This year, blocks from more than 25 Brooklyn neighborhoods like Boerum Hill, East Flatbush, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bay Ridge and Windsor Terrace participated in the BBG’s Greenest Block competition. But in the end, only one could reign supreme. The winning block, located on Sterling St. between Washington and Bedford Avenues in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, was revealed this morning at a press conference on the block itself. The tenacious block finally got to taste victory this year after entering the competition for over ten years!
“In that time, Sterling Street has used the contest to completely change the landscape of the block from your average city street into a beautiful environment,” said Robin Simmen, director of GreenBridge. “Their persistence has had an extraordinary effect both on the streetscape and on the community of neighbors. Kids are actively engaged in planting a children’s garden, the block’s gardening committee assists elderly residents who can’t garden themselves, and residents provide incredible care not just for their own window boxes and stoops but also for tree beds and street containers.”
While certainly well-manicured, the block ultimately beat out its competitors with its out-of-the-box planters (whiskey barrels filled with colorful flowers) and strong sense of community – many of the neighbors watered one another’s plants and worked together to allow their mini oasis in the city to flourish.
Another Brooklyn block shows off their sense of humor with this personified tree friend.
But placing in the contest wasn’t as simple as slapping a few plant pots down on a stoop. Entrants were evaluated multiple times over the course of several weeks by a panel of judges that included Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff, local horticulture professionals and NYC journalists (including yours truly). Judges scored the blocks on proper plant care and upkeep, tree bed health, use of native flora, creativity and community participation.
A creative alternative to basic plant pots.
The competition also awarded prizes for Best Window Box, Greenest Storefront, Best Street Tree Beds and Best Community Garden Streetscape as well as the first-ever National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award for the block showcasing the most eco-friendly initiatives.