NYC’s Pollinator Port Project Transforming City Landscapes for Native Bees

Department of Transportation

Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner, announces the launch of the Pollinator Port Project during Earth Week, highlighting the city’s commitment to supporting native bee populations.


In a bid to bolster urban biodiversity and support at-risk native bee populations, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), in collaboration with The Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) and Rutgers University, has launched the Pollinator Port Project.

Unveiled during Earth Week, this initiative aims to create habitats for native bees in select NYC DOT public plazas and Open Streets, deploying innovative structures like ‘bee hotels’ and ‘bee bunkers’ alongside strategic vegetation plantings.

“Bees are essential for the health of our planet, and this initiative will create habitats for at-risk native bee populations and help facilitate important scientific research,” NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said.

The Pollinator Port Project is poised to transform NYC’s bustling streetscapes into havens for bees, promoting biodiversity and ecological resilience within the city. These efforts align with the United Nations’ Environment Program’s emphasis on the critical role of bees in sustaining life and biodiversity.

“We are thrilled to work with DOT to support bringing pollinators to NYC public plazas and open streets, and to share more with New Yorkers about the pollinators that help their green public spaces thrive,” stated Georgia Faulkner, senior director of partnerships, programming, and public space at The Horticultural Society of New York.

The project’s scientific underpinning comes from Rutgers University’s expertise, led by Dr. Kimberly N. Russell. By integrating science and design, the team is crafting habitats – Bee Bunkers and Bee Barrels tailored to meet the specific needs of native bee populations.

“Most bee species cannot live in hives, so we need to give them other materials to build their homes,” Russel said. “Our hope is that these Pollinator Ports connect green spaces, giving bees the resources, they need to move around the city and pollinate our flowers.”

The initiative also carries significant educational and community engagement components. The Hort, known for its commitment to greening urban spaces, will oversee the installation and maintenance of these habitats across the city. Additionally, Rutgers University will conduct research on the movement and behavior of bees in urban environments, fostering a deeper understanding of their ecological significance.

Department of Transportation


Bee Bunkers: Burrowing bees find refuge in these protected soil chambers, providing safe nesting grounds for their eggs until spring.


This groundbreaking project has garnered support from various stakeholders, including the Ittleson Foundation, which provided a $50,000 grant to Rutgers for the first three years of the study.

The Pollinator Port Project will encompass several NYC DOT plazas and Open Streets, including Parkside Plaza and Gates Ave in Brooklyn and  34th Ave in Queens.

Bee hotels, resembling birdhouses filled with natural materials like reeds and bamboo, offer ‘rooms’ for solitary bees to nest and rest, where female bees lay eggs and provide food for developing larvae. These hotels will be strategically placed in planted areas of public plazas and Open Streets, facilitating bee movement across boroughs.

Alternatively, bee bunkers provide protected soil for female bees to build nests and lay eggs, ensuring the safety of developing larvae until spring. Burrowing bees, known for their docile nature, tend to forage within a few blocks of their habitat. These bunkers will be situated within existing planters to minimize interactions with people.

Anthony C. Wood, executive director of the Ittleson Foundation, lauded the initiative, stating, “Turning public plazas and open streets into habitat for at-risk bees is brilliant and exactly the type of innovative environmental model we love to support.”

Mackenzie Pitt, Communications Manager at the Horticultural Society of New York, sheds light on the collaborative effort behind the Pollinator Port Project, which seeks to create havens for at-risk native bee populations within the urban expanse of New York City. The initiative, born out of a partnership between Rutgers University, The Hort, and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), aims to address the pressing need for habitats that support pollinators, particularly native bee species, in the city’s concrete jungle.

“The polio project is a collaboration of Rutgers, the Horticultural Society, and DOT, made possible by a grant from the Ittleson Foundation,” Pitt explains. “It’s both a research and a social experiment and that there’s never been this form of installing the habitats for native bees in this way. It’s all about creating.”

Pitt underscores the significance of these habitats for native bee populations, emphasizing their role in sustaining the city’s ecological balance.

“These native species are the ones that take care of our native flora and allow for humans to benefit from all the needs and benefits we get from plants, particularly our native plant species,” Pitt said.

With New York City’s landscape predominantly characterized by concrete, the provision of suitable habitats becomes imperative to prevent the decline of these essential pollinators.

Reflecting on the project’s origins, Pitt highlights The Hort’s mission to “green the in-between,” bringing verdant spaces to unconventional urban locales. Through their partnership with DOT and community engagement initiatives, The Hort has been instrumental in maintaining green spaces in various neighborhoods across the city, laying the groundwork for the Pollinator Port Project.

The project’s expansion underscores a broader commitment to enhancing green spaces and fostering ecological resilience in urban environments. By harnessing the power of collaboration and innovation, NYC aims to become a beacon for biodiversity conservation and sustainable urban development.

Department of Transportation

Bee Hotels: Resembling birdhouses, these structures offer solitary bees ‘rooms’ to nest and rest, aiding in the conservation of native bee populations in urban environments.

Greek Kitchen Opens in Greenpoint

By John Sanchez & Yasin Akdag

New Fast-Casual Mediterranean Restaurant, Greek Kitchen, delivers a healthy alternative on a block lined with fast-food chains

The Brooklyn Star News team visited Greek Kitchen, a new Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant at 912 Manhattan Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Led by partners Lukas Georgiadis and George Konstantaras, Greek Kitchen is a sit-down restaurant that offers fresh Mediterranean cuisine with a modern Greek-themed interior.

Greek Kitchen is passionate about representing Greek culture, and it truly shows in the effort that was put into its interior design. As soon as you step foot inside, the bright blue and white colors and the photos of Greece make you feel as if you have been transported to Greece.

Cooking is a tradition in their families, and many Greek Kitchen recipes were handed down by the yia-yias (grandmas) in the family.

With over 25 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry, Georgiadis and Konstantaras have built strong relationships with the best food vendors in the country; including Optimo and Mega.

“Sourcing ingredients such as virgin feta cheese, organic honey from Crete, olives, and oregano straight from Greece helps us attain the high quality that our customers deserve“, said Georgiadis.

“There aren’t a ton of fresh and organic food options on this block, so we’re excited to bring a fresh Mediterranean experience to Greenpoint – right next to the G train,” said Konstantaras.

The stars of Greek Kitchen‘s menu are The Gyro and The Souvlaki; loaded with fresh and generous cuts of lamb and chicken, respectively, creamy tzatziki, onion, and crispy french fries.

I loved the tantalizing blend of flavors and textures of The Classic Lamb Gyro, and John indulged in the juicy marinated meats of a Chicken Souvlaki. Each bite was a “symphony of Mediterranean goodness,” John exclaimed.

Definitely don’t sleep on Greek Kitchen’s Whipped Spicy Feta—a creamy blend of tangy feta cheese and fiery spices that packs a punch. We spread it on warm pita bread and it was a uniquely delicious kick to the mouth.

Greenpoint is populated with many European immigrants, especially Polish residents, but as the community continues to grow, Greek Americans and other nationalities have found their way to Brooklyn.

Beyond the food, Greek Kitchen embodies the spirit of community and culture. “It’s not just a place to eat; it’s an immersive cultural experience that invites guests to savor the flavors of Greece while celebrating the diversity of Greenpoint,” said Georgiadis.

Georgiadis and Konstantaras brought on long-time friends, Manny Lazanakis and Jimmy Stathakis, to become partners in Greek Kitchen; and all of the partners add value in unique ways.

With its dedication to quality, flavor, and community, Greek Kitchen is poised to become a beloved neighborhood institution. 

Be sure to visit Greek Kitchen located at 912 Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint for more tasty Greek food!



Queens and Brooklyn Embrace LockerNYC Expansion


City officials unveil LockerNYC initiative to combat package theft and transform delivery logistics, promising a safer and more efficient future for New Yorkers.


In a bid to tackle the rampant issue of package theft and alleviate the burgeoning congestion caused by delivery trucks, city officials have unveiled LockerNYC, a pioneering initiative set to revolutionize the way New Yorkers send and receive packages.

Data reveals that 80 percent of households in New York City receive at least one delivery per week, with 20 percent receiving four or more deliveries. Additionally, each day witnesses 90,000 reported instances of packages being stolen or lost in transit within the city, often exacerbated by the absence of secure areas in many buildings for package deliveries.

Mayor Eric Adams declared the launch of LockerNYC as a pivotal step towards safeguarding residents’ deliveries.

“New Yorkers deserve convenient deliveries without rampant theft and unhealthy pollution. With the LockerNYC pilot, our administration is delivering a creative solution that address all three,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Shared lockers are a proven model that will serve our economy, our health, and our quality of life – and this is just the beginning.”

The LockerNYC program, operating on a one-year pilot basis, offering a solution by installing secure public delivery lockers strategically across the city. These lockers, standing at six-and-a-half feet tall and adorned in green, have the capacity to store up to 25 packages simultaneously and are accessible to multiple delivery carriers, including UPS and DHL.

In Queens and Brooklyn, the LockerNYC initiative has strategically positioned its secure public delivery lockers at key locations to serve the diverse communities of these boroughs. In Sunnyside, Queens, residents can access the lockers conveniently situated at 47-01 49th Street, outside the Cosmopolitan Houses apartments, providing a secure and accessible option for package deliveries. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, multiple neighborhoods benefit from locker installations. In Bedford-Stuyvesant, residents can utilize the lockers outside the Ideal Food Basket grocery store at 830 Lafayette Avenue. In Canarsie, lockers are available at 1380 Rockaway Parkway, offering a reliable solution for package storage. Similarly, in East Flatbush, lockers stand at 1086 Brooklyn Avenue, also located outside an Ideal Food Basket grocery store. Additionally, in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, lockers are conveniently positioned at 2036 Bedford Avenue, enhancing the safety and convenience of package deliveries for local residents.

Plans are underway for the expansion of LockerNYC with additional locations slated to open in Queens and Brooklyn at later dates.

“New Yorkers deserve to receive their deliveries safely, efficiently and sustainably,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “As New Yorkers continue to enjoy e-commerce, we are using every tool in our toolbox to reduce the number of trucks on our streets and mitigate congestion at the curb.”

The initiative, spearheaded by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), aims not only to curb package theft but also to mitigate the adverse environmental and safety impacts associated with the surge in delivery truck traffic.

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez underscored the significance of this endeavor.

“As the number of at-home deliveries have surged in recent years, so have the number of large delivery trucks on our city streets,” Rodriguez said. “The LockerNYC initiative will help reduce the number of trips delivery trucks make each day while also providing a secure place for New Yorkers to receive packages.”

Drawing inspiration from successful models implemented in other cities, such as Seattle, where similar locker programs significantly reduced delivery truck idling and emissions, LockerNYC promises a multifaceted approach to address New York City’s logistical challenges.

To ensure the security and efficacy of the lockers, each installation will be equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, LED lighting, and anti-theft mechanisms. GoLocker, the vendor overseeing the operation and maintenance of the lockers, will provide round-the-clock support and management.

As the LockerNYC pilot unfolds, city officials remain optimistic about its potential to reshape the urban delivery landscape. With plans for extensive evaluation and data collection throughout the pilot phase, NYC DOT aims to refine and expand the program, paving the way for a more sustainable and secure future in package delivery across the city.

“As package theft continues to adversely impact our communities, LockerNYC is an innovative solution that will provide every New Yorker with the safe and secure deliveries they deserve,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.

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