Local officials also came to show support for a sustainable New York and held a press conference to address several environmental issues in the city.
“We need to do everything we can to accommodate the numbers of people coming here each year,” said Jeanette Sadik-Khan, the Department of Transportation Commissioner. “People move here instead of the sprawled out places like, dare I say it, Atlanta.”
“We’ve doubled the number of bike lanes in the last three years and we [public transportation] have the highest ridership since 1969,” she said. “New Yorkers already have one third of the carbon footprint of most Americans, so if you want to save the earth move to New York City.”
Growing and Greening New York is an exhibit that follows an average New Yorker throughout their day and addresses different environmental issues at different times during the day. It elaborates on the six subjects addressed by the Bloomberg Administration’s five-borough plan for sustainability by 2030.
Among the addressed topics are water, transportation, energy, open space, land, and climate change. The museum exhibit illustrates these issues.
An illustration shows water use of an average New Yorker’s morning, at around 7 a.m. when most people are showering and brushing their teeth. It moves later to 3 p.m. when many New Yorkers go to parks and open spaces. To show the benefit of this daily routine, the exhibit includes information on how open spaces benefit water and air quality.
“This important exhibition reveals how each of us can work with business and government to address the challenges posed by climate change, population growth, and other environmental issues. Growing and Greening New York is not only informative, it is empowering,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum, in a press release.
Other New Yorkers have taken a different approach to environmental sustainability—ride a bike.
“We now know that transportation is responsible for 50 percent of the air pollution that we breathe,” said Caroline Samponaro, the Director of Bicycle Advocacy for Transportation Alternatives.
The bicycle is gaining popularity in New York City and a resident of Copenhagen, Denmark was present to study the cities’ strategies to make it easier on those who want to make their daily commute on two wheels.
Not long ago the only people on bikes were delivery people and some commuters. There were issues about bikes hitting pedestrians on the streets and cycles lost their popularity for some time.
This is something New York cyclists hope to change.
“We have to get away from the embattled cyclist,” said George Bliss who is responsible for the proliferation of pedi-cabs in New York City. “We have to bring the upper class into this before the middle class will get involved. In Copenhagen, wealthy people will put on their work clothes and sit up straight on their bicycle like they own the universe on their way to work.”