Archive for the tag 'my tree nyc'

The tree bed one year ago after planting sunflowers, and the same tree bed on Monday.

The tree bed one year ago after planting sunflowers, and the same tree bed on Monday.

An award-winning tree bed on East 14th Street that was built by neighborhood children and celebrated by local pols has been ripped out and destroyed, and neighbors are pointing a finger at the management company of a nearby apartment building.

The tree bed, located on East 14th Street between Gravesend Neck Road and Avenue X, was one of several designed and built in 2011 by children on the block who, along with parents, wanted to battle litter and beautify the street. Dirty, trash-covered pits were filled with trees and flowers, given tree guards, and kids painted environmentally friendly messages like “Stop Littering – Save the World” that were installed into each fixture. Parents raised money for the improvements by knocking on neighbors’ doors and doing online fundraising.

The tree well near the apartment building was the crown jewel of the lot, besting scores of other entries in Million Trees NYC’s “My tree NYC: Beautiful Tree Bed Contest,” taking first place citywide.

But the accolades didn’t make a difference to the management company of the apartment building, which is located at 2365 East 13th Street but has a back exit and waste disposal area on East 14th Street,  who, according to project organizer Julia Chernova, ripped out the display over the weekend.

“[The management company] told me that the tree guard didn’t meet specifications and that the super was instructed to weed the tree beds, because they were ‘unsightly,’” Chernova told Sheepshead Bites. “He simply cleared the entire tree bed – all the sunflowers, daisies, marigolds and other plants, and repeated the process in the other tree beds along the block.”

“My kid cried inconsolably yesterday, and I was hard put to explain why someone would tear out flowers,” she added.

Chernova said the timing of the destruction suggests it may have been the management’s way of getting back at her and other neighbors for complaining about the building’s garbage disposal practices.

“This happened a week after I complained to Sanitation Dept about the garbage bags that they throw on our sidewalk, street, and tree beds (after I asked the management of the building and the super to handle it more carefully, but didn’t get any response). Their response — get rid of flowers,” Chernova wrote. “The Super also told me that it would be good to get rid of the trees. I feel like they just retaliated and did this out of spite.”

Calls to the management company, M&R Management, which oversees 10 residential buildings in the area, were not returned.

Chernova said she hopes residents living in the management company’s buildings will demand that company rebuild the tree guard, plant new flowers and reform the garbage disposal practices.

Chernova's (winning) tree bed

Forget the London Olympics, Sheepshead Bay is in the midst of its very own turf war.  The race to win 1 Million Trees’ “My Tree NYC: Beautiful Tree Bed Contest” pits local hero Julia Chernova versus Rob Hickman, from some place called “South Williamsburg” (is that a thing now?).

The contest ends August 3, with the winner taking home a Home Depot gift card ($100 for the grand prize), an official NYC Parks tree bed plaque displaying the category in which they won, recognition at a ceremony in Central Park and true neighborhood glory.

While there are several more contestants than just Hickman and Chernova, throughout the duration of the contest it’s been neck and neck for the two competitors. And Hickman has been sending out play-by-plays announcing the dramatic twists… and sparking a green-thumb war by saying it’s a battle of “South Williamsburg versus Sheepshead Bay.”

As of now, Chernova is in first place with 149 votes and Hickman is at 136.

If you’re not sure about Chernova’s qualifications, with the help of community members, she beautified her block - East 14th Street,  between Avenue X and Gravesend Neck Road – and, more recently, Gravesend Neck Road itself, by adding several over-sized flower pots growing shrubs and colorful flowers.

Her contest entry tree bed features two hand-painted signs in it. The signs were decorated by local kids who wanted to remind passers-by that they care about Earth and their block.

The tree bed showcases marigolds and green leafy plants, all planted by kids from around the way. Chernova and her green-thumbed youth went a few steps further by putting up a dispenser with  bags for dog poop, a self-designed tree guard that guides rainwater into the tree soil, and two solar-powered lights.

Clearly, there’s no contest. Chernova from Sheepshead Bay wins by about 12 miles.

Now, go vote and make your voice heard! You can vote once a day, so be sure to return back every day between now and August 3 so we can show Williamsburg who’s boss.