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Upscale Bleecker Street Shops Go Green with Earth Day Videos

By Andrea Swalec | February 19, 2013 8:25am | Updated on February 19, 2013 3:41pm

WEST VILLAGE — It's window-shopping for a cause.

More than a dozen fashionable shops on Bleecker Street will go green this April by featuring Earth Day video installations that educate passersby on easy ways they can protect the environment, organizers said.

New Village environmental group Urban Greenwalk is designing the "open-air museum-style installation," which would place about 20 video screens in shop windows on Bleecker Street from Bank Street to Charles Street, looping information on urban gardening, composting, rainwater harvesting and more, according to Urban Greenwalk Executive Director Steven McClure.

"I hope people will walk away with just one thing they can change in their everyday lives," said McClure, a fashion industry marketing consultant and former Village resident who currently lives in Chelsea.

The project, set to run from April 20-28, has already signed up several swanky Bleecker Street businesses, including British handbag shop Lulu Guinness and French "childrenswear couture house" Bonpoint.

McClure, 44, said he got the idea for the project about a year ago while looking at store windows.

"I thought, 'Why are there not Earth Day windows?'" he said. "My vision for the project is to create a Fashion's Night Out for Earth Week."

Earth Day is Monday, April 22.

Urban Greenwalk is creating video content for the TV screens in collaboration with environmental nonprofits, including the ecology group GrowNYC and the clean-water advocacy group Riverkeeper, McClure said.

Fiona Bradley, manager of the Lulu Guinness shop at 394 Bleecker St., said the upscale store agreed to participate in the project because it seemed like a good fit for the brand and its neighbors.

"The West Village isn't like Midtown — it feels greener, smaller and like a family atmosphere, which goes hand-in-hand with Earth Day," she said.

A few blocks away, the manager of the boutique Variazioni said the 323 Bleecker St. shop decided to join in Urban Greenwalk to band together with locals.

"It's all for good reasons, and it's nice that the neighborhood can get together like a family,"  said the manager, Lisa Conigliaro.

According to McClure, Urban Greenwalk is in talks with more than a dozen stores about participating in the project, including Ralph Lauren and the four Marc Jacobs shops in the area.

The companies' spokesmen did not respond to inquiries about their participation in the project.

The environmental initiative will start in New York — but it won't stop there, McClure said. He's planning on taking the project to Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas, where he hopes it will remind people to live more consciously.

"You're part of a process that's bigger than yourself," he said.