Happy Passover, Easter and Earth Day, UESiders!

And our combo holiday gift to you…  These two facts:  

Nine out of ll Saturdays in 2014, you’ve brought more than a 1,000 pounds – as in half a ton –  of compost to 82nd Street!!

One week, you racked up a grand total of 1,234 pounds!!!

A most awesome way to launch into the days ahead:  

 

 rhododendron-sp-triflora

rhododendron-sp-triflora

Saturday, April 19th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

CLOSED THIS SATURDAY. 

Last week’s recycling totals:  54 lbs batteries;  19 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Yes, indeed, 8 bins is our new normal, up from 5-6 this time last year!

Sunday, April 20th: Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival 

Fifth Avenue, 49th – 57th Streets, 10am-4pm

Don  your finery and take the classic stroll.  Free.  For more

Tuesday, April 22nd:  East River Crew Earth Day Rowing Event

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, Time: TBA

For those of you who’ve been out on river in the Crew’s wonderful boat, Earth Day will be inaugurating the group’s 2014 season! For folks who haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself and, yes, your city dweller soul a giant favor and get out on that river! Free.  (Trips that’ll be the better if you’ve prepped with the Crew’s wonderful Estuary Guide!)

Tuesday, April 22nd:  Green Travel Exhibition

Union Square, 11am-7pm

Green travel destinations…  Green products to travel with… Green travel groups…  Greenest ways to get to that green destination…! 

Wednesday, April 23rd & Thursday, April 24th: Earth Day(s) Celebration 

Grand Central Station & Vanderbilt Avenueat at 43rd Street, 11am-7pm

Always an impressive assortment of green businesses, city and state organizations and non-profits…  From astronomers (your chance to get to know NYSkies) to waste reduction!  

Saturday, April 26th:  Prescription Medicine Collection Event

Sites Around the City, 2-4pm

The powers-that-be don’t have these events even a quarter enough and the drop-off spots this time out aren’t all that convenient for us UESiders…  Still, we are the people who compost in blizzards! For locations

Saturday, April 26th:  Have Brunch with the Cornell Ornithology Lab and Meet Merlin

Cornell Club, 6 East 44th Street, 9:30am

Scott Haber, digital content manager for “Merlin,” the Lab’s groundbreaking, interactive bird identification app for mobile devices, describes how Merlin came to be, how it works and will evolve!  $25.  For more and tickets

Saturday, April 26th & Wednesday, May 7th:  Puppet-Making at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater

Central Park, 2:30pm

No more perfect way to get in the mood for the Theater’s long-running, classic production of “Bessie’s Big Shot”!  Children 12 and under, $7.  Adults 12 and above, $10.  For more, tickets and directions to the theater

Saturday, April 26th – Sunday, April 27th:   Cherry Blossom Festival

Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 150 Eastern Parkway/990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

Caught the tail end of last year’s display and even that was mind-bogglingly magnificent!  Children were transfixed.  Members free.  Adults, $10.  Seniors and students, $5.  Kids under 12, free. For directions and hours

Sunday, April 27th:  It’s My Park Day – Part I 

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

Shrugging off rain and snow, daffodils, crocuses, tulips and scores of other bulbs in the planter are beginning to bloom!  Same for the ribbon of daffs!  Going to be one lovely day of soil and mulch turning, planting, weeding along the Esplanade wall, scraping, painting and more!  Refreshments, fresh spring air, an ever-improving Esplanade and a few hours spent in the company of other great UES peeps!   

Monday, April 28th:  Friends of the East River Esplanade Benefit Bash

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Heard from even more of you…  Wanting to hear from ever more!  Let’s eat, drink, win raffle loot and give ourselves and our neighbors the Esplanade we deserve!    For your invitation

Monday, April 28th: CityParks Spring Seniors Fitness Program Begins

Parks Throughout the City

Free yoga, tennis, and fitness walking classes to New Yorkers ages 60 and over! Did we say free?  For parks,schedules and to register

Monday, April 28th – Saturday, May 4th:  PEN World Voices Festival

Locations Throughout the City

One hundred and fifty plus authors from around the world share their experiences and thoughts about having “stood on the edge”…  i.e. courageously standing on principle.  For events, locations, tickets and more…  

Catch your breath, then:

Saturday, May 3rd: The 19th Annual Big Swim

Asphalt Green Aqua Center, 1750 York Avenue at 91st Street, 10:45am

And we quote, “A swimsational day of free fun swim races for children ages 6-12″ that also raises funds for AG’s Fit Kids Fit City campaign!  Olympic and other elite swimmers will also be on hand!  For events, schedules, registration and more… 

Tuesday, May 6th:  “The Street”Lecture & Screening

Downtown Community Television Center, 87 Lafayette, 6:30pm

The first (and most interesting) of a 3-part series presented by the Historic Districts Council and James Sanders, author of “Celluloid Skyline”.  The highlight:  Screening of the Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and (personal idol) James Agee’s  1948 doc, “In the Street”.  Council friends, seniors and students,  $5. General public, $10.  For tickets and more

Further along:

Sunday, May 11th:  NYC Safe Disposal Event

Union Square, North Plaza (south side of 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue), 10am-4pm

The Sanitation Department’s (usually) once-a-year, free event that gives us all a chance to clear our homes of potentially dangerous household items…  Think nail polish…  Anti-freeze… Moth balls…  Old paint…  Pesticides… Stuff that no way should be flushed or poured down a kitchen sink or street drain or just tossed. Electronics, too!  For the complete list and more…   

Sunday, May 18th: Hidden in Plain Sight - The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière

Sites Around Town

And who was Hildreth Meiere?  Brilliant artist whose mosaic murals, wall sculptures, stained glass windows and more grace many of NYC’s most beautiful buildings.  This Open House and International Hildreth Meiere Association self-guided tour takes you to 6 sites of Meiere’s most important work with guest speakers at several.  Non-members, $25.  Members and seniors and students, $15.  For more and tickets… 

Wednesday, May 28th – Sunday, June 1st:  World Science Festival

Washington Square Park and Other Venues in the City

To quote the festival’s site:  “No fallafel or tube socks…  Rather a dizzying array of prominent thought leaders from around the globe for amazing Festival programs about the brain, and time, the origins of the universe…”  And very much kid-friendly. Washington Square fair is free.  For a list of other events and tickets...

solanum-incompletum

solanum-incompletum

Breathe deeply and dive into the ocean of miscellany:

Why are we not surprised that methane produced by natural gas drilling is higher than the EPA predicted?

Then there’s coal and National Geographic‘s absorbing article that answers the question, “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?

Fantastic that our governor has allocated $4 million in grants to make NYC’s transportation system greener… Like making subway tunnel lights more efficient…  Wait!!  You mean it’s 2014 and there’s a vintage light system in those miles of tunnels?!

Sigh.

Grew up with guns and know them well, but…  Say what?!!  The NYState Department of Environmental Conservation’s allocated tax moneys to upgrade municipal shooting ranges??!! 

Are we sick of venerable and grand buildings being demolished or what?  Well, at least we have Christopher Gray chronicling what we’ve lost…  Like the erstwhile New York Club

Abrupt change of mood:

Makes us all the happier that the Moses-era bathhouses at Orchard Beach are likely to be restored!

Ha!  On April 15th, the DC circuit court denied and dismissed legal challenges to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards!

Double ha!  New research finds that solar panels can produce energy in locations afflicted with lots of cloudy weather!  

Like to see New York State infographics like these compiled for Oregon, envisioning what that state “would look like with 100% renewable energy

At last!  The EPA’s devised a plan to clean up the most toxic portion of New Jersey’s “polluted”- doesn’t-really-do-it-justice Passaic River!

Kudos-plus to the little British Columbian town that voted down having a marine terminal for a tar sands pipeline in its midst!

Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills and Procter & Gamble have agreed to palm oil commitments that protect carbon-rich peatlands and forests (from deforestation)! 

Inside the Apple’s offered up an especially fine vintage – the kind of vintage we like –  Thursday postcard featuring Hester Street at the turn of the last century

Of course, you want to color those Easter eggs with beautiful natural dyes!

How about this from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/5 – Town of Poughkeepsie: Today,along the river, Dutchess Community College Field Archaeology students recovered a small stone tool made and used about 2,500 years ago. It was a projectile point, part of a Stone Age tool kit, that had been hafted (fastened) onto a spear or dart. The makers:  A prehistoric culture referred to as Adena.  - Stephanie Roberg-Lopez & Tom Lake

(The Adena arose in the Midwest and Mid-South and its influence – and tool kits – spread across the Northeast and beyond through trade. Discoveries of the tools of these fishermen and foragers of long ago put a face on one of the several successive human occupations of the Hudson River Valley. Tom Lake.]

Every so often for the benefit of new readers, we feel moved to direct you to Build It Green’s site…  Talk about recycling!  (And great buys!)

For those of you not familiar with National Parks Magazine… It’s great and we especially liked this piece on Alaskan teens and new-to-them career path

Usually despise online charity competitions where the aim is to extract as much personal info as possible and you wind up on a zillion annoying mailing lists…  But here’s a good one with NYC’s great Solar One a possible winner of $25K and all you do is vote

While we’re in the charitable mode…  Artist Simon Verity’s just done a lovely, inexpensive illustrated book/fund raiser for The Committee to Save the New York Public Library… 

Familiar with Alan Wolfson’s NY-centric mini-dioramas?  (And we do mean mini..  And incredibly detailed!)

Hello, animals:

We’re shocked…  Shocked that Oregon and New York share the same state animal:  The (noble if toothy) beaver…  One of the 23 state animals Mother Nature News rates as cute!

These two fluff balls – piping plovers and subject of the winning picture in the DoW photo contest – are so cute they don’t even look real…   (No way we can let them become extinct!)

What would a week be without bits of nature from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/3 – Minerva: I was into sap! When I tapped five sugar maples last weekend, only two had any dripping going on. But after a few days of 40′s and low 50′s, all taps were running…  In spite of the twenty inches of snow on the ground.  - Mike Corey

4/4 – New Paltz: While cutting down an ash tree to replenish a depleted firewood supply I noticed a mourning cloak butterfly dancing about our woods – my first butterfly sighting of the year! – Bob Ottens

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Hope the lovely creature didn’t get frostbite this last Wednesday!

Wishing you greenness in all things,

UGS

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Happy Volunteer Week and Earth Month, UESiders!

And are there ever ways for us all to celebrate each and even together now and in days come!

i.e.:

If you’re not familiar with the wonderful New York Cares…  

Then there’s restoring marsh islands out in Jamaica Bay

And/or clearing the winter-litter-strewn banks of our beautiful Hudson River

Not to mention the orgy weeding/planting/scraping/painting that’ll be happening on the Esplanade on It’s My Park Day – Spring Edition (Part I)! (details below)

Yes, folks, prepare your green selves!

nemastylis-geminiflora

nemastylis-geminiflora

And now for the 7 days ahead:

Friday, April 11th:  “Growing Cities” Screening

Center for Remembering and Sharing, 123 Fourth Avenue between 12th & 13th Streets, 2nd floor, 7pm

Two men set off on a cross-country journey to learn who’s growing what and where in American cities and with what results…  Can’t be anything but interesting! Especially when the film’s followed by Q&A with Bradley Fleming of the Brooklyn Grange.  $10.  For more

Saturday, April 12th:  Carl Schurz Park Easter Egg Hunt

Schurz Park, East End Avenue at between 87th & 88th Streets,  11am

Easter egg bag decorating, Easter egg hunting, a family concert… The usual, wonderful annual event!  Free, of course.  For more and the complete schedule of events

Saturday, April 12th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Who cares if there’s a little rain (we’ve endured much worse)…  American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Rabbits’ Run Farms and Garden of Spices Farms will be at their tables!

Last week’s recycling totals:  58 lbs batteries;  21 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pair of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 19 bags of clothes.

Could barely lift the battery bag!  

(Do keep in mind:  April is Wearable Collection’s – the folks who collect clothes at 82nd Street – Earth Month Shoe Drive!)

Sunday, April 13th:  Electronic Recycling Event

Amsterdam Avenue between West 74th and West 75th, 10am-4pm

Working & non-working computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TV’s, VCR’s, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones, and video gaming equipment.  NO household appliances!   (They can go the plastic/metal/glass bins in your building.)   (And do keep in mind, all of the above electronics can be recycled free of charge at any Best Buy!)   For more event details… 

Soon upon us:

Tuesday, April 22nd:  Green Travel Green Exhibition

Union Square, 11am-7pm

Green travel destinations…  Green products to travel with…  Green travel groups…  Greenest ways to get to that green destination…! 

Wednesday, April 23rd & Thursday, April 24th: Earth Day(s) Celebration 

Grand Central Station & Vanderbilt Avenueat at 43rd Street, 11am-7pm

Always an impressive assortment of green businesses, city and state organizations and non-profits…  From astronomers (your chance to get to know NYSkies) to waste reduction!  

Sunday, April 27th:  It’s My Park Day – Part I 

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

Those daffodils, crocuses, tulips and scores of other bulbs in the planter are now 3-4 inches tall with daffs showing tight yellow buds!  Miraculously, the near 100 f00t ribbon of daffodils planted pre-Sandy along the Esplanade/FDR wall are pushing up, too!  Going to be one lovely day of gardening, scraping, painting and more! Refreshments, a river view and the thanks of a grateful UES will be your reward! 

Monday, April 28th:  Friends of the East River Esplanade Benefit Bash

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Heard from a lot of you…  Wanting to hear from more!  Let’s eat, drink and give ourselves and our neighbors the Esplanade we deserve!  For your invitation

Next month:

Saturday, May 10th:  Brooklyn Sewage Bike Tour

Meet at L Train stop at New Lots Avenue, 710-800 Van Sinderen Avenue, Brooklyn, 11am-2pm

Join sewage enthusiasts (love that that’s how they describe themselves) Matt Malina and Adam Schwartz on a tour of the sewage plants of Southern Brooklyn. They’re talking  3 sewage plants, 1 storm water retention facility and 1 combined sewer overflow point!  $25.  For more and to sign up

Saturday, May 10th:  2014 Hudson River Sweep

All Along the Hudson and All 5 of Our Boroughs 

If you’ve seen what and how much washes up on shorelines over a winter…  Well, nothing’s every made you want to clean up more!  For details and to find a convenient site

Thursday, May 29th & Friday, May 30th: 4th Annual Urban Agricultural Conferance

Various Venues

Co-sponsored by the Horticultural Society & W. Atlee Burpee Company of seed fame, this year’s theme:  Unique urban farming solutions from around the world. Pre-registration commences on April 15th.  Ticket prices, TBA. For further details…   

primula-florindae

primula-florindae

Miscellany…  As usual, winges first:

Please, will USDA Wildlife stop killing swans?  (If you think they should, too...)

And will SeaWorld end including sedatives/drugs in captive orcas’ diet?!

Say what?!  While Senators and Congressmen/women from coal mining states adamantly defend the industry, Health and Human Services is cutting back on black lung disease clinics!

On the subject of lungs:  Of course, there’re any number of NYC building owners dragging their feet – making the usual onerous expense claims – converting to cleaner heating oil.

Hard to imagine what the thinking was behind the decision that there’d be no additional PreK seats in the baby-stroller-land that is the Upper East Side

Think the Landmarks Preservation Commission ought to be entertaining a change in their middle name…  Adding to their all but endless list of sins (like refusing landmark protection to the beautiful Rizzoli Bookstore), they’ve just voted to allow a 9-story hotel to be built right next to the all-but perfectly preserved but easily destabilized 1832 Old Merchant’s House! (No petition to sign yet…)

Many an intriguing flood-taming idea arose from the Rebuild by Design Contest…  Not that – per usual – any addressed challenges faced by our stretch of the East River.  Still, well worth a look and possibly adaptable!

But do we need to re-invent the wheel when the Dutch have so much experience/expertise to draw on and are offering it to us

Meanwhile, here’s how one British coastal town’s dealt with the problem...

We UESiders have been largely unscathed, but – and yet another statement on out-dated, rickety U.S. infrastructure! –  U.S. power outages have doubled since 2003! (Scroll down..)

Yikes and carbon emissions have nearly equaled that sorry record…  2000-2010 compared to the previous 3 decades!

How about some mandatory GMO labeling for baby food

Moving to the middle ground:

Yes, it’s good Walmart’s poised to sell organic food products at lower prices…  But then, not to be too paranoid, it is Walmart…

Was the smell of burning wood in the air this past Monday evening weird or what?  (Let’s not think about the particulate matter…)

Happy we are that Tribeca’s Pier 25 will be hosting historic ship Sherman Zwicker - combo museum/restaurant – for the summer…  While we press to derail a garbage dump on our waterfront! 

Then feeling totally good:

What with Bridge-gate, were we told Governor Christie’s rejection of the Greenhouse Gas Initiative was reversed by New Jersey’s Appellate Court

The Green Roof of the Week is in the Bronx!

Interesting that IKEA’s just bought a wind farm in Illinois…  Its first!

Very much liked this interview with an architect who’s even more a curator of trees

Departing the reservation:

The Library’s added another 30,000 vintage NYC photos to its online collection!

Wonder what it’s like to shop here:

Bing Deli Grocery 
1415 Gravesend Neck Road                                                                             Sheepshead Bay

And we quote from The Times:  “Two weeks ago, The Times asked readers to write a haiku about New York CIty.  Nearly 3,000 came pouring in.  On Saturday, submissions were closed. the reader favorite, so far:

Old man in the park
Teaching Chess to young players
Game reduced to life

(Gets our vote!)

As does this take on classic album covers

ipomoea-pileata

ipomoea-pileata

And now for some animals, pretty much packed with glad tidings:

Yes, friends, the “Kitten Bowl” - Hallmark Channel’s successful Super Bowl counter-programming event – has now inspired a spin-off, “The Kitten Paw-Star Game” aimed at getting ratings and, the network says, “celebrating pets and raising awareness of the plight of shelter animals.”

With all that isn’t getting done down in D.C., somehow the Senate managed to strengthen and ratify an international treaty reining in illegal fishing.

And our Federal government has decided not to oppose state-level shark-fin bans!  (On what possible basis would they defend sharks being de-finned?!) 

What’s more the adorable but badly threatened Mazama gopher is now a (protected) endangered species (all 8 inches of each of them).

Mazama pocket gopher

Then there are these dogs in cars in pictures

Awwww…  A baby harbor seal having fun in our... Harbor! 

Double awwww for baby meerkats

We bid you adieu with two gems from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/2 – Staten Island, New York City: Saint Clare School’s Environmental Team collected 93 glass eels today and one well-developed elver! After weeks of dealing with cold and catching only some killifish, this was a euphoric moment for us! May many more little wigglers find their way to our nets! -  Mary Lee

[An elver is the next life stage of the American eel, following that of the glass eel. These are, for the most part, last year's glass eels that have matured to the point where they look like miniature adult eels, in both physical characteristics and darker pigmentation. As glass eels are a year old, elvers are at least two-year old, but could well be three to five-year olds, their lengths ranging from four to eight inches. -  Tom Lake]

3/28 – Ulster and Dutchess Counties: An evening of steady rain, fog and temperatures above 40 degrees and Hudson River Estuary Program’s Amphibian Migrations & Road Crossings volunteers (yes, it’s a mouthful) agreed:  2014 amphibian migration activity was near at hand. Amphibian migration??  Indeed, every year forest-dwelling  toads, newts, salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers set off in search of pools in which they’ll breed, often crossing.roads and getting squished in the process.  That night our volunteers assisted 633 amphibians of nine different species to make safe crossings at 13 sites! - Laura Heady

Spotted Salamander

(For info about the project and/or volunteer…)

Ever green,

UGS

 

 

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Happy Official NBA Green Week, UESiders!

Hey, NCAA March Madness!  Get with it!

As we look toward Earth Day…

 rhododendron

rhododendron

Let’s move on to the week ahead:

Friday, April 4th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

McBurney House, 125 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh, 6:30-9:30pm 

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic:  The TOTAL lunar eclipse on April 15th! (Every blessed one of these lectures – held every second Friday – we’ve attended has been fascinating!)  Free.

Now through Sunday, May llth: “The Islands of New York” Exhibition

Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens 

Don’t we all have an unlimited appetite for photographs of our NYC? Especially its less familiar and often less decorative corners which photographer Accra Shepp so beautifully explores.  For more, directions and hours…  (And this from The Times…)

Now through Friday, May 16:  John Cage – Artist and Naturalist Exhibition

Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor 

Brilliant composer, yes.  Admirer of Thoreau…  Okay.  Mushroom enthusiast… Say what?  Yup, and so avid that he co-founded the New York Mycological Society!  And included them in his collaborative visual art creations which are now on display!   For days, hours and more

Saturday, April 5th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Yes, indeed last Saturday’s weather was pretty nightmarish…  But the tough, green people of American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms toughed it out… And they’ll all be back at their tables this week!

News flash from Dan at Rabbits’ Run:   “I will have bags of Laurie’s mesclun salad mix (red mustard/red Russian kale/mizuna/tat-soi/and several more flavorful micro-greens)!” 

Even newer news flash from our uber Market Manager, Margaret Hoffman: “We’re be changing poultry producers at 82nd this week…  From Yellow Bell (they’re moving elsewhere) ro Garden of Spices which’ll be with us as of this Saturday. Great news as Garden of Spices offers our shoppers even more great poultry products – chicken, eggs, duck and (sometimes) duck livers and eggs…  Mushroom, too!”

Last week’s recycling totals:  53 lbs batteries;  22 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 16 bags of clothes.

8 bins on a day when only committed composters ventured out of cozy apartments!  

(Remember:  April is Wearable Collection’s – the folks who collect clothes at 82nd Street – Earth Month Shoe Drive!)

Sunday, April 6th:  “Triple Divide” Screening

The Riverside Church,  490 Riverside Drive at West 120th Street, Room 411 MLK, 1pm

Great as “Gasland I and II” were, there’s plenty more to be said on the subject of fracking, its effects close to home and impact on the sources of 3 great rivers… The Allegheny, the Genesee and the Susquehanna…  AKA: The Triple Divide.  Sponsored by the Beloved Earth Community of the Riverside Church, United for Action and West 80s Neighborhood Association.  Suggested donation:  $10

Saturday, April 5th:  Dvorak’s Cello Concerto

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, 6:30pm

An evening devoted to the recently discovered solo cello part of Antonín Dvořák’s beautiful American masterwork, The Cello Concerto:  Exhibition of the manuscript, an interactive performance of the work and discussion by Dvořák experts. (Love that it’s presented by the Dvorak American Heritage Association!) $20.  For more

And then:

Sunday, April 13th:  Electronic Recycling Event

Amsterdam Avenue between West 74th and West 75th, 10am-4pm

Working & non-working computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TV’s, VCR’s, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones, and video gaming equipment.  NO household appliances!   (They can go the plastic/metal/glass bins in your building.)   (And do keep in mind, all of the above electronics can be recycled free of charge at any Best Buy!)   For more event details… 

TUESDAY, APRIL 22nd:  EARTH DAY!

Worldwide, 24 wonderful hours!

For celebratory Manhattan events

Sunday, April 27th:  It’s My Park Day – Part I 

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

As we write, daffodils, crocuses, tulips and a ton of other bulbs are poking out of what was once a big, dismal planter and is now in the process of being reborn… Come and clear away remnants of our harsh winter (so those bulbs can really bask in tidy glory), scrape and paint railings and more! Refreshments, a river view and the thanks of a grateful UES will be your reward! 

Monday, April 28th:  Friends of the East River Esplanade Benefit Bash

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Rather than the crumbling wreck we’ve got, we want a gorgeous, soothing ribbon of parkland with state-of-the-art infrastructure!  And on 4/28, we’ll be taking the first step toward that end!  So, eat, drink and help make the future happen!  For further info… 

Way out there:

Friday, May 9th:  Annual GrowNYC Plant Sale

College Avenue Garden, 1420 College Avenue between East 170th & 171st Streets, The Bronx, 12-4pm

Now in its 18th year, the sale’s a wonderful and budget-wise resource for community gardens throughout our city…  And the list of available flower, veg and herb seedlings is impressively long!  For the lowdown, including plants and order form...

Sunday, May 18th:  It’s My Park Day – Part II

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm 

We’ll be turning soil (mixing in compost and mulch but not disturbing the bulbs we put in last fall), installing new landscaping in the planter as per our beautiful new gardening scheme, scraping and painting railings and – as always – more! Refreshments and maybe some surprise entertainment… Be there!

Monday, May 19th – Thursday, May 23rd: Internet Week New York 2014

Metropolitan Pavillion & Other Venues, 125 West 18th Street

Doesn’t fit our green mold, but interesting so what the heck:  A host of tech heavy weights, Webby Award ceremonies, even a a Food & Tech seminar! Passes begin at high-flying $395.  For more

petrea-volubilis

petrea-volubilis

We’ve never been more miscellaneous…  Teeing off with the frown-inspring:

For all we think it’s bad in West Virginia (and it is), coal mining in Poland… Well, downright incredible in 2014. 

Need an argument against nuclear?

You do know that Starbucks is presently using milk produced by cows living in “concentrated” conditions and fed with GMO grains?  Should you think the company could be more closely adhering to its proclaimed corporate responsibility code

Tree people alert!   Sorry to say, the NYS DEC discovered more oak wilt – a fungal disease affecting all oak varieties –  last fall.  Yes, upstate, but we have to keep our eyes peeled!  

You won’t be seeing flats of impatiens – the popular tree-bed/landscape flower – at our Greenmarkets or garden stores.  It’s suffering from what’s still a mystery disease and commercial growers aren’t planting it this year.

Hearts skipped a beat when we first read the headline.  But, no, not a new and less ugly Port Authority Bus Terminal Building…  Rather a terminal annex the Authority would like to build…   Oh, well.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s now rated the world’s best city for commuters. (New York doesn’t rate a mention…  Perhaps judges have ridden the sardine-can Lex line and/or are familiar with Second Ave subway construction.) 

Definitely on the upswing:

big pat on the back for us, fellow/sister Americans!  We favor energy conservation over just burning our way through more oil/coal/gas.

In that regard, pretty fabulous that intensely energy gobbling data centers are getting significantly greener!

Can hardly believe it but in a huge victory for animal rights groups, the International Court of Justice has order Japan to stop whaling immediately!

Meanwhile, as of April 1st, trout season’s opened in New York State! (Just scraping the surface of current outdoor activity on offer all over NYS!

Signed up for the 2014 (now TCS) New York Marathon?  Love our Central Park?  Now you can merge the two by becoming a Team Central Park member and raise bucks for the park’s great conservancy with your every step!

If you’re not familiar with the critiques of proposed alternations to landmarked properties the Historic Districts Council issues every week, here’s one in our hood: 

Item 20

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

20 East 63rd Street – Upper East Side Historic District

A rowhouse originally designed by Gage Inslee and built in 1876, and altered by J.M. Beringer in 1954. Application is to install storefront infill and awnings, replace windows, alter the front façade, and install areaway fences.

East 63rd

East 63rd

While we appreciate the effort the applicant has made to redesign a rowhouse that is in need of some work, HDC feels the result is rather overdone.  The Upper East Side Historic District is a balance of grand buildings and elegant, but more subdued ones.  We ask that this balance be maintained with a more toned down new design.  

(Right on, Council members!)

Fingers crossed many more audible signals will soon be assisting disabled folks wishing to cross our streets!

How about some green job avenues?

All we know is that if we were ever to leave NYC, it’d be for this building… (Scroll down.)

Only in New York would one of the essential backbones of its farmers markets be…  Tibetans!  So what do they eat?  We’re dying to find out and Jackson Heights has become a hotbed of  Tibetan cuisine!  

Still on the restaurant beam:  Seems an Eataly-style Mexican food extravaganza is soon to open in the Flatiron District!

On to the obscure:

For those of us who’ve long wondered why the name Muhlenberg’s attached to so many American institutions (even a NYC library branch) but were too lazy to google…  Turns out Frederick Muhlenberg was our first Speaker of the House

The new best way to peel garlic involves a cocktail shaker!

And a programming note:

Science and Discovery Channels will be tracking the Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $30 million competition for privately-funded teams to land an unmanned craft on the moon by December 31, 2015. A mini-series will follow progress of teams from around the world as they race to land a craft on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit live pictures and video back to earth!

delosperma-jewel-of-desert

delosperma-jewel-of-desert

Whew!  We need some animals:

Of course, a person has to know how best to deal with mountain goats!

Can’t more strongly recommend the New York Historical Society’s Audubon’s Aviary show.  The prints – the Society has almost every one, thus necessitating three successive exhibitions – are gorgeous and genius curators thought to add the incredible texture with each bird’s particular song/warble/screech.  (Kids were there and rapt the day we visited!) 

We end on a quiet note from the Hudson River Almanac:

3/25 – Manhattan, HRM 2: I came upon a pair of adult red-breasted mergansers yesterday, swimming together off Pier 49. I returned today with a camera hoping to find them feeding again. And sure enough, there they were! -  Andrew Salcius

????????????????

Our greenest,

UGS

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Happy Earth Hour Saturday, UESiders,

And do – easy now that we’re back on Daylight Savings – flip those light switches into the off-position for that one hour…  Then follow the event as it travels and is celebrated around our world!

Meanwhile…  Isn’t great we dodged that most recent snow/blizzard bullet?

In celebration, herewith this excerpt from Robert Frost (courtesy of reader Kathleen Treat):

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

trifolium-pratense

trifolium-pratense

Until it’s well and truly here, we’re adopting this antidote to winter blues… Giving a tree a great, big hug…  Science-proven to make us humans feel better Honest!

So what if it’s rainy, it’s going to be in the fifties this Saturday:

Now to June 30th:  Steinway & Sons Tour

1 Steinway Place, Astoria, 9:30am-12pm

Founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street, Steinway creates some of the most wonderful pianos in the world, used by over 90 percent of concert pianists. For more than a century, Steinway & Sons’ manufacturing process was a closely guarded secret, but about 10 years ago, the company started guided tours of their factory, offering just one tour a week for 15 visitors and requiring booking well in advance:  info@steinway.com or 718-721-2600. 

Now till…They Don’t Say:  Ponds, Pipes, and People Exhibit

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, 110th Street and Central Park North, 7 days a week, 10am-5pm

Explore the many ways water figures in the great park’s history and design, the park’s vibrant aquatic ecosystems, and the Conservancy’s care of 150 acres of water in the middle of a dense urban landscape. Free.  Gallery tours for visitor and school groups are available with minimum two-weeks advance registration: 212-860-1370.  For more

Now – September 7th:  Palaces for the People – Guastavino and the Art of Structure Tile

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avene between 103rd & 104th

If you’ve ever been to the Food Emporium under the 59th Street Bridge, you’ve experienced the UES exemplar of the Guastinvos’ – father and son – inspired work.  Or if you’ve been on the Grand Central’s lower level around and in the Oyster Bar…  High time the pair, their art and innovations are given the accolade of a museum exhibition.  For more and hours…  

P.S. Check out Christopher Gray on Upper West Side row houses designed by father Rafael Guastavino Sr.  

Saturday, March 29th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us on what’s projected to be a 60-degree day will be the great people of American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

Darn!  Another week chicken livers sold out before we arrived!

She won’t be with us this week, but shall we say folks were happy to see her last Saturday:

The Master Knife Sharpener Holds Court

The Master Knife Sharpener Holds Court

Last week’s recycling totals:  62 lbs batteries;  19 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Another “slow” week…

(Do keep in mind,Wearable Collection’s Earth Month Shoe Drive!)

Upon us soon:

Saturday, April 5th:  13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Tour

Meet at the Albert E. Short Triangle Park, corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street, Long Island City,  11am-2pm  

Really and we quote:  “In 13 steps, Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman will show attendees the then and now of the Dutch Kills tributary, once known as the “workshop of the United States.”  Another great Obscura Society event.  $20 and advance tickets required.  For more and to reserve your place…  

Monday, March 31st: Archeology in the Seaport

South Street Seaport, 6pm

Alyssa Loorya, president and principal investigator of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, leads a tour highlighting archaeological discoveries unearthed from beneath this storied commercial district’s streets during its redevelopment and revitalization. The tour will end with a rare, hands-on survey of recent archaeological finds. Organized by Open House New York.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $25.  For tickets

Thursday, April 24th:  Exploration of the Past and Present State of the East River Waterfront

House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, 6:30pm

Architectural historian John Kriskiewicz and landscape architect Signe Nielson explore the history of East River waterfront and in the library of the former Fabbri Mansion, now (and landmarked) House of the Redeemer.  Suggested donation, $10.  Registration requested. Call 212-289-0399 or info@redeem.org.

Saturday, April 26th & Sunday, April 27th:  Green Festival

Pier 94, 55th Street & the West Side Highway, 10am-6pm

Some years it’s great, some years a bit blah, but good equals a ton of green products you can get up close with and grill their makers/inventors. Think food, fashion, health,  energy, construction, design and activities designed for families. Goldstar’s offering bargain tickets, too ($5-$10)! 

Monday, April 28th:  Friends of the Esplanade (60th-120th) Benefit

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

We’ll be beating the drum non-stop on this until the day…  And keep pointing out that as with so many things in this life – even with the Feds, State and City contributing bigtime – we of the UES’ll get the Esplanade we pay for…  BUT you’ll be getting great wine, eats and raffle/silent bidding fun with your generous contribution!   So head on over to the event page

Sooner than we think:

Tuesday, May 20th:  Citizen Tree Pruner Class

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street

Definitely one of the best things ever: Trees New York’s signature Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course, 5 sessions long and offering New Yorkers a comprehensive curriculum covering basic tree biology, street tree identification, pruning and care. Graduates emerge with a license empowering them to legally prune their neighborhood’s street trees!   A bargain at $100.  For further details and to sign up

calliandra-eriophylla

calliandra-eriophylla

And with that, on to things miscellaneous:

First in the queue:   Guess what?  We have our very own nuclear waste site in NYS!  Even more incredible?  Our State Senate’s attempting to cut funds for a long, long overdue clean-up!  If you disagree with that move

In the same realm of incredibility?  Elements in our House of Representatives wishing to prohibit the creation of any more national parks!  If you feel otherwise… 

But let’s talk local outrage, albeit of considerably smaller scale…  This past Tuesday, as Related Companies excavated what was once Ruppert Playground, a vestige of the once great Ruppert Brewery was unearthed. Just a few brick arches but a meaningful bit of Yorkville’s past, partially demolished before archeologists were given access and allowed only the briefest to document before bulldozers leveled it.   Really.

Of course, all the antibiotics fed/applied to what we humans eat would have effects on us…  One being the surge in our weight.

Yes, it seems endless, but there are those who keeping wanting to shoot wolves… This while others who support science and maintaining their endangered species protection.  If you’re a protector… 

And should you also think that Congress should maintain funding for all endangered species at its present current (drastically reduced since 2008) levels rather than cutting it further

And if proliferation of crude oil being transported via the Hudson River is one of your concerns… 

As it bears on demands on UES infrastructure, pedestrian and traffic flow, density and so much more, this from Council Member Garodnick on wisest modernizaton of neighboring East Midtown

Bite the bullet, friends, and if you haven’t already, read The Times on ourcity’s decrepit maze of underground pipes.

On the much brighter side:

The mayor’s named an interesting new Parks Commissioner:  Mitchell Silver.

The EPA’s just proposed a rule that’ll restore Clean Water Act protections to streams, wetlands, and the drinking water affecting 117 million Americans nationwide!  

Our new Borough President has made her feelings plain about NYPL’s plans for dramatic alterations in the main branch and sale of Mid-Manhattan in her letter of March 25th…   (She very much disapproves.)

Attendance has been so high at the year-old Museum of Mathematics, they’re looking to expand!

Prospect Park Zoo’s a finalist for IKEA’s 2014 “Life Improvement Project” makeover in Brooklyn and we can help!  Vote today and the zoo could win a much-needed IKEA-designed space!  

For those who’ve seen (and been shocked) by graffiti on First under the 59th Street Bridge, DOT’s promising to remove it within 30 days…  Cross you fingers!  (Won’t hurt if you also call 311, too.) 

We’ve become total fans of our state DEC’s online tip sheet, Green Living! Of course, we UESiders already know about bird bath cleaning…  But burping trout? What to do with those leftover earthworms you took fishing? The journey clothes/fabric you give to Wearable Collections can take?  Green Living’s great!

Buildings covered in bougainvillea…  Surrounded by jasmine and Jacaranda trees…  Doesn’t get more cutting-edge and beautiful than this design for a medium-rise development in Morocco

Meanwhile, if you’ve noted Robert A.M. Stern’s recent appearances around town…  Here’s why…  Another luxury behemoth and here on the UES,  

Transition time:

Craving a Zagat’s Restaurat guide?  Review a few of the eateries you frequent and receive a guide as reward!

In case you missed news of this world-shaking development…  The UES cupcake ATM!

theobroma-grandiflorum

theobroma-grandiflorum

Animals:

Is the red-winged blackbird beautiful or what?  Plus it braves NY winters…  Making it wild and crazy, too!

So bats are afflicted by a  deadly white fungus visible on their noses…  Now, it’s a virulent eye disease spreading among House Finches.  The good news is that Citizen Scientists are making big contributions to understanding the killer pathogen!

It’s a heavy decision but you be the judge:  Who’s the best alarm clock?  Cats…? Or dogs?

Then there’s this from the wonderful Hudson River Almanac: 

3/14 – Croton-on-Hudson: A large, healthy-looking German shepherd-sized canine loped through the woods at the edge of my yard. Was it a tan-and-gray of a coyote?  No, too big to be one. It made its way over a rock wall to the road, disappeared down the slope to the Croton Reservoir and I caught glimpses of it running across the frozen expanse. Hope it made the other side safely as the reservoir was beginning to thaw in places. It was probably the same critter that’s made larger-than-coyote prints all around my back door each fresh snowfall. I was always armed with my guide to animal tracks but never made a satisfying identification.  - Robin Fox

[Identifying animal tracks in snow, unless they are extremely fresh, can be very tricky. The walls of the print tend to move, melt, or crumble, generally increasing in size. This description sounds like a healthy eastern coyote ("Woyote").  - Tom Lake.]

Our bracket is green (with some white) for Michigan State,

UGS 

 

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Happy First Day of Spring 2014, UESiders!

So what if the Weather Service and NOAA are saying – due to our mind-boggling winter – solid spring weather will likely be delayed at least 2 weeks…   We’re seeing the little green tips of crocus and daffodil leaves poking up in planters and tree beds!

March 20th some 18 years past, we were on I-40 on day two of the three-and-half day scramble NYC-to-L.A. when the sky darkened at the southern edge, moving fast due north and towards us…  Pretty scary till you made out the leading edge of a way beyond a Mississippi-wide river of migrating birds.

What else to do but pull over, get out and look up with reverence…   Along with everyone else in a car or 18-wheeler…  To a one, in tears, laughing, feeling tiny but together in that moment…

Not as intense as our experience, but this gives an idea

As the next few weeks unfold, do check what’s in bloom at Schurz Park then go over and see for yourself!

Plenty of great things coming up on our dance card:

Friday, March 21st:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

McBurney House, 125 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh, 6:30-9:30pm 

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time out:  The two new spring evening planets, Mars & Saturn…  Visible in Manhattan with or without equipment. Always a treat and free.  

Saturday, March 22th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us on what’s projected to be a 60-degree day will be the great people of American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

We’re making soup with Gajeski’s baby spinach!

Last week’s recycling totals:  59 lbs batteries;  21 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 13 pair of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 17 bags of clothes.

And, as of 12pm, we thought it was going to be a slow composting day…  HA! 

Wednesday, May 26th:  Pledge2Protect Demonstration

City Hall, Park Row Entrance (west side City Hall, adjacent to 4-5-6), 12:30-2:30pm

Last week’s demonstration was a slam-dunk success…  Wear your P2P t-shirts and buttons…  Wave signs…  Get fact sheets into the hands electeds and everyone else entering the inner sanctum!  Do RSVP… 

Tuesday, March 25th:  Paradise Planned – The Garden Suburb and the Modern City Lecture

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 6:30pm

Star-Architect Robert A.M. Stern shares his wisdom on the evolution of suburbia and the important lessons it holds for present-day cities.  Members, $18.  Non-members, $30.  For tickets and more...

Wednesday,March 26th:  Take Wing and Fly Here – An Evening in Conversation with Prianka Kumar and Jane Alexander

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, 3rd Floor Gallery, 6pm

Author Kumar and Academy-nominated and Audubon Society board member Alexander discuss conservation and birds in art.  Free.  Presented by the Audubon.  For more

Thursday, March 27th:  NYC Clean Heat Meeting

McCaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th Street, 6:30-8pm

We’ve all looked out and seen those freaky black plumes gushing out of chimneys across the street…  The end result of burning most polluting #4 and #6  heating oil.    Could be your building’s…  Well…  Being equally naughty.  Check it out on the Spot the Soot Map and get yourself over to 67th for the lowdown on conversion and what you can do to make it a cleaner air a reality!  Free but best to RSVP

On the horizon:

Saturday, March 29th:  30th Annual Green Thumb Grow Together Conference

Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 8:30am-4pm

And we quote, “Join thousands of NYC community gardeners and greening professional for a day of learning, sharing, networking, greening inspiration and handds-on workshops!”  Pre-registration (and guaranteed breakfast, lunch and t-shirt), $5.  For more and tickets

Monday, March 31st: Archeology in the Seaport

South Street Seaport, 6pm

Alyssa Loorya, president and principal investigator of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, leads a tour highlighting archaeological discoveries unearthed from beneath this storied commercial district’s streets during its redevelopment and revitalization. The tour will end with a rare, hands-on survey of recent archaeological finds.  Organized by Open House New York.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $25.  For tickets

Tuesday, April 1st:  NYC Beekeepers Association Meeting

Seafarers & International House, 123 East 15th Street, 7pm

This month’s special guest:  Sarah Red-Laird, AKA Bee Girl, founder/Executive Director of the Bee Girl Organization and degreed bee researcher. Honestly, this is the kind of interest/activity that makes NYC the place that is.  Free.  Be there at 6pm if you like to sign up as bee apprentice.

Out there but coming up fast:

Saturday, April 26th:  Run for the Wild

The Bronx Zoo, Runners – 8am, Family Fun Run/Walkers – 8:45am

Proceeds from this year’s 5K event will support 96 elephants…  The number killed each day for their ivory.  You can even make a virtual run at home on your treadmill!  Registration for adults, $40.  Kids & Seniors, $30. Register by March 24th and receive $5 off.  For more and to sign up

Thursday, April 10th:  Urban Agriculture Webinar 

At Home in Front of Your Computer, 10:30am-12pm

Join Hone Strategic LLC and the Pace Law School Land Use Law Center to explore barriers to urban food production and how to surmount them through comprehensive planning and zoning.  Staff from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will also discuss technical and financial support for urban agriculture.  Organized by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Free.  For more and to sign up

Sunday, April 13th:  4th Annual Tour de Staten Island

Commencing at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, registration at 8am 

Ever biked to the beaches of Staten Island?  Pedaled through a landfill-turned-park?  Admired Lower Manhattan from across New York Harbor? Here’s your shot at  all that and more!  Members, $15.k  Non-members, $20.  Riders limited to 1,000 so sign up soon!

ipheion-uniflorum

ipheion-uniflorum

Time for miscellany…  Excellent, good and migraine-inducing: 

Wow!  We will soon – as of April 1st – now have a new Sanitation Commissioner…  Ms. Kathryn Garcia!

Last week we noted approval of that uber-upscale restaurant in Union Square… A city move that’s inspired a petition calling out the increasing privatization of our parks.  Should you object to this – our city’s present – strategy…  (And please forward on…) 

Meanwhile and thankfully, the 1914 East 77th Street Ardsley Garage’s been proposed for landmarking!  Should you support preservation of this lovely utilitarian structure and learn more

Mayor Mike may be history but the development steamroller remains…  In this instance in the name of funding Hudson River Park...  With the probably result of a farthest West Side corseted by high rises…

Okay, so now they’re wanting to build a natural gas line from Pennsylvania fracking country to Schoharie County, New York en route to northeastern markets.  Of course, it’ll be crossing numerous aquifers, watersheds, wetlands… You name it and decision-making is moving fast.  If you believe more time and thought are required…    

And, no, vampire-like the desire of West Virginia coal companies to engage in mountaintop removal has yet to have a stake permanently driven through its heart…    (If you disapprove of the practice…) 

Believe it or not but there are elements out in Indiana trying to rescind the state’s successful energy efficiency program

Kudos to the Hilton Hotel chain that they’ll no longer have shark fins on the menus!  (If you’d like to give them a thank-you…)

Interesting stuff in Consumer Reports’ most recent newsletter…  Where we are on getting antibiotics out of orchards…  When and/or if farmed fish can be organic…  Action to take on misleading food labels…  

Would have been great if there’d been even more, but 80,000 green jobs were created last year!

Then there’s this:

Wonder no more why that Time Warner bill is going and will continue to go through the roof

erythronium-revolutum

erythronium-revolutum

We’re ready for animals:

You bet, Blossom the baby bat is totally cute…

Push-ups with a walrus

On World Happiness Day we’re joyfully green,

UGS 

 

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, UESiders!

While we’re eating corned beef and cabbage and chugging green beer, the Paris will offering free travel for 3 days!

No, not for easier partying, but a desperation move…  The city’s air is presently so polluted, they’re hoping to get drivers out of the cars!   

Meanwhile, Inside the Apple postcard mystery solved!  

Beidler Forest

Beidler Forest

Erin Go Bragh big-time, people!

And happy National Reading Month, too:

Saturday, March 15th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

You have had burgers made with Rising Sun’s ground beef?!

Last week’s recycling totals:  56 lbs batteries;  24 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Yes, indeedy.  Another mind-boggling 8 1/2 bins!!

Saturday, March 15th & Sunday, March 16th:  Four Freedoms Park Open House

FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, 10am-2pm

If you haven’t yet a paid a visit to the UESide’s beautiful and newest Park, get yourself over to Roosevelt Island’s southern tip, meet Conservancy members and maybe even be inspired to become a volunteer park Greeter! For more… (Thanks to 1,000+ Friends for the tip!)

Thursday, March 20th:  “Water  Blues Green Solutions” Screening

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, 6:30pm

NYCH2O’s at it again, this time with a doc that details the ways real people solve their water problems in impressively green ways…  Including our Bronx neighbors and the Bronx River!  Co-presented with the Bronx River Alliance and Penn State Public Media.  Light refreshments.  $5 donation. For more and to RSVP

Friday, March 28th:  The Lock Picking Party

The John Mossman Lock Collection of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, 20 West 44th Street, 7pm

And we quote:  “Learn how to pick locks with one of the world’s very best while indulging in classic cocktails, live music and 19th century splendor. Calling the crafty and the curious; everyone leaves with their very own lock picking kit!” Organized by the Obscura Society, of course.  $75.  Open bar so you have to be 21!  For more and to sign up

Wednesday, April 16th:  Daylighting the Saw Mill River Forum

Hansgrohe – AXOR Design Studio, 29 Ninth Avenue, 6:30-8pm

The poor Saw Mill River…  Buried for decades but back again, at least in part. Speakers hail from the many entities that’ve restored the river to life in downtown Yonkers.  Free.  For more on the project... 

crassula morgan's beauty

crassula morgan’s beauty

As for miscellany:

Let us commence with the Are They Kidding Department…  As in the folks at our State Department of Environmental Conservation are intending to cut water quality testing!!!  Read and if you object

Be interesting to hear – from the man himself – why Governor Christie’s closed down Tesla car sales in NJ

Thanks to reader Jackie Raven for this on the mega tons of road salt used these last few months.  Lucky that NYC water’s supplied by isolated, pristine reservoirs.  Not so our Jersey neighbors, much of whose H2O comes from rivers contiguous to roads and highways. 

But on the good foot:

We’ll have to keep fingers crossed and surely industry will appeal, but it could be energy companies will have to reveal contents of the fracking chemical cocktail!

Then there’s the soon-to-be Brooklyn start-up incubator – a partnership between New York City Economic Development Corp. and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering - with a focus on ” sustainable infrastructure, energy efficiency and climate adaption”!

Mostly approve of this year’s Historic District Council Award winners (being in the Ederle Center addition just does feel tomb-like)…  May there be ever higher standards for our city’s architecture! 

Pretty darned fabulous that the European Union has just passed a universal charger (for electronic devices) bill to take effect in 3 years!!  

On the good side of our NYS DEC – and, natch, they do have a very good side – is their annual Annual Garlic Mustard Challenge!  

Yes, NYC’s made sufficient strides in its compost collection that we’ve been profiled by no less than BioCycle.net!

(We on the UES need our own commuter compost drop off site!!)

Think we need to have these great people pay our market a visit some Saturday!

Veering over to screwball:

The Flatiron Building the place to be for ogling men?  You bet, a hundred plus years ago!

zinnia grandiflora

zinnia grandiflora

Animals, at last:

Inscrutable that Yellowstone’s bisons get themselves shot if they wander off park land…  And they do wander in winter in search of more grass. Should you take issue with this approach to wildlife management

Can you name this bird:

mystery bird

mystery bird

And the answer is

What would a week be without a snippet from the Hudson River Almanac? 

3/3 – Manhattan:   Near the river shore, along the Hudson at Riverside Park South late in the day:  Found two females…  A common goldeneye and red-breasted merganser.  And in the park itself…  Robins, common grackles, a brown-headed cowbird and red-winged blackbirds.  - Tom Fiore

phacelia fimbriata

phacelia fimbriata

We’ll be seeing green and 4-leaf clovers all Monday,

UGS

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Wednesday, March 19th:

Happy Clocks Spring Forward Weekend, UESiders!

Hardly seems possible that we’ll be moving to Daylight Saving Time when there’re still crusty patches of snow around street trees…

Even so, as those of you with western exposures have likely observed, late last week, the afternoon sun’s angle changed and its light is now much more direct... This while there’re many a tree branch with those little swellings that will, in just another few weeks, be leaves!

Can’t wait!!

cassiope-mertensiana

cassiope-mertensiana

But there’re great days in the present:

Saturday, March 7th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am –2pm

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Could be we’ll be enjoying an above-freezing market day!  Even if we’re not so lucky, at their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms.  

Fingers crossed on Ballard Honey!

Meanwhile…

Last week’s recycling totals:  76 lbs batteries;  41 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 6 pairs of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Yes, people, that’s a record-breaking 8 1/2 compost bins!!  (The gentleman in charge of pick-up was really pleased with himself for allocating a 9th bin to 82nd Street!)

And then there’s that Shred-A-Thon total of 9,424 pounds!

(For ultra-last-minute market updates, check www.GrowNYC.org.) 

Tuesday, March 11th:  “Created Equal – America’s Civil Rights Struggle”  Screening

Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium, 417 East 61st Street between First & York, 6:30pm

Organized by The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden with The Museum of Tolerance and Restore NYC, the screening will be followed by a discussion of our nation’s ongoing efforts to create equal rights for all.   Free but please RSVP at 212-838-6878.

senecio-pectinatus

senecio-pectinatus

And then:

Saturday, March 15th:  Block Party Workshop!

Bowne Printers, 211 Water Street, 11am-2pm
Bowne Printers is one of the joys of the new South Street Seaport, offering wonderful classes like this one:  The basics of block carving and printing with Resident Printer Ali Osborn.  (We’re thinking bookplates!)  Members, $45.  Non-members, $50.  For more and to reserve a spot: bowneprinters@seany.org or 646-628-2707.

Wednesday, March 19th:  Green Infrastructure Grant Workshop

Tishman Auditorium, New School University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, 6-7:30pm

Been contemplating a green roof for your building?  Replacing cracked and crumbling neighborhood sidewalk with porous pavemen?   Installing a rain garden?  Or…?  Whatever your pet project might be, our NYC Department of Environmental Protection has $6 million in grant money for residents to tap into and engineers to offer advice and refinements to what you’ve got in mind.  (Spring grant applications due May 5th.)  For full details

Wednesday, March 19th:  Murals of New York City Lecture

The Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street, 6:30pm

And what are the 30 most timeless and influential of our city’s murals? Artist, restorer and author Glenn Palmer-Smith weighs in on the subject of this talk and his new book.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $20.  Both include an invitation of the Society’s pre-lecture happy hour!  For more and tickets

Thursday, March 20th:  Designing with Native Plants Lecture

Ross Hall, New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 10am-12pm

For those unfamiliar with lecturer Thomas Rainer, he’s among the foremost American proponents of landscaping with our native flora and obviously a fellow from which we have much to learn.  Members, $31.  Non-members, $35.  For tickets, directions and more…   

Thursday, March 20th:  Impact of the New Organics Law Meeting

290 Broadway, 30th Floor,  Room 3, 9:30am-12pm

Yet another sign that NYC couldn’t be more serious about composting expansion: Intro 1162-A which bans the landfilling of food scraps from large restaurants, food retailers, caterers, sports arenas, and other establishments larger than 25,000 square feet.   And great the federal  E.P.A.’s supporting this brave, great new development with this informational gathering.  Free.  For full details and to reserve a place

Tuesday, March 25th:  Green Your Restaurant!

Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship, Baruch College, 55 Lexington Avenue at 25th Street, Suite 2-140, 2-4pm

Can’t have enough sources of info on the brave new world of composting by businesses…  In this instance, guest speakers from Con Edison’s Green Team, The Green Restaurant Association, The Mayor’s Office of Composting and more.  Free but pre-registration advised.  For more and to sign up

Saturday, March 29th:  30th Annual Green Thumb Grow Together Conference

Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 8:30am-4pm

And we quote, “Join thousands of NYC community gardeners and greening professional for a day of learning, sharing, networking, greening inspiration and handds-on workshops!”  Pre-registration (and guaranteed breakfast, lunch and t-shirt), $5.  … 

petrea-volubilis

petrea-volubilis

And then, next month and thereafter:

Sunday, April 6th:  Central Park North Woods Hike

We’ve had this great experience and, yup, there are more than a few moments when you imagine yourself in some remote, beautiful, faraway woodland!   Free.  Organized by American Forests, details will be revealed when you RSVP…  

Thursday, Friday &  Saturday, May 1st to May 3rd and Friday, May 9th & May 10th:  GrowNYC Annual Spring Plant Sale

Hattie Carthan Community Garden, Brooklyn and College Avenue Garden, The Bronx 

Yet another of GrowNYC’s many, many good works:  Perennial and annual flowering plants, herbs, and vegetables…  All cultivated by Greenmarket farmers and made available to us at wholesale prices! For how order, full schedule details and more

pinus-sylvestris

pinus-sylvestris

For once, we’re light on the miscellany…  Well, not that light:

So, guess what?!  Flooded with petitions, both Kroger and Safeway – #1 and #2 conventional grocery store giants – will no longer be carrying unlabeled GMO salmon!  (Costco next…!)

Maybe our governor needs some of the same medicine given that he’s proposed cutting library funding by 4%.  If you object, you can call and tell him so at 518-474-8390 or 212-681-4580!

Meanwhile, it’s America’s water under siege…  Fracking and industrial agriculture waste everywhere!

But, happily for NYC turf, was this week’s announcement that settlement moneys from that massive Exxon oil spill in Greenpoint are beginning to flow

Thanks to reader Karen Lane for this compilation of info graphic stats as to which age groups are best and worst environmental stewards…  (Hold your heads high, mature people!)

Packed with PR, but Recycling Today‘s article covering the opening of the Sims Sunset Park recovery facility - the place where our recycled residential glass/metal/plastic  is processed – is informative reading.

Scroll further down the page and rejoice that in only another year and a quarter – while industry vainly tries to prove that “dirty foam” can be viably be recycled – and NYC will be banning styrofoam altogether!  

Thanks to park champion Carol Rinzler, 1000+ Friends of Parks and Michael Powell of The Times for keeping us in the loop re the expensive eatery that’ll soon be occupying precious space in Union Square Park.

Amazing that this is the first we hear about Queens’ John Bowne High School!

Moving well off the reservation:

Ever wonder what the real status – rent controlled, rent stabilized, market rate – of your apartment might be?  Here’s how to approach finding out… 

On the subject of NYC apartments past, there’s this lovely Christopher Gray piece on his first residence…  A second-floor railroad flat on Third south of 81st!   

And on UES real estate in the present

downingia-pulchella

downingia-pulchella

Hummm…  Animals:

You bet there’s a best way to clean your birdfeeders and birdbaths and stamp out avian diseases like Songbird Fever!  

Best animal name of the week?  The adorable Timberdoodle!

And then there’re these two little gems from the great Hudson River Alamanac:

2/19 – Manhattan, HRM 1: While checking our traps off the steamship Lilac at Pier 25 we caught our first glass eel of the year. The River Project interns found the water temperature to be 36 degrees Fahrenheit and the salinity to be 12.0 parts per thousand. (In 2013, our first glass eels were taken in Yonkers on February 22.) - Nina Zain

glass eels

(Freshwater eels have survived global cataclysms for millions of year, but now some populations appear to be diminishing – even disappearing – worldwide and scientists are not quite certain why. Compared to other fishes, their lives are cloaked in mystery. While American eels are considered freshwater fish, they are born at sea and many of them spend much of their lives in tidewater. Glass eels are one of their juvenile life stages. They arrive by the millions in the estuary each spring following a six-month to year-long journey from the Sargasso Sea where they were born. “Glass eel” is a colloquial name owing to their lack of pigment and near transparency. This is a particularly vulnerable time for them, about which little is known. In anywhere from 12-30 years, depending upon their sex, they will leave the Hudson River watershed for the sea, where they will spawn once and then die … or so we think. Tom Lake.

2/27 – Fishkill:  I watched a gray squirrel this morning scamper across the snow-covered yard, carrying nesting materials in its mouth. It proceeded high up into a white pine where there once was a crow’s nest which Ms./Mr. Squirrel was refurbishing.  - Ed Spaeth

It’s a wonderful green world,

UGS

 

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