This Sunday marks the 49th annual celebration of Earth Day, and what better time is there to think more proactively about ways to take care of the planet?
If you live in New York City, you’re already probably doing your part to help the earth; taking public transportation and recycling are part of many New Yorkers’ daily routines, as are things like shopping at local Greenmarkets and spending time in parks.
But Earth Day is a good time to up your eco-friendliness—and in that spirit, we’ve compiled a few easy (and fun!) ways that you can celebrate this year.
For the third year running, the Department of Transportation will close a stretch of Broadway to vehicular traffic the day before Earth Day, in an effort to bring awareness to the fact that a car-free New York City isn’t as scary as some automobile addicts would think. Cars will be banned from a two-mile stretch—from Union Square to Times Square—from 9 a.m. to 3p.m.
In addition to those 30 blocks of Broadway, car-free streets programs will be happening in upper Manhattan, on St. Nicholas Avenue from 181st to 190th streets; there will be a Weekend Walks in Woodside, Queens; and Downtown Brooklyn will be holding an Earth Day Block Party at Albee Square and Albee Square West on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. More details about what, exactly, will be happening can be found on the DOT’s website.
While you shouldn’t limit yourself to helping out in New York’s parks on the easiest day to do so, there are a ton of activities happening throughout the city for Earth Day—so head to your nearest green space and see how you can help out.
The NYC Parks Department has planned myriad activities in every borough: you can help clean and beautify small parks; go hiking through Van Cortlandt Park; join the Bronx River Cleanup happening in Soundview Park; or pick up a free tree to plant from the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn. The sky’s the limit.
On Earth Day, the American Museum of Natural History will host EarthFest—a full day of events and programs that will include a performance by the Chelsea Symphony Orchestra, yoga sessions accompanied by live music, pop-up musical performances, a celebration of birds, and a parade around the museum with homemade musical instruments made from recycled materials. The event will run from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Do something eco-friendly in your neighborhood
There are plenty of small ways that you can green your immediate surroundings: Find a place where you can drop off compost scraps; if you’ve been in the throes of spring cleaning, take your old clothes to a textile recycling center; pick up a piece of trash from your block; or request a street tree.
And remember—sometimes small changes can have the biggest impact.