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Jax Heights gets graffiti fix

Raymee Neptune, of City Solve, cleans a brick column in Jackson Heights. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

For three years now, Sunnyside and its surrounding neighborhoods have benefited from an anti-graffiti removal program, and City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) announced last Thursday he is bringing the same one to Jackson Heights.

“Graffiti is a real scar on this district,” Dromm said.

Together with the owner and employees of CitySolve, a business that has been cleaning up Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) district for the last three years, Dromm unveiled his office’s new anti-graffiti hotline at a news conference at 78th Street and 32nd Avenue in Jackson Heights, where employees removed old graffiti from two brick columns.

Dromm said if you call 718-803-6373 and dial Extension 6, CitySolve will come out and clean the location reported about two weeks later.

“That, I think, is going to have a tremendous impact,” Dromm said.

The councilman said he is paying for the anti-graffiti hotline through $23,000 of his discretionary funding, and the contract will last through January 2014. The hotline will serve any resident within the borders of Dromm’s district.

Bruce Pienkny, owner of CitySolve, said his company has been ridding city neighborhoods of graffiti for 16 years. He said graffiti vandals want others to see their work, and if it is cleaned up quickly, they will not come back to the same spot to spray paint again.

“They get dissuaded, they get discouraged,” Pienkny said. “They give up.”

Jackson Heights Beautification Group President Ed Westley and North Queens Homeowners Civic Association President Donna Raymond were also present at the announcement. Raymond said she makes an effort to repaint a light post near her house that is a magnet for graffiti, while Westley said his group cleans up graffiti in Jackson Heights, but the volunteers are unable to do so in the winter and this will be a big help.

Community Board 3 Chairwoman Marta Lebreton and District Manager Giovanna Reid also said the program would be helpful and thanked Dromm for bringing it to the neighborhood.

“Graffiti mars what is a beautiful community,” Reid said.

Dromm said graffiti is a commonly heard complaint within his district.

“I expect to be a little bit swamped with phone calls,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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