2003 Letter - Year in Review
December 10, 2003
Thanks to your support, TIME'S UP has had the greatest year in its 16-year history. We have worked with more groups and done more events promoting the environment and non-polluting transportation in a fun but serious way. TIME'S UP has also been recognized by the press, including New York Magazine and the Village Voice. In their "Best of New York" issue of 2003, the New York Press rated us the number one advocacy group in New York City!
We've had a busy year, but we'd like to take a moment to thank you for your support, and to ask you to join us again in 2004. Here are some of the highlights of our work in 2003:
- Bike Summer NYC: TIME'S UP! was the catalyst behind Bike Summer 2003, held in New York this June - July. More than 100 events were organized by a variety of city-based groups in all five boroughs. Over a thousand people came to the opening and closing Critical Mass rides. Our theme, "more people on more bikes" became a reality this summer in New York City. Next year, Bike Summer will be held in Seattle, but TIME'S UP will add some of the most successful events to our calendar. Though it was a lot of work, Bike Summer was a tremendous success, and is carrying through to the environmental movement in NYC as a whole.
- Critical Mass: This monthly event for bicyclists and skaters has become one of NYC's most spectacular and fun events, with a clear message about balancing the use of our streets and sharing space between pedestrians, bikes, and cars. While TIME'S UP does not lead or control the route for the ride, we work on publicity, themes, and after-events. Between Bike Summer and our efforts, we're confident that Critical Mass has grown tremendously in NYC, with over a thousand riders in the summer and for the traditional Halloween Ride. Critical Mass NYC has maintained a positive and fun vibe, inviting the public to join us. Increased biking helps to keep our greenways alive and our bridges open.
- Community Gardens: Although there was a major victory for community gardens in 2002, over 150 gardens are still on a review list, which will determine whether the gardens are saved or not. TIME'S UP has therefore chosen to focus on the gardens under review, working with a group of community-based organizations including The Trust for Public Land, More Gardens Coalition, and GreenThumb. Volunteers have been working with GreenThumb to help communities kick-start garden clean-ups, in order to help them pass review. So far, all of the gardens we've worked on with GreenThumb are safe from the bulldozer.
- Clearwater Revival: for the second year in a row, TIME'S UP has made the famous Clearwater Revival Festival a bike-friendly event. We staffed an information booth, and ran bicycle valet parking, encouraging people to ride their bikes to this environmental event. In addition, we coordinated several rides from New York City to the Festival.
- Education and Outreach: TIME'S UP continues to conduct ongoing educational activities, including ecological tours in the South Bronx, on the Lower East Side, and around New York City's waterfront. We also make educational presentations at schools and other public events, during which we often screen videos produced by our volunteers. In 2004, we also expanded our work in Brooklyn, initiating auto-free moonlight rides and traffic-calming actions in Prospect Park.
Unfortunately, the challenges to the environment, both in New York City and the nation, continue to mount, even as victories are won. The current administration has passed environmental legislation which could have a lasting impact on our lives, from the "Healthy Forests Initiative", which calls for clear-cutting public lands, to the "Clear Skies Initiative", weakening air pollution protections.
It is in the face of such measures that the work of local organizations like TIME'S UP becomes so important. On-the-ground grassroots organizing and education are what will, over the long-term, reverse the negative impacts this kind of legislation might have. And in 2004, we have a unique opportunity to make the connections between local and national environmental issues: the Republican National Convention is coming to New York City. TIME'S UP will be hosting several events focusing on the positive messages of non-polluting transportation and encouraging our elected officials to act more favorably on the environment.
TIME'S UP is run on a shoestring budget solely by volunteers. All of the above was accomplished thanks to their enormous efforts. But we couldn't do it without your financial support. With all of our activities growing, we need your help more than ever. Please remember TIME'S UP when you are making your year-end contributions. TIME'S UP is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, and your donations are tax-deductible according to the law.
The work of organizations such as TIME'S UP is more important than ever. We hope you'll join us in 2004 at events, rides, and other activities. Together, we can build a more peaceful, more sustainable world, starting in our city.
Thanks for your support!
Bill Di Paola
Executive Director, TIME'S UP!
P.O. Box 2030
New York, NY 10009