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

Photo: Reuters
What Will Replace the Lost Buildings on the 2nd Avenue Explosion Site?

Too soon? Yes. It’s shitty, but one of the common utterances we heard from people in the immediate aftermath of the explosion on Second Avenue last week was regarding the property itself. Real estate speculation; that developers were probably foaming at the mouth with the soon-to-be-available corner parcel. A spot in what many consider the “heart” […]

skal-saturday-night
Skal Icelandic Bar on Canal Street Closes Shop

Six months shy of its second anniversary, nordic nightspot Skal is seemingly finished. The restaurant has been closed for the better part of the last week, most notably during the peak weekend nights. In fact, the corner hang at 37 Canal Street maintained a rather staggered schedule of late. Word on the street is that […]

Governors Ball 2014, Photo Forest Woodward
Tickets are on Sale for the 5th Annual Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island

Spring is here (but not really), and the fifth annual Governors Ball music festival is fast approaching. It will once again take over Randall’s Island for three days chock full of good tunes, quality eats, unique art installations, and some serious boho hair flair. Get ready. This year’s festival piggybacks on the vibe of past years’ programming, running the […]

2nd-avenue-medical_wm
Family of 2nd Avenue Explosion Victim Nicholas Figueroa Crowdfunding to ‘Give This Young Man What He Deserves’

On Sunday afternoon, rescue workers discovered two bodies in the wreckage of the 2nd Avenue explosion site. Of the two people unaccounted for on that day, one has been positively identified as 23-year old Nicholas Figueroa. The youngster graduated from Buffalo State College just three months ago, and had been on a lunch date at Sushi […]

forsyth-plaza-demolition-1
Contractors Break Through Manhattan Bridge Bulwark for Forsyth Street Plaza 

The Forsyth Street Plaza entered its first phase of development around this time last week, Tuesday being the official kickoff. Construction site regulars like traffic barriers, backhoes, and other sundries are now in place for the interim. Step one, the steps… Indeed, the first order of business is punching passage through the massive masonry at […]