Exploring Green Spaces on The Lower East Side
Green Map NYC and Visit.org came together to create unique tours that highlight Lower East Side neighborhoods. Green Map, a nonprofit organization located in 65 countries around the world, encourages individuals to participate in sustainable community development.
“Mapping the unique environment of New York City is our way of helping you connect with great resources for green living” – Green Map
The Visit.org team participated in the Lower East Side Green Map tour, which started at The Stanton Building in Sara D Roosevelt Park and ended at Siempre Verde Garden at 181 Stanton Street.
Check out these ecological and socially responsible places we found on our tour of the Lower East Side:
M’Finda Kalunga Garden
Our first destination is the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, a community garden that was established in 1982. This garden’s purpose is to protect low – income housing and services in the neighborhood. The garden is only open on certain days (Thursday 5 PM – 7 PM, Saturday-Sunday 12 PM – 4 PM) and during the day it’s intended to be used by seniors only.
The Rivington House
We first stopped in front of the Rivington House, was a longtime Lower East Side nursing home that treated AIDS patients during the 1990s.
Continuing on Allen Street, we were greeted by the University Settlement. Nearly 130 years ago, they launched an initiative to get immigrants and low-income families the basic services they deserved. The organization brought decent housing, quality education, and access to open exercise spaces to hundreds of people. In front of the building, you can see a box on the wall dedicated to readers who would like to donate or receive books. Free of charge!
So many places to discover in this area! Continuing our journey, we strolled through Allen Malls, green spaces that extends along Allen Street between East Houston and East Broadway and passes through the Lower East Side, the Bowery, and Chinatown. Named after William Henry Allen in 1817, the malls are divided into eight sections, each containing a walkway. Back in the day, the area used to be a park with benches. Currently, you still can see the pole structure of the past benches on the side of the malls.
Walking along Essex Street, we’re surprised by the black square building with “Lowline Lab” written on it. The project will turn an abandoned trolley terminal into a public green space, with live plants and a “remote skylight”. The underground park below Delancey Street will open to the public in 2021.
After an hour of delightful walking, we stopped at Essex Market which originally began in 1940 as a new place street merchants to do business. The residents of the Lower East Side played a monumental role in shaping the market throughout the century. We spent the hour exploring the beautiful mix of traditional business and ethnic flavor.
Located in the heart of the Lower East Side, we reached The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center Inc. (The Clemente), a Puerto Rican / Latino cultural institution. The Clemente is home to several performing visual and art spaces, where they hold regular performances for the public to see.
Siempre Verde Garden
Finally, we ended our tour at Siempre Verde Garden, which is operated by Green Thumb, a program of the New York City Department of Parks. In 2012, volunteers helped cultivate the area with veggie boxes and ivy-covered walls to establish a beautiful garden for communities around to experience a healthy green space.
Exploring New York City with Green Map showed a new perspective on sustainability, nature, and culture. What are you waiting for? Let’s spark the global movement!
Article by Shabrina Koeswologito