August 4, 2011 | USBK

USBK Unfolds…

The people on Macon Avenue are awesome. How do we know? Because about 90% of them have at some point over the last two weeks stopped by to meet us at our work site.

The neighborhood has been extraordinarily warm and welcoming - we've been offered cold drinks, delicious iceys, loads of building advice and some very kind encouragement. So thanks, Bed Stuy, for being totally great.

As last week closed we finished part one of our rather ambitious garden installation at Leadership Prep. USBK completed not one but TWO major accomplishments: a rainwater collection system made with beautiful donated sails from a boat company in City Island and an expertly crafted wrap-around bench that will turn the space into a functioning outdoor classroom.

As you can imagine, when we told people that we were building a bench (for a week), many wondered what was taking so long. A team of nine, all working together should be able to build a bench in no time! But let me assure you - this isn't any ordinary bench. First off, its design was inspired by the benches on the High Line, which sleekly and organically rise up from the ground. We took an old reclaimed door from Build it Green and turned it into a storage space for the kids' tools.  We then made a self-watering planter out of PVC pipes and a playground set (also from Build it Green - we really can't thank them enough for their generous donation) which now house some beautiful purple flowers.

The rainwater collection system has also been a huge success! So far, from only three rain events since our installation, the barrel is over 2/3 of the way full! We're considering hooking up a second barrel, though currently the overflow automatically waters another planter like the one on the bench.  The kids from the school have been visiting in small tours, and we've had the pleasure of getting to show them how everything works.

So, onto the good stuff - some more photos of the process!  We've stained it since the last time we took photos, and now we're onto planning the placement of our planters.  We'll also be trucking in an insane amount of gravel, soil and mulch, so we'll keep you posted as this logistical nightmare unfolds. We're so excited to be moving ahead, and so far, we owe the success of the project to our incredible, dedicated USBK team. As I'm sure you can tell from these photos, they worked like a bunch of maniacs to make this project special. 

More soon!