The Columbus Avenue BID completed the first sustainable streetscape on the Upper West Side
Five years of fundraising and 10 years of research and planning by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District culminated in a celebration and ribbon cutting on Monday, May 13 on Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th Streets.
A host of government and business leaders were also joined by New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, other local elected officials and several chefs from Whole Foods New Taste of the Upper West Side.
“We have been waiting for this day for an entire decade,” said Barbara Adler, executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District. “What was once a desolate block bordered by a chain link fence is now a landscaped oasis with sustainable elements that are unique to the city. Millions of visitors to the American Museum of Natural History and New-York Historical Society, shoppers, residents, tourists and students people pass through this corridor each year and now they’ll have another destination to enjoy.”
Already planted along the blockfront – or soon to arrive — are nine new trees and tree beds, six ergonomically-designed City Benches, a solar-operated “Big Belly” compacting trash container, in-ground solar lighting for enhanced safety and wayfinding capabilities, and Manhattan’s first bioswale (a bio-retention system that captures and helps purify rainwater for re-use). In addition, the existing tree beds on the block have been doubled in length to 10-feet and are surrounded by new tree guards for more seasonal planting and a greener look. Doug Griebel, President of the Columbus Avenue BID and Co-Founder and Chairman of Rosa Mexicano Hospitality Group, said: “In 2008, the board decided to celebrate the wonderful restaurants that had recently opened in the area. The result was New Taste of the Upper West Side, which has since showcased the cuisine of more than 100 restaurants and provided 100 percent of the funds needed for this exceptional streetscape.”
In addition to the Columbus Avenue BID’s Sustainable Streetscape project, there have been other community-based beneficiaries of the BID’s annual food festival, including Wellness in the Schools programs at the O’Shea School complex and PS 87, the Greenhouse Classroom Hydro Farm at The O’Shea School complex and Citymeals-on-Wheels.
The catalyst for the donations, Whole Foods New Taste of the Upper West Side, is now in its sixth year and will feature three events, comprising Soirée in the Park, a benefit for Theodore Roosevelt Park to be held in the park on Wednesday, May 29th from 7 p.m.; Comfort Classics, with host Adam Richman, on Friday, May 31st, 7- 10 p.m.; and Best of the West, with host Gail Simmons and honorees Danny Meyer and Randy Garutti, on Saturday, June 1st. This event begins at 6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders, followed by general admission from 7- 9:30 p.m. Detailed information about all three events and ticket purchases are available at www.newtasteuws.com.
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