NEW YORK - A video shared by a FOX 5 NY viewer on Saturday shows Washington Square Park's iconic fountain surrounded by trash strewn across the pavement and scattered underneath benches.
Many New Yorkers are used to seeing garbage. After all, the Sanitation Department collects more than 10,000 tons of it each day. However, many believe the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.
When a news team arrived at the park on Monday, they were greeted by empty bottles and cans, used masks, and garbage pails packed to the brim. Meanwhile, masses of people were enjoying the warm weather.
A spokesperson for the New York City Parks Department said the park gets cleaned daily by a fixed crew that arrives on-site at 7 a.m. and an evening crew that stays until 10:30 p.m.
The Washington Square Park Conservancy also funds two full-time and two supplemental maintenance staff members.
City officials say that more help is on the way, thanks to the addition of more than 1,000 already-hired workers who will support operations citywide as part of a new program called City Cleanup Corps. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is funding the program with federal stimulus money, took part in a cleanup of a park in Brooklyn this past weekend.
The city hopes to post 7,700 Cleanup Corps positions on its website by July and is encouraging people to do their part to help beautify local parks.
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