Green Light District
About El Puente’s Green Light District
The El Puente Green Light District (GLD) is a strategic community sustainability initiative to preserve, grow, green, and celebrate Williamsburg’s Southside community. At a time when communities across New York City are facing rapid changes, the Green Light District seeks to flip the disempowerment of gentrification and put the power of transformation in the hands of its residents and stakeholders. The GLD seeks to build equity and sustainability by connecting residents to each other, socially and culturally; sharing knowledge, providing access to public resources and building capacity by developing partnerships, coalitions, and alliances to support community lead projects. The GLD’s five areas of focus are: Affordable Living, Arts & Culture, Education, Green Spaces & Environmental Justice, and Health & Wellness. The GLD has initiated and/or supported innovative community equity campaigns to include the establishment of MS 50/ El Puente Community School; “Nuestro Aire/ Our Air” ( a citizen science project monitoring the toxic air quality in Los Sures); the opening of several community gardens, a Cultural Blueprint for Community Planning and CADRE (Community Artists Development and resource Exchange.
Arts and Culture
The Green Light District organizes art exhibitions, performances, film screenings and other arts related events, building community through cultural activities that engage the diverse communities of Los Sures. We also organize local Latino artists and artists of color, offering professional and pre-professional development programs for adults and young people in the arts through El Puente CADRE (Community Artists’ Development & Resource Exchange).
The GLD addresses the changes in our community and works to create equitable access to funding, infrastructure and community venues for artistic expression, institutional development and cultural participation. Current and previous GLD projects that uphold its commitment to the preservation and support of arts and culture in Los Sures include:
¡WEPA! Festival, an annual street festival that occurs each year in the month of September on Havemeyer Street, from South 4th St to Grand Street.
¡Manifest! an El Puente event that celebrates and affirms women’s empowerment through arts and wellness, held on the month of March to honor Women’s International Month.
Parranda, an annual traditional Caribbean holiday caroling hosted by an El Puente CADRE member, BombaYo.
Community Artists’ Development & Resource Exchange/Colectiva para Recursos y Desarollo de Artistas Comunitarios (CADRE) is El Puente’s network of mostly Latino community artists, artisans and cultural workers rooted in North Brooklyn. Members exchange ideas and share resources; develop and present individual and collaborative work; and design and implement strategies for community sustainability. CADRE is coordinated by El Puente’s Green Light District (GLD) Initiative – a holistic ten-year sustainability campaign for the Southside of Williamsburg (Los Sures). CADRE members have collectively produced art exhibitions, community murals, workshops with visiting artists, the annual ¡WEPA! Festival for Southside Performing Arts, Integrated Arts Projects, and more. A collective of CADRE’s visual artists, Los Muralistas de El Puente, continues a two-decade long history of collaborating with young people to design and paint socially engaging community murals in Los Sures (South Williamsburg) and Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Environmental Justice and Open Spaces
El Puente’s commitment to environmental justice has been present since the creation of this organization. Being an environmental justice community, North Brooklyn has had to combat the effects of air, water and soil pollution for centuries. The residents of Los Sures have long suffered the consequences and vulnerabilities associated with these hazardous living conditions, including respiratory and heart diseases. GLD is committed to advocating for a healthier and more sustainable quality of life for the residents it serves. Working along its members and with the community at large, GLD has been engaged in a systematic analysis of the area’s built environment, studying and improving parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, the air, soil and water of North Brooklyn, while activating community gardens across the GLD area.
Urban Lab For Open Spaces
Our Air!/ ¡Nuestro Aire!
The Green Light District created the Urban Lab for Open Spaces, a project that studies parks, playgrounds and other open spaces in the Southside. The Urban Lab publishes reports on the current state of the air quality and park usage trends in four parks in the Southside of Williamsburg: La Guardia Playground, Jaime Campiz Playground, Rodney Park, and Marcy Green, all next to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The methods of investigation included air monitoring, truck counts and park surveys. The data collection is performed by youth from Williamsburg Leadership Center (WLC) youth and adult volunteers. Exploring the situation of the Southside parks and open spaces led to a series of discoveries regarding their air pollution, their users, and the needs for open space improvements.
Espíritu Tierra Community Garden
El Puente coordinates the Espíritu Tierra Community Garden (201-203 South 2nd Street), a New York City Department of Parks GreenThumb garden, located on South 2nd Street between Roebling and Driggs. The garden has been active since its founding in 1990, when youth members from the El Puente Academy cleaned out a mountain of garbage to create a space dedicated to cultivating a peaceful space for medicinal herbs, meditation, and music. Today, the garden boasts a very diverse group of about 30 households and youth groups who grow food, herbs, decorative and edible flowers in the space. El Puente also organizes events, workshops, and cultural programming activities in the garden. If you are interested in joining the garden community, would like to offer your skills and resources, or are interested in holding an event or activity there, please contact Edda Figueroa: email@example.com