March 19, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Residents and city workers will be removing graffiti Wednesday to help combat a problem that has been plaguing Jackson Heights and surrounding neighborhoods in recent times.
Workers will be cleaning graffiti off 48 buildings known to have been tagged, many by gangs.
The event, dubbed the Queens Graffiti Clean Up Day, has been organized by Council Member Francisco Moya, the 110th and 115th Police Precincts, and the Economic Development Corporation. The goal is to remove all gang-related symbols scrawled on buildings in the Jackson Heights, Corona, North Corona and Elmhurst areas.
Moya, who put the list of locations together based on his own research and constituent feedback, has been planning the cleanup since he discovered a tag–that read MS-13– plastered on his own office last month.
The tagging of Moya’s office took place shortly after a man was shot dead on Feb. 3 in a MS-13 gang related shooting at the 90th Street/ Elmhurst Ave train station.
Both incidents sparked outrage and calls to rein in all gang activity–including graffiti.
“Certainly the shooting at 90th Street has shown a spotlight on this issue,” said Moya’s Director of Communications, Ryan Sit. “We’ve been working with a few advocacy groups to nail down how to reduce gang related activity and alleviate the public’s fear.”
Four graffiti removal crews, consisting of members of the NYPD, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and Councilmember Moya’s office, will set out around 11 a.m. to start the removal process on each of their set routes.
Each crew will be equipped with power washers and state-of-the-art paint sprayers to completely reverse the defacement of the property.
All 48 buildings are expected to be graffiti-free by 4 p.m. tomorrow.