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People in green costumes dance in a performance.
Photograph: By Josef Pinlac, Queensboro Dance Festival / Courtesy of Queens Botanical Garden

The best Earth Day events in NYC

Show some love for Mama Earth and attend these epic Earth Day events in NYC to support various environmental causes.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Christina Izzo
&
Rossilynne Skena Culgan
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Some the best NYC events in April celebrate Earth Day. NYC isn’t the greenest city, but New York sure knows how to give Mother Nature a proper party and some much-needed recognition. The best Earth Day events in NYC including volunteering to clean up parks in NYC or beaches to ensure they stay litter-free. There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy themed music, sustainable art and natural beauty. Get ready to do some tree hugging and check out fun things to do outside and inside.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Earth Day in NYC

The best Earth Day events in NYC

  • Travel
  • Transport & Travel

The city will celebrate on April 20 by turning a portion of some streets into car-free zones from 10am-4pm. This year, 53 streets and plazas across all five boroughs will be part of the program, making it the largest-ever car-free Earth Day in the history of NYC. 

In addition to making areas more accessible to bike riders and pedestrians, the celebration will include musical and art-related programs for everyone to enjoy, plus a series of awesome activations.

Here's the full list of streets

  • Theater

The third annual Broadway Celebrates Earth Day concert is returning to Times Square on Saturday, April 20, with a star-studded lineup that includes Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles (Sweeney Todd), Tony Award nominee Anika Larsen (Almost Famous), Ben Cameron (Broadway Sessions), Michael Maliakel (Aladdin), Jelani Remy (Back to the Future), Alexandra Socha (Wicked), Nik Walker (Spamalot) and more.

The live performances will take place from 11am to 3pm on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. And joining those professional theater names, student performers will also take the stage from groups and schools like Epic Players, Marymount Manhattan College, NYU Steinhardt, Perkiomen Valley High School, and more.

To underscore “the Broadway community’s commitment to raise awareness about the climate and inspire actionable steps towards a more sustainable future,” the event will also feature guest speakers like Julie Tighe, Director of New York League of Conservation Voters.

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  • Things to do

Looking for a way to give back this Earth Day? You can head to Governors Island for its third annual Earth Day celebration, which will “celebrate the power of native plants” through free educational activities and workshops for all ages.

On Saturday, April 20, from 1-3pm in Colonels Row, you can partake in events like a guided tour through the Island’s open space, a participatory mural inspired by the relationship between milkweed and Monarch butterflies, cyanotype printing activities, seed ball workshops and free bike lessons with Bike New York, among others. Even more important, though, is the volunteer stewardship projects taking place in the morning, from 10am to noon: you can sign up for activities like invasive species removal with the Bee Conservancy, Fort Jay cleanup with the Nation­al Park Service, and Laven­der Field care with Earth Mat­ter. Check out the full lineup of Earth Day events at the Governors Island website

  • Art
  • Art

Sadly, seeing trash on New York City's streets is nothing new. Candy wrappers, cigarette butts, latex gloves, random clothing, and single-use cups litter sidewalks and roadways. 

In honor of Earth Month, a new sculpture aptly titled "Single Use Reflections" encourages viewers to pay closer attention to the trash we create—and how we can change that both systemically and individually. Beauty brand Kiehl's unveiled a sculptural installation by artist and activist Benjamin Von Wong. The artwork is on view at the High Line through April 17.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

There’s nothing like a day of worshipping our planet to put an optimistic spin on dwindling resources, rising sea levels and the alarming acceleration of climate change. Head to Earth Day Initiative's annual festival at Union Square on April 14 (12-6pm) to meet dozens of environmental non-profits and green businesses, learn about climate campaigns, hear speeches, and take part in interative workshops. Leave with a plan to up your eco-friendly game.

  • Things to do

Get the kiddos cultured with free, interactive and fun musical activities and performances at Carnegie Hall’s Family Day: Spring Fest. On Saturday, April 20 from noon to 4pm, children ages 3–10 and their caregivers are invited to the Hall’s Resnick Education Wing for an afternoon-long free open house that will “celebrate the earth, nature, and all things spring.”

Try your hand at instrument building with Bash the Trash; get your group sing on with artists Emily Eagen, Sonia De Los Santos, and Skye Steele; relax with a soothing sound meditation; and enjoy lively mainstage performances featuring People of Earth, Michael Hearst and the Unusual Creatures, and many more. After all, who said that grown-ups can’t tap into their own creativity and learning this Earth Day? 

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  • Things to do

What’s even better than spending a day at the beach? Spending a day at the beach and making it better than you found it.

On Monday, April 22 at 11am, The Rockaway Hotel + Spa will host an Earth Day Beach Clean-up in partnership with the electric shuttle service Circuit and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, which works to improve 10,000 acres of public parklands throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula. Your $20 ticket gets your transportation from the hotel to the beach, a Rockaway Hotel T-shirt, and a light lunch buffet afterward. Even better? A portion of proceeds from the event will go to the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.

  • Music

Created and composed by G. Victoria Campbell, Treeson bills itself as a “new original eco-musical about finding purpose in life by saving the earth.” The show follows Ash, an environmental activist in the Pacific Northwest who is the heir to their family’s logging empire, prompting a crisis of conscience and questions of ethics.

In celebration of Earth Day, the Treeson cast will perform selections from the show’s soaring soundtrack—which blends Indigenous, Western, folk and pop-rock music, with music and lyrics by Campbell—at 54 Below on Monday, April 22. Among the musical theater actors who will be taking the stage are Brooks Andrew, Madyson Bolton, DeShawn Bowens and Ashleigh Cassidy.

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  • Things to do

From a clothing swap to a climate discussion, Pier 57 is celebrating Earth Day with a variety of festive activities bringing together climate enthusiasts, local organizations, and community members of all ages.

On Saturday, April 20, the waterfront destination is partnering with Veggie Mijas, a BIPOC collective advocating for food and environmental justice, on a clothing swap in Pier 57’s Living Room space at 1:30pm. Bring up to five items of clothing or shoes — in good condition, of course — to swap and share. The Reclypt team will also be on hand for advice on mending, upcycling and caring for your clothes, and all leftover items will be distributed among local organizations like Collective Focus and NYC Fair Trade Coalition. Then at 2:30pm, you can sit in for a meaningful discussion about sustainability and climate action with Climate Café, Black Girl Environmentalist, Remake, We Are Atlas, and Worn Not Torn.

And since all that will have you working up an appetite, Market 57 vendor Local Roots will be offering a special Earth Day cookie, made with black sesame and matcha icing. You can register for all of the above here

  • Things to do

When it comes to caring for the environment, it’s best to teach them young. The folks at the Seaport clearly agree, with a Seaport Kids x Earth Day lineup of activities coming to the waterfront on Saturday, April 20.

Hosted by Mommy Poppins and Brooklyn Bridge Parents, the afternoon event will be jam-packed with Earth-friendly activities and demonstrations to teach kiddos about the planet and how to embrace their green thumbs, including arts and crafts using recycled boxes and other salvaged materials, science experiments and planting activities, and a magic show. Children of all ages are welcome, but the activities are targeted for those aged 2 to 10. 

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  • Things to do

Ready for a sustainable closet refresh? Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe—and adding even more to the landfills—you can zhuzh up items you already own by letting Nadia Pinder from StuyDYED do her thing.

The tie-dye pro will be popping up at Talea Williamsburg on Sunday, April 21 from 11am to 2pm for an Earth Day drop-off service: you can bring in your old but clean clothes, Nadia will collect your items, re-dye them at her studio (three colorways will be available to choose from: “Solid Pantone Peach,” “Abstract Almost Navy” and “Striped Soft Silver”) and have them ready for you to pick up at the Brooklyn taproom one week later. And if you can’t pick it up in person, no worries—items can be shipped at an additional cost.

Speaking of pricing, the dye jobs start at $5 for a pair of socks, and go up to $40 for dresses and jeans and $50 for jumpsuits. 

  • Music

On Saturday April 27, in celebration of Earth Month, Juilliard and Lincoln Center will present the New York premiere of Crossing Open Ground, an outdoor work by John Luther Adams for winds, brass, and percussion. From 11am until 4pm, an acoustic ensemble of Juilliard student and alumni dancers and musicians will perform the piece as it moves across Lincoln Center’s 16-acre campus, which is meant “ to encourage viewers to slow down and remember their place within the larger community of life on Earth,” per a press release. 

The free event will be directed and choreographed by Pam Tanowitz and co-music directed by Juilliard chamber music faculty member Nadia Sirota as well as Adams’ longtime collaborator percussionist Douglas Perkins. Tickets are not required—just show up and be awed!

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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Explore "The End of Fossil Fuel," the latest pop-up from the NYC Climate Museum. It's free to visit in Soho and offers a bevy of eye-opening activities for all ages.

Inside the gallery, a collection of maps will put climate change issues into perspective, alongside text panels about the history of the fossil fuel industry. The exhibits trace the origins of the climate and inequality crises and how we got to where we are today. Other activations include a sticker wall where visitors commit to specific climate actions and a kids' corner with books and drawing materials.

Find the pop-up at 105 Wooster Street in Soho through April 30, 2024. The museum is free to visit and open to all. It's open Wednesdays-Sundays from 1-6pm. 

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Grand Bazaar is one of NYC’s oldest and largest marketplaces where you can buy vintage treasures, antiques, clothing and more goodies from more than 100 local merchants. Photographers, jewelers and furniture designers sell their best on Sundays between 10am and 5pm on the Upper West Side (77th Street at Columbus Avenue). 

Each week offers a different theme, from featuring women-owned businesses to focusing on handmade items to spotlighting international wares. The market runs both indoors and outdoors each week all year long.

For Earth Month, the bazaar will host several eco-friendly events, beginning with the NYC Upcycled Pop-Up on April 14, followed by the NYC Earth Day Bazaar on April 21, and wrapping up with the Vintage Treasures Bazaar on April 28.

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  • Art

Fourteen international artists have come together for Fotografiska New York’s current exhibition Human / Nature: Encountering Ourselves in the Natural World, a mix of photographs, sculptures, and immersive video installations. These works from the likes of David Ụzọchukwu, Lewis Miller, Ori Gerscht, and more explore the complex relationship between Earth and its human inhabitants," per a press release.

Though the show is open through Saturday, May 18, you’ll want to stop by the museum on Sunday, April 21 for a workshop on ikebana, the Japanese art of floral design, by instructor Paula Tam of the Ikenobo school, the oldest and largest school of ikebana. A ticket to the workshop ($110 for members, $125 for non-members) includes admission to Human / Nature, as well as the other world-class exhibitions on view at Fotografiska.

  • Things to do

Celebrate the abundance of Earth’s beauty at The William Vale by delving into the art of sustainable floral arrangements with experts from Hanato Floral Design, a woman-owned boutique flower shop and floral design studio based in Williamsburg. Spotlighting locally-sourced wild flowers, the workshop—which takes place on Monday, April 22 at 5:30pm at the private dining room at Leuca—will teach you how to clean and care for fresh cut flowers, as well as introduce you to the technique of spiraling to create a hand-tied bouquet, which you will get to take home. Your $150 ticket includes the gorgeous spring blooms as well as a glass of prosecco.

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  • Things to do

The annual EarthFest celebration returns to the American Museum of Natural History on Saturday, April 27, with a full day of family-friendly activities and performances to celebrate Earth Month. 

Free with museum admission, the festival will include hands-on science and art activities, engagements with real-deal scientists, and a “bioblitz,” where participants will join scientists in Central Park to discover the amazing variety of local insects in our urban ecosystem. Attendees can build their own solar “car” with environmental STEM educator Solar One, take inspiration from oceanic species at a marine-themed hair-and-makeup station, make their own antenna and wings at a bee-hive art activity and more.

Check out the full EarthFest schedule of events at the AMNH website

  • Art

Taking over the Asia Society from through August 11, 2024, this immersive photography and video exhibition will bring together the works of more than 50 photographers and video artists from China and around the world to visualize the causes and consequences of the climate crisis.

The showwhich will take attendees from deep within coal mines to the melting glaciers of the greater Himalaya—is co-curated by photographer Susan Meiselas and international exhibition designer Jeroen de Vries, and led by Orville Schell, Asia Society Vice President and Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations.

Along with the artworks themselves, the exhibition will feature a series of speaker events, performances, films and more throughout the run of the exhibition. 

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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Explore natural beauty at this secret garden on the Upper West Side where 15,000 tulips in vibrant orange, yellow, red and pink hues are in bloom. 

You can find the tucked-away garden at 123 West 89th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue. It's free to visit The West Side Community Garden's Tulip Festival, but you can make a donation to keep the volunteer-run garden beautiful year after year. 

You can find the tucked-away garden at 123 West 89th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue. Though it's free to visit, you can make a donation to keep the volunteer-run garden beautiful year after year. Garden volunteers will be on site on April 13-14 and 20-21 from 10am-6pm so you can learn more about the plantings and ask questions.

  • Art

As effects of the climate crisis pop up in everyday life, The Poster House's new exhibition feels staggeringly relevant. The exhibit "We Tried to Warn You! Environmental Crisis Posters, 1970–2020" features 33 works that have shaped the worldwide public debate on environmental issues including clean energy, endangered species, and air and water quality. 

Ranging in style from whimsical to apocalyptic, the works examine international awareness campaigns and federal advertisements that aimed to address environmental crises as they evolved from regional problems to a global disaster. Exhibited works mark important events and movements, including the first Earth Day in 1970, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States a few years later, and the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. 

Artists whose posters are exhibited include: Amos Kennedy, Robert Rauschenberg, Per Arnoldi, Tom Eckersley, Freidensreich Hundertwasser, Hans Erni and Milton Glaser, among others. This exhibition is supported by the Simons Foundation. The show runs from April 25–November 3, 2024.

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  • Art

In a city full of lost and discarded items, there’s beauty and meaning to be found in our trash.

As NYC deals with what seems like more garbage on its streets and the threat of climate change on its waterfront, an increasing amount of artists are turning to the sidewalks, alleyways and curbs to find their respective mediums. Sure, it may be your trash, but it’s their treasure.

Here are five of NYC’s sustainable artists who make radical art using found objects. Their work, piece by piece, aims to turn the effects of overconsumption and waste on their head and illuminate viewers on the imbalance in our ecosystem. 

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