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Sustainable S. Bronx to host Hunts Point Hustle

Soon, the South Bronx Greenway will zigzag up and down Hunts Point, the industrial neighborhood where the borough’s green movement began. So hustle to Hunts Point on Saturday, June 20 for the third annual Hunts Point Hustle, a five-kilometer run-walk.

The run-walk is a Sustainable South Bronx fundraiser and high-energy event. Environmental defender Majora Carter founded SSB in 2001; the non-profit works on land use, energy, transportation, water, waste and manufacturing.

Ten years ago, Hunts Point was economically depressed and prostitute ridden, choking on diesel fumes. The plan at SSB: pursue jobs, clean air and open space.

SSB pushed the city to build the South Bronx Greenway, a ten-mile bike-run-walk path on the Port Morris and Hunts Point waterfront. The Hunts Point piece is tentatively scheduled for completion next year.

“We want to promote the greenway and physical fitness,” SSB development director Laura Johnson said.

A hundred people turned out for the Hustle in 2007; 200 participated in 2008. The 2009 Hustle will begin and end at Hunts Point Riverside Park. It and other parks dot the planned South Bronx Greenway. Hunts Point Riverside Park – another SSB initiative – opened in 2007. It was an illegal dump.

Participants will run-walk past the Hunts Point Terminal Market and the Hunts Point neighborhood, where many children and adults suffer from obesity and diabetes. Fortunately, the market is an economic powerhouse.

Unfortunately, market-bound trucks spew diesel fuel; 16,000 trucks visit Hunts Point every day. The neighborhood is also home to the New York Organic Fertilizer Company.

“At the Hustle, we celebrate SSB and highlight Hunts Point environmental issues,” Johnson said. “You get off the subway and smell NYOFCO right away.”

In 2007 and 2008, hundreds of Hunts Point residents lined the street to cheer Hustle participants on. SSB will offer each participant a t-shirt, a runners’ chip to record his or her time and tickets to the Bronx Zoo. Top finishers will win medals; all ages are welcome.

“We hope to pull 400 participants,” Johnson said.

In 2007 and 2008, less than half of Hustle participants hailed from the Bronx. Johnson wants more Bronxites to sign up for 2009. Registration is open at SSB online.

SSB raised $20,000 at the 2008 Hustle. It recently helped install a green wall at Sims Metal Management in Hunts Point.

In 2008, Bronxite Abel Flores finished fourth. Flores ran the Hustle in under 18 minutes. Bronxite Janice Reid finished 30th.

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