Press Releases

City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Announces Nearly 3.4 Million Square Feet of Graffiti Removed in The Bronx Since 2014

Mayor joins Graffiti-Free NYC crew cleaning graffiti in the Soundview Section

BRONX, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Graffiti-Free NYC, a program managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation, has removed almost 3.4 million square feet of graffiti from sites in the Bronx and 21 million square feet citywide since the start of his administration. The Mayor and City Council Member Annabel Palma made the announcement while joining a Graffiti-Free NYC crew as they removed graffiti from a retail shop at 1741 Lafayette Avenue in the Bronx’s Soundview section.

“New Yorkers in every borough deserve safe and clean streets. As we continue to focus on crime and increasing quality of life across the five boroughs, removing graffiti from homes and store fronts helps keep neighborhoods vibrant and healthy for everyone,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“I am pleased that we have a Mayor that is genuinely concerned about the quality of life in my district. Graffiti removal may seem trivial to some, however these are persistent issues that often go overlooked. It has been evident over the duration of Mayor de Blasio’s tenure that he is dedicated to addressing my district’s concerns, no matter the magnitude,” Council Member Annabel Palma said.

Last June, Mayor de Blasio allocated $2.5 million dollars in operating funds to Graffiti-Free NYC to ensure high-quality service and another $2.5 million for 24 new Graffiti-Free NYC trucks. The trucks will replace an aging fleet of 14, and provide for more efficient graffiti removal for New Yorkers. This funding is an unprecedented financial commitment from the City to what was primarily a federally-funded program.

Graffiti-Free NYC has removed 21,110,000 square feet of graffiti citywide, including 3,386,000 in the Bronx. Number of requests for removal varies from year to year and borough to borough, with Brooklyn accounting for the largest number of requests, 20,173 since the beginning of 2014.

“I urge all property owners to take a few minutes to enroll in the Graffiti Free NYC program and help keep The Bronx clean and beautiful,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Graffiti is a blighted condition that changes the overall aesthetics of neighborhoods, often giving the impression that a community is dirty, unsafe and generally ignored. Graffiti decreases property values and discourages new investment in our neighborhoods. Graffiti Free NYC is an excellent program that helps improve quality of life in our city, and I thank mayor de Blasio for his continued support of this initiative.”

“Graffiti removal has always been one of my top priorities. Just last month, I hosted an Earth Day Graffiti Removal and Cleanup Day, where dozens of volunteers painted over the unsightly vandalism within my district. It’s exciting to know the city shares this same vision, and I’m thrilled at Mayor de Blasio’s $5 million allocation to the citywide graffiti cleanup program, Graffiti-Free NYC,” said Senator Jeff Klein. 

“While the art of graffiti is recognized for its beauty and complexity, there unfortunately are still some who misuse the artistry of the culture to vandalize and distort both private and public property by what is known as tagging. I thank Mayor Bill De Blasio for bringing this graffiti clean-up initiative to the 85th District, which not only beautifies the neighborhood, but also sends a clear message that the city, this administration and members of this community will continue to build upon and preserve the foundation that makes Soundview one of a kind,” Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo said.

“We are happy about the city's initiative to remove graffiti vandalism, our community works with NYPD and other groups year around to prevent vandalism and commend the Mayor on his support,” said District Manager William Rivera.
The expanded effort is part of CleanNYC, which includes increased litter basket service, new sidewalk power washing tools and highway ramp sweeping.

Graffiti-Free NYC uses two techniques to remove graffiti from private properties around the city: painting over graffiti on painted building surfaces and power washing graffiti from non-painted building surfaces, like natural stone, brick or concrete. When power washing, crews first apply a low-concentration potassium hydroxide solution, which is strong enough to break-up the graffiti but mild enough to pose no danger to plants or animals. After applying the solution, a high-pressure water hose is used to wash the graffiti from the building.

Anyone can report graffiti on any property in New York City by calling 311 or submitting a request here. Once a request is received, the City will mail a notice to the property owner on file, who then has 35 days to contact the City to decline graffiti removal services. If the property owner takes no action, the City will add the property to its cleaning schedule and remove the graffiti free of charge.

Property owners and their representatives can expedite service by submitting a Forever Graffiti Free waiver online, or downloading and mailing this form. This form provides permission to the City to clean graffiti any time it is reported without the need for the owner to respond individually for each instance.