Category Archives: green living

Earth Day with PACC


Another celebration of Earth Day this coming weekend:

Pratt Area Community Council is planning a great Earth Day event, scheduled for April 18!  Get your hands dirty and help plant a garden.  Plus, if it means a chance to take a peek inside the amazing Gibb Mansion, it’ll be worth it!

PACC will also be offering coffee and breakfast from the popular Desserts by Michael Allen (which seems to be bumping every time I walk past).


Clinton Hill's Urban Prairie?

I’ve been immersed in a lot of urban studies reading at work lately, and have recently come across an intriguing phenomenon: the urban prairie. This occurrence is usually found in rust belt cities, like the one where I grew up.

An urban prairie occurs when city buildings collapse or have been torn down and nothing rebuilt in its place. As a result, grasses and weeds begin to grow and wildlife may begin to reinhabit it.

Yes, we have our fair share of empty lots that have become overgrown with grass and weeds and trash. But this post is about a different observation: Walking around on both Washington and Lafayette recently, I’ve noticed that there are an insane amount of grasses and weeds growing up out of the sidewalk areas that are paved with old bricks. The first is at the southeast corner of Underhill park, on Washington:

So sad, seeing that this is a well-used children’s park.

urban prairie?

The second has cropped up on Lafayette Ave past St. James, in front of the St. James Apartments (Mitchell-Lama housing). This brick space extends for an entire block, and, with the buildings set away from the street, makes the north side of the street here look desolate and dirty. Imagine this space with tables and benches!

So, who is responsible for maintaining these areas of sidewalk? The city? Think about how pretty these planters would look if they were being maintained!

Why wouldn’t the residents here get together to fix this?

Who makes the decisions about these spaces, and how can we fix them?

Hall Street Storage Goes Green

A blog called Did You Ever Notice has recently posted some photos of what appears to be a brand new mural on Hall Street between Park and Flushing:


Just a day or so after receiving this tip, the answer found its way into my inbox. The mural, newly painted on the side of Hall Street Storage, announces the company’s new green renovations and services!

Here’s their press release (it’s long, but it has a lot of good info and history!):

Brooklyn’s Hall Street Storage is Designated the Country’s First Green Storage Space

The only storage facility in the country to qualify for the Green-e logo*– the leading symbol for renewable energy excellence–opens self-storage rooms for every New Yorker

NY, NY (May 8, 2008)—Today Hall Street Storage offers New Yorkers the opportunity to store green for the first time. By introducing several ground-breaking green initiatives and opening self-storage rooms in its 1918 warehouse space, the company gives everyday New Yorkers the only green alternative for storage in the city, or the nation. The company is systemically green, with sustainable actions throughout—from renewable energy sources for 100% of its electricity use to biodegradable packing peanuts made of cornstarch.

Hall Street Storage has joined Brooklyn’s burgeoning green business movement with a number of forthright green actions. Its purchase of renewable energy (including wind and solar power) for 100% of its annual electricity needs qualifies it to use the Green-e logo, the leading symbol for renewable energy excellence because of its strict environmental and consumer protection standards. “By investing in clean, renewable energy, Hall Street Storage has given their customers the opportunity to support a company that raises awareness and inspires action by taking significant steps to reduce the negative impacts of a fossil-fuel energy generation,” says Aleka Seville, manager of Green-e Marketplace.


Within the company, green efficiencies and a remodel have resulted in the addition of 80,000 square feet of floor space. This newly available space has allowed the company to add self-storage units for individuals and small businesses. Many materials taken out during the remodel are being repurposed rather than trashed. Just one example is the antique wood taken from the company’s 1918 building, which is sought-after today by furniture makers and carpenters for laying floors, and will be used by area craftspeople.

Hall Street Storage has made an art out of finding every possible reuse for discarded materials, making its on-site center for packing supplies full of green materials such as repurposed shipping cartons and bags of paper from the office’s paper shredder to be used as an alternative to bubble wrap. Even the beams removed during the remodel of the building have become wood shavings to be used for packing. Also available are options like biodegradable packing peanuts made of cornstarch. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of recycled packing materials will be donated to the newly formed Wallabout/Clinton Hill Green Awareness Foundation, an organization founded by Hall Street Storage devoted to fostering sustainable lifestyle practices within the Downtown Brooklyn community.

Everyday actions that make an environmental difference within the company include initiatives like using eco-friendly cleaning products. These are echoed in an employee awareness program to elevate knowledge and use of green practices in employees’ own lives, which include the option of buying such items as natural cleaning products and low-energy light bulbs at cost.


Hall Street Storage even wants to encourage its customers to be green at home. New self-storage customers will receive an eco-tote bag filled with environmental helpers like a CFL bulb, a natural house cleaner, and a book with tips on how to be green. And if being green isn’t incentive enough, the company is offering a free year’s rent on self-storage to a winner drawn from those who register on the company’s web site. Soon the rest of the Northeast will have a chance to store green as well, as Hall Street aims to open fifteen green self-storage sites over the next five years.

“Our commitment to having the lowest impact on the environment is more than one of policy; it’s become our primary passion,” says Jeffrey E. Sitt, President of Hall Street Storage. He hopes the company’s commitment to the green business movement will inspire other area businesses. “It’s like dropping a pebble into a pond,” he says. “One little ripple will always reverberate into wider circles.”


About Hall Street Storage

Hall Street Storage has been serving the Tri-State area since 1931. It is a multi-building warehouse complex encompassing almost an entire city block in the Wallabout/Clinton Hill area of downtown Brooklyn, located opposite Steiner Studios and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and about a mile from DUMBO. The facility encompasses everything from individual rooms to entire floors. With the recent addition of self-storage units, individuals and small businesses will now have access to a range of services like professional packing, shipping, mailbox rentals, and third-party licensed and insured local and long-distance moving.

12 Hall Street, Brooklyn, NY

For more on Green-e and Hall Street Storage, see “Corporate Responsibility News.”

The original 1918 Hall Street Storage building at Brooklyn’s Wallabout Market; this picture circa 1927: