Bay Ridge block bands together for Earth Day cleanup, celebration

One Bay Ridge block celebrated Earth Day in style on April 28.

On 73rd Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, a group of four families banded together for the first-ever “One Block, One Planet” Earth Day celebration. The block party of sorts consisted of cleaning up trash, learning how to compost and — perhaps most important to the mom-in-charge — learning how to better the earth.

“My boys have shown a lot of interest in community work and they’re learning about the environment in school so I thought it was a great opportunity to try and get together and do something for Earth Day,” said Wanda Medina, the mother-of-two behind the block party.

And so, “One Block, One Planet” was born and Medina hit the pavement — literally and figuratively — with a flyer designed by her oldest son, and made a pitch to her neighbors. “Everyone was on board,” she said, adding also that Councilmember Justin Brannan stopped by.

“We really wanted to pay attention to the details,” said Medina, who supplied participants with compostable bags, as opposed to plastic ones, to drive home how bad the latter can be for the environment.

“And the kids really got it,” she said, “and they had such a great time.”

Medina said her sons, 6 and 4, had an absolute blast.

“It was really nice to see the kids working both with their parents and with other adults on the block,” she said, adding also that the event spanned generations.

Medina, who has lived on 73rd Street since 2011, hopes that next year, it won’t just be a one-block affair, though she hopes to keep it anchored to Earth Day.

“Next year, we’d like to organize this on a bunch of blocks at the same time,” she said. “That way, it could be more of a community-wide thing. And I’d like to keep it the weekend after Earth Day.”

Brannan hopes to take it even further.

“It was great to see neighbors celebrating Earth Day by sprucing up their block, cleaning up trash, planting flowers and learning about the environment,” he said. “Next year we should make this a district-wide day of action!”

The pol’s attendance, Medina added, helped further instill the importance of local action.

“We really wanted to teach them that the best way to create change is to do so on a local level,” Medina said, “and you can’t get much more local than your block! If everyone took it upon themselves to make a change on their block, then together, we could make a massive change.”

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