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Street Furniture Popping Up All Over Myrtle Avenue

December 17, 2012
Local Designs Adorn Tree Guards/Benches

Local Designs Adorn Tree Guards/Benches

After adding 40 steel tree guards and benches during Phase I of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s Street Furniture Project, Phase II has finally kicked in. Merchants and pedestrians can look forward to the addition of 50 benches decorated with hearts, squiggles or brownstones.

One merchant, Ali Muhsin, owner of Farmer in the Deli, has been happily waiting for a bench outside his shop, and one finally arrived just last week.

“I would see a lot of my customers actually buy a sandwich and then take it over to sit and eat in front of Cake Joy,” Muhsin said about one bench that was added to the neighborhood in September.

Founder and executive director of the Pratt Design Incubator Debera Johnson helped Pratt Institute alumni and students design a modular prototype of the tree guards which could easily incorporate artistic designs from the community.

“It’s a great opportunity to provide decoration and art on the street, as well as leveraging it to create seating on the avenue,” said Johnson.

“The way we designed it was to make it really simple,” Johnson added. ”People just submitted a line drawing in an illustrator file from the dimensions we requested.”

The MARP project chose 24 original designs from local artists and students. Even young children attending the Trilok Pre-school on Waverly Avenue had their designs incorporated into the new benches.

“We just reached out to as many local schools as we could, art teachers, principals, depending on where we had contacts,” said Michael Blaise Backer, MARP’s executive director. MARP has been installing three to five new tree guards/benches every day between Flatbush and Classon Avenues.

It’s great because it creates seating without taking space away from anything else,” MARP program manager Daniel Scorse said. “The tree pits are already there. It’s not taking up any more of the sidewalk.”

If MARP is able to raise the funding there could even be a Phase III of this useful and beautifying project.

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