Nation: THE THING IN THE SPRING

DRESSED in old clothes and overalls, the 5,000 suburbanites—men, women and children—looked ready for weekend chores in house or garden. Instead, they were on their way to help thousands of New York City slum dwellers clean, repair, paint and decorate 43 of the city's grimiest, grittiest blocks. By nightfall, when residents gave their guests an outdoor buffet, the scabrous streets were conspicuously cleaner and perhaps a little more habitable, with balloons waving from fire escapes and pastels brightening alleyways.

Last week's cleanup, titled "The Thing in the Spring," was not a headline project. It was hardly a billion-dollar item and scarcely caused...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!