With its latest grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City, the west Kensington Action Group (wKAG) is about to undertake its most ambitious project to date – green up, fix up and clean up Church Avenue. It is buying the lumber, tools and screws to build and install tree-pit benches and guards along Church.
Starting at 10 am Sunday morning at the Church Avenue Green Triangle, wKAG is urging Kensingtonians to volunteer for a bench-building brigade, its version of a barn raising. The Triangle is at Church and 35th Street on McDonald Avenue’s west side.
The brigades will construct and assemble tree-bench kits from precut lumber, dig holes for posts, mix cement, and carry the partly assembled benches to their assigned tree pits, for final assembly. Other volunteers will meet and greet the workers or ply them with water and snacks. If all goes according to plan, by Sunday afternoon 10 naked tree pits will have seats, and others will be protected by tree guards. Councilman Brad Lander is helping to get more tree guards for the most trafficked areas. The upshot is that Church Avenue pedestrians will finally have spots to sit down and rest their feet. Of course, the more Kensingtonians who show up Sunday, the more likely 10 tree benches will actually get built.
To accomplish this feat and simplify construction, volunteers Bob Mason and J.C. Martinez will purchase the lumber Saturday and cut it down to the correct size for easy assembly on Sunday by craftspeople, bench-building brigade novices and the unhandy. Like any barn raising, it should be fun.
An earlier wKAG project that also received a small grant, The Kensington Trash Mob (i.e., just like a flash mob, but when called it picks up Church Avenue’s trash), was the brainchild of wKAG’s founder, Maggie Tobin. The grant was used to purchase lime-green T-shirts and limey-yellow construction-crew net vests with “Kensington Trash Mob” silk-screened on them in black—much coveted items by the Kensington Plaza public. Now operating under new bylaws with elected officers, wKAG has assumed responsibility for The Green Triangle, the Kensington Plaza Stewards, and the protection of the Church Avenue trees.