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Living Amongst Pavement No More: Where I Found A New York “Green Escape”
I have been to New York City a handful of times during my life, and each time, I see The City That Never Sleeps in a different light.
Recently, I traveled there to attend the opening of PS41 Greenwich Village School’s green roof. The historic area of Greenwich Village is an area that I have visited before, but had never experienced through this particular lens: I saw kids living in a pavement world. I saw parents walking their kids to school every morning down 7th Ave. with taxis rushing by. I saw kids eating their breakfast while their moms and dads hustled them across busy streets.
None of this is really a surprise—I know that kids grow up in big cities—but what I didn’t really stop to ever think about, was, well…the obvious: what it really means for kids to grow up in big cities.
I do not have kids of my own, but I do have a one-year-old niece, and seeing New York this way really made me think about how this was a normal day for these kids. I couldn’t imagine growing up in the city, and all I kept asking myself as I stood by and watched the morning commute was, “Where do these kids play? Where do they venture out for that ‘green escape’ for the afternoon?”
At PS41, I found my answer: There’s no room on the ground? No problem! We’ll put it on the roof.
Green roofs are not a new thing, but what PS41 has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. They have given students (and teachers and parents, for that matter), an environmentally-friendly place to live and learn—and inspire change.
PS41 is packed between shops, parking garages and sky scrapers, but the kids that I saw on that roof had escaped from the pavement and hustle of the New York I had always known. I too, found myself not wanting to leave the roof.
This trip to NYC and PS41 taught me that it is possible to create a green learning environment, so kids can have access to the fun and enjoyment of the natural world. I can’t wait to see which school will be next at creating a “green escape” for their students!