Kensington residents clean neighborhood

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Photo gallery

Raking it: Eleanor Mason joins Kensington’s trash mob on Sunday for a clean-up on Church Avenue.
Cleaning is fun!: Harry Schiffman and Jasmina Nikolov have fun while picking up trash.
Cans of trash!: Mike Rosenbluth can’t believe the amount of trash in this can.
Doing their part: Maggie Tobin, founder of the West Kensington Action Group, picks up trash with Assemblyman James Brennan on Sunday.

Spontaneous flash mobs are out, trash mobs are in.

Kensington residents who say they are fed up with the city’s waning trash collection on Church Avenue took to the street last weekend in a semi-spontaneous street-cleaning mob armed with brooms, rakes, and gloves.

“The Kensington trash mob is like a flash mob, but instead of dancing we pick up garbage,” said organizer Maggie Tobin. “I hope it will encourage everyone to clean up after themselves and not wait around for us to do it.”

“Flash mob” is a term coined in 2003 to describe a group of people spontaneously emerging from a crowd in a public area to start some kind of collection action — like freezing in place or dancing.

About 20 people showed up at the Sunday afternoon event, including Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D–Park Slope).

Tobin said the event was a big success and planned to hold future clean-ups, but lamented the fact that the duty of cleaning up the city’s streets fell on citizens during their free time.

“None of the shopkeepers seem to ever get ticketed for letting garbage pile up out front of their stores, therefore, many of them (not all) seem to care less,” said Tobin, who believes that the neighborhood needs garbage cans on every corner of Church Avenue.

“We really hope to turn this area around and make Church Avenue a shopping destination not only for Kensington residents, but also for anyone looking for a more ‘worldly’ and unique shopping experience.”

Still, residents said it was nice to come out as a community and work together to make their neighborhood better.

“It was great to get out with the neighbors and meet some people while cleaning up,” said Jasmina Nikolov, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 2006.

“It’s a little disconcerting that we as a community have to go out and pick up trash on the street, but it looked so good afterwards and it only took an hour to make such a huge difference!”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Meghan from Kensington says:
Love this idea! Hope I can help out with the next one. Thanks for caring about Kensington.
May 5, 2012, 6:13 am

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