The unsightly concrete medians and triangles in Queens’ streets now have a new enemy – and they call themselves Greenstreets.
A citywide program run by Central Forestry that revamps neighborhoods by planting trees and bushes, Greenstreets has beautified over 1,412 sites and saved them with the public’s help. An amazing 589 sites will be planted this year alone to reach the ultimate goal of 2,001 sites by the end of 2001. Since its inception in 1986, the program has saved numerous NY neighborhoods; out of 59 community boards, 58 have at least one site.
When the location of an unattractive median or triangle is reported to Greenstreets, it is assessed for reconstruction. If approved, the concrete is removed, soil laid and plans for a new garden are drawn up. After the bushes and small decorative trees are planted, the Parks Department maintains the garden weekly from April through October.
These small gardens have many diverse environmental benefits, ranging from making the city a nicer place to live to keeping our heating and cooling costs down through the shading and insulation the trees provide. They also provide us with cleaner air and local wildlife with valuable food sources and shelter.
They also must heavily rely on the involvement of concerned citizens, community organizations and local businesses; if you “adopt” a site by helping to enhance the work of the Greenstreet crews, a plaque will be installed to honor your name. The Parks Department will supply adoptees with free equipment and training to care for their miniature gardens.
The Stewardship for Young Trees (run by the NY Tree Trust) is an additional program which offers free trees to homeowners to beautify barren streets.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking one person can’t make a difference; I myself have already reclaimed two sites on 58 Avenue in Elmhurst. You can be a part of making Queens green again by calling them at 760-6803 for Greenstreets or (212) 360-TREE for Street Trees.