Lately, I’ve been tethered to my laptop (although, to be fair, it's nothing new for someone with serious Internet separation anxiety). When I got an email announcing a weekend block party co-sponsored by one of my favorite NYC-based companies, Green Depot (along with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Citibabes and the Lower East Side Ecology Center), I nearly shrieked with happiness. An eco-friendly, outdoor get-together with freebies (and maybe food)! 

Food, freebies and eco-friendly aside, my main motivation to attend: a comp ticket good for a visit the block party’s official host, the New Museum of Contemporary Art. I’d never been inside the striking, seven-story museum housed in towering, SANAA-designed stack metallic blocks but had long wanted to. 
Although Green Depot’s flagship store on the Bowery and the New Museum (right across the street) were designated event spaces for the New Museum Block Party, the main fete took place a couple blocks away at the down-and-out but endearing Sara D. Roosevelt Park, a sliver of green space straddling Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods. 
I forgave all the balloons (ugh) after I received my guess pass to the New Museum. Free stuff! 
As I approached the park on a super-sultry Sunday afternoon, I spotted nothing but balloons (yikes). This eco-faux pas was forgiven as I made my way around and visited a couple of eco-friendly attractions: the Lower East Side Conservation Center was giving the 411 on urban composting and Green Depot had an informational booth set up to educate folks on the best ways to go green at home. There were also arts and crafts and dancing for the kids, snacks and drinks and, of course, tickets to the New Museum. To be honest, I was underwhelmed with the goings-on at the park (much more kid-centric that I anticipated) so after doing a couple of rounds, I snagged my ticket and headed over to the Bowery. 
These gents, dressed in their Sunday's finest, attend the New Museum Block Party.
Talkin' compost with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. 
Atypical block party snacks: gluten-free breakfast bars and fair trade bananas.
Green Depot — think of a more sustainable, smaller Home Depot — was in full-on consumer education mode. The store was filled with special demos, giveaways, and, a dude workin’ a Sodastream seltzer/soda maker. I eyed a few green goodies including a Vers iPod dock, Duross & Langel natural buy spray, and, of course, my favorite part about Green Depot … the bounty of earth-safe cleaning products.
The striking New Museum building on the Bowery, completed in 2007. 

I did a loop and then headed across the street to the New Museum. I quickly ran through the exhibitions (nothing I really fancied although Dorothy Iannone’s work was quite intriguing) and then headed to the seventh-floor Sky Room with its wraparound terrace to do what I had come to do … take in this stunning view: 

All and all a nice Sunday in and around the park/respite from the Internets. 

Photos: Matt/Flickr

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Rock around the block
The New Museum, along with Green Depot, throws an eco-tinged summer block party in downtown Manhattan.