No one is more passionate about the Third Street Promenade than Eddie Greenberg. Eddie led the crew that kept the promenade, which he called Santa Monica’s “crown jewel,” and surrounding streets clean up until last Friday, when after 34 years of working for the city of Santa Monica, Eddie decided it was time to hang up the pressure washer and enjoy his well-deserved retirement.
Eddie belongs to a generation where hard work was expected, respect was given when earned and responsibility was paramount. He was known to always take an off-duty call, no matter how late at night or early in the morning. We had the pleasure of riding along with Eddie four years ago and loved listening to his stories about shaking the hands of former presidents and celebrities he met along the way and his work with civil rights activist Caesar Chavez. He talked fondly of his employees, some of them troubled teens who he helped get back on the right path. He is a mentor as well as a protector. One of his last major efforts was introducing environmentally-friendly cleaning practices and products, embracing Santa Monica’s sustainability efforts while protecting future generations.
Eddie is one of Santa Monica’s most boisterous boosters, even if he is soft spoken and unassuming. He always had an encouraging word and loved to write in to the Daily Press whenever he had something to get off his chest. We will miss his presence on the promenade, but his lessons will stick with us.
We will always remember him saying to us back in December of 2006:
“Look at the boys who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. They wanted to live just like anybody else, but they didn’t get to the top by running away. They got to the top because they knew whatever sacrifice they gave, it was for a good cause. If you are climbing up your own mountain of success and you decide it’s too hard and give up, you fail yourself. If you do that, what are you going to tell your kids? How are you going to inspire them?”
Eddie certainly inspired us.