Recap: “Adapting to Change” Lower East Side Cycling Tour

Posted on: December 6th, 2012 at 10:10 am by and

[Center: Wendy Brawer of the Green Map System, addressing the crowd. Photo: David Bergman]

In the immediate post-Sandydays, bicycles were the best means of transportation, and so it was appropriate that the Green Map System’s “Adapting to Change” tour of the Lower East Side, held this past Sunday, traveled by bike. The mostly helmeted participants gathered at Tompkins Square Park for a two-plus hour guided ride of gardens, green buildings and composting as well as storm damage.

Organized by Wendy Brawer, long-time LES resident and founder of the Green Map System, the tour’s intent was to “explore responses to the challenges faced by Lower East Side residents and visit innovative and sustainable solutions that reduce energy consumption and increase climate awareness.” Before the ride began, Dan Miner of Beyond Oil NYC discussed some of the environmental issues underlying climate change, referring to the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a factor that almost certainly contributed to the strength of Superstorm Sandy.

First stop on the tour was Cooper Union’s new eco-certified building at Astor Place, where David Bergman, author/blogger, architect and occasional contributor to Bowery Boogie, described the green aspects of the building as well as general ecodesign responses to climate change. The tour then proceeded through Fourth Arts Block where the community-based organization has painted white roofs and is pursuing solar power installations.

Next stops were First Park, a culture park recently created out of neglected city-owned spaces, and M’Finda Kalunga Garden (in Sara D. Roosevelt Park), a community garden where the chickens were either hiding or had been taken to warmer winter digs.

[Photo: David Bergman]

After meandering through the Delancey Street area, observing recent traffic-calming installations and discussing the Lowline as well as the planned redevelopment of the area, we headed to the East River Park where some of the worst damage occurred. Along the way, JK Canepa of the New York Climate Action Group talked about some of the community efforts underway.

At the river, we saw the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s compost operation where their steel bins had been lifted by the storm surge and shoved along a fence by the highway. The water level there had reportedly peaked at 9.5’ above the ground level (which was already several feet above sea level).

[Photo: David Bergman]

Perhaps the saddest sites were the mountains of wood and branches from age-old trees that succumbed to Sandy’s devastation. Though not as horrific as the destruction and ongoing hardships to be found at coastal areas of the city and New Jersey, the backdrop emphasized the scale of existing and potential issues the LES faces from climate change. Balancing that were the examples of solutions such as pervious pavement and green roofs encountered in the tour.

Watch Peter Shapiro’s video of David Bergman speaking:

Watch Peter Shapiro’s video of Dan Miner speaking:

Recent Stories

Site of Mass Displacement: A Chinatown Gentrified by Galleries [Op-Ed]

The following was written by Liz Moy of the Chinatown Art Brigade. There is an ongoing perception that Manhattan’s Chinatown has stayed relatively the same throughout the years whilst other low-income neighborhoods of color have been overtaken by gentrification. Ask someone how Chinatown fares in an increasingly unaffordable city and they’ll likely say, at least […]

Matthew Silver, the 2014 Mr. Lower East Side
Off Cycle ‘Mr. Lower East Side Pageant’ Returns Tomorrow Night … in Ridgewood

Surprise! The Mr. Lower East Side Pageant returns tomorrow night, some four months earlier than usual. Unlike earlier this year, the iconic underground beauty contest won’t be anywhere near its namesake neighborhood. This time, for the 17.5th annual event, the shenanigans will go down at the Footlight Bar in Ridgewood, Queens. You’re probably wondering about the off-cycle nature […]

2nd Annual ‘Lower East Side Cider Fest’ is Happening on Sunday

The orchards are, in fact, coming back to Orchard Street … albeit temporarily. With apple picking season wrapping up, the 2nd annual Lower East Cider Fest is kicking off this weekend, as part of the larger “Cider Week NYC” celebration happening throughout the – wait for it – Big Apple. The event will showcase notable cider makers and apple growers […]

Clinton Street ‘Casita’ Tree Tunnel Uprooted for Good

The arboreal attraction (and known rat hangout) at the southeast corner of Clinton and Stanton Streets is officially kaput. That’s right, no more tree tunnel. A chainsaw crew arrived last week to chop and uproot the leaning line of trees comprising the overhang. This was a complete removal, unlike the trim of overgrowth that transpired […]

Delancey Street Gets its First LinkNYC Kiosk

Yesterday afternoon, the city unveiled the first LinkNYC pornhub kiosk for Delancey Street. It’s situated just east of the Bowery, where these things are multiplying faster than gizmo in a swimming pool. The 9-foot-6-inch unit is not yet active, though. LinkNYC stations have been criticized pretty much from the get-go. In league with the soulless […]