Coney Island Beautification Project CIBP Brooklyn NY

Coney Island Beautification & Mermaid Ave. Greenway Projects in Spring Swing

By Harold Egeln

The Mermaid Avenue Greenway is blooming and the Coney Island Beautification Project, Inc., CIBP, is making that, and much more, happen, thanks to work of volunteers, children and adults alike working hand in hand with their green thumbs up in action. And that makes civic activist Pamela Pettyjohn, merchants, residents and children happy as they spring into action.

“Children and merchants have adopted blocks along Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue Greenway in this all-volunteer project,” said Pettyjohn, president of the Coney Island Beautification Project, who has also been involved with civic groups and Community Board 11.

The year’s first spring clean-up project on March 28 launched a new year of activity in the storied neighborhood. Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island’s main street and once the home area of famous folk singer Woody Guthrie, was designated as a greenway as part of the Mayor’s Clean Streets Project. In a local Coney Island way, it puts action to the words of Guthrie’s famous song, “This Land Is Your Land.”

“The children, who are students from local schools, enthusiastically embraced the project, designed the tree beds and planted the pansy flower seeds and 5,000 daffodil bulbs, which were put in around the trees last year,” Pettyjohn said. “The kids have so much fun doing this work!”

The daffodil bulbs’ planting was coordinated with the citywide New Yorkers for Parks’ Daffodil Project, led by famous parks advocate and New Yorker for Parks Executive Director Tupper Thomas, well-known for her volunteer leadership work at Prospect Park.

New Yorkers for Parks was founded in 1908 when Theodore Roosevelt, a former NY State governor and NYC police commissioner, was president and the first president to focus national attention on natural resources conservation, creating many new national parks.

On April 2, the Mermaid Avenue Greenway was again filled with school children volunteers along with local merchants of the Greenway’s adopt-a-block program, a continuing year-around effort.

The children are from local schools that include P.S. 90, P.S. 188, P.S. 288 and I.S. 329, and Lincoln High School, and from the Girl Scouts in the all-volunteer effort, backed by several avenue merchants and businesses, part of the Coney Island Beautification Project, Inc. organization.

It was formed in the aftermath of Super-storm Sandy in October 2012 with a destructive flooding in Coney Island. It advocates for and works with the city and community promoting gardening, parks improvements, street tree plantings, green public areas, cleanups and greenways.

“Tree bed plantings are not only functional, but they are also beautiful,” she said at a recent meeting. “Beauty as well as resiliency are both important.” With her love for nature and putting that love into action, Pettyjohn, herself, is a longtime volunteer at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “We need Nature in our lives.”