Today marks the 50th 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 fourth year running, the Department of Transportation will close a stretch of Broadway to vehicular traffic the weekend after 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, Downtown Brooklyn, Chinatown, and more. More details about what, exactly, will be happening can be found on the DOT’s website.
Go green in Union Square
This Manhattan park is hosting one of the city’s biggest Earth Day events on Tuesday, April 23, in conjunction with the Earth Day Initiative, a nonprofit whose mission is to get people involved in environmental activism. The group will host a daylong celebration, with different vendors sharing information on how to green your life, along with live performances, activities for children, and more.
Head to your local park
While you shouldn’t limit yourself to helping out in New York’s parks on the easiest day to do so, there are plenty 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 on a mile-long bike ride through Staten Island’s Greenbelt, and more.
Ride a Citi Bike
Lessen your carbon footprint by taking a Citi Bike instead of a cab to that appointment you have across town—the bike-sharing service is offering free rides on April 22 in celebration of Earth Day. Simply enter the code EARTHDAY19 into the Citi Bike app once you’re near a docking station, and get ready to ride. (Here’s a map of all of the city’s bike lanes so you can familiarize yourself with those pathways, if you’re not already an experienced rider.)
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.