Bed-Stuy street is named the Greenest Block in Brooklyn

After 15 years of competing, residents of Macon Street between Ralph and Howard Avenues, in Bedford-Stuyvesant are overjoyed that their block was named 2014 Greenest Block in Brooklyn. The block also won for Best Street Tree Beds.Their victory over nearly 200 blocks from more than 30 neighborhoods came because the residents were able to “transform a street that’s mostly concrete and stone into one that is green and lush,” explained Mark Fisher, director of Conservatories and Horticultural programs at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). “All of the residents on Macon Street contributed to this win,” exclaimed Sheilia Gay-Robbins of the Macon Street Ralph/Howard Block Association. “We all worked together watering and taking care of our lovely window boxes, barrels, baskets, tree beds, and gardens.” More than just a “who can plant the nicest flower” contest, participating blocks are judged by journalists and professional horticulturists from BBG, who take into account color and aesthetics, community involvement, diversity, soil condition and overall best horticultural methods. The title of 2014 Greenest Commercial Block went to Montague Street between Henry and Clinton Streets; 2014 Greenest Storefront was a tie between Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local Grocery at 210 Patchen Avenue and Master Cuts Barbershop at 5 Saint Marks Place in Boerum Hill; 2014 Best Window Box went to Pall Walton of 204 Maple Street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens; and the 2014 Best Community Garden Streetscape winner was the Red Shed Community Garden in Williamsburg. “[The street is now] an urban oasis where visitors come to shop and linger,” said Brigit Pinnell, executive director of the Montague Street Business Improvement District. Pinnell credited BID VP Estela Johannesen and her staff at James Weir Floral for planting and maintaining nearly 50 tree beds. All first place winners were given a $300 cash prize to continue their beautification efforts.Contest co-sponsor National Grid awarded its 2014 National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award to the 6/15 Green Community Garden, located at Sixth Avenue and 15th Street in Park Slope.The community garden stunned the judges with its own solar powered fish ponds, and serves as a composting site for the community, and an educational center where children and adults alike can learn about gardening and sustainability. A special award for the Best Children’s Gardening Project was also given to East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, where children scavenged for materials to beautify a vacant lot.“When we ‘green’ it, we’re not just cultivating beautiful gardens,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “We’re creating ‘One Brooklyn’ that is a healthier and happier place to raise healthy children and families.” The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest was first organized by BBG in 1994, attracting 50 blocks in its first year. Now, in the contest’s 20th year, nearly 200 blocks with an estimated 20,000 Brooklynites from more than 30 neighborhoods participated, cultivating window boxes, front gardens, street tree beds and more, in an attempt to win the esteemed title.

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