The demonstration was held in memoriam of the lives lost in the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which caused historic flooding and prompted New York City's first ever Flash Flood Emergency.
"We're facing a climate emergency, and every New Yorker knows that," said Patrick Houston, with New York Communities for Change.
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They are also demanding Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council pass the Gas-Free NYC Bill, Intro 2317, which would end fracked gas use in new construction and gut renovations.
"We think it's very important that elected officials know the serious cost of inaction of climate change and the huge opportunity of action like passing intro 2317," Houston said.
Activists say the extraction and burning of fossil fuels such as fracked gas supercharges storms like Ida, making natural disasters more deadly and more frequent.
Hurricane Ida, which killed 14 people in New York City and caused extensive property damage, is a warning of what is to come should the City Council fail to enact bold policies that tackle the climate crisis head on, they claim.
"If the City Council does not take action to move off fossil fuels, more people could die and more communities will be devastated," said Eric Weltman, senior organizer with Food & Water Watch. "The science is very very clear on that point."
Buildings cause about 70% of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions, experts say.
The activists are hoping that extreme events like what have been seen this summer don't become the new climate normal.
"We've witnessed the devastation of Sandy, we've experienced the tremendous heat waves, but thankfully we've survived," Weltman said. "For now."
The event was part of the National Day of Climate Action, with another protest set for Central Park this weekend.
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