Green sweep! Volunteers clean and green Park Slope’s Fourth Avenue

The Brooklyn Paper
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Pitching in: Slope Civic Council member Grace Freedman got her hands dirty on Fourth Avenue.
Fern gully: Sloper Ralph Sanchez volunteered to brave Fourth Avenue traffic for maximum shrubbage.
Light bulbs: Sue Wolfe, president of the advocacy group Friends of Douglass-Greene Park, planted daffodils at the Gowanus park on Oct. 19.
Down and dirty: Rachel Wile of Friends of Douglass-Greene Park vanquished weeds at Gowanus's Thomas Greene Playground.
Big dig: Don Vietor greened up Gowanus's Thomas Greene Playground during It's My Park Day.

From mean to green.

That was the Park Slope Civic Council’s idea for busy Fourth Avenue on Saturday when about a dozen members tackled street litter and planted flowers to spruce up their neighborhood’s busiest thoroughfare.

The volunteers from the council’s Fourth on Fourth Avenue committee brightened the boulevard as part of the group’s annual Fall Civic Sweep, bagging stray garbage, planting about 300 daffodil bulbs in tree beds along eight blocks of the roadway between Degraw and Pacific streets, and installing two planters on a traffic median near the Butler Street intersection. The busy stretch of road may look better now, but it will be twice as nice next year when the daffodils bloom, and it will only get greener as the calendar pages turn and the trees grow in improved beds, organizers said.

The Department of Transportation provided the committee with the planters as part of the city’s traffic-calming plan for the speeding-prone strip.

The transportation agency did not have the funds to add flora to the planters, committee co-chair SJ Avery said, so the committee secured the funding for the soil and the plants through a donation from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The Fourth on Fourth Avenue committee has also been pushing the city to add more trees and tree guards to the largely barren boulevard, Avery said.

And Fourth Avenue wasn’t the only place in the area to get the green treatment on Saturday.

Advocacy group Friends of Douglass-Greene Park also planted 300 daffodils and ripped out weeds in Gowanus’s beloved Thomas Greene Playground during the annual, citywide It’s My Park Day volunteer event.

“This will be great for our ongoing weeding efforts in the park,” said Sue Wolfe, president of the group.

It’s My Park Day, an initiative of the Parks Department and the City Parks Foundation, draws thousands of New Yorkers to help clean up neighborhood parks across the five boroughs.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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