“These groups are the ones who have been working not just on or for Earth Day,” said Argento, “but 365 days a year to see that New York becomes a greener, cleaner, healthier place to live.”
Honorees received donations to further the work of their respective organizations. State legislators were asked to select organizations they felt deserved to be recognized as Urban Heroes.
State Senator Daniel Squadron’s pick was the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, a non-profit organization with the vision of building a 14-mile off-street greenway along the Brooklyn waterfront from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. The 10-year-old plan is in its final planning stages, with about four miles of interim routes currently available for public use. The piece at the Ikea in Red Hook will be part of the permanent greenway route.
“The goal is to give one the experience of going through a linear park,” said Brian McCormick, one of the organization’s three co-founders, pointing out that the greenway will connect over 200 acres of regional parks.
Members of the public will be able to traverse the greenway any way they wish, be it walking, biking, or roller blading.
“It’s cheaper than a gym membership,” said McCormick. He added that people will also be inclined to use it as a viable commuter route because they will feel safe.
EWVIDCO, an organization that serves industrial organizations in North Brooklyn, was also recognized as an Urban Hero, Argento’s own selection.
Executive Director Leah Archibald admitted she was a bit surprised at first, but once she started thinking about it, she realized it wasn’t such a stretch after all. A lot of the work EWVIDO does, said Archibald, helps businesses become more sustainable.
“Creating local jobs is a green initiative,” said Archibald, pointing out that local commuters often ride their bikes or walk to work.
Argento said that Broadway Stages prides itself on being a good neighbor in Greenpoint. The company boasts what she calls the largest rooftop garden in the city and is planning to install solar panels on the roofs of all its stages.
“We want to give something back to people in the community who participate in urban regeneration,” said Argento, “to hopefully set a standard for others to do the same.”