Car Free Earth Day 2020

Virtual Earth Day Celebration: April 22, 2020

The New York City Department of Transportation’s Car Free Earth Day has gone virtual this year with a robust lineup of live streaming engagements on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, including webinars, panel discussions, performances, and activities, as well as engaging educational resources that will be available free to the public over the next few months to explore from the comforts of our homes.

Despite the agency being unable to produce its annual Car Free Earth Day on the streets, we invite everyone to join us online to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day made possible by many of New York City’s premier public agencies, private institutions, artists and dance companies. We hope this material encourages everyone to live greener lifestyles that will lead to a more sustainable future.

Scroll down or jump to the complete event schedule to participate in live engagements today or explore one of the environmental categories listed below at your leisure.

Contemporary Environmental Dance and Public Art

Contemporary Dance

DOT Art & Event Programming curated a dance program with five experienced contemporary environmental dance companies from New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco to showcase recent works addressing climate change and sustainability. We look forward to welcoming these companies onto a dance stage at a future event to experience their work live on the streets of NYC but in the meantime, enjoy photo and video footage of past performances to get a glimpse into these vivid, thought-provoking stories told through movement.

Dancing Earth

Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations gathers inter-tribal collaborators to re-envision contemporary dance, embodying indigenous ecological philosophies with renewed relevance. Dancing Earth gives hope and opportunity to Indigenous talent who are outside of mainstream performances because of a lack of access and resources. As intertribal dancers, composers, costumers, filmmakers, and spoken word artists, they challenge notions of what comprises a professional artist, the role of the audience, the boundaries and purpose of performance.

Dancing Earth’s tribal values honors dance and song as essential ritual for transformation, which they expand to socio-environmental change. They dance the rich diversity of their contemporary heritage with intent to promote ecological awareness, cultural diversity, healing and understanding between peoples. Dancing Earth’s aesthetic embodies the spirituality inherent in earth, and is created by, with, and for the land and the peoples of the land.

As part of National Dance Week, Dancing Earth will be hosting multiple virtual events. Check out the Dancing Earth event calendar.

View a documentary about Dancing Earth and their art for social change. The film was commissioned by A Blade of Grass fellowship with Fieldworks productions.

Watch a performative lecture for TedXTalks with Dancing Earth Founding Artistic Director, Rulan Tangen.

Watch performance excerpts from Dancing Earth’s film, “Walking at the Edge of Water”.

Davalois Fearon Dance

Davilois Fearon DanceDavalois Fearon Dance (DFD) was founded in 2016 by Davalois Fearon, with the mission to push artistic and social boundaries by creating multidisciplinary works that confront difficult issues and educate audiences. Fearon brings her diverse movement vocabulary, hailed by critics for its “tenacious virtuosity,” to collaborations with diverse creators including poet Patricia Smith, multi-reedist Mike McGinnis, fashion photographer Nigel HoSang, interdisciplinary artist Andre Zachery, and visual artist Jasmine Murrell. Her critically acclaimed choreography has been presented nationally and internationally, and at prestigious venues such as the Joyce Theater and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo Credit: Andrew Lee Imaging

For more information on the “Consider Water” performances, visit the Davalois Fearon Dance website.

DFD has received recurring support from the Bronx Council on the Arts, and foundational support from the MuKha Arts & Science Foundation and the MAP Fund Grant. The company was selected to participate in the DanceMotion USA Professional Development Follow-on Program in 2017 and received arts administration and professional developments support from Pentacle from 2017 – 2019. A Bessie Award winner, Fearon’s critically acclaimed choreography has been presented nationally and internationally, including on Broadway at the Victory Theater.

Watch DFD’s performance, “Storm,” an excerpt from their “Consider Water/Water Thirst, Storm” performance at Harlem Stage.

Bowen McCauley Dance

Bowen McCauley Dance Company (BMDC) performanceNow in Season 24, Bowen McCauley Dance Company (BMDC) is renowned for the athleticism and graceful balletic undertones of its professional dancers and the unique and sublime choreography of its founding Artistic Director, Lucy Bowen McCauley. The Company collaborates with world-class musicians, artists and designers to produce its annual performance season. BMDC performs regionally and nationally, and has been presented at Festivals in such places as Jacob’s Pillow (NY), Germany, Mexico and China. Photo by LAN GE.

BMDC puts the “A” in STEM education providing entertaining and educational community outreach programs throughout the DC Metro region.Their K-12 programs include interactive school performances, workshops, and after-school dance residency programs. The Company also provides free educational curriculum set to VA Standards of Learning and provides students with deeper learning as to the interconnectedness of arts to science, math and engineering.

Watch BMDC perform “Lissajous,” a dance that explores the creative process, and places emphasis on math, science, engineering and human movement/dance.

Download the corresponding curriculum from BMDC’s website, which provides suggested activities for grades K-5 and 9-12.

MOVEIUS Contemporary Ballet

Guided by the belief in dance as a powerful means for cultural and social transformation, MOVEIUS Contemporary Ballet (dba Dance Loft on 14)’s mission is to catalyze new dance works and expand access to dance and the performing arts in Washington, D.C. They provide vital rehearsal and performance facilities and programs that catalyze artistic work and connect DC residents with the arts. MOVEIUS envisions a city where local performing artists thrive, homegrown performances are regularly presented, and dance is accessible to a full range of audiences.

In 2010, MOVEIUS was founded by Diana Movius as a performance ensemble, with successful runs at the Kennedy Center, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Dance Place, and Capital Fringe. MOVEIUS offers studio rentals, classes with sought-after teachers for both youth and adults, and partners with Ward 4 neighborhood schools for after-school, in-school, and field trip dance programming.

Watch performances by MOVEIUS Contemporary Ballet below

Glacier: A Climate Change Ballet & Rite of Spring, Crash of Fall from Dance Loft on 14 on Vimeo.

Time Lapse Dance

Time Lapse Dance (TLD)Time Lapse Dance (TLD) is an all-women 501(c)3 dance company founded by Jody Sperling in 2000. The company's mission is to forge dynamic connections between dance and movements in culture, history, science, as well as the visual and performing arts. The work aims to investigate the relationship of the moving body to the world we inhabit through live performance, educational programs, and media production. TLD has a special commitment to cultivating climate literacy through performance and new choreography that echoes the natural world, as well as advancing the legacy of Loie Fuller (1862-1928), by reimaging the art of this performance technologist in an innovative and environmental context that resonates with the 21st Century public. Photo by AnnieDrew.

Since inception, TLD has presented 16 seasons in New York City and toured to performing arts centers nationally and internationally. Along with performances, TLD offers outreach on arts/climate, family programs, workshops, and masterclasses. TLD has received commissions from Marlboro College/Vermont Performance Lab, University of Wyoming/NEA American Masterpieces, and the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics.

Watch Time Lapse Dance’s full performance of “Wind Rose,” a performance visualizing wind patterns, which are being dramatically altered along with climate change.

Watch a performance by founding dancer and choreographer, Jody Sperling, dancing on the Arctic Sea ice in “Ice Floe.”

Public Art

Many local New York City-based artists are exploring the topics of climate change and sustainability through the creation of temporary public artworks be it through murals, sculptures, projections or other ephemeral interventions. DOT Art & Event Programming is delighted to share background information and photo and video footage of past artwork of two local artists for exploration and contemplation. Stay tuned for installation of Will Kurtz’s sculptures, “Doggy Bags” in the Broadway Plazas of the Garment District in the coming months. 

Anita Glesta

Anita GlestaAnita Glesta is a New York-based multimedia artist who has created both temporary and permanent site-specific artwork across the globe. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2013, Anita began an ongoing public art project titled, “Watershed,” in which she brings the natural world into urban public spaces through a series of large-scale projections of fish and flooding water. Since then, Anita has displayed different iterations of “Watershed” around the world, including the National Theater in London in 2015 as part of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

Watch four iterations of Watershed Projections (2013-2018) in the video below:

WATERSHED Iterations from Anita Glesta on Vimeo.

Fun Fact: At just 12 years old, Anita created a poster that became part of the campaign against pollution for the first ever Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Find the original 1970 New York Times article about her poster and campaign efforts.

Human Impacts Institute

Human Impacts InstituteHuman Impacts Institute uses arts and culture to inspire environmental action for social good. Human Impact Stories share people’s personal tales of innovation and impacts that matter. Together, they explore stories of social good and inspiration, as well as the people, places, and events that have moved you to take positive action in your world.

The Climate Heroes series of Human Impact Stories gives you a sneak peek into the lives and work of amazing people who are leading the way in their community to combat global climate change. From artists to students to scientists, these community leaders are addressing the root causes of climate change and inspiring others to take a stand along the way.

Human Impacts Institute, in partnership with NYC DOT, is celebrating the diverse, amazing New Yorkers who are leading the way in their communities to address the climate crisis and to create a more just, safe, and sustainable city as part of Car Free Earth Day. A total of 31 New York City-based individuals were nominated as NYC Climate Change Heroes. Artist, Bolanle Adeboye illustrated these individuals and created dynamic, descriptive artworks.

View the new NYC Heroes illustrations.

Human impacts

Will Kurtz

Will KurtzNew York-based artist, Will Kurtz, creates realistic, life-size figures and animals from newspaper, wood and wire.  His subjects are real, everyday people who are often undistinguished and living on the margins of society. He selects and creates uncommon characters that have a distinct emotive quality. Newspaper is Kurtz’ medium of choice because it gives a raw, imperfect, ephemeral quality that reminds us that we are only here on this earth for a short while. 

In celebration of Earth Day, Kurtz is partnering with the Garment District Alliance to present, “Doggy Bags,” a series of six sculptures depicting real oversized dogs made out of single use plastic bags. These playful sculptures will highlight the large amounts of waste in our society and the need to recycle. The Garment District Alliance looks forward to welcoming, “Doggy Bags” into their neighborhood soon.

Check out Will Kurtz’s studio tour for a peak at “Doggy Bags.”

Educational Workshops and Activities

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History TREXThe American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869 and currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions and encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including those in the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium. The Museum’s approximately 200 scientists draw on a world-class research collection of more than 34 million artifacts and specimens. Photo credit: D. Finnin copyright American Museum of Natural History.

The Museum might be closed, but AMNH celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day at EarthFest, their family-friendly, all-day online festival honoring our planet, held on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 10 AM to 9PM. Enjoy footage of EarthFest below.

Join expert botanist, Donald McClelland for "Green Thumb for Families" to participate in a special workshop where you'll learn how to plant your own garden and create life right in your own kitchen.

Join facilitator Laurel Zaima from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for "Iceberg Bits: Understanding Rivers of Ice" to learn more about physics through experimentation with Glacier Goo, a substance you can create at home.

Watch "Field Trip Earth" for a live flight around the world to marvel at our planet's natural wonders-from the Amazon Rainforest to the Sahara Desert, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Himalayas!

Watch "50 Years of Earth" to learn about the most significant developments to our environment in the last half century since the creation of Earth Day.

Watch "Venus, Earth, Mars" to unveil the mysteries of Earth's toxic twin, Venus, and the dynamic nature of our planetary neighbors.

Additionally, you can still explore some of the Museum exhibits from home with games, stories, hands-on activities and videos offered on OLogy, a science website for kids. There is also a section dedicated to educators with resources at all K-5 grade levels to help engage your students in standards-aligned online content to support classroom learning from home.

Climate Museum

Climate MuseumThe Climate Museum’s mission is to inspire action on the climate crisis with programming across the arts and sciences that deepens understanding, builds connections, and advances just solutions. The Climate Museum is creating a culture for action on climate, inviting people from all walks of life into the conversation and building community around just solutions. Most people in the US are worried about the climate crisis, but silent and inactive. Building on the popularity and trust held by museums, the Climate Museum brings people together to learn about solutions and join the fight for a brighter future, providing multiple pathways into civic engagement.

“Climate Art for Congress” is a science, art and civics project that aims to help students at all grade levels tell Congress how urgent it is to put climate progress at the center of COVID relief and stimulus legislation.

Check out the “Climate Art for Congress” gallery and instructions to join.

Green Inspired Art

Green inspired artGreen Inspired Art is a New York based non-profit organization that focuses on the creative re-use of everyday objects. Through their programs, Green Inspired Art helps people discover how to reuse what they might otherwise throw away.

Download Green Inspired Art’s step-by-step guide on how to create a face mask with napkins and rubber bands from home

DCLA Materials for the Arts

DCLA material artsMaterials for the Arts, NYC’s premier reuse facility, is a unit of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, distributing millions of dollars’ worth of reused materials from its Long Island City warehouse, for free, to thousands of schools, arts nonprofits, and community arts organizations.

For a variety of lesson plans and art projects, check out the Materials for the Arts resource page.

The Instagram Live NYC Quiz Game with Historian Michael Miscione

Quiz gameIn this age of social distancing, do you miss trivia night at your local pub? We're here to help -- watch the Instagram Live NYC Quiz Game. Play against your friends and family to test your knowledge of NYC history, geography, and culture; or just tune in to learn fascinating facts about your city. Michael Miscione, the former Manhattan Borough Historian, will serve as the Quizmaster. Emma Guest-Consales, Ph.D., the President of the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC), will assist. No prizes, but lots of geeky fun.

Follow @nycquizguy on Instagram to watch the Instagram Live NYC Quiz Game.


HYPOTHEkidsHYPOTHEkids is a non-profit working to empower traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM through hands-on science & engineering. They provide underserved students with educational and mentorship experiences so they can thrive in the high-tech economy of tomorrow.

For educational videos, check out the HYOPTHEkids YouTube channel.

To stay up to date on their program updates and news, follow HYPOTHEkids on Instagram @hypothekids.

Textile Arts Center

Textile arts centerTextile Arts Center (TAC) is a NYC-based resource facility dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of textiles through creative educational programs for children and adults. TAC aspires to unite the textile community and advocate for the handmade by providing accessible, skills-based classes that reinvigorate engagement with traditional crafts. Techniques like weaving, sewing, and dyeing are practical, connective, and process-driven -- common denominators for designers, artists, and creative practitioners around the world. Because these activities are so widely used, they help to foster community and bring creativity back into our daily lives. They are part of our collective history and vital to our ongoing expressions of design, art, and culture.

Check out Textile Art Center’s tutorial for dyeing fabrics with natural materials.

Climate Change: Scholarly Research and Public Policy

Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

Mayor's office of sustainabilityThe New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is a team of architects, data scientists, engineers, policy advisors, and city planners working to create a city where the air is clean, the streets are green and where our 8.5 million residents produce zero waste and zero carbon. Guided by the OneNYC plan, 80x50 report, and Executive Order 26, MOS works to minimize NYC’s contributions to climate change from the waste, transportation, energy, and building sectors. By tackling the challenges posted by climate change with innovation, creativity, and inclusivity, we are improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers and protecting our planet at the same time.

To encourage action from home this Earth Day, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is linking climate action with COVID-19 relief response: BringIt.NYC/EarthDay50. Follow the conversation at

Learn more about New York City’s work to become carbon neutral.

Earth Institute at Columbia University

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world leader in interdisciplinary climate and sustainability research, policy and teaching. Under the directorship of geochemist Alex Halilday, PhD, the Earth Institute brings together a community of earth and environmental scientists, economists, lawyers, public health specialists and business and policy experts to seek solutions to the planet’s most pressing challenges. Columbia’s Earth Institute blends research in the physical and social sciences, education and practical solutions to help guide the world onto a path toward sustainability.

Watch recorded footage of "Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward" an interactive webcast exploring sustainable and resilient paths for Columbia and humanity for 50 more years. Hosted by the Earth Institute on Earth Day, April 22, 2020.

Visit the Earth Institute website for access to other live virtual events going on this month.

Earth institute live webcast

The New School - Tishman Environment and Design Center

Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School is honoring the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a series of virtual events focusing on environmental justice, the impacts of climate change and global pandemics, and building resiliency.

Watch footage from "Climate Justice and Pandemics: A Roundtable on Reflections, Personal Experiences and What we do Going Forward" a discussion with faculty, students and staff from The New School on their thoughts about the interactions of climate change and social justice originally held on Earth Day, April 22, 2020. 

The School of Global Public Health at New York University

The School of Global Public Health at New York University is preparing the next generation of public health pioneers with the critical thinking skills, acumen and entrepreneurial approaches necessary to reinvent the public health paradigm. NYU School of Global Public Health crosses disciplinary boundaries to address the world’s most pressing health problems. Drawing from resources across NYU’s schools, the GPH delivers truly interdisciplinary public health education at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level. NYU School of Global Public Health builds on the global reach of NYU’s expansive reach as a globally networked university; draws strength from the entrepreneurial spirit of NYU’s many talented faculty and students; and serves as a conduit for groundbreaking research and education that advances and promotes equitable health for all.

Watch footage from "Earth Day Symposium: A Panel Discussion on Climate Action and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19", a virtual panel discussion on the impacts of COVID-19 on climate change, originally held on Earth Day, April 22, 2020.

Watch footage from "Earth Day at 50: A Case Study in Environmental Reporting", a webinar on environmental reporting now and in the future hosted by NYU Washington, D.C. with featured journalists Seth Borenstein, Federica Narancio and Christina Larson of The Associated Press.

Wildlife Conservation, Horticulture and Biodiversity

Bowery Farming

Bowery farmRight outside of cities, Bowery Farming is reimagining farming from the ground up by growing wildly flavorful, unbelievably safe, and incredibly sustainable produce indoors. Their delicious greens are grown 365 days a year without compromise: no pesticides, non-GMO Project Verified, always local. By growing indoors, Bowery saves over 95% on water while being 100 times more productive than traditional agriculture. Bowery Farming is passionate about giving back more ot the planet and people than it takes.

Check out footage from “Reimagine Farming from the Ground Up”, an interactive presentation led by Bowery’s Head of AgScience New Products and System Innovation, Dr. Paul Gauthier, along with members of the Bowery Farming team, originally presented on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 as part of Earth Day 2020.

For educational materials on indoor farming, sustainability and biodiversity, check out Bowery Farming’s Resources for Educators, which include worksheets, presentations, videos and more.

For easy-to-make, family friendly recipes, take a look at the Bowery Blog.

The New York Botanical Garden

NYC Botanical GardenThe New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is an iconic living museum, a major educational institution, and a renowned plant research and conservation organization. NYBG is an advocate for the plant kingdom. NYBG pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes across its National Historic Landmark site; through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science; and through the wide-ranging research programs of the International Plant Science Center.

During the 28 years since its founding, NYBG has carefully stewarded a stunning urban oasis, created one of the world’s most comprehensive plant research and conservation programs, amassed unrivaled research collections, and, as a living museum, taught millions of visitors of all ages to love and respect the plants of the world.

NYBG is committed to preserving and protecting the plant’s biodiversity and natural resources and enhancing human well-being by educating, training, and empowering the next generation of Earth’s caregivers-in partnership with both local and global communities.

View a list of all NYBG virtual events here.

NYC Wildflower Week

NYC Wildflower weekNYC Wildflower Week encourages New Yorkers to get to know the nature in their own back yard and to inspire them to protect this natural heritage for future generations. During NYC Wildflower Week, numerous free events showcase the 53,000 acres of open space and 778 native plants across the New York City boroughs. The program was founded by Urban Conservation Biologist, Mariellé Anzelone, to share her love of flora and educate New Yorkers on the natural beauty of their city.

Educational resources on gardening with NYC native plants.

Enjoy a virtual tour of Corson’s Brook Woods in Staten Island where you’ll encounter the early spring wildflowers that bloom at the end of April.

Explore Inwood Hill Park and its native plants with Mariellé Anzelone in the New York Times.

NYC Parks: Wildlife NYC

NYC park wildlifeNYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land, 14 percent of New York City. Their mission is to plan resilient and sustainable parks, public spaces, and recreational amenities, build a park system for present and future generations, and care for parks and public spaces. Amongst their many different programs and initiatives, WildlifeNYC is an effort to promote the conservation and coexistence between humans and wildlife through public policy, responsible management plans, and educational initiatives.

New York residents can report sightings of healthy wildlife they find anywhere in the city. You might be surprised by what you can observe just by looking through your apartment windows.

Report a wildlife sighting online.

Make a virtual pledge to Coexist with Wildlife and share it with others.

New Yorkers for Parks

Well-designed and maintained parks and open spaces are fundamental to a thriving urban environment. For more than 100 years, New Yorkers for Parks has been the champion for the creation, protection, and care of the City’s treasured parks and open spaces. We serve, represent and engage all New Yorkers, in all neighborhoods, who value our green environment – spaces that are essential to the quality of life in our great city.

New Yorkers for Parks’ signature public program, The Daffodil Project, has planted over 7 million bulbs across the city as a living memorial to the victims on 9/11, and is a powerful tool for community engagement.

In 2019, New Yorkers for Parks partnered with the New York League of Conservation Voters, and DC 37, the Parks workers’ union, to form the Play Fair Coalition, which now includes over 250 organizations. Play Fair is a multi-year advocacy campaign for parks leading up to the Mayoral election in 2021. NY4P kicked off the Play Fair campaign by focusing on a significant increase to the expense budget for the Parks Department, which would “baseline,” or secure funding for much-needed maintenance, gardener and park worker positions in the City budget. Investing in greenspaces improves air quality, makes our neighborhoods more resilient, and brings New Yorkers closer to nature.

Check out this video to learn more about Play Fair.

For an overview of NY4P and other citywide resources for open space advocacy, check out the “Improve Your Park Quick Guide” or watch this useful webinar, “How Can I Improve My Park?”:

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium, saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Even though these urban and wildlife parks are closed to the public, WCS Education is hard at work to bring you quality programming online. There are great resources available now, and more to come. No matter your age, the WCS educators have programs for you while you are home. Teacher guides, webinars, and our field sight program are all available.

Visit “Seeing is Believing” for photos sourced from across the organization that demonstrate the effects of climate change on the environment.

Enjoy 30 second videos of WCS staff from around the globe sharing their hopes for the future as they commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Participate in quick, fun activities at home with WCS Educators here or follow on Instagram @WCSEducation to see live videos.

Watch live animal feedings daily at the Sea Lion Pool (11 AM to 3 PM) and the Aquatic Bird House (12:30 PM to 3:30 PM). Visit virtually with sea lions and penguins from your home. Turn the volume up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the parks.

Watch a free drawing tutorial. This time, WCS is bringing you a sea lion. Be sure to share your art using #BronxZoodles!

Catch the latest episode of, “The Zoo” (Season 4: Episode 4, entitled, “Catch Up with Big Cats”) to meet Bala, the newest snow leopard cub born at the Bronx Zoo.

Renewable Energy, Waste Management and Recycling

NYC DOT Energy Management

The NYC DOT Energy Management Team works to reduce emissions contributing to climate change, maximize energy efficiency of NYC DOT facilities, and work toward citywide emissions goals. In 2014, NYC committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 40% by 2030. With more than 68% of citywide energy use coming from buildings, an additional goal of reducing municipal energy usage 35% by 2025 was also set. NYC DOT is actively engaged in achieving these goals through energy efficient upgrades to our facilities, streetlights, and fleet.

LED street light LED Street Light and Public Light Upgrades: NYC DOT maintains over 315,000 street lights and other public lights throughout the City, which account for nearly 60% of NYC DOT’s annual energy usage. NYC DOT began retrofitting its high-pressure sodium lights to LED in 2014, with completion projected by 2020. LED lights are more energy efficient and last longer, resulting in cost savings on both energy and maintenance. Once the installation is complete, it is expected to save the city over $14 million annually. View a break-down of the LED upgrades.

Rooftop Solar PV: NYC DOT has installed three rooftop solar PV systems, with an additional two systems in the design phase. The current systems at the two Staten Island Ferry Terminals and the Facilities Maintenance building have a capacity of over 266 kW and generate over 350 MWh of electricity annually. NYC DOT also has plans to install solar carports on the roofs of public parking garages.

Demand Response: Demand Response is a program that requires enrolled facilities to shed electrical load during times of peak electricity demand or an emergency to reduce the strain on New York City’s electricity grid. NYC DOT has been participating in demand response programs since 2010. Participation in this program not only helps to protect NYC’s electrical grid against blackouts and brownouts but also comes with financial incentives that provide additional funding for sustainability-related projects.

Energy Efficient Facility Upgrades: NYC DOT is committed to maximizing the energy efficiency of our facilities. Through regularly scheduled equipment upgrades and proactive upgrades, NYC DOT is installing energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems throughout its facility portfolio.

NYC Department of Sanitation

Department of SanitationThe NYC Department of Sanitation is the world’s largest sanitation department. DSNY collects more than 10,500 tons of residential and institutional garbage and 1,760 tons of the recyclables, each day. While efficiently managing solid waste and clearing litter or snow from 6,300 miles of streets, the Department is also a leader in environmentalism, committing to sending zero waste to landfills.

Did you know you can make compost inside your apartment? Now is a great time to start! If you have questions about setting up your own compost system, email

Watch a video from the archives of the NYC Compost Project Hosted by Queens Botanical Garden to find out how to start composting indoors with a worm bin.

View DSNY’s presentation on recycling.

Download a work sheet on how to talk about trash at home.

NYC DOT Roadway, Repair and Maintenance

DOT Roadway repair and maintenanceNYC DOT Roadway Repair & Maintenance Division contributes towards the City’s sustainability goals through the proactive use of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP). With RAP, yesterday’s pavement becomes today’s streets as old paving materials get removed from City streets during routine resurfacing operations. The milled material is then reprocessed and reconstituted with new materials before use in subsequent paving.

NYC DOT has been a leader and proponent in the use of recycled asphalt for a number of years. During Fiscal 2019, NYC DOT resurfaced over 1,300 lane miles and repaired over 228,450 potholes. Almost 40% of the asphalt used for the operations was comprised of recycled asphalt. By producing recycled asphalt, NYC DOT avoids millions of miles of local truck travel to transport milled asphalt to landfills – reducing congestion, pollution, and wear and tear on our streets. Furthermore, by reusing material, NYC DOT reduces its need to purchase hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil each year. The agency continuously works towards maximizing the use of recycled content, as well as exploring new materials beyond the traditional options, such as synthetic binders.

NYC DOT Adopt-A-Highway Program

DOT adopt a highwayNYC DOT's Adopt-A-Highway Programs provide opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses to participate in the cleaning and greening of New York City. The Adopt-A-Highway Programs seek to stimulate the public’s sense of environmental and social responsibility. The Sponsorship Program accounted for over 35,000 bags of trash gathered for pick-up in 2019. There are over 160 businesses, individuals, and organizations helping to make NYC’s highways cleaner and greener by sponsoring highway segments (approximately one mile). The Volunteer Program over continues to grow with now over 210 sites being maintained in the public right-of-way adjacent to citywide highways. Volunteer groups, gardening clubs, neighborhood associations, families, and individuals are invited to become partners to help clean and beautify sites near highways.

Learn more about Adopt-A-Highway programs in NYC.

NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Fleet Sustainability

New York City’s fleet is the greenest in the nation. NYC Fleet operates over 1800 on-road electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids. NYC Fleet is rapidly expanding our base of electric chargers to support our electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. DCAS has installed over 600 charging stations at city garages and parking locations around the city. They have deployed 87 solar carports from Envision Solar. These new carports allow EVs to be completely independent from the electrical grid and fossil fuel energy. They have partnered with city schools to provide both solar chargers and EVs to support education programs. Some other city equipment is also solar powered. The city is piloting programs to install chargers to support EV use by the public. In addition to our plug-in hybrids, NYC Fleet has over 5500 hybrid vehicles in a variety of makes and models. The City has been investing in hybrid vehicles for over 15 years now and has also made major strides to reduce fleet size, right-size vehicles, install tailpipe emissions reducing equipment, better analyze field use, and more.

Learn more about the NYC Fleet Program with this helpful brochure.

Watch, “I See You: Safety for Trucks & Other Large Fleet”, a new safety video focused on practical steps truck operators can take to improve safety, presented by NYCDOT and DCAS; a project of the Vision Zero Task Force Fleet Working Group.

Compare sedan operating costs for a hybrid, all-electric and gas vehicle.


On Earth Day, we also remember our friend and colleague Lenin Fierro who lost his life to the Covid-19 virus. Lenin was our DCAS Vision Zero Safety Director, a Navy veteran, a husband and father, and deeply invested in our successful High School Automotive program. One of Lenin’s lesser known roles, but a very important one, was his leadership and coordination of DCAS’ involvement in NYC Car Free Day. He was a vocal advocate for this event and worked hard to spread the messaging of the event itself, adding content to the event activities, and highlighting the City’s fleet role in making our air cleaner and streets safer.

Green Infrastructure, Water Management and Resiliency

NYC Department of Design & Construction

NYC department of Design and ConstructionThe Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting the City’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects.

Download DDC’s educational handout on rain gardens.

Learn more about rain gardens and green infrastructure.

Check out an example of a current DDC project focusing on anti-flooding infrastructure in Rosedale, Queens.

Read how the DDC Sustainable Infrastructure Team used Envision framework to improve the sustainability of NYC DOT sponsored infrastructure projects.

NYC Department of Environmental Protection

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) protects public health, critical quality of life issues, and the environment by supplying clean drinking water, collecting and treating wastewater, and reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution. DEP’s mission is to equitably provide services that promote the health and wellbeing of all 8.6 million city residents, while continuing to be a good neighbor and partner with dozens of upstate communities.

DEP’s Education Office provides pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade students, teachers, and families with a wide range of free programs and resources about NYC’s drinking water supply, wastewater treatment system, harbor water quality, sound and noise quality, climate change, and stewardship opportunities.

Download DEP’s Educational Resources, which includes the following modules: New York City’s Water Story, Climate Change Education, The New York City Sewer System, Green Infrastructure Education and South and Noise Education.

Watch “Living City: a Billion Gallons a Day,” a video on the New York City watershed.

NYC DOT Urban Design

In February 2020, the Design Trust for Public Space and NYC DOT launched the “El-Space Toolkit”, which features 11 case studies from across North America. The toolkit covers the lifecycle of developing and implementing El-Space projects, highlighting lessons learned and how to improve El-Space conditions.

Visit NYC DOT El-Space to learn more about the toolkit elements, including reflective paint finishes, LED lighting, and green infrastructure installations as well as the El-Space prototypes, including the El-Box, El-Fence and CityEl. Case studies completed in Sunset Park, Far Rockaway and Dutch Kills are also available for review.

Download the “El-Space Toolkit” to learn more about ways to improve these underutilized spaces.

Watch “Under the Elevated: Experimentation Before Implementation”, a video highlighting a number of pop-up installations, which helped develop prototypes included in the “El-Space Toolkit”.

Under The Elevated: Experimentation Before Implementation from Design Trust for Public Space on Vimeo.

Sustainable Modes of Transportation

511NY Rideshare

511NY Rideshare provides resources that help people find alternative ways to commute with the goal of reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in New York. 511NY Rideshare, sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation, is New York State's home for commuter and traveler resources. 511NY Rideshare partners with local organizations to help improve mobility and air quality through offering smarter, cheaper and greener travel options like telework solutions and transit planning. Free services for organizations include, carpooling “ridematching” assistance for essential trips; telework support for businesses that have enabled employees to work from home; transit and travel updates for essential travel; and regional bike resources that can be used for essential travel or a safe outdoor activity.

Learn more about 511NY Rideshare offerings and benefits.

511NY Rideshare is also proud to be a Clean Air NY Advocate.

511NY Bikeshare

Bike New York

Bike New York empowers New Yorkers to transform their lives and their communities through bicycling. Their vision is to increase ridership, to empower youth to lead healthy, productive lives, to remove barriers to cycling, and to advocate for and expand services to reach more New Yorkers.

Bike NYC

Watch Bike New York’s Bike Education videos.

To stay up to date on the latest Bike New York news, check out their Twitter and Instagram.

InTandem Bike

InTandem BikeInTandem Bike provides tandem cycling programs to people who are blind, have low vision, or cannot ride independently due to other disabilities. InTandem coordinates evening and weekend rides in Central Park. Although rides are not currently scheduled, inTandem continues to coordinate online exercises, discussions, information sessions and educational opportunities.

Learn more about InTandem Bike events.



Watch InTandem Bike’s video, “How New York Organizes Tandem Biking with the Visually Impaired”.

NYC DOT Bicycle Unit

New York City is home to the largest bicycle network in North America, with over 1,200 miles of bike routes. To accelerate the growth of safe cycling, NYC DOT is building a system of bicycle routes that traverse and connect all five boroughs. Every year around Earth Day, NYC DOT releases an updated bike map. The map serves as a resource for all cyclists, especially those who are required to travel during this time for essential purposes and those who might be new to biking in the city. The 2020 Bike Map is now available digitally and can be accessed here: 2020 NYC Bike Map.

Plan your route or find a bike shop in your neighborhood! Remember, the rules still apply and click this link for tips on riding a bike safely.

NYC DOT bike unit

NYC DOT Safety Education

NYC DOT safety educationNYC DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach unit aims to achieve the Vision Zero goal of measurably reducing traffic fatalities and injuries by serving NYC’s children, parents, educators, older adults and all New Yorkers with innovative information programs. NYC DOT’s safety educators visit 600 schools and 100 senior centers a year and lead the effort on child passenger safety, to widely distribute bicycle safety equipment and reach out to New Yorkers where they live with our Vision Zero Street teams’ program.

Download NYC DOT Safety Education’s Get There PDF full of resources and tips for biking and safety in New York City.


NYC DOT Transit Development

NYC DOT Transit DevelopementTransit Development designs and implements transit priority projects within NYC DOT and serves as a resource for other groups seeking to include transit priority elements in their projects. It was responsible, with MTA, for the development and implementation of 17 Select Bus Service (SBS) routes since 2008. The group also works closely with the MTA on a variety of initiatives to improve NYC's transit system, including the Better Buses Action Plan - a plan to improve bus speeds by 25% and reverse the decline of bus ridership citywide.

Learn more about NYC’s Better Buses Action Plan.

Information about Select Bus Service Routes in NYC.

Citi Bike

Experience the best way to get around Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City with Citi Bike, New York’s bike share system. Citi Bike is a fun and affordable way to get around the city, and a great alternative to the subway, taxis, buses and walking. It’s designed for quick trips with convenience in mind. Use it to, commute to work or school, run errands, get to appointments, and more.

As New York City grapples with the spread of COVID-19, DOT is working closely with Citi Bike to ensure that New Yorkers have a safe and accessible way to move around the City in this difficult time. We know biking is a preferred way to get around for many and our priority is to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers during this time.