Load OUT! Saturday September 12th with Fourth Arts Block

One of our favorite Greening Partners, Fourth Arts Block (also known as FAB) is hosting one of our favorite events of the year, Load OUT!– which is as they describe it, “a bi-annual recycling riot offering free materials to artists and students.”

Save the Date:

Saturday September 12th, 11:00AM-2:00PM at 11 East 3rd Street

load out

As you may know, Load OUT! began as a way for local theaters to dispose of excess materials, and has since grown into a popular bi-annual recycling, re-use and re-purposing event, one in which our own theater has participated.

FAB is committed to diverting materials from the waste stream and providing an outlet for the community to safely dispose of gently used items. Local artists can also acquire items for their own creative projects for free.

Unclaimed items are collected for reuse and recycling by FAB’s community partners, United War Veterans Recycling, GrowNYC, Wearable Collections and Lower East Side Ecology Center.


You can help by donating materials, or by volunteering with Load OUT!. Interested? Please contact  anna@fabnyc.org for more information

Keeping it Green at the 14th Street Y

Kids in our After School, Preschool, and “Now We Are Three” program are always busy learning, growing and thinking about ways to be kind to the world and to each other.

Recently, all of these programs spent some time creating green themed projects, Preschool and Now We Are Three in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Holiday for trees, and After School as part of a whole day of greening.

After School  Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
After School Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
wack a clown
After School kids spent 13 weeks planning and creating games like this one.  The entire After School community got a chance to try them out on ‘greening day’!
bin it to win it
Would you know where to bin it? After School kids play “Bin it to Win it”, and learn when and how to recycle. And when to compost!
house 301 tree
House 301 in our Preschool created this beautiful tree in honor of Tu B’ Shevat. We like to remember the good work the trees are doing to bring us fruits and leaves when spring comes back again.
tree preschool
Preschool House 305 made this ‘present tree’ which you can see when you climb the stairs at the 14th Street Y!
trees tu b'shevat
There are so many ways to use the beauty of nature in the art that we do. We are looking forward to spring!

Pause and Play for Family Fit Day: Saturday January 24th 2-6PM

Cold Saturday Afternoons in January.  What to do?

In October of 2013, you may recall that we offered FAMILY FIT DAY for you and your family.  We saw how much kids loved to climb a rock wall, jump in a bounce house, and do activities normally featured in a summer camp day, like play GAGA or do martial arts with the fantastic Sensei Mark.  This year, we’re excited to do this in January (when the weather outside is frightful) and add the Family Fit Day element to our continued series, Pause/Play: Saturday Afternoons at the Y.  You can exercise together or in different sessions, celebrate sustainability and the new year for trees (Tu B’ Shvat Seder with Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein)….even take a family photo!

Take a look at the extensive schedule we’ve got planned right here.

FREE for members. Hope we see you there!

kids climb wall
Our Gym is transformed to a Rock Wall Climbing experience for kids!
PLAY in the 4th floor playroom!
Kids 4 and under get moving in our 4th floor playroom.
(kids really love GAGA)
Our Gym will also feature a new GAGA pit for lots of happy faces like this one.
Kids did Martial Arts,
Sensei Mark is back with martial arts
(it was a big crowd)
Toddler sing along and dance party with Debbie Brukman returns!
Family Yoga with Emily Sussell
Family Yoga with Emily Sussell

And so much more!  See you there.

From banners to bags.

By: Jane Hong

Have you ever wondered what happens to the 14th Street Y banners when we’re done with them? They’re not thrown away. They’re reused and upcycled by Vaya Bags in Queens. Vaya Bags uses leftover canvas scraps and used bicycle tubes donated from local businesses to make their goods. Maybe you remember seeing them at the 14th Street Y Green Fair? Our own Executive Assistant, Marissa Rosenblum, likes their backpacks so much she bought one. She uses it almost daily and brought it with her on her trip to Europe.

Marissa and her wife, Sarah, at Tower Bridge.
Marissa and her wife, Sarah, at Tower Bridge.
Marissa on top of the Eiffel Tower. She is not fond of heights.
Marissa on top of the Eiffel Tower. She is not fond of heights.













So what do Vaya Bags do with our banners? They use them as stiffeners.


This is their Handlebar bag.

The 14th Street Y is proud to support and be involved with local businesses like Vaya Bags while keeping waste out of landfills. Thank you to Tia and the Vaya team for the photos.

Why We March. People’s Climate March Sunday, September 21st

 There are so many reasons to March.  We’ve got a few to share, as well as details about where to go, when to be there and what to expect.

“I’ll Miss the polar ice caps when they melt”


Enter at 58th Street and 9th avenue because that is where everyone from the Jewish People’s Climate contingent will be, including the 14th Street Y!  We will be on 58th Street between 8th and 9th avenue, but be sure and enter at 9th avenue!

Look for the 14th Street Y banners!



Be prepared to show around 11AM, the march is scheduled to begin promptly at 11:30AM.



  • To learn more about the narrative of the march and the groups, visit the lineup page here.
  • At 12:58pm a moment of silence in commemoration of the victims of climate change worldwide will be held – and at 1:00pm they will sound the ” climate alarm.



  • The march will end on 11th Avenue, where there will be a huge celebration of everything we just accomplished — a massive People’s Block Party.
  • The block party will have six different areas, one for each of the march’s themes, where you’ll be able to learn about the many issues connected to the climate crisis and connect with other people who want to continue to organize around them after the march.
  • There will be dozens of food trucks parked nearby, stages with music, poetry and performances from around the world, community groups displaying the art they made for the march, and a powerful ribbon-tying ceremony where you can pledge to continue to take action on climate.
  • It’s going to be a huge celebration, not only of what we’ve done, but also of what we will do — it’s the time to talk and get inspired about what comes next after the People’s Climate March.

This link will allow you to share via facebook a declaration that you’re marching, and an image of the march route:





don't want 2B underwater
“I don’t want to be underwater”
teach my kids to fish
I want my children to be able to teach their kids to fish”
we have to share the universe
We have to act to save the universe”
my children
My children
“I want my children to be able to breathe”

The People’s Climate March NYC – Hazon


By Mirele Goldsmith

We’re only 6 weeks away from making history at what is expected to be the biggest climate march ever – the People’s Climate March NYC, on Sunday, September 21. I’m excited to have the opportunity to tell the world leaders who will be convening at the UN that now is the time to stop climate change.
What is even more exciting is that this will surely be the biggest Jewish climate march ever. I have spent the last month reaching out to Jews across the country as we lay plans to march together. I am confident that we will start the new year with a big bang: We’re going to be coming out in force, with our shofars blasting.  The People’s Climate March is taking place just a few days before we celebrate Rosh Hashanah.   To me, there could not be a better way to prepare for the new Jewish year.  
Rosh Hashanah is “hayom harat olam,” the day the earth was born.   It is the most universal of Jewish holidays. Unlike Passover and Hanukkah (to name just two), Rosh Hashanah is not about our particular Jewish story. It calls on us to reflect on our relationship to the earth that we share with everyone else.  In recognition of Rosh Hashanah the Jewish contingent at the People’s Climate March will be led by 100 shofar-blowers. 
As a long-time activist, I have observed that we Jews tend to focus on addressing climate change on a personal level. We ask how we can use our purchasing power to make a difference. Jews across the country are making the choice to build green homes and institutions, install efficient lighting, purchase locally grown food, and reduce waste by cutting down on the use of disposable paper and plastic – all steps that save energy and reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are the cause of climate change. These personal and communal steps are important, and yet we cannot stop there.
We need to change the system. That’s what the People’s Climate March is about. 
So far, despite all of the positive steps that families, faith communities, businesses, cities, and states across the US are taking, Congress has refused to pass climate-friendly legislation or support an international treaty. This is unacceptable. We need to take speedy action to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy now. We need policies that will bring about a world safe from the ravages of climate change with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone.


When hundreds of thousands of people come out to march on September 21, we will be showing our political leaders, and the world leaders convening at the UN, that we support them in making tough decisions for ambitious, comprehensive policies that will prevent climate change from accelerating.


The sound of the shofar is a cry of pain but it also brings a message of hope. This year, by marching together, we will change the course of history.

I look forward to seeing you there, shofar in hand.

Mirele Goldsmith is the Director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship


REGISTER TO MARCH WITH THE 14th STREET Y here and choose 14TH STREET Y from the drop down menu.


Read this and other great blog posts at HAZON:

at http://hazon.org/jewish-peoples-climate-march-nyc/


The 14th Street Y is Marching in the People’s Climate March. Join Us!

To change everything, we need everyone on board.
To change everything, we need everyone on board.

It has not been easy to watch, hear, or read about the world lately.


And wondering, “what can I do?”  has fewer and fewer answers.

Here is something you can do.  

Here is a tangible way to participate in the conversation, the work and the demand for action.  

Here is a way to move mountains one step at a time.


Join your friends, your family, your neighbors , your community, faith based groups, and many, many more  in the  People’s Climate March.


Sign up here to march with the 14th Street Y.  


Read more at PeoplesClimate.org




To change everything, we need everyone on board.







MT Works Brings “Dark Water” to the Y

“Dark Water” MT Works

We spoke with Antonio Miniño the Co-Artistic Director of MT Works as the company presents “Dark Water” at the Theater at the 14th Street Y March 13-29th. MT Works is a part of the new Theater Series at the Y. The series presents cutting edge downtown theater. Antonio told us about the production and the company.

Q: When was the company founded and what type of work do you do in your season?

A: The company started in 2006 when David Stallings, Cristina Alicea (now producing director Vermont Stage), and I worked on a show together: “Folie a Deux”. Our artistic aesthetic and work ethic just gelled together and we decided to start Maieutic Theatre Works (what we now know as Manhattan Theatre Works). We knew we wanted to showcase new plays and we knew we wanted to make a social change through our work and not just create theater for entertainment.

We have different programs aside from our mainstages that we’ve been developing throughout the years. Such as our Newborn Festival, Fireworks, Reworks and MTWorkologues.

Q: How do you choose the work that is being performed?

A: Plays are chosen through open submissions to our Newborn Festival which is a free annual reading series. Once a finalist the plays are part of the Living Room Series and we incorporate the astute feedback of our MTWorkers (company members) and our board to help us pick the plays that will be presented to the public.

"Dark Water" MT WorksQ: How important are social and environmental issues to the company?

A: Social issues are everything to us. It our society and beyond we cater to. The core of our mission is to challenge our perception of diversity, be it race, geography, sexuality or creed. “Dark Water” is our first environmental piece and through it we’ve learned and implemented ways to save on both material and energy.

Q: How does your company deal with social and environmental issues?

A: We tackle them head on. We are not shy or apologetic when it comes to presenting our work and we try and expand beyond the plays, with talk-backs, panel discussions and audience awareness.

Q: Welcome back to the Y, how does it feel?

A: We are thrilled to be back at the Y! We have been gypsies for a while renting at different locations but until the Y we had no sense of belonging or real support. Through the Theater Series we have been able to expand the reach of our message while feeling in very good company. The staff at the Y also goes above and beyond to make sure we have everything we need and to help us spread the word.

Q: Tell us about Dark Water and the company’s work with the writer, David Stallings, and director Heather Cohn.

A: David is our co-artistic director and one of the founders of our aesthetic. He shared with us a couple of play ideas he was toying with and one of them was “Dark Water.” We  immediately got goosebumps, “that must be the one you develop first and MTWorks has to produce it”, was the feeling in the room.

Heather Cohn has been with the play since January 2013 when she directed the reading of an earlier draft and they are the perfect match. The three of us collaborated outside of MTWorks in another Stallings play, “The Stranger to Kindness” (along with Susan G. Bob who is also in “Dark Water”) and they have that wonderful “finish-each-other’s thoughts” artistic connection.

Q: Tell us why to see “Dark Water”? "Dark Water" MT Works

A: Come see it! It will change you, enrage you and hopefully invoke change.

Click here for more information and to get tickets for “Dark Water”

Composting at Camp!

With the launch of our successful composting drop off program last March, the 14th Street Y has discovered how willing people are to participate in composting when given the opportunity to do so. Composting is a great eco educational tool for kids, and it’s never had more room to shine than right now, at our New Country Day Camp. Today we’re sharing a blog written by Aneta, New Country’s very own Greening Coordinator! .

Kids learn about composting at New Country Day Camp!
Kids learn about composting at New Country Day Camp!

We are very excited to introduce to you our Composting and Gardening program at New Country Day Camp in summer 2013 where campers and staff have been busy playing, smiling, and composting!

Our environmental program exposed 600+ children, from ages 4-12, and 100+ staff to the environmental advantages of composting and Jewish values that are associated with environmental advocacy. The program consisted of a diverse exposure not only to composting, but to gardening, environmental interconnectedness and our responsibility as members and leaders in this world. Campers were introduced to our worm bins, our metal can compost bins, our sensory/Havdalah garden and lead through activities on the "what, how and why" of compost. Our sensory garden featured plants that stimulated different senses: basil and stevia for taste, spearmint, peppermint and English lavender for smell, sunflowers for sight, dusty miller and lemongrass for touch and echinacea for sound because of its attraction to songbirds. It was also entitled a Havdalah garden because it reminds children of the ceremony we have after Shabbat, in which we use our senses to taste the wine, smell the herbs and see the candle.

At lunch, and after every Sustainable snack, children were reminded to throw their food scraps into our green composting bins filled with our compostable bio-bags. A "Yay or Nay" sign supplemented the reminder by showing children what could be (hence the yay!) and what could not be (nay) composted.

Every Wednesday and Friday, the bio-bags were collected and brought onto the Manhattan buses to be brought back to the Y, where it was compiled with the Y's compost. This acted as a zero-carbon footprint method because our children were already traveling on the buses back and forth from camp and the net worth of our compost collection was greater because of the variety of items the Y accepted for composting. On average, NCDC diverted about 130 pounds of food scraps away from landfills and into nutritious soil a week. At the end of Week 5, NCDC has composted 685 pounds of compost and is expected to produce over a thousand pounds in one camp season! That's a whole lot of soil that then is used for local farms upstate.

As for programming, campers how to create seed globes, which are small balls of organic compost, water, red art clay and seeds that act as micro-environments for plants to grow almost anywhere, and exposed campers to Jewish values such as Bal Taschit (avoiding waste), L'avdah u'leshamrah (protecting the environment), Manhigut (leadership) and Arevut (mutual responsibility).

We illustrated the values of composting by creating educational and experiential opportunities for the campers to engage in throughout the day in their age and subject based units. As Greening Coordinator, I designed programming that intertwined environmental education along with each unit. For example, we set up our compost bins, built our sensory/Havdalah garden and made mint lemonade from our garden with CCP, our Cooking, Camping and Pioneering Unit. With Gymnastics, we discussed the importance of a closed cycle and brainstormed other cycles that exist in our lives, such as the cycles of the moon and sun, the planets, and the life cycles of plants and animals. We manifested these ideas through body movements in a show during Shabbat. For Arts and Crafts, we built recycled scarecrows for our garden made out of toilet paper rolls, milk jugs and old clothing. With Science and Technology, we did soil testing, used this information to decide upon the location for next year's planter box and planted sunflowers as an activity for teaching phytoremediation. For Performing Arts, we created stop-motion films that both promoted and educated composting and environmental work to campers and you! the parents.

We couldn't have done it without your campers! To continue your camper's composting efforts and help bring the habit home, below are a few links on how to deal with the food waste that your home produces:

1. A worm bin is a great way to do indoor composting. Worm bins can be purchased through the Lower East Side Ecology Center: http://www.lesecologycenter.org/index.php/composting.html. They even have a compost hotline!

2. Outdoor compost bins are also an option for any outdoor space.

3. GreenMarkets accept compost collections, and other forms of recycling such as textile recycling, from homes at varying times and locations in NYC: http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/ourmarkets. An excellent way to keep food scraps in your home in between visits is to freeze your compost!

4. Last but not least, the Y is happy to accept any and all of your compost. Click here to learn about the Y’s Composting Program!

Join our campers in our composting efforts and keep on composting!

Aneta Bujno, our Greening Coordinator, has worked at NCDC for five summers. Aneta learned how to teach environmental education by volunteering at Bushwick City Farm, a grassroots community organization in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Happy Earth Day!

“New York is the greenest community in the United States. The most devastating damage that humans have done to the environment has arisen from the burning of fossil fuels, a category in which New Yorkers are practically prehistoric by comparison with other Americans.”
David Owen, Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability                        

Let’s begin by owning that as a city we’re already doing a surprisingly good job of keeping our footprint low by simply living in NYC, driving less, living close by to where we want to go, and walking more.  Happy Earth Day!

Now–  let’s talk about garbage!

If you didn’t know already, garbage in NYC is transported to landfills outside of the state.  Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey all have landfills full of old clothes, packaging, paper, the contents of our last closet purge, and lots and lots of food waste.  This last one is the most unfortunate, because food was meant to compost back into the earth and enrich the soil for the next growing cycle.   If we can keep food out of landfill and find a way to send it back to the soil that grows our food, we’re giving our future food the opportunity to be at least as nutritious as the food that came before it.  It’s a simple concept.  However, when you live in New York City where backyard gardens and opportunities to compost are scarce it seems like the only option for our food waste is to throw it into the landfill with the rest of the garbage.

So here’s a happy story about what we’re doing here at the 14th Street Y, a Jewish community center in the East Village of New York City.  Most of the people who walk through our doors are small apartment urban dwellers.  Their days are full and they are busy, either with family life, crazy jobs or a combination of those.  The Y is a place that serves the community.  We’d been composting within the building for about a year (afterschool snacks and banana peels had a different place to go than the trash can) but this March we chose to begin a community composting pilot—an opportunity for our members and patrons to sign up and drop off their own food waste with us.

Like composting itself, the concept is simple.  After signing up with us, people were asked to save all their food waste; this includes the usual stuff like fruits, vegetables, peelings and cores, but also meat, bones, grains,  dairy, even wooden chopsticks and paper take out containers.  They bring their food waste in used milk cartons or paper bags, both of which are compostable, or in compostable bio bags. We used a waste hauling company, IESI to take the compostables to a plant where they would be processed into composting soil and made available to local farms.   We made a goal to divert 1 ton of food from landfill by Earth Day 2013, which we easily achieved.

It’s been amazing to see how many people would like to compost and will compost when there are sustainable ways of doing so. Would you like to compost with us?  Contact Camille_Diamond@14StreetY.org to sign up!

If you’re not currently a member or patron of the Y but want  to get into composting yourself, there are other options available.  Here’s a list of some of the best of them. Every composting program has a list of what they can and can’t take, so please make sure you double-check their lists before dropping off your compost.

  • NYC Greenmarkets have drop off programs for organic food waste, and it’s easy to remember to bring your food waste when you’re going to purchase more fresh, local food for your family.  http://www.grownyc.org/compost/locations
  • There are experts in composting at Lower East Side Ecology center.  They can show you how to do your own composting…with worms!  http://www.lesecologycenter.org/index.php/composting.html
  • Vokashi is a home composting service that lets you compost in your own kitchen with a special fermentation process in an odorless bucket.  Then…they pick it up!  http://www.vokashi.com/
  • You can get involved with your local schools by creating and registering a school garden!  Composting can be a great part of a garden like this, and an opportunity to compost and learn together!  http://growtolearn.org/view/registergarden

Finally, if you would like to start a community composting project like we did at the 14th Street Y, Please let us know!  We’ll put you in touch with the right people and cheer you on from our downtown corner in the East Village.  For more about our program, just visit www.14Streety.org/compost.