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Brooklyn's greenest block is in Crown Heights

Lincoln Place in Crown Heights was awarded the

Lincoln Place in Crown Heights was awarded the "Greenest Block in Brooklyn Award" by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Photo Credit: Li Yakira Cohen

Brooklyn's greenest block is official — and unsurprisingly it sits mere blocks from the borough's Botanic Garden.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden gave the honor to Preserving Lincoln’s Abundant Natural Treasures (PLANTs) — a subset of the Lincoln Civic Block Association — for applying its green thumb to the roughly 530-foot-long section of Lincoln Place between Nostrand and New York Avenues. The block was one of 160 in 30 neighborhoods that took part in the “friendly but fierce” competition, according to BBG President Scot Medbury.

More than 15 judges selected the winners of the contest based on citizen participation, street tree maintenance, plant suitability and variety, horticultural practices and maintenance, soil stewardship and mulching  and creativity. Other categories in the free contest included greenest commercial block, greenest storefront, best community garden streetscape, best street tree beds, best window box and the National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award. 

On the winning residential block, every brownstone serves as a backdrop to lush greenery and whimsical horticultural displays. A stroll takes visitors from short shrubs in drums to a circus and Ferris wheel beaming with vibrant green.

Residents planted and regularly care for roughly 10,000 plants. One retiree, Beverley Hall, 61, said she waters plants along the street every morning from about 6 to 9 a.m. She said other residents tend to the horticultural paradise well past 2 a.m. a few times a week.

“I’ve always put plants on my stoop, but in the last couple of years I’ve seen this movement where all the people were getting involved,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. It beautifies the block and I feel like I’m part of something.”

Althea Joseph, another Lincoln Place resident, told the crowd at the award ceremony that the secret to the block’s success this year, after placing second in 2018, was that residents enjoyed every step of the process. 

“Everybody contributed. There was only one frenemy in the mix — the weather,” she said. Some days it got up to 100 degrees, making the work harder, she said, but the rain always helped. 

Hall said the contest has not only improved the aesthetic of the block but has also upgraded the overall feeling of the neighborhood. A nanny who works there, she said, regularly calls it “the happiest block in the world.”

“It’s brought us together. We communicate more,” said Hall. “Flowers make people smile.”

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