Featured in Manhattan Week: The Mayor of the Upper West Side Uses Her Green Thumb to Keep the Neighborhood Serene

West80s Melissa Elstein
Click to Watch Video

Street Tree Movement Grows on the Upper West Side; You Can Join This Tuesday — and Every Day

May 5, 2024 - If the street trees that shade and beautify the Upper West Side could talk, they might thank Melissa Elstein. A co-founder of the West 80s Neighborhood Association, she has become one of their most loyal and active advocates.  Read more...

Amsterdam Eco-Arts Festival on Saturday: ‘A Joyful Gathering on Land Usually Occupied by Cars’

October 20, 2022 - “It will be an awesome day celebrating urban nature, community, dance and the movement arts,” Melissa Elstein of West 80s Neighborhood Association & Love Your Street Tree Day told the West Side Rag.” Read more...

Annual Daffodil Bulb Giveaway This Sunday; Plant Them Throughout the Neighborhood!

September 22, 2022 - “The Daffodil Bulb Giveaway is one of three events included in Love Your Street Tree Day, a larger initiative spearheaded by the West 80’s Neighborhood Association. “Love Your Street Tree Day was established as an idea and model for increasing street tree stewardship, not only on the Upper West Side, but throughout New York City,” Melissa Elstein, Secretary and Co-Founder of the association told West Side Rag.“ Read more...

CB7 Preservation Committee Votes to Deny West Park’s Application to De-Landmark the Church

May 6, 2022 - “I’m just feeling extremely sad and disheartened about the current situation,” said Melissa Elstein, of the West 80s Neighborhood Association, capturing the feelings of many who testified. “It’s such a tragedy. I just hope we can preserve it.” Read more...

Bid to spare West Park Presbyterian Church from demolition wins Upper West Side committee’s support

May 6, 2022 - “This is such a tragedy,” said Melissa Elstein, a member of the West 80s Neighborhood Association. “It's sad and it's demonstrating the difference between what's happening in New York City and in Europe. In Europe, these grand churches and synagogues are preserved and cared for.” Read more...

You Can ‘Treecycle’ Your Tree and Help Spread the Chips; 2022 Mulchfest Is Saturday 1/8 and 1/15 in Riverside Park

January 7, 2022 - “Mulching them is an environmentally friendly way to treecycle holiday trees and prevent them from contributing to landfill waste,” the West 80’s Neighborhood Association newsletter explains. Read more...

Ban Tourist Helicopters, Elected Officials Say; 2 Bills Could Force Limits

November 4, 2021 - As the press conference wound down—“we need to stop this now before we turn into Sao Paolo,” railed Ken Coughlin, of Community Board 7—the Rag spotted Melissa Elstein, of both Stop the Chop NY/NJ and the West 80s Neighborhood Association. Stop the Chop has a petition to end nonessential helicopter flights over NYC on Change.org that more than 10,000 people have already signed. “Stop the Chop NY/NJ is an all volunteer organization,” Elstein said. “We’re just community members who are doing this seven days a week because the helicopters are flying seven days a week. I’d rather do other things with my time than fight helicopters,” she laughed.” Read more...

New Coalition “Forest for All NYC” Releases NYC Urban Forest Agenda
June 9, 2021 - The West 80s Neighborhood Association and Love Your Street Tree Day are thrilled to have been a founding member of the Urban Forest Task Force and now look forward to continuing our street tree care volunteer work and advocacy for street tree stewardship with the Forest for All NYC coalition.  Read more...
Ending Aircraft Noise Is a Priority for Community Board 7

October 20, 2020 - Upper West Side residents, fed up with low-flying aircraft, are speaking out. On a two-hour Zoom call last Tuesday, the transportation committee for Community Board 7 spent most of the time airing their grievances about noise and environmental damage caused by private helicopters. Read more...

Screen Shot 2019-12-26 at 5.09.51 PM
Press Release - Reps. Maloney, Nadler, Velazquez Introduce Legislation to Address NYC’s Helicopter Safety Needs via Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney.

October 26, 2019 - Bill comes after years of flight accidents and noise pollution in NYC. Today, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), and Nydia M. Velazquez (NY-07) joined local elected officials and community groups to announce the introduction of their Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019. Read more...

Screen Shot 2020-02-23 at 10.00.08 AM
West 80s Neighborhood Association’s “Love Your Street Tree Day” initiative in America Adapts Podcast: 

This summer’s NYC Parks Department’s Super Tree Stewards Social Networking event at the Arsenal included Doug Parsons from the America Adapts Climate Change podcast.  His interviews include several Super Stewards, including Melissa Elstein of West 80s Neighborhood Association’s “Love Your Street Tree Day” Coalition at 1:40:45 - 46:27. Listen here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 1.39.35 PM
New York City removed 110 trash cans. Now garbage is overflowing and the rats are 'running wild'

By Mogan Hines on July 17, 2019 via USA Today

According to the New York Times, rat complaints have risen from 12,617 in 2014 to 17,353 last year. That's a 38% jump citywide — and comes even after Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $32 million in 2017 to reduce the number of the rodents. Read more...

Three Unique Events This Weekend

May 16, 2019

This weekend is packed with events, and we wanted to highlight three unique ones. Read more.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 3.49.29 PM

Fifth Annual NYC “Love Your Street Tree Day”

May 12, 2019

The fifth Annual NYC “Love Your Street Tree Day” will be held on the Upper West Side on Saturday, May 18th from 12-2pm. Read more.


Love Your Street Tree Day' To Hit Upper West Side This Weekend

May 19, 2017 via Patch

Volunteers can help restore tree beds with mulch and compost and sweep the neighborhood during a "trash audit." Read more.


Sunday: Love Your Street Tree Day

May 18, 2017 via West Side Rag

Learn how important urban trees are to our health, environment and economy, and how properly cared for permeable soil slows down stormwater runoff into our waterways preventing combined sewage overflows. Read more.

Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 5.18.22 PM

Manhattan Week: The Mayor of the Upper West Side Uses Her Green Thumb to Keep the Neighborhood Serene

By Michael Scotto on October 15, 2016 via NY1

As our series "One City, Many Mayors" continues, we move to the Upper West Side, where a local resident is working to beautify the neighborhood, one tree at a time. Read more.

Click to see video.


Greening New York

By Melissa Elstein (West Side Spirit) on June 15, 2016

New York City recently planted its millionth new tree after a roughly decade-long environmental initiative started under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration and continued by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s. Of these, more than 625,000 are street trees. Read more.


The Bag Bill

By Ian Frazier (The New Yorker) on May 2, 2016

"... One morning, I met Romer at Eighty-fifth and Broadway, where she had come to talk to a group from the West 80s Neighborhood Association. Members of that group, led by Melissa Elstein, a yoga teacher and former attorney for the N.Y.P.D., had gathered to learn how to take bags out of trees. Skilled professional bag snaggers from the New York Restoration Project, or N.Y.R.P., the environmental organization founded by Bette Midler, were there to provide instruction. In the lobby of Elstein’s building, we stood in a circle and introduced ourselves—fifteen of us in all..." Read more.


The West 80s: An Aesthetic of Its Own

By Aileen Jacobson (NY Times) on January 13, 2016

The [West 80s] association’s Recycling and Zero Waste Forum in November drew about 100 people, she said, and the inaugural Love Your Tree Day last May is scheduled for a reprise this spring. Read more.


How and Why to Get to Zero Waste

By Lisa DiCaprio and Melissa Elstein (West Side Spirit) on November 24, 2015

To confront the enormous societal and economic costs of our waste problem, we need a cultural shift to acknowledge and reduce our trash footprint.

While supporting new recycling policy measures, we must also reduce waste and consumption. It really is true that when we throw things away, there is no away.  Read more (PDF).