I've lived on the Upper East Side for a total of 19 years (two different time periods and two different apartments). My husband, children and I live in an apartment in a cooperative on 2nd Avenue. I've also lived in Chelsea, Columbus Circle and Greenwich Village, but I have really loved living in one of the least touristy neighborhoods in the city.
For four hours on Earth Day, April 22, there were over a dozen Redeemer Eastside folks working to protect the street trees on First Avenue from 59th to 72nd Streets. Armed with work gloves, hand rakes and 350 bags of fresh mulch, we cleaned the tree beds of cigarette butts and chewing gum, loosened the soil, and covered the tree beds with mulch. The mulch was provided free of charge by kind folks at the NYC Sanitation Department who hauled it and dropped them off at each tree for those 12 blocks. It was a dirty, drizzly and tiring project, but it felt great to be serving our neighborhood in a concrete (or non-concrete haha) way! Special thanks to the Upper Green Side maven, Sarah Gallagher who organized the mulch delivery and provided garbage bags, tools, gloves, even kneepads and snacks!
There were a handful of people who approached us and asked how they could get involved, and many more who called out, "Happy Earth Day" to us. Of the volunteers, five were middle- and high-school kids who enjoyed getting their hands in the dirt and working with tools. We enjoyed the camaraderie, and the feeling of accomplishment to see the tree beds cleaned and nourished. It was a visible, tangible way to serve our neighborhood!