There are two people on the train. One is dressed in a business suit while the other wears extremely dirty clothes.
Although one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it’s fair to say many would take the seat next to the person nicely dressed.
That’s how Tony Edwards described his goal for the Marble Hill community cleanup on May 26 at 11 a.m., where he hopes local neighborhood volunteers will transform their streets to that person in clean clothes. Or in this case, transform the block into sparkling streets.
As president of the Marble Hill Resident Council, which is affiliated with Marble Hill housing development, Edwards has taken charge of this year’s cleanup event, which begins at 5365 Broadway. It’s an annual project that has cleaned up the neighborhood for the past decade, and similar to his cleanup initiative in Inwood.
“We want people to have pride in their community,” Edwards said. “It’s like having pride in your home. You want to make sure where you live is at an impeccable standard.”
Thanks to the resident council’s partnership with the city’s sanitation department, those participating in the event will not have to bring any cleanup equipment. The sanitation department will supply everything they need like shovels, rakes, brooms, bags and gloves to be used during the cleanup day.
Edwards reached out to different organizations like the city’s sanitation department and local councilmen not only to participate, but also to donate. His main priority, however, is to get as many residents from the Marble Hill housing development involved as he can. The hours volunteers complete is transferable to community service hours, which can be used when applying to college and other programs.
But the local support doesn’t mean volunteers should make their way to Broadway unprepared. Cleaners should dress in clothes they don’t mind getting a little grubby. And that even means footwear — Edwards strongly warns against wearing sandals.
Refreshments and water will be available to keep volunteers hydrated and energized for the two-hour event.
“It’s getting very warm and hot, but do not stress yourself,” he warned about picking up trash. “If you can pick it up, great. If you can’t, maybe your partner or the person behind you can.”
One year, a woman went over the two hours, and simply wouldn’t stop picking up trash, Edwards recalled. Although enthusiasm is encouraged, Edwards’ main goal is to make sure people do not overwork themselves.
Edwards hopes that after this cleanup, his neighborhood will be the person people choose to sit next to because it is a home valuable to many within his community.
“We care about where we live and how we present ourselves,” Edwards said. “Marble Hill is a place to be reckoned with.”