Prospect Park remains closed to the public until Saturday—police and park officials have even taken to Park Drive to shoo scofflaws from the premises—but it could have been closed for much longer if not for the help of nearly 200 volunteers.
Rakes and garbage bags in hand, 170 local do-gooders turned out to Prospect Park on Friday morning to begin the arduous task of clearing the wreckage left in Sandy's wake.
"I couldn’t get into work—it would have taken too long. I wanted to come and do something useful," Katrina Noble said, a graphic designer who works in Midtown. "I use the park all the time, and it’s my best interest that it be open and tree limbs not be falling on me while I’m running."
Margaret Haskett, a teacher in Park Slope, agreed, saying that after a week of staying home with her kids, she was eager to get out.
"This was the first chance to help I saw, and I jumped on it," she said. "It would be great to have the park open again for the children—and for everyone."
Eric Landau, Prospect Park's Vice President of Government and External Affairs, said enthusiasm for cleaning the borough's parks—including Williamsburg's McCarren Park—was so great that registration through NYC Service has since closed.
"We’re at full capacity for what we can handle right now," he said, calling the task of clearing leafy debris from the park's many winding paths "hugely important."
"The response from the community has been amazing," he said.
Though Prospect Park is on its way to recovery, there are plenty of other opportunities to volunteer around the city. Click here to find out what you can do.