Captain Cleanup Strikes Again in Brooklyn Heights

A BHB tipster caught a glimpse of who we will assume was Heights Hero/ BHB Ten member Captain Cleanup over the weekend:

Today there was a man who was painstakingly painting the decorative wrought iron on Columbia heights just outside Squibb and across from Harry Chapin. They are the only 2 I’ve seen in the hood that depict landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty, the WTC and the bklyn bridge. I asked if he worked for the city and he said he didn’t, that he just got sick of looking at them like that.

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  • BKHeightser

    This guy is so boss. The USPS stinks for repainting his masterpieces. Why don’t they try not going into severe debt then “re-do” his masterpieces.

  • David G.

    I love this. Great job!

  • Ellie

    Oh captain, my captain……great job sprucing up the hood!

  • val

    I spotted him, too, working on a mailbox on Henry Street. I said to my daughter, “Look! It’s the guy the BHB writes about all the time!” I nearly asked for an autograph

  • Cranberry Beret

    Check out the mailbox by the High Street subway entrance on Cadman Plaza West. Covered with graffiti, the pick-up times sticker is missing, etc. It’d be nice if this didn’t happen, but given that it does, I can’t believe the USPS wastes time going after this guy instead of repairing their property.

  • Captain Cleanup

    Well, the reports of my handiwork are accurate. I indeed
    was “on the job” at the sight of this fabulous tree guard at the top
    of Squib Hill on Columbia Heights Street. This location has become
    increasing important for Brooklyn Heights as it is the first part of the
    Heights that all the tourists see as they ascend from the Brooklyn Bridge Park
    to the Promenade. First impressions are really important and I have no
    interest in having all our guests encounter something so beautiful in such
    decrepit condition as the first thing they see in our neighborhood. As I
    was repainting this tree guard this past weekend (April 19), I must has seen at
    minimum two thousand tourists walk by each day. I have long admired the
    two tree guards at this location. They are totally unique to the
    neighborhood and the ornamental work on them is superb. They had been
    long neglected and were completely rusted. I had these objects earmarked
    for over a year for a top notch rehab. With the springtime weather finally
    here, I was able to get to work. On Friday, I scraped, sanded and primed
    the first tree guard. On Saturday, I half painted the object (that took
    over 5 hours). On Sunday, I finished. I think that all in I put in
    14 hours of work and it was well worth it. The pictures above do not do
    the work justice as I completely tricked out the Statue of Liberty ornament
    with a copper color paint mix, hand draw fabric on the Statue’s body, exact and
    accurate lettering on the placard held in Lady Liberty’s left hand, and a
    bright yellow torch flame. On the Brooklyn Bridge ornament, I had what I
    thought was a moment of inspiration. As I had repainted the bridge a
    bright high gloss white so that it would be noticed, I was painting the other
    surrounding metalwork black (which is what it had been previously). I
    then realized why should the metal immediately under the bridge be black?
    The East River runs under the bridge and the water should be the color
    blue. So I changed that part of the tree guard from black to blue (to
    mimic the East River) and I think the effect came off well. A number of
    local residents even stopped to chat and indicated that as many times that they
    had walked by this object, they never realized that the metal work was actually
    an image of the Brooklyn Bridge! I am pleased to report that as soon as
    I finished the project and walked away, newly arriving tourists who had not
    seen me doing any painting immediately started taking photographs of the
    finished tree guard. I could not have been more pleased with this – not
    because I can claim to doing the painting, but because it was giving visitors
    and residents something to appreciate, remember, and share with their friends
    of their visit to Brooklyn Heights. I consider this tree guard my best
    neighborhood community service work so far, particularly with the Statue of
    Liberty detail. The pictures shown in the Brooklyn Heights Blog are not
    the finished work, but were taken on Saturday night, before the Sunday
    important final touches. I
    strongly suggest the Blog readers go take a look for themselves at the finished
    tree guard. The second adjacent
    tree guard at this same location at Squib Hill is next on my project list and
    this will also be incredible when done (it will be obvious to everyone why when
    one sees the finished work). It will take me some time to finish this
    second tree guard as the painting is time consuming. I want to thank
    everyone for their kind comments and I am glad that so many are enjoying the
    neighborhood improvements. I would also ask that if anyone knows me that
    my identity remain anonymous. I am happy to chat with any of you and
    introduce myself if you see me at work, but I have absolutely no interest in
    any general acknowledgement. Yours truly, Captain Cleanup.

  • Captain Cleanup

    Here are finished photos.

  • AnnOfOrange

    Love these tree guards….would like to know who put them there. When they first appeared I expected that we would see more of them. Thank you, Captain Cleanup for making BH more interesting, for fighting against graffiti, and for your appreciation of the tourists who love our neighborhood.

  • Captain Cleanup

    I have run Squib Hill for a long time and those tree guards have been there for as long as I can remember…at least +20 years. Given that the tree guards have the NY City Park Department’s green maple leaf logo on them, I think that they were put there by them right in between the two parks at that location.

  • Bud Wiser

    It’s “Squibb” Hill folks. Learn your neighborhood history.
    And Sewall needs to get a life, I think.