At a press conference this morning, it was announced that Lefferts Avenue between Bedford and Rogers Avenues has been awarded the 24th annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest.
Hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the competition is an attempt to bring communities together to make Brooklyn a cleaner, greener place.
“It’s not only the greenery,” said Borough President Eric Adams during his opening remarks. “They would not be what they are without the people in the brick and mortar structures.”
At the ceremony Wednesday morning, neighbors mingled and celebrated, and speakers made brief remarks recognizing the hard work of all the award winners.
Doug Brouha, a member of the Lefferts Green Team who was referred to as the Governor of the Block for his horticultural dedication, stressed the amount of work that led to the award. “It’s the result of a five-year effort,” Bruha told Brownstoner.
It usually takes anywhere from five to seven years to get to this point, said Nina Browne, the Community Program Manager of Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “Participation here is huge,” she said. “It takes a tremendous amount of hard work.”
“The beauty, nature, it has given people a sense of community,” Bruha added. “Now there’s a reason for neighbors to engage.”
Rose, who moved to the block three months ago with her family from the suburbs of New Jersey, was amazed at the team that was already in place on the block, specifically Bruha, Sanda Worrell and Cathy Parris of the Lefferts Green Team.
“Their effort was immediately apparent,” she said. People on the block pitch in when sweeping needs to be done, and Parris and Worrell are constantly walking up and down the block watering plants.
A mural at the end of the block was painted by another neighbor, David Camacho, along with Rose’s daughter Emma.
Walking down the block, you could witness creativity sprouting out of every garden: shoes, a basketball, a vintage baby carriage, garden boots, an old grill and a vintage soda case were all used as planters.
Mark Fisher, Director of Horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, also singled out their thoughtful use of native plants and the inventive incorporation of signage.
The residential runners-up this year were Lincoln Place between Nostrand and New York Avenues in Crown Heights, Sterling Place between 7th and Flatbush Avenues in Park Slope and Bainbridge Street between Howard and Saratoga Avenues in Bed Stuy.
This year’s Greenest Commercial Street winner was Nevins Street between Sackett and Union; the Greenest Storefront winner was Pro 1 Tire at 781 4th Avenue in Sunset Park; Best Street Tree Beds went to Lefferts Place between Franklin and Classon Avenues in Bed Stuy; Best Community Garden Streetscape was awarded to the 61 Franklin Street Community Garden in Greenpoint; and the Best Window Box award was given to both Patrick Noecker at 164 Cornelia Street in Bushwick and Ella McNair at 534 Putnam Avenue in Bed Stuy.
Last year’s residential winner was Bed Stuy’s Stuyvesant Avenue between Bainbridge and Chauncey streets. Lefferts Avenue between Bedford and Rogers was a runner-up last year, and they were very excited to steal the award from Bed Stuy, who have often won in the past.
Adams — standing in front of a sign that read “Lefferts Finally!” — compared the block to the 1969 World Series-winning New York Mets. “You turned it around,” he said. “You surprised everyone.”
Update: Check out the full list of winners in all categories here.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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