Volunteers with UES Mutual Aid clean up filthy streets on Thanksgiving | Patrick Bobilin
Volunteers with UES Mutual Aid clean up filthy streets on Thanksgiving | Patrick Bobilin

UES Volunteers Spend Thanksgiving Cleaning Up Filthy Streets & Sidewalks

While most of us were watching football, catching up with family or prepping our Thanksgiving feasts, a baker’s dozen of volunteers with Upper East Side Mutual Aid spent the morning giving thanks by giving back — hitting the streets of Yorkville to clean up several filthy blocks.

Each month, members of UES Mutual Aid gather to beautify part of the Upper East Side, usually tackling the East River Esplanade, however, for Thanksgiving — their last cleanup of the year — the group decided to expand their mission because there was the need in neighborhood.

Volunteers picked up trash bags and grabber claws at East 80th Street and First Avenue | UES Mutual Aid
Volunteers picked up trash bags and grabber claws at East 80th Street and First Avenue | UES Mutual Aid

“Typically, from my experience, soup kitchens, get pretty slammed with one-off volunteers. So it’s just one more opportunity for people to care for their community and see one another caring for their community,” organizer Patrick Bobilin told Upper East Site.

ALSO READ | Two Boots Pizza Returns to the Upper East Side in New Location 

Armed with grabber claws and trash bags, the volunteers met up at the corner of East 80th Street and First Avenue Thursday morning, strapped on their bright yellow high visibility vests got to work, tackling the trash problem on various blocks between East 79th and 85th Streets, east of Second Avenue. 

Volunteers pick up trash on Upper East Side sidewalks Thanksgiving morning | Patrick Bobilin
Volunteers pick up trash on Upper East Side sidewalks Thanksgiving morning | Patrick Bobilin

As Upper East Site reported earlier this month, complaints about dirty streets, sidewalks and overflowing trash cans have spiked to a five year high on the Upper East Side, despite Mayor Eric Adam’s Office claims the UES is home to some of the fewest filthy streets in the city.

“That’s part of the overall impetus behind Mutual Aid,” Bobilin explained.

Volunteers pick up trash on Upper East Side sidewalks Thanksgiving morning | Patrick Bobilin
Volunteers pick up trash on Upper East Side sidewalks Thanksgiving morning | Patrick Bobilin

“Rather than waiting for someone to take care of things in the neighborhood, a reminder to our neighbors that together we can solve problems with direct action and more efficiency than city agencies and authorities.”

ALSO READ | The Upper East Side is Among the Most Rat-Infested Neighborhoods in New York City

While UES Mutual Aid does not plan to resume their neighborhood cleanup efforts until the start of the new year, the group will be launching their free holiday ‘toy store’ once again this year. 

Volunteers with UES Mutual Aid clean up filthy streets on Thanksgiving
Volunteers with UES Mutual Aid clean up filthy streets on Thanksgiving | Patrick Bobilin

Parents in need of a little assistance were able to ‘shop’ for free gifts and ultimately 125 children went home with a big smile on their face in 2021. 

We’ll bring you the details of this year’s free holiday ‘toy store’ once they’re announced.

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