June 14, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A number of community groups came together Sunday to help restore and clean-up Parsons Public Space in downtown Jamaica.
The Jamaica Center BID teamed up with Southeast Queens Cleanup, Linden Studio 17 and Cambria Heights Florist to replace several of the withered shrubs that line that public space, which is located along Parson Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue.
Cambria Heights Florist donated 34 plants and flowers while another couple dozen plants were donated by Home Depot, and another donor contributed cilantro, parsley and lilies.
SEQ Clean-up, a community group in southeast Queens that comes together specifically for cleanups, came to the event with about 20 volunteers who helped sweep the area and remove garbage from the planters, while Alana Simmons of the event space company Linden Studio 17 provided project management and promotional support for the event, which took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Antoinette “DJ Nett” Lawson, who is the leader of SEQ Clean-up, provided music for the volunteers, while three restaurants facing the public space – Golden Krust, Popeye’s and Dunkin’ Donuts – provided meals for the volunteers.
“People stopped and said, ‘What are you doing? This is wonderful. This looks fabulous.’ So, I would say the day was a success,” said Jennifer Furioli, Executive Director of the Jamaica Center BID.
Though the plaza falls outside of the Jamaica Center BID’s boundaries, its prominent location and importance to the downtown community makes it a vital site to have cleaned, Furioli says.
The plants that were donated by Cambria Heights Florist – a mixture of annuals and perennials – were selected based on their ability to withstand the extreme heat and cold of the seasons, says Vanessa Hopkins, owner of the Linden Blvd. floral shop.
“Once the winter passes, you’ll see more colors and see more greens,” said Hopkins.
The flowers will be watered during the summer by the adjacent landlord, Mattone Investors.
The clean-up event was the second collaboration between the BID and SEQ Cleanup, following their litter removal event on 162nd Street before the holidays in December.
“SEQ Cleanup’s mission is to inspire Southeast Queens residents to do their part to be proactive when it comes to the revitalization and beautification of this community,” Lawson said.
Furioli says she expects to do another refresher of the planters later in the summer, as well as to install a “little reading library” book box.
“The plan is to do these [cleaning events] several times a year,” Furioli said.
The public space was constructed by NYC DOT several years ago as a temporary plaza, but it is in the process of being permanent. The NYC’s Department of Design and Construction is currently working on upgrading the site.
The time frame for the project’s completion is still to be determined.