Posts Tagged With: public elementary schools

Sugarcane Cafeteria Trays Help Battery Park City School Go Green

P.S. 89 parents and students on the "Green Team" celebrated their awards from the Department of Sanitation on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Julie Shapiro & DNAinfo)

By Julie Shapiro
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

A Battery Park City elementary school won top honors this week for using cafeteria trays made out of sugarcane rather than Styrofoam.

P.S. 89 earned a citywide elementary Golden Apple award from the Department of Sanitation and a Golden Shovel from the department’s NYC Compost Project after cutting its lunchtime trash output by more than half in just the last few months.

“We could see how dedicated your school was to reduce, reuse, recycle and to composting,” Carey Pulverman, a manager for the NYC Compost Project, told the students at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

“A lot of you changed your daily habits here in the lunchroom, and we’ve been very impressed by that.”

P.S. 89’s parent-led “Green Team” spearheaded the switch from Styrofoam trays to biodegradable trays made of sugarcane, starch and wood pulp earlier this year after becoming concerned about the school’s trash output, said Diana Biagioli, a P.S. 89 parent.

The PTA pays the extra two cents it costs to purchase each environmentally friendly tray and is working with Holton Farms in Vermont to compost them after they’re used. The school goes through about 350 to 400 trays per day, Biagioli said.

Rather than dumping everything, including the trays, into the trash after lunch, P.S. 89 students now carefully remove any leftover food from their trays and stack them on a table. They also pour out their extra milk and recycle the cardboard cartons.

Parent volunteers are on hand every day to supervise the process — but most students know the routine and say they didn’t mind the extra steps.

“If we don’t take care of our planet, it will become a big dump,” said 7-year-old Himani Sirsi, who lives in Battery Park City. “The Styrofoam trays release toxic gases, and they’re bad for the planet.”

Since switching to sugarcane trays in February, P.S. 89 has reduced its lunchtime trash output from eight to 12 bags of garbage a day to just four, parents said.

Michelle Lee, 7, a Battery Park City resident, said that after learning about the environment in school, she often reminds her parents to recycle at home, and now she hopes to spread the lesson to other schools as well.

“If every school in the universe does this, it’ll be happier [for] the planet,” she said.

See more from DNAinfo.

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Best Blacktops – Battery Park City

Downtown Express photo by John Bayles

West Thames Park was picked by Downtown Express as one of the best blacktops in the city siting, “this recently opened Battery Park City facility offers courts that are both beautiful and strangely designed.” The two half court basketball facilities with the uncommon multicolor paint choices seem only to attract youngsters in the area. The two courts have different height nets encouraging the shorter-net court to fill up with elementary age children by early afternoon and overflowing to the surrounding jungle gym. We are excited that our blacktop was picked as one of the best in the city. You can read about the other wining blacktops here.

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Downtown’s population boom seen rolling on

May 18, 2010
Downtown’s population boom seen rolling on

Lower Manhattan has experienced a tremendous population boom over the last 15 years and still ranks as one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city, according to a new survey that will be released late Tuesday afternoon.

An estimated 55,000 individuals currently reside south of Chambers Street. That compares to just 24,000 in 2001 and a mere 14,000 in 1995, according to the latest survey by the Alliance for Downtown New York. As new developments emerged in lower Manhattan in recent years, the percentage of residents who own, as opposed to rent, their homes rocketed to 47% in 2009, from 40% in 2007.

“Lower Manhattan has become the residential neighborhood of choice,” said Elizabeth Berger, president of Downtown Alliance, who has lived in the area for 28 years. “People who moved to lower Manhattan as renters stay and become owners. Those who come single get married and have children.”

Almost two-thirds of today’s residents have lived in the area for five or more years and 88% said they plan to continue to stick around for at least another three years. Just under a quarter of households, some 23%, have children under 18 years old. That proportion is expected to rise as 40% of childless households indicate plans to have children in the next three years.

To cope with that growth, lower Manhattan will be getting two new public elementary schools as well as a public high school later this year. The area’s private school Claremont Preparatory School will also be expanding and creating a high school.

In addition, the first portion of the East River waterfront park, which will connect the Battery Maritime Building to Pier 35, is slated to open in October, according to Ms. Berger. The area also has access to 14 subway lines, 28 buses and six ferry terminals.

“People are drawn to places that have everything. They look for strong schools and public amenities,” she added. “We are no longer the frontier.”

The majority of lower Manhattan residents cited overall quality of life, quality of apartment, access to mass transit and safety as reasons for living in the area. While the of $143,000 median household income in lower Manhattan was pulled down by the recession, the median household income was still three times more than the city-wide median of $51,000 and more than double Manhattan’s median household income of $69,000.

“The growth in residential is supporting the commercial vitality of the area,” said Ms. Berger. The survey found that 40% of the residents actually work in lower Manhattan. Residents of the area also work in diverse fields ranging from finance to creative industries. In fact, about a quarter, 23% said they were self-employed.

Downtown Alliance hired PKS Research Partners to conduct this survey in the fall of 2009.

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