project leader
Basia N
137th Street
(Hamilton Heights)
latest update rss
Thank you!

the project

IMMEDIATE GOAL: Proyecto de Embellecimiento 137th Street Beautification Project aims to raise funds for purchase of flowering plants and three metal treeguards by March 15, 2012. This would enable us to plan for a Block Planting Day in early Spring 2012 and install the metal treeguards by the date of the event.

LONG TERM GOALS: To create and nurture a well-kept street of healthy trees and gardens on our dense, low-income neighborhood block. We do this by educating and encouraging neighbors to adopt trees and garden around them, and by protecting the garden beds and trees with community-funded treeguards. Over the coming months, we hope to replace our six remaining volunteer-built wooden treeguards with more long-lasting, metal treeguards.

Last summer during the Block Planting Morning (June 4, 2011) over 70 volunteers gardened around the 23 street trees, reinforced any wobbly or broken wooden treeguards, and kids made signs that were later laminated and hung like a gallery along the block. We also expedited the enlarging of the tiny tree bed of the single oldest tree on the block.

In early Spring 2012, we plan to garden around the 23 trees, hold bilingual street tree care workshops with MillionTreesNY, and paint the metal treeguards that need refurbishing. We will also make any necessary repairs to the 6 wooden treeguards. As per a community meeting held last summer, we will contribute to raise awareness about water economization and proper use of fire hydrants.

the steps

Fundraise for total $3,391.

Advertise: Create and print fundraiser flyers. Encourage our email list to donate to the site. Announce ioby fundraiser on the three trees on the block, and have volunteers notify residents of the two buildings of the fundraising initiative. Approach Zogsports to request our project’s ioby URL link be included in their newsletters to Riverbank Park teams and their Spring season sign-up emails.

Sign up for the GrowTruck gardening tool loan.

Converse with the two other block groups to determine whether to pursue street closure permitting or not.

Purchase flowers from Grow NYC, the city’s wholesale community garden plant sale in early Spring 2012. Volunteers transport the flowers from the Bronx to Manhattan.

Create and print Block Planting Day 2012 flyers.

Promote the event with distribution of informational flyers, emails to 137th St Project supporters and Facebook updates, in the period leading up to Block Planting Day ‘12.

Solicit local businesses for work materials (ie. paint, paintbrushes, soil, plants).

Solicit local and non-local businesses for in-kind donations such as lunch foods and raffle prizes for volunteers at the end of the event.

why we're doing it

Civic activity and nature stewardship should start at one’s doorstep; For us, they do, literally. Our project engages people in simple and dignified civic actions that build local pride and raise awareness about nature stewardship (street tree care & adoption, Urban Heat Island Effect, storm water overflow, gardening, and water waste).

There are many additional reasons to do what we do:

·      Our neighborhood suffers high asthma rates in part due to the MTA bus depot in our area, and trees are a natural way to filter the air of impurities.

·      A community education effort is especially important given that our street is located next to the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant that nobody else in Manhattan wanted;

·      Raw sewage overflows into the Hudson River during big rainfalls and more open and absorbent sidewalk surfaces can help reduce the rainwater overflow into the sewage system by slowing it down; Our project creates 23 active gardens along our urban block that serve as permeable water drainage areas.

·      Hot sidewalks contribute to the Urban Heat Island Effect; To counter this, we have gotten 11 trees planted on our block and want all 23 trees to be healthy with broad canopies, to lower sidewalk temperatures and offer shade to passerbyers. Metal treeguards serve to protect these gardens and trees from physical damage by cars, trucks, dog urine/feces and pedestrians.

·      Gardening is a community-building activity that brings diverse residents together around a healthy outdoor physical activity that overcomes language and age barriers.

·      Gardening also makes the area safer as neighbors work together and get to know one another, and because it brings people outdoors on a regular basis.


flower fund - $600 Grow NYC
6 big bags soil - $80 Home Depot
Toner/Paper/Xeroxing - $60 Staples
3 metal treeguards - 3 x $800=$2,400 NYC Parks & Recreation Tree Trust

Project total = $3,140
ioby fee = $251
Total to fundraise = $3,391


Thank you!

Thanks to all of our generous donors and ioby's brilliant matching grant on Earth Day, we have fully funded this project!!!! Thank you for your support of this community initiative.

We have already initiated the process of purchasing 3 metal treeguards for the block and the flowers to plant on May 6.

All are invited to join us and get grubby on May 6 (9am-12noon) as we plant around the trees and paint the treeguards. Or come and walk down the 137th street between Broadway and Riverside Drive after May 6 to enjoy the gardens. Or explore our progress and milestones by viewing photos on our Facebook page: 137th Street Beautification Project.

Most Appreciatively,

The 137th Street Gardening Committee

Fall 2011 updates - planting away!


In October 2011 we planted donated flower bulbs  for Spring (THANKS New Yorkers for Parks, PlantShed, Partnerships for Parks & Greenthumb!!!) 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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