Business booming for DSNY's city-funded graffiti cleanup service

The department says it closed out 8,000 service requests during a seven-month period in 2023.

Ashley Mastronardi

Jan 12, 2024, 12:05 AM

Updated 152 days ago

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Graffiti is one of New York City’s main characters. But even born and bred New Yorkers, like Gary Zablidowsky, say it’s gotten out of hand in the pandemic. 
“I’ve lived in this one building I’m living now for 26 years, nothing happened. This started about three years ago. I don’t know what the current rage is,” he told News 12 New York. 
Zablidowsky says kids have scaled his building in the middle of the night to make their mark, or tag in this case. 
“When I go out in the morning and see what they did, it’s not even good. This is not like graffiti from the hip-hop days where people had some talent. This is just somebody wanting to tag their name so they can tell their friends they did it,” he said. 
Enter the New York City Department of Sanitation – it offers a city funded graffiti cleanup service.  And business is booming – the department says it closed out 8,000 service requests during a seven-month period in 2023.  Frank Lettera is the man in charge. 
“I look at graffiti as art. I come from an era where graffiti was done as art, and it’s beautiful when done right and done in the right place. Not on private property, not on people’s storefront,” Deputy Chief Lettera told News 12. 
“When you go out and you see a clean painted nice wall, it just makes the whole neighborhood look cleaner, look nicer. It’s a quality-of-life issue, it definitely improves the neighborhood,” he added. 
In order to request a graffiti cleanup in your area, you can call 311 and the Department of Sanitation will take care of the rest. 


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