Volume 78 - Number 40 / March 11 -17, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Villager file photo

A scene from the 2005 Rites of Spring procession on the Lower East Side.

Environmental extravaganza’s new M.O.: ‘Take me to the river’

For the last 15 years, Earth Cele-brations has been known for its Rites of Spring and Rites of Winter colorful costumed parades through the East Village and Lower East Side community gardens. But now that the gardens are mostly safe, Earth Celebrations is moving its focus west, to the Hudson River.

Through May 6, the nonprofit environmental and arts group is holding free workshops for teenagers and adults to create elaborate costumes, masks and giant puppets — inspired by the diverse marine species of the Hudson River — for the upcoming Hudson River Pageant on Sat. May 9, rain date Sun., May 10.

The pageant will be “an ecological and historical parade and performance-art event to raise awareness for the restoration of the Hudson River and address climate change in New York City,” according to Earth Celebrations.

This year is also the quadricentennial, or 400th anniversary, of Henry Hudson’s and Samuel de Champlain’s exploratory journeys in 1609, which will be featured as part of the pageant’s celebration of the Hudson River’s history.

The procession of extra-large puppets, costumed marchers and musical bands will stop at the various piers and significant sites along the parade route for performances, songs, dance, poetry and ceremonies, highlighting the river and issues, wending its way from Manhattan Youth in Tribeca to Gansevoort St. in the Village, in the Hudson River Park’s Downtown section.

Workshops are being held at Man-hattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St., between Greenwich and West Sts., one block south of Chambers St. Costume workshops are Wednesdays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with artists Michele Brody and Chris Rumery. Puppet workshops are Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m., with artist Lucrecia Novoa and Spica Wobbe.

For more information contact Earth Celebrations by phone at 212-777-7969, by e-mail at mail@earthcelebrations.com or visit their Web site at http://www.earthcelebrations.com.

The Hudson River Park Trust is a sponsor in the effort, and among the participating partners are the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, River Project, Friends of Hudson River Park, P3 (Pier Park and Playground Association), P.S. 234, P.S. 89 and P.S. 150, Stuyvesant High School, Riverkeeper and Clearwater.

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