with CitySolve, a graffiti removal company, and residents of Woodside on November 1 to stand in opposition to the vandalism that has plagued the neighborhood.
During the demonstration, Van Bramer painted over graffiti at the corners of 57th, 58th, 63rd and 64th Streets along 39th Avenue.
“Vandalizing private property with graffiti is a crime against the individual who owns the property and the surrounding community,” said Van Bramer. “I am proud to fund this free, district-wide service which aims to eradicate graffiti in our neighborhoods. We can’t get every tag, but we’re certainly going to do our best to get those reported to us within a week. That can only enhance the quality of life in Woodside and throughout all of the neighborhoods I represent.”
The councilmember’s fight against graffiti began roughly a year ago, when he initiated his District 26 clean-up program. Now in its second year, the program has led to the cleaning of over 1,000 locations, including monthly graffiti removal on the corridors of Broadway, Skillman Avenue, 43rd Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue and Woodside Avenue. The initiative recently expanded to include 43rd and 48th Avenues as well.
As part of the program, residents of District 26 can also report graffiti anywhere in their community by calling 718-383-9566, ext. 3, and the unwanted vandalism will be removed within a week.
Along with funding the anti-graffiti program for $30,000 a year through the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Van Bramer also supports graffiti clean-up days with groups like Sunnyside United Neighborhood Network, Woodside on the Move and the 114th Citizens Observation Patrol.
Residents of District 26 appreciate the efforts taken by Van Bramer, and they are hoping he can help rid the area of graffiti once and for all.
“I think graffiti can be demoralizing to a community,” said Sheila Lewandowski, a resident of Long Island City and a victim of graffiti. “You choose how you want the front of your place to look, and when someone vandalizes it without your permission, they are laying claim to its appearance, and I find that very demoralizing. I believe the councilmember’s anti-graffiti campaign is a very positive way to bring people together to reclaim the appearance of our community.”