Documents: Notice Board:

This Year’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn is in Flatbush
by BBG
August 18, 2016

The winners of the 2016 Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest, presented by Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), in cooperation with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, were announced on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 at a press conference on the champion residential block, East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, in the neighborhood of Flatbush. Representatives from the winning commercial block, Fulton Street between South Portland Avenue and South Elliot Place, in the neighborhood of Fort Greene, were also on hand, as were winners in the contest’s other categories. The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest, celebrating its 22nd year this summer, has become a beloved Brooklyn institution, providing an opportunity for Brooklyn neighbors to garden together and showcase community spirit.

The contest encourages members of block and merchants’ associations to engage in a fierce but friendly competition in pursuit of the “Greenest Block” mantle. Community members work together to plan annual block gardening themes, care for plantings and trees on their blocks, design and plant container plantings, window boxes, front gardens, storefront greenery, street tree beds, and more. Major sponsorship support for BBG’s GreenBridge community greening programs is provided by National Grid; Brooklyn Community Foundation provides leadership support to GreenBridge.

BBG president Scot Medbury, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and representatives from National Grid and Brooklyn Community Foundation were at the press conference to congratulate the winners.

“Brooklyn makes the rest of New York City green with envy, as thousands of community residents have become involved in beautifying their neighborhoods as business owners or members of block associations through the ever-popular Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I am proud to help grow this effort, whether by successfully advocating to protect close to a dozen at-risk community gardens in the past year alone, launching our Adopt-a-Catch Basin pilot, helping to distribute beloved tree guards from Greenpoint to Gerritsen Beach, or various other community-building and environmentally conscious initiatives. The winners this year have demonstrated a genuine commitment to sprouting safer places for Brooklynites to raise healthy children and families.”

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s president, Scot Medbury, remarked that through the contest, “we get to see the best of Brooklyn—enthusiasm, talent, hard work, and neighborly cooperation. We also, each year, get to see new blocks entering, and blocks from new neighborhoods getting involved. We’re so proud to have so many areas of our diverse borough represented in the contest entries—from Brooklyn Heights to Canarsie and from Bay Ridge to Bed Stuy."

The winning block of East 25th Street has been entering the Greenest Block contest for nearly 20 years. It first placed third in 2003 and has consistently received recognition ever since. Says Nina Browne, GreenBridge’s program manager, “This remarkable block serves as an inspiring model for how a commitment to block beautification can become a pillar of community connection and neighborly support for gardeners and nongardeners alike—young, old, and everyone in between.”

Grace Henry, president of the 300 East 25th Block Association, proudly described her block of East 25th street as “a phenomenal block—it’s a community block. And we garden for pleasure, for fun, because we love it. When you do something with love, it always comes out beautiful. The purpose of this, the essence, is to really build community, one garden at a time.”

“I’d like to extend congratulations to the East 25th Street Block Association for winning the 22nd Annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest,” said New York City Council member Jumaane D. Williams. “I’m excited and proud to represent the winners of this year’s contest. For the past two years, blocks in the 45th District have placed among the top three in the Greenest Block contest, with the East 25th Street Block Association placing second in 2015 and third in 2014. These awards display the pride my constituents take in their homes, and in working to preserve the borough’s beauty. It’s a pleasure to have the title of Greenest Block in Brooklyn back in the 45th.”

This year’s winning commercial block of Fulton Street was submitted by the Fulton Area Business Alliance (FAB), as was 2015’s winning commercial block. FAB's executive director, Phillip Kellogg, said, “For the second straight year, the Fulton Area Business Alliance is thrilled to have another block of its businesses recognized for their efforts to beautify Fulton Street in Fort Greene. From the planters at Fowler Square to the spectacular rooftop garden at Black Forest Brooklyn to the tropical plantings that evoke an island setting at Brooklyn Moon to the fantasy landscape in the windows of Versailles Boutique to the lush planters and landscaped tree beds at Greene Grape Annex, these businesses and others show what’s possible when they work together to create a block that looks absolutely FAB!”

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo congratulated the winning commercial block: “On behalf of the 35th Council District, we are all incredibly proud that Fulton Street between South Portland Avenue and South Elliot Place in Fort Greene won 1st place in the Commercial Category. Big thanks to the FAB Alliance for helping to beautify and grow the Fulton Street corridor. We are proud, and appreciate, to have businesses that take pride to beautify the neighborhood. We thank them for their continued efforts in making Fort Greene an amazing place to welcome neighbors, customers and employees from near, far and beyond. Thank you to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) for hosting this friendly competition, for over two decades, BBG has been inspiring residential and commercial blocks to take the challenge and become green! Congratulations to all the 2016 winners.”

Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York, said, “National Grid is committed to a creating a greener energy future, and our partnership with BBG provides opportunities for young people to learn about caring for our environment and creating sustainable communities. The National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award supports our commitment to stewardship and making a difference in the communities we serve. We are pleased to present this year’s award to the Pacific Street Brooklyn Bears Community Garden. They have made a difference by creating a certified wildlife habitat garden and engaging young people in gardening and sustainability skills through their participation in the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program.”

Cecilia Clarke, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, said, “Congratulations to this year’s winners! The Greenest Block in Brooklyn is a wonderful celebration of what makes Brooklyn neighborhoods strong—residents working together to beautify their blocks while building relationships, engaging the next generation, sharing cultures, and creatively taking on challenges that arise. We are proud that our legacy support for the GreenBridge program helps make this uniquely Brooklyn competition possible, and we salute Brooklyn Botanic Garden for all they do both in the garden and beyond its walls to make our borough bloom.”

About the Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest

Since its inception in 1994, the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest has encouraged greening activities on more than 1,600 Brooklyn blocks. Community involvement has grown steadily, from 50 blocks in the first year to over 150 blocks in recent years. It is estimated that more than 600,000 Brooklynites have participated in this borough-wide beautification and greening effort over the past 22 years.

The contest has helped establish and revive block associations and inspired the creation of new organizations based on common challenges and interests. In many of the borough’s least-served neighborhoods, where participation in the contest continues to grow, it plays a critical role in community building not readily provided elsewhere.

Blocks are judged on a variety of criteria, including color and total visual effect, citizen participation, variety and suitability of plants, soil condition and use of mulch, street tree bed care, and all-around best horticultural practices. A panel of nearly 20 judges, including journalists and professional horticulturists from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visits and judges each contestant block from mid-June throughout July.

First prize is a $300 check each for the top residential and commercial block winners. 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 gift certificates. Contest participants attending the fall recognition ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall also receive a gift bag of fall bulbs and a certificate of recognition for their participation.

For a full list of winners and more information about the contest, visit bbg.org/greenbridge.

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