New Yorkers have been celebrating Earth Day ever since the holiday was created over 50 years ago. During the first observation on April 22, 1970, the city closed Fifth Avenue to traffic from Union Square to Central Park as part of an “ecological carnival.” For the last several decades, New York City has marked Earth Day with environment-focused events, volunteer opportunities, and educational workshops. This year, honor Mother Nature by attending the city’s largest-ever car-free celebration, taking in artwork that explores our relationship with Earth, learning about NYC’s edible plants, shopping sustainably, volunteering at a park clean-up, and more.
Photo of Car-Free Earth Day in 2019 courtesy of the New York City Department of Transportation on Flickr
1. Enjoy NYC’s largest-ever car-free Earth Day celebration
New York City’s annual car-free Earth Day celebration will be the biggest one yet. On Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., New Yorkers can enjoy over 30 car-free locations across the five boroughs that connect to 80 open streets, plazas, and the city’s bike network. In addition to the car-free streets, the celebration will include free community-sponsored events, live performances, fitness classes, giveaways, and educational programs. Plus, Citi Bike will offer free unlimited 30-minute rides on a classic Citi Bike for 24 hours with the use of the promo code CARFREE23 in the Citi Bike app.
Photo of the opening of Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Memory Map courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art
2. Explore our relationship with Earth through art with free admission at the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art is offering free admission this Earth Day, in celebration of the planet and also the final weekend of the exhibition, “no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria.” The exhibit, the first survey of contemporary Puerto Rican art in a major U.S. museum in 50 years, features the work of 20 intergenerational artists who explore the years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017 and respond to the political, social, and environmental factors connected to the disaster. Two additional exhibitions on view at the museum this weekend that examine the environment and our relationship to the land: Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Memory Map” and “Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century.”
A free climate-related art program for kids of all ages will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hess Family Theater and Hearst Artspace on the third floor. The program will be led by “no existe un mundo poshuracán” artist Gabriela Salazar who will demonstrate a coffee-clay art-making activity inspired by her work. Free tickets for April 22 are available while supplies last. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be reserved here.
Photo courtesy of the Hester Street Fair
3. Learn about NYC’s wild edible plants and pot a native wildflower
What better way to connect with Mother Nature than learning about the wild plants of New York? During the opening weekend of the Hester Street Fair, the Glam Gardener NYC, a business run by Aly Stoffo who sells wild-harvested and herbal products, will be presenting a workshop on identifying and tasting common wild edibles that grow in New York. Participants will also learn how to plant a native wildflower to take home. The fair takes place outside of Pier 17 in the Seaport on April 22 and April 23 and will include more than 60 vendors and live music throughout the weekend.
Photo courtesy of FAD Market
4. Shop small and sustainably at the FAD Market
The FAD Market is celebrating Earth Day with a weekend of sustainable shopping. The fashion, art, and design pop-up kicks off its season at Boerum Hill’s The Invisible Dog Center on April 22 and April 23 with over 50 makers, designers, and small businesses focused on sustainability, including HYER GOODS, a zero-waste accessories label, Wildcolor Brooklyn, offering unique quilts and garments from upcycled fabrics and natural dyes, Teddy and Doll take tea, featuring handmade kids clothing made from vintage fabrics, and more. FAD Market is also hosting two free workshops, an herb plant potting workshop on Saturday and a sketch in the garden class. Learn more about the Earth Day pop-up here.
Courtesy of Woodlawn Cemetery
5. Walk among Woodlawn Cemetery’s thousands of trees
One of the best places to take in Earth’s beauty is Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, a 400-acre landmark with more than 6,300 trees, including more than 400 distinct species of trees and shrubs. As part of its annual Earth Day celebration, Woodlawn, also the final resting place of many notable New Yorkers, will offer a family-friendly day with tree walks, tree planting, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and flower planting. The event is free to attend, but registration is required. Register here.
6. Join the stars of Broadway to demand action on climate change
Broadway stars will come together this Earth Day to demand climate action. The second annual “Broadway Celebrates Earth Day” concert takes place in Times Square on April 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes free, live performances from “Broadway’s top talent, student performers from the tri-state area, and family-friendly activities,” according to a press release. As part of a partnership between the Times Square Alliance and the Broadway Green Alliance, the concert takes place on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets and kicks off the NYC Department of Transportation’s car-free Earth Day event. The concert will also be live-streamed by Stars in the House.
Photo © 6sqft
7. Help clean up your local city park
Celebrate Earth Day by volunteering at a clean-up of your local neighborhood park. As part of the “It’s My Park” initiative run by the Parks Department and the City Parks Foundation, New Yorkers are invited to beautify green spaces by removing litter, weeding, and raking. There are more than two dozen volunteer events happening at parks across the five boroughs this Saturday, April 22. Find one near you here.
Tags : Earth Day