Stringer Scores ‘Green’ Fridges for Fourth Street Residents

photo(138)Daniel MaurerLucille Carrasquero, a resident, speaks
as BP Stringer looks over
her shoulder.

Earlier this morning, Borough President Scott M. Stringer gave away 16 energy-efficient refrigerators to low-income residents of Cooper Square – part of a “model block” initiative meant to promote environmental sustainability on Fourth Street between Second Avenue and Bowery.

The free fridges are the first in a series of appliance upgrades for participating residents of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, a low-income housing management company that oversees 23 buildings in the area. Other measures include improved weatherization and lighting as well as new boilers.

With a stroller at his side (it was “daddy Friday,” Mr. Stringer explained), the Borough President described the greening efforts as a community-led campaign. “At the end of the day, if the green-collar economy is going to work, if our communities can create sustainable neighborhoods, then it’s all going to be about grass-roots organizing, doing this work on a model block,” he said.

“That’s what Go Green [Lower East Side] is all about, that’s what Cooper Square [Mutual Housing Association] is all about, that’s what FAB is all about,” he added, citing some of the groups that are spearheading the project along with Solar One and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

William Arroyo, a longtime resident of Cooper Square, said the area had improved greatly during his 30 years there. “I remember at one time this wasn’t such a popular neighborhood,” he said, to chuckles. “People just wanted to leave the community, but I can honestly say that this is a real genuine community — you have youngsters, adolescents, seniors and everyone’s involved.”

Another local resident, Lucille Carrasquero, got more laughs from the crowd. “I’m 85 and let me tell you something, this is the first time in my life that I ever heard of free refrigerator,” she said. “So this is a great thing for me because for us it’s not just the fridge; the bill that comes is going to be that much better and easier for us.”

Previous upgrades to the “model block” included the whitewashing of rooftops and the distribution of fluorescent bulbs.