One down, 499 to go! Greenpointers plant first of 500 new trees

One down, 499 to go! Greenpointers plant first of 500 new trees
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They branched out!

Green-thumbed Greenpointers gathered on Driggs Avenue on Friday to plant the first of 500 trees in a project to beautify the neighborhood through shrubbery, and organizers said it warmed their hearts to see local tree-huggers getting their hands dirty.

“It really lifted my spirits to see how many folks in Greenpoint were as excited as I am about tree-planting,” said Sophie Plitt of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Local Girl Scouts and students from the nearby St. Stanislaus Academy joined Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Williamsburg) and Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) to plant the inaugural tree of Greening Greenpoint, a three-year project where locals install new topiary throughout the neighborhood while learning to maintain and improve the health of existing trees.

“The goal is to plant 500 new trees, but really to elevate the level of tree care in Greenpoint through equipping residents to become tree stewards,” Plitt said.

The youngsters and elected officials planted a native Hackberry tree near Diamond Street, and then sowed 300 daffodil bulbs down the avenue between Newell and Humboldt streets.

The city is organizing the project, but the money comes via the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, a state grant program created with money ExxonMobil shelled out for spilling massive amounts of oil into the Newtown Creek.

The parks department will partner with other local schools, churches, businesses, and activist groups to plant the remaining 499 trees, Plitt said.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobb[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.