Hudson River Restoration: A Social Action Art & Community Engagement Project, Downtown Manhattan

Art for Social Change, Environmental Action & Community Engagement: Social Practice Art


Art, Ecology & Community Engagement: Social Practice Art & Environmental Action

The community is invited to participate in a Earth Celebrations ecological art workshop series at Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, from February 26 -May 6 creating spectacular giant paper mache puppets and spectacular costumes representing the various species and habitats of the river. The culminating pageant on Saturday, May 9, 2009, 2-5pm, (Raindate: Sun. May 10) features a magnificent parade of giant puppets, spectacular costumes, music, dance, performances, songs, and poetry, highlighting the river and issues. The performances are presented at the various piers and significant sites along the parade route, from Manhattan Youth to Gansevoort Street, in the downtown portion of the Hudson River Park.


  • Assist Puppet & Costume Workshops: ( teens & adults )
  • Volunteer for behind the scenes event production
  • Sign up to be a Hudson River Costume Spirit, or Puppet Volunteer, or Parade Marshal.
  • Participate as a musician, poet, dancer, in performance presentation in the pageant and along the parade route.
  • Children of all ages join the pageant as mermaids and river creatures & find out about additional workshops & pageant participation opportunities such as Live Fish Release!
  • Organizations, schools, community centers, invited to host workshops to create costumes & participate as a local River Species group such as Sea Horses, Oysters, Crabs, & Fish.


Volunteers are needed to participate for various roles. Sign up to:

  • Wear a spectacular marine species costume
  • Carry a river creature puppet
  • Join as a parade marshal directing puppets and volunteers
  • help with security and crowd control
  • hand out programs & help with mailing list
  • among many other colorful and exciting tasks!

PUPPET & COSTUME / ART & ECOLOGY WORKSHOPS Create Spectacular Costume and Puppets for Hudson River Pageant


  • Wednesdays 6-9pm – Costume Workshops with artists Michele Brody & Chris Rumery
  • Saturdays 12-4pm – Puppet Workshops with artist Lucrecia Novoa & Spica Wobbe
  • At Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren Street, just off the Hudson River, below Chambers Street
  • CLICK For a printable flyer with more information or CONTACT US


in partnership with Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center

SATURDAY MAY 9 – 1-6PM (raindate: Sunday, May 10)

To Restore the Hudson River & Address Climate Change / Downtown Section of the Hudson River Park – New York City

For a printable flyer with more information, click here

On Saturday, May 9, 2009 (raindate: Sunday, May 10), Earth Celebrations, in partnership with Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center and with The Hudson River Park Trust as a Sponsor, launches its new Hudson River Pageant: to restore the Hudson River and address climate change in New York City. 2009, is also the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s and Samuel de Champlain’s, exploratory voyage in 1609, which will be featured as part of the pageant’s celebration of the Hudson River’s history.

This ecological parade and performance art event is directed by Felicia Young, the Founder/Director of Earth Celebrations and the creator of the Rites of Spring: Procession to Save Our Gardens for 15 years in the East Village. The new Hudson River Pageant features a magnificent parade of giant 15-foot river species puppets, spectacular costumes representing oysters, seahorses, blue crabs, wetlands, river grasses, and over 70 species of local fish. The river species will dance their way from Tribeca through Greenwich Village along the waterfront lead by New York City’s popular Hungry March Band and the Afro-Dominica Kalunga Neg Mawon Band, and a conch shell chorus. Music, dance, performances, songs, and poetry, including an Oyster Garden Planting Ceremony, Live Fish Release, River Cleansing Ceremony, and a Water Dance of Boats, highlighting the river, and its’ species, habitats, and issues, are presented at the various piers and significant sites along the parade route, from Manhattan Youth on Warren Street to Gansevoort Street, in the downtown section of the Hudson River Park, from 1-6pm. Click here for the pageant schedule

The spectacular Water Dance of Boats is the ultimate crescendo of marine theme pageantry with a flotilla of 30-foot rowboats festooned with spectacular marine-life sculptures, and costumed kayaks performing a dance movement on the water by Bessie award winning choreographer Alice Farley and with music by David Hykes, a pioneer of overtone singing performing a River Chant. A River Cleansing Ceremony and Recycling Ritual collecting debris along the rocky shoreline becomes a performance, and fish sounds take on a higher purpose, in an original Fish Sound Symphony by composer Gregori Czerkinsky, incorporating the sounds of fish recorded in the Hudson by the marine field station The River Project.

The World Financial Center has join as a partner and is exhibiting the growing of Michele Brody’s River Grass Skirts, in the Winter Garden for 3 weeks from World Financial Center Winter Garden April 13 thru May 9 , encompassing the time period of Earth Day/ Earth Week (April 22nd).The visually dramatic growing of the skirts with embedded native grass seeds on a copper pipe armature with drip irrigation system, is a living and changing artwork over several weeks. When they have fully grown, they will be worn by dancers, who will represent the “River Grass” in the pageant.

The pageant is a magnificent creation of art, performance and community engagement to honor and restore the Hudson and address climate change. Children and community people have worked with Earth Celebrations Artists-in Residence, Michele Brody, Chris Rumery, Lucrecia Novoa, and Spica Wobbe, for many months to create the costumes and puppets, through our educational environmental art workshops at Manhattan Youth. The numerous schools, river and community organizations have come together with enthusiasm in a time where people are seeking to keep their spirits and community’s, moving forward in a hopeful direction for positive change.

PARTICIPATING PARTNERS – Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center (Producing Partner), The Hudson River Park Trust (Sponsor), The River Project, Friends of Hudson River Park, The Village Community Boathouse, Downtown Boathouse, New York Harbor School, New York Kayak Company, LIC Community Boathouse, P3-Pier Park and Playground Association, Solar One, LES Ecology Center, We, theWorld, The Joyce Theater, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, World Financial Center, Henry Street Settlement/ Abrons Arts Center, Boys and Girls Republic, Poets House, Church Street School for Music & Art, Friends of Washington Square Park, Washington Market Park, Friends of Bleeker Playground, One Brick, NY Cares, CB1, Americorps, PS234, PS150, PS89, School at Columbia, Stuyvesant High School, NYU, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, and Clearwater.

This program is made possible in part by: The Fund For Creative Communities supported by New York State Council on the Arts and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Hudson River Park Trust, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, Howard Bayne Fund, The Hudson River Improvement Fund of the Hudson River Foundation, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive, Eileen Fisher, Manhattan Youth, The World Financial Center, and individual support.




A Floating River of paper mache aquatic plant and animal species, and a school of Hudson River fish, created by community children from local schools and community centers.

Giant River Spirit Puppets by artist-in-residence Lucrecia Novoa & Spica Wobbe representing the river species.

Spectacular River Species Costumes by artists-in-residence Michele Brody and Chris Rumery, and Becky Hubbert, representing the diversity of marine animal species and plants, such as sea horses, toad fish, turtles, crabs, oysters, marches, grasses, and wetlands found off Lower Manhattan. Special feature: Recyclers, Trash Tricksters, and Elemental Energy Spirits of Wind, Solar, Tidal and Geo-Thermal.

Frozen Sculpture of the Glaciers, made of frozen river water, colored with natural pigments extracted from fruits, vegetable, and plants. It rides on a cart throughout the parade, and drips its pigments from the earth, onto a canvas covering and melts back into the river for the closing ceremony.

A Roving River of Historic Ships that voyaged on the Hudson. Includes the dugout canoe, Hudson’s Half Moon, the Clermont- Robert Fulton’s first steamship launched from the Christopher St. Pier in 1807, the Clearwater Sloop, and finaly the “Miracle on the Hudson” Flight 1549!. The Roving River was created by school groups fabricating cardboard ship hats and river robes, that link to each other, forming the Roving River.

Recycled River Maidens by Becky Hubbert , costume designer. These spectacular costumes with skirt bustles made of debris and trash collected from the river are offered for recycling .

Stewards of the River Robes designed by artist Janet Morgan with Katie Freygang. The robes are created in collaboration with children from Henry Street Settlement and are offered to representatives of the various river organizations to wear in the pageant.


Alice Farley’s Water Dance of Boats – The Bessie Award winning dancer/costume designer features a choreographed dance of kayaks, canoes, and rowboats festooned with giant elemental river puppet-masks.

David Hykes’ Harmonic River Chant, one of the earliest modern western pioneers of overtone singing, performing with his Harmonic Choir.

Karl H. Purnell, Author playwright and founder of the National Historic Theater’s theatrical vignette staged on the bow of a boat, highlighting the Quardicentennial of the exploratory voyage of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain,1609.

Yana Schnitzler’s Human Kinetics Movement Arts Dance of the Grasses performance, set among the grass mounds on the Hudson near Laight Street.

Gergori Czerkinsky’s Fish Sound Symphony – Original music for the Fish Symphony incorporating the sound of fish recorded in the Hudson River off Lower Manhattan by the River Project .

Oyster Garden Planting Ceremony with the River Project- a performance planting live oysters into the river.

Live Fish Release with Lower East Side Ecology Center & Hudson River Park Trust. Children invited to participate in fish release costumed as mermaids & sea/river creatures.

Floating Offerings to the River by Donna Henes – Urban Shaman.

River Cleansing & Recycling Ritual with Hudson River Park Trust & Friends of Hudson River Park-a Recycling Performance Ritual, featuring participants in actual river clean-up on the shoreline.

Hungry March Band – New York City’s legendary street brass march band with scores from our multi-cultural world community.

POOK, the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston, African-Caribbean parade band with Energy Dance Company , an award-winning troupe of young dancers specializing in hip hop.

Kalunga Neg Mawon – African Domincian Bamboo flute parade band and conch chorus.

Jose Conde – Singer, Songwriter and Composer performing his Afro-Cuban Funk song “Ride la Ola” for the pageant finale.


The pageant culminates in a Ceremonial River Cleansing and Water Dance of Boats at Gansevoort Street, where the shoreline and rocks are visible. A choreographed movement and actual cleansing is enacted, with the large clean-up skimmers and staff collecting debris from along the shore, while Recycled River Maidens offer their skirts made of debris and trash collected from the river for Recycling. The Water Dance of Boats is the ultimate crescendo with 30-foot rowboats festooned with spectacular marine-life sculptures, and costumed kayaks performing a dance on the water by Bessie award winning choreographer Alice Farley and with music by David Hykes, a pioneer of overtone singing performing a River Chant. A Fish Sound Symphony soundscape by composer Gregori Czerkinsky, incorporates the sounds of fish recorded in the Hudson by the marine field station The River Project, as floating flowers are offered to embellish the renewed river.