BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — After years of sowing the seeds of success, one Bed-Stuy street took home the title of the borough’s greenest block.
Bainbridge Street between Stuyvesant Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard won the “Greenest Block in Brooklyn” award on Tuesday following years of entries, honorable mentions and second-place accolades.
Bainbridge Street’s victory was long overdue, residents said.
“For several years, we had been a bridesmaid,” said Brenda Watts-Larkins, vice president of the Bainbridge Street Homeowners and Tenants Block Association.
“Now this is our wedding day. The brides and grooms and wedding party have gathered and we are in celebration mode.”
The block placed second in 2014, 2011 and 2010, and won first place for Best Street Tree Beds in 2012, among other awards.
Neighbors planted a mix of perennials, annuals, hostas and more to spruce up their block. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Camille Bautista
Whiskey barrels filled with colorful flowers adorn the tree-lined street, along with window boxes and planters on stoops that house a vibrant array of impatiens, petunias, gardenias, Black-eyed Susans, tobacco plants and more.
Entrants were judged on numerous criteria including community involvement, use of compost, tree beds and innovation.
“This block is a great example of a block that really climbed the ladder,” said BBG president Scot Medbury.
Residents and BBG officials credited the block association’s recent beautification of a vacant lot for pushing the group to the top this year.
Neighbors painted the fencing green and placed lattices on the barrier for ivy to grow along the wall.
Residents called a vacant lot on the corner of Bainbridge Street and Malcolm X Boulevard "an eyesore" and beautified the fence with greenery. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Camille Bautista
The block is home to Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, who joined residents in attributing the win to a late neighbor, Gary Shuford.
Shuford helped lead the block’s revitalization and is known as the “patron saint of Bainbridge Street,” Robinson said.
When the street was ridden with needles and gunshots echoed through the night in the early '90s, Shuford brought residents together to spruce up the street, according to his wife.
“Little by little, the block was beautified,” Patricia H. Shuford said. "It was with his efforts along with everybody else's to make the block look as great as it does.
“This prize has eluded us for such a long time. It’s been so bittersweet, but he’s definitely smiling because we finally made it happen.”
Entrants in the 21st annual competition were judged on criteria including tree beds, use of native plants, compost and community involvement. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Camille Bautista
Bed-Stuy also took home the coveted title in 2014, with Macon Street between Ralph and Howard avenues earning the top spot.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, elected officials and local residents joined BBG representatives in Tuesday’s announcement.
“More than a tree grows in Brooklyn: great families, great blocks, great neighborhoods and great people,” Adams said. “And today we are seeing a reflection of that.”
Members of the Bainbridge Street Homeowners and Tenants Block Association, local residents and other winners in the "Greenest Block in Brooklyn" competition receive their awards. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Camille Bautista
Other winners in this year’s residential category were Flatbush’s 300 East 25th Street Block Association in second place and East Flatbush’s E. 49th & E. 48th Street Block Association in third.
The Ingersoll Garden of Eden at NYCHA’s Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene took home the National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices award, and the Fulton Area Business Alliance won the top spot in the commercial category for the stretch of Fulton between South Portland Avenue and South Oxford Street.
BBG officials noted a growing trend in entrants embracing sustainable techniques such as bioswales and the use of native plants, according to Medbury.
For the full list of winners, visit the BBG website here.