Celebrate Earth Day by Protecting Our Curbside Trees and Having Fun — Plus Free Tote Bags

Here’s how our curbside trees can look.

By Molly Sugarman

If you want to be hands-on in celebrating Earth Day on Friday, April 22, or just want to have fun with your family and meet others in your community, Upper West Side electeds and organizations have you covered.

Volunteers are wanted for a tree survey to identify trees that need help or places where trees should be but aren’t. “Those trees in curbside beds are important to the streetscape and to air quality, but too many trees are suffering,” Councilmember Gale Brewer said.

The survey will take place April 22 to 28. On their own schedule, volunteers will walk their assigned area, noting the location and status of the tree as well as whether there are rat burrows, litter, or health concerns. Just let Brewer’s office know what blocks or even single block you’d like to survey. Sign up to participate in the survey here.

To kick off the survey, those who want to get their hands dirty can attend the in-person Street Tree Care Demonstration at 11 a.m., Friday, April 22, at Gale Brewer’s District Office, 563 Columbus Avenue (87-88). The demonstration will be presented in partnership with the Upper West Side Coalition of Block Associations. No registration required.

This bed on 72nd Street has been empty for years.

If you miss the in-person event but still want to learn how to take care of street trees, you have another chance on April 26 – the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central, Morningside, and Prospect Parks. In this virtual event, you can learn about tree bed clean up, soil cultivation, watering, mulching, and gardening. Register for the class here.

If you want to add hula hoops, Latin cabaret dance, or dominoes to your tree care lessons, check out Amsterdam Avenue between 106th Street and 110th on Saturday, April 23. From noon until 6 p.m., the avenue will be closed to cars and open to live music, street-tree stewardship, and more. The event is sponsored by Car Free Earth Day, the Columbus-Amsterdam BID, and Bloomingdale restaurants.

Fun is also the order of the day on Sunday, April 24, you can participate in a Zumba class, paint a mural, and enjoy live jazz music on West 103rd Street between West End Avenue and Broadway. The #StreetArts event is an Earth Day Celebration of Park to Park 103, which wants to make 103rd a pedestrian friendly, open street from Riverside Park to Central Park.

At this event, you’ll also have the opportunity to comment on the Department of Transportations proposed redesign of West 103rd Street and to take a DOT survey.

Finally, if you want an Earth Day tote bag, Brewer will be giving them away on:

4/22, 12:30 pm: Fairway (74th & Broadway)
4/24, 10:30 am: 77/79 Street Greenmarket (at Columbus Avenue)
4/24, 12 pm: W. 103rd Street Open Street Festival

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Bill Williams says:

      How about we protect our curbside trees by not having dog owners use them as toilets? Curb your dogs! Stop allowing them to urinate on the curbside trees and flowers. Stop allowing them to urinate on cars and buildings or in the middle of sidewalks. Stop allowing your dog to defecate in the middle of the sidewalk where even when you pick it up excrement is left. It’s easy to do. Train them to go in the street at the curb! There is no excuse.

      • nemo paradise says:

        Here we need to point out that dogs have been urinating on grass and trees longer than humans have walked upright. Humans colonized canine lands, an have been exploiting dogs == for labor, protection and even love — for thousands of years.

        Now we try to legislate even where they poop or pee. History will not look kindly at us.

    2. Uwsmom says:

      I know it sounds dumb, but maybe some more education, in a nicer tone, would be helpful. It’s a bit of a misnomer like driveway(not where you drive, it’s where you park) or parkway(the opposite). When the signs say “Curb Your Dog” it sounds like it’s saying to go on the curb, not in the street!

      • lynn says:

        Excuse me, but that’s a massive problem if people here have to be educated as to what the word ‘curb’ means. When children play in the street they sit on the curb (not on the sidewalk), we park our cars next to the curb (not the sidewalk), a taxi pulls up to the curb…etc. etc. etc. Insert eye-roll emoji here.

        • Filatura says:

          Um, for the record, “curb” is one of those words that can be used as either a noun or a verb, depending on the context.
          It’s a noun when it’s used to designate the dividing element between the sidewalk and the street.
          But in the phrase “curb your dog” it’s a verb that means “keep the beastie under your control and don’t let it relieve itself wherever it feels like.”
          Not a massive problem, just a quirk of the language.

          • lynn says:

            I’m aware of that, but it is a massive problem if we’ve gotten to the point where adults don’t understand what it means to curb a dog. Possibly the city can spend a few thousand $$$ and add video instruction at all of the wireless kiosks on how to walk, curb, clean up, and then deposit poop bags into the trash. You might think I’m being facetious, but just this morning I saw a woman let her dog climb into a tree bed and the poop was left exactly where it was deposited. There’s no reasoning with some people. 🙁

    3. Two days ago, on the corner 94th st and Columbus, 10 blossoming 20+ years old crabapple trees were chopped. There are still 8 to save. Could you do anything?

    4. Dog owner says:

      How about creating an extra traffic lane for dogs? There’s a lane for everything else! Curbing one’s dog in this neighborhood is akin to dog death by bicycle, e-bike, scooter, skateboard or car door. Guess this aspect of city life wasn’t figured into the redesign of the UWS streets and avenues.

    5. Cheryl says:

      The only way to stop dogs from going in tree beds is to offer an alternative. I’ve seen other cities make dog “pee stations” by creating a gravel bed near a tree, and there are an abundance of them. I saw them most in seattle. They typically will take out a cement square near a tree bed and fill with gravel. Dogs will go here rather than on the tree bed. Win win.