321 W. 152nd Street
Harlem – Hamilton Heights – NYC
321 W. 152nd Street
Harlem – Hamilton Heights – NYC
Photo/Video Credits: Kahwaty Media, Project EverGreen and TurfsUp Radio
Bradhurst Garden has stood for more than 30 years on the site of a former concrete building. And despite the tireless efforts of the community garden group and interested neighbors, the annual upkeep was too daunting a task.
Accessibility to a shady, cool area to gather in this Hamilton Heights garden was desperately needed, but the project was too much for one person or group to improve on their own.
That changed on July 27-28 when more than 25 green industry professional and community volunteers came together as part of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative to revitalize this beloved garden, a long-time green oasis and source of fresh fruits and vegetables for neighborhood residents.
The project – valued at $30,000 – transformed the garden’s accessibility and was the first step to restoring the 5,000 sq. ft. garden to its deserved standing in the community.
“I grew up here and I love the peace and serenity it brings me and my family,” said Leanne Williams, president of the Bradhurst Garden Group. “My uncle, Papa Joe, helped build this garden and created a place to bring people together in the community. It’s our pride and joy and now it’s better than ever.”
“A well-maintained green garden that brings cooling relief is vital to this highly populated neighborhood, but over the years it had fallen into disarray,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Bringing the community gardeners’ vision to life is possible only through collaboration of individuals, businesses and community grants. Our professional volunteers love sharing their expertise and giving back to neighborhood parks and gardens.”
Project EverGreen volunteers worked in partnership with NYC Parks Green Thumb to renovate, improve and expand access to the garden. Improved accessibility was critical to the garden as it has been relying on plywood flooring to form its outdoor gathering space. Gardeners were also awaiting the renovation so they could restore their prized vegetable gardens where they grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to feed the community.
The specifics of renovation included:
“We were surprised and shocked by the generosity of the donors. This garden is part of our community, it helps bring people together,” said Yvonne “Eve” Bryant, treasurer of the Bradhurst Garden Group. “It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to us. We appreciate everything.”
Lead donors for the project were ConEdison and Mt. Sinai Health System and the partner donor was the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Green Thumb Community Garden Initiative.
Industry volunteers and donors included Artisan Gardens, Cast Lighting, Mike Darling Construction, Plant Detectives, SRW Products, Totalscape Design and Turfs Up Radio. Their professional, donated volunteer time is estimated at $15,000.
This was the seventh GreenCare for Communities project in New York City since 2014. Previous projects have included Liberty Island (2014), Neighbors of Vega Baja (2017), Clinton Community Garden (2018-19), Jackie Robinson Community Garden (2020), Carolina Community Garden (2020) and Wishing Well Community Garden (2021).
Parks, lawns, landscapes and maintained green spaces help to mitigate temperature increases in communities and significantly reduce energy use and cooling costs. Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative has made a significant impact. Since 2008, Project EverGreen and its partners have renovated community parks and public green spaces totaling more than 200 million square feet of living green space.
Through its nationwide base of professional volunteers, Project EverGreen has connected people, plants and their communities to maximize the health of grass, plants and trees, which in turn sequesters carbon and cleans the air. The initiative supports healthy green spaces in neighborhoods and cities, enabling maintained green spaces to function as the lungs of the city and offsetting the negative effects of a warming environment.
Why Are Green Spaces Important to New York City
Green spaces are important to New York City residents for several reasons:
Environmental Benefits: Green spaces help to mitigate the urban heat island effect, reduce air pollution, and provide habitats for wildlife. They also help to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent flooding.
Health Benefits: Access to green spaces has been shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, and promote physical activity. In a city like New York, where many residents live in areas with limited access to fresh food and safe outdoor spaces, green spaces can provide important opportunities for exercise and recreation.
Social Benefits: Green spaces provide a gathering place for community events and activities, fostering a sense of community and social cohesion. They also provide opportunities for volunteerism and community engagement.
Economic Benefits: Green spaces can increase property values and attract businesses, tourists, and new residents to the area. This can lead to increased economic activity and job creation.
In New York City, the availability of green spaces varies widely by neighborhood, with some areas having more parks and greenways than others. As a result, there has been a push to increase access to green spaces in underserved communities, through initiatives such as the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Parks and the Parks Without Borders program. These initiatives aim to improve the quality of life for all New York City residents by increasing access to green spaces and promoting a healthier and more sustainable city.