The Greenest Blocks in Brooklyn Are in Flatbush and Boerum Hill!
2010 Contest Winners Announced:
Release Date: August 4, 2010The winners of the 2010 Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest were announced today at a press conference on the champion residential block, Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street (map) in the neighborhood of Flatbush. Representatives from the winning commercial block, Hoyt Street between State Street and Atlantic Avenue (map), were on hand, as were winners in the other categories, including Best Window Box and Best Street Tree Beds. This is the 16th year of lively competition among thousands of borough residents committed to beautifying their neighborhoods and making Brooklyn greener.
The contest is managed by GreenBridge, the community environmental horticulture program of Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), in cooperation with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz with major support from the Brooklyn Community Foundation. The contest encourages members of block associations and merchants’ associations to vie for the coveted title of Greenest Block in Brooklyn by working together to cultivate window boxes, container plantings, front gardens, storefront greenery, street tree beds, and more.
BBG president Scot Medbury, Mr. Markowitz, and Brooklyn Community Foundation president Marilyn Gelber all congratulated the winners in the residential and commercial categories.
Blocks are judged based on a variety of criteria, including color and total visual effect, citizen participation, variety and suitability of plants, soil condition, use of mulch, street tree and tree bed care, and other good horticultural practices. A panel of more than 30 judges, which includes professional horticulturists from Brooklyn Botanic Garden and other NYC greening organizations, visit each entering block from mid-June throughout July.
This year’s winning residential block, Vanderveer Place, distinguished itself with outstanding maintenance of its many plantings in defiance of the hottest summer in recent memory. The block has almost zero shade, but its residents made sure that their thirsty plants were well watered and carefully pruned, extending this attentive care not only to their personal front gardens but to the excellent street tree beds that line the block. “The communal effort on this block was visible to all the judges who visited it—from the small community garden started by the residents to the model street tree beds they planted and maintained so diligently,” said Robin Simmen, director of GreenBridge. “They’re a great example of a block association that beautifies together while still preserving plenty of individual creativity and expression. They even held a mini-contest in June to help motivate homeowners to make their gardens as green as can be!”
BBG’s GreenBridge promotes urban greening through programs and events year-round related to sustainability, environmental conservation, community development, and good horticultural practice. Working with block associations, community gardens, and other service groups, GreenBridge is building a vibrant network of people, places, and projects dedicated to making Brooklyn a greener place.
Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest Achievements
Since its inception in 1995, the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest has encouraged greening activities on more than 1,600 Brooklyn blocks. Community involvement has grown exponentially, from 50 blocks in the first year to well over 200 blocks in 2010. It is estimated that over half a million Brooklynites have participated in this borough-wide beautification and greening effort over the past 16 years.
The contest has helped revive block associations and inspired the creation of new organizations based on common issues and interests. In many of the borough’s least-served neighborhoods, where participation in the contest continues to grow, this kind of community building plays a critical role not readily found anywhere else.
First prize is a $300 check for each top residential and commercial block winner. All other finalists receive cash prizes ranging from $100 to $200. Best Window Box, Greenest Storefront, Best Street Tree Beds, and Best Community Garden Streetscape winners receive cash prizes or gardening tools. Contest participants attending the fall recognition ceremony also receive a gift bag of fall bulbs and a certificate of recognition for their participation.
First place in the residential category: Vanderveer Place between Flatbush Avenue and East 23rd Street, Flatbush
Second place tie: Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Second place tie: East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, Flatbush
Third place: State Street between Nevins Street and Third Avenue, Boerum Hill
First place in the commercial category: Hoyt Street between State Street and Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Second place: Van Brunt Street between Coffey Street and Van Dyke Street, Red Hook Best Street Tree Beds
First place: Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Second place: Schenectady Avenue between Avenue D and Foster Avenue, East Flatbush
Third place: MacDonough Street between Stuyvesant Avenue and Lewis Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Best Community Garden Streetscape
First place: Brooklyn’s Finest Garden, Lefferts Place between St. James and Grand Avenue, Clinton Hill
Second place: Howard Avenue Block Association Community Garden, Brownsville
Third place: 6/15 Green Community Garden, Park Slope
Best Window Box
First place: Sam Hall, 478 State Street, Boerum Hill
Second place: Vicki Fuller, 600 11th Street, Park Slope
Third place: Francisco Cruz Cruz 366 Greene Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant
First place: Burrito Bar, 307 Flatbush Avenue, Prospect Heights
Second place: Habana Outpost, 757 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
Third place: Shambhala Yoga and Dance Center, 348 St. Marks Avenue, Prospect Heights
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “The Greenest Block contest is so much more than beautifying our neighborhoods—it’s about growing friendships, enriching communities, and cultivating Brooklyn’s bright future block by bountiful block. Like a hardy perennial, this proud tradition is back for its 16th year, and I tip my trowel to the latest crop of winning green thumbs. Long may you enrich our fertile Brooklyn soil and make our borough blossom into a greener, more healthy place to live, work, play—and put down permanent roots.”
“It's so exciting to see the ongoing impact of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest," said Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “As the founding sponsors, we've had the pleasure of visiting each year's winning residential blocks from one end of Brooklyn to the other. But the real satisfaction comes from visiting these same blocks months and years later and seeing the enduring impact that the Greenest Block beautification has had on local communities. Our ongoing goal in supporting the Greenest Block and BBG's ambitious community horticulture programs will be to make Brooklyn the greenest, most beautiful urban landscape in New York City,” Gelber added.
“Over the past 16 years, it’s become clear that the contest’s footprint has widened beyond our expectations, and its mission to both green the borough and rejuvenate community connection has resonated very deeply,” noted Scot Medbury, president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “This year, on residential blocks we witnessed perhaps more communal gardening in public spaces than ever before—demonstrating that Brooklynites are gardening not only for themselves but for their neighbors and anyone who walks down their block to enjoy. We commend the 220 entering blocks this year and thank the borough president and the Brooklyn Community Foundation for providing the resources that help GreenBridge offer the outreach that has had such a powerful impact on these communities.”
For a full list of winners and more information about the contest, visit bbg.org/greenbridge.
About Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an independent nonprofit institution committed to education, research, and the display of horticulture. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 12,000 kinds of plants and hosts more than 725,000 visitors annually. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Visitor entrances are at Flatbush Avenue, at the parking lot gate at 900 Washington Avenue, and at Eastern Parkway. For directions, please visit bbg.org/visit/directions/.
About the Brooklyn Community Foundation
The Brooklyn Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in Brooklyn through grant making and by encouraging local giving and community service. The first and only organization of its kind in Brooklyn, the foundation was established in 2009 to support the borough’s most effective nonprofits in five fields of interest: Art for All, Caring Neighbors, Community Development, Education and Youth Achievement, and Green Communities. Since 1998, operating as the Independence Community Foundation, the foundation has distributed over $70 million in grants throughout the New York metro area, more than half of them in Brooklyn. Learn more at BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org. Follow the Brooklyn Community Foundation on Twitter at @DoGoodBklyn.