Macon Street between Howard and Ralph Avenues in Bed-Stuy was declared Brooklyn's Greenest Street today by Greenbridge, the community environmental horticulture program of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
At this morning's festive award ceremony, Felicia Kinsey, the Macon Street block president, called out to an audience of families and long-time Bedford-Stuyvesant residents, "What have I been saying all year?" The crowd responded in unison: "Our block rocks!" They will receive a $300 award and a plaque naming them the greenest block.
The block scored a perfect 100% on participation; every house and tree bed was decked out in planters, flowers, vines and whimsical signs that promote the power of gardening. Brooklyn Botanic Garden President, Scot Medbury, said the 200 entrants from 33 Brooklyn neighborhoods were judged on variety, upkeep of street trees, use of color, community participation, and use of native plants.
Serena Icart-Pierre, a Macon Street resident for 19 years and a Bed-Stuy native, spearheaded the gardening projects. Her neighbor, Shirley Bradey, is the one who originally entered the block in the contest, but she passed away. "I said, I'm doing it no matter what," Icart-Pierre told us. "Gardening is an excellent activity. It brings the best out in people. If you can't plant a flower with a smile on your face, you're not a person I want to meet."
Sheila Gay-Robbins, who has lived on Macon Street for 9 years, said the project has brought the whole community closer together. "First we were neighbors, now we're friends," she said.
And Borough President Eric Adams was on hand to congratulate the block, telling the green thumb residents, "Just one type of tree wouldn't be a garden. A garden is supposed to have diversity, that's what makes it a garden. It's representative of what we are. More than a tree is growing in Brooklyn; families are growing in Brooklyn."
Here are all the winners and runner-ups to the Greenest Block in Brooklyn awards. Last year author Jen Doll was chosen to judge the contest; here's her account of what it takes to find the greenest block in Brooklyn.