Car Free Earth Day is now an annual event the Saturday before Earth Day when a few sections of the city are blissfully closed to traffic. Uptowners can take part in the exhaust-free fun this weekend on St. Nicholas Avenue between 181st and 190th Streets (there's also a bigger event on Broadway between Union Square and Times Square).
The nine uptown blocks will be buzzing with activities all day, including dance performances, Zumba classes, helmet giveaways and tours of nearby Highbridge Park.
Not sure you'll be able to make it? Here are a few of the participating organizations you can check out anytime you feel like enjoying the outdoors in the upper reaches of our fair city.
Bike New York
The organizers behind the TD Five Boro Bike Tour (May 6) are on a mission to get as many people on bikes as they can. This means they also host smaller rides around the area, including Picnic in the Park on June 3, which starts in Central Park, stops at a nearby greenmarket, and continues for lunch at the Little Red Lighthouse underneath the George Washington Bridge (then returns to the start).
Last year New York City's bike share program added 49 stations in Harlem, expanding all the way to 130th Street. If you haven't given the service a whirl, now's a great time. And if none of the stations are still close enough to you, you can make your voice heard and add a suggested location on NYC DOT's interactive map.
New York Restoration Project (NYRP)
Volunteer for NYRP, Bette Midler's non-profit dedicated to fixing and beautifying New York's public spaces, and you'll see immediate results. There are still four activities in Upper Manhattan left on April's calendar, from Forest Crew: Earth Day Kickoff at Highbridge Park to Twigs & Swigs: Arbor Day on West 149th Street (a cleanup of Maggie's Garden followed by a happy hour hosted by The Bronx Brewery).
Row New York
Imagine gliding quickly and smoothly across the Harlem River using only your own power. That's the beauty of rowing, which you can learn pretty quickly by enrolling in a course at Row New York. The organization's two-hour adult learn-to-row classes are starting this weekend at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse in Upper Manhattan, and proceeds support Row New York's programs for young people, including those with disabilities.