THE BRONX - Saint Mary's Recreation Center has become the first environmentally friendly facility of its kind in New York City.

The "green" center now boasts energy efficient lights and pool monitors, an insulated pool cover, new steam traps and an entirely new vestibule. The next phase of the project will also include a solar powered water heater.

The improvements are part of a larger effort by the city Parks Department to use resources more efficiently and reduce the impact large facilities have on the environment.