Today’s news:

Little Neck biz sets out to clean Northern Blvd

Northern Boulevard in Little Neck is trading in the red, white and blue of the stars and stripes for the red, white and purple of some sidewalk adorning impatiens.

Arash Real Estate, the company that distributes miniature American flags to its neighbors every Memorial Day, has taken the reins on a grassroots, neighborhood-beautifying project.

“We’re sort of known for our flags,” said office manager Paula Gerber. “We just wanted to improve the neighborhood and make it a more desirable place to shop in.”

All along the neighborhood’s main throughway, trash collects along the sidewalk and in the grassy area behind the curb. Gerber thought that if she could display a sense of ownership for these areas, passers-by would be less likely to toss their trash to the ground as they stroll down the sidewalk.

“My theory was, if people have pride in the way their stores look, people will be less likely to dump garbage as they walk by. So far I’ve been correct,” she said.

About two weeks ago, Gerber planted a plot of patriotic impatiens with a low fence around it in front of Arash’s office, at 251-12 Northern Blvd.

“Generally, there’s garbage all over the street. There’s no trash in the fences now,” she said on a sunny summer day, as she showed off her own green thumb and those of her neighbors.

Gerber has reached out to other businesses along the street to try to get them to jump on board, and both BBQ Chicken two doors up from Arash and the Korean barbecue restaurant across the street have rooted some decorative plantings outside their stores.

“Slowly but surely we’re getting people to do it,” Gerber said. “I’d like it to be more like Little Neck Road in Great Neck. I’m trying to bring some of that pride to Little Neck.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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