Tuesday’s weather was simply beautiful, which was appropriate, since it was Earth Day. Earth Day represents an opportunity to reflect on the green initiatives in our neighborhoods, our country and our world.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg has carved out an impressive green legacy, most prominently in his sweeping PlaNYC 2030. The cornerstone of this environmental plan which was announced at last year’s Earth Day was, of course, congestion pricing. Sadly, congestion pricing failed due to a lack of will in Albany, but that may not last forever.
Other parts of the mayor’s plan are moving full-steam ahead, such as planting 1 million new trees over the next decade, which will create better air and a greener environment in an immediately tangible manner.
Green-building guidelines, another part of PlaNYC, are increasingly being incorporated in new developments.
It’s clear from the many miles of new bike lanes that have been painted, that the city really is committed to improving cycling for commuters and recreational riders alike. Making the city more bike friendly is another step in the right direction on both the environment and health.
Word has it that a new, protected bike lane, similar to the one on Ninth Ave. in Chelsea is slated for Grand St.; we’d like to see more of these protected lanes.
Also locally, it’s encouraging to observe that many of our stores are hitching their wagons to the green movement, from offering nonpolluting products to pledging proceeds from sales on Earth Day for environmental causes.
Sadly, the Bush administration has been a disaster on the environment. The administration has done nothing eco-positive over the last seven years. Bush finally only fairly recently admitted global warming might exist.
We need a new administration that will lead our country in a sensible, green direction and will lead a global movement to create an agreement of the caliber of the Kyoto Protocol to protect the planet for future generations. We’ve wasted enough resources. There’s no time left to waste to address global warming and our planet’s future.
A community’s center
Two of the thousands who came out to the recent block party celebrating Manhattan Youth’s new community center helped capture the importance of the moment.
“It feels like a small town event,” one told our reporter. A middle schooler said “I’m seeing friends I never thought I’d see again.” Downtown probably hasn’t had that down home feel since 2005, when Pier 25 was last open to the public.
It’s no accident. Manhattan Youth ran the Tribeca pier programs and the group is going to run the community center as soon as it opens, which we hope will be in a few weeks. It’s a milestone moment. A community center run by a grassroots organization that has grown, flourished and recovered with the rest of Lower Manhattan will knit us all closer together. Congratulations to Bob Townley and his dedicated staff and supporters for realizing this dream.
There are other community centers on the way. They are also needed and will be celebrated. But this one feels like it will be ours.