Earth Day 1970 in New York City
In the winter of 1969–1970, a group of students met at Columbia University to hear Denis Hayes talk about his plans for Earth Day. Among the group were Fred Kent, Pete Grannis, and Kristin and William Hubbard. This New York group agreed to head up the New York City part of the national movement. Fred Kent took the lead in renting an office and recruiting volunteers. “The big break came when Mayor Lindsay agreed to shut down Fifth Avenue for the event. A giant cheer went up in the office on that day,” according to Kristin Hubbard (now Kristin Alexandre). ‘From that time on we used Mayor Lindsay’s offices and even his staff. I was Speaker Coordinator but had tremendous help from Lindsay staffer Judith Crichton.”
In addition to shutting down Fifth Avenue, Mayor John Lindsay made Central Park available for Earth Day. The event was hosted by environmentalist Ira Einhorn, and the crowd was estimated as more than one million—by far the largest in the nation. Since Manhattan was also the home of NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek, it provided the best possible anchor for national coverage from their reporters throughout the country.