Down and Dirty in the Best Way: Volunteering in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Do you want to get back to the earth? Get down and dirty? Feel a strong urge to clutch a sharp, pointy object and smash it repeatedly into something soft? You can do all this and more if you volunteer at Brooklyn Bridge Park!

Saturday Morning Volunteering with Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

brooklyn-bridge-park-volunteering One sunny Saturday, I pealed my slightly hungover self out of bed and trekked to my favorite corner of Brooklyn. “It’s too early for a Saturday, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” was my cliché millennial whine as I arrived at 10AM.

But you know what I learned? Nothing wakes me up and energizes me for the day like digging up grass on a sunny morning. I’ll call it better than a cold brewed macchiato.

I was greeted by a chipper volunteer coordinator and a eclectic group of volunteers. Plenty of students, a mother-daughter duo who adorably bickered the whole morning, a do-gooder couple, a quiet middle-aged woman who comes every single Saturday. The attitude of the group was laid back and pleasant. Once we’d all gathered, we headed toward the group of trees that would get all our attention that morning.


Our task was simple: clearing out the tree beds of grass and weeds. We each received VOLUNTEER smocks, trowels for digging, gardening gloves, bright yellow buckets for collecting grass and weeds, and a orange cushion to sit on. Brooklyn Bridge Park treats its volunteers well. Our cheerful volunteer coordinator demonstrated proper grass removal. The soil was pretty packed down and required a forceful thrust of the trowel to dig anything up.

I found it surprisingly satisfying to repeatedly hurl a sharp object into the ground. The task was so simple, and I found the repetition of the digging strangely meditative.

Oh, this is why people like gardening!


Another thing about NYC volunteering? The dress code: throw on clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and slap just slap a hat on your dirty hair. Just roll out of bed and go.

I made friends with some worms. It’s easy to forget nature exists when you live in a concrete jungle. I greatly enjoyed the reminder that it’s still all around us. And not just rats, pigeons, and cockroaches.


From the hours of 10-12pm I cleared a dirt-y circle around the entire tree. It was so simple and so satisfying to finish. A tiny piece of the park, but it was all mine and all I was expected to achieve.


Time felt like it flew by.  Suddenly it was 12, I was done, the whole day was still ahead of me, and I was in one of my favorite parks in the city. Don’t you want to volunteer with an incredible backdrop of the Statue of Liberty?


There are so many events going on in Brooklyn Bridge Park to check out after volunteering.

FREE kayaking goes until the end of September!


October 15 is a big volunteer Coastal Clean up from 2-4PM for those who can’t resist sleeping in on Saturday. It’s worth it for the view alone!

If partying is much more your style than volunteering, no worries! The benefit for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy: the Brooklyn Black Tie Ball is coming up October 6th. I went to the after party last year and as you can read in my blog post about it, it was so much fun! More info and tickets at

For any Saturday volunteering or other opportunities, sign up on their calendar. It’s really easy!


About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

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