Happy One Crazy Week in History, UESiders,

The Triangle Shirt Factory in 1911…  The Camp David Accords  and the 3-Mile Island Nuclear Plant Accident in  1979…  The birth of Houdini (1874) and Van Gogh (1853)…

And in 2015?  Weathermen are predicting yet another round of snow on March 28th…

We’re so over snow!  We could care less!   

zaluzianskya-ovata

zaluzianskya-ovata

See you at the market:

Saturday,  March 28th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us will be our great line-up of farmers;/fisherman’s/bakers:  Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Ole Mother Hubbert!

(We’ve been making soup with Gayeski’s baby spinach!) (No cornstarch or sugar needed.)

Last week’s recycling totals: 62 lbs batteries: 15 cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 5 pairs of eye glasses; 7 compost bins;  15 bags of clothes.

Annual totals are moving into the hundreds of pounds range! 

Now through 11:59pm, Tuesday, March 31st:  Free NYC Parks’ Learn to Swim Class Lottery

Parks’ Recreation Centers Throughout the City

Free for all members of Parks’ Recreation Centers, be you toddler, kid, teen or adult.  For lottery rules and to register...   (Winners notified by email on Friday, April 3rd.)

Sunday, March 29th: NY Road Runners Health & Fitness Clinic for Kids

PS 59, 233 East 56th Street between Second & Third, 1-4pm

Yes, fitness events for the K-6 complete with expert advice…  Add nutrition workshops and  a “Finding Fun in Fitness” talk by “Biggest Loser’s” Olivia Ward!   Sponsored by Council Member Dan Garodnick. Totally free but you do want to RSVP…  (Flyer attached to the cover email or call the CM’s office:  212-788-7393!) 

Then in April:

Tuesday, April 7th:  “Urbanized” Screening

Knoll, 1330 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor, 6pm

The much talked about new doc detailing how politicians, architects, and citizens around the world are moving to implement real, quality-of-life-improving urban change.  Members, $5.  Non-members, $10.  For more and to register

Friday, April 10th:  “The Chlorine Revolution” Lecture

Hunter College, Lexington Avenue & 68th Street Entrance, Room HW714, 7pm

Author Dr. Michael McGuire recounts why and how chlorine became essential to disease-free public water.  Another great water-related event from NYCH2O.  Free but reservations a must.  To RSVP

Saturday, April 11th to Sunday, April 19th:  Participatory Budgeting VOTE!

Many Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island Locations

It’s up to us – everyone age 16 and older – to decide how $1 million in city funds get spent on projects on our home turf, District 5!   Check out the worthy nominees (ballot attached to the cover email) … Check out the entries… Then VOTE!   (Here’s where!)

Mondays, April 13 through May 18th, Thursdays, April 16th through May 21st:  Birding Tours of Bryant Park

Meet at 42nd Street & Sixth Avenue Park Entrance, Mondays 8am, Thursday 5pm

Take in the astonishing variety of feathered life that passes through the heart of our city during spring migration with master guide Gabriel Willow!  A lovely way to begin or end the work day. Free.   

Tuesday, April 21st:  Body of Art Figure Drawing Session

Poet’s Den Gallery, 309 East 109th Street, 6:30-9pm

Who but our East Harlem friend and impressario Raphael Benavides to organize an opportunity to draw the human body from life!  All skill levels welcome but bring your own materials.  $25.  For more

Saturday, April 25th:  Women’s Map and Compass Conference

Tupper Lake, New York

Learn the skill of navigating by compass and map in a one day workshop led by licensed NYS Guides Sonny & Sheila Young!  Organized by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. $45.  For full details and registration:  518-359-8194 or adkfoothills@yahoo.com

Thursdays, April 30th to May 21st & Saturday, May 16th:  Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street

Trees New York’s signature program trains us New Yorkers in all things tree – identification, care, biology and pruning.  Four evenings, a half day (total 12 hours) and test later and you join the 11,000-plus  Gothamites certified to minister to street trees throughout our city!  A bargain $100. (We count this as one of the best and most fun things ever!)  For more and to sign up

THEN in May:

Saturday, May 2nd:  4th Annual I Love My Park Day

80-Plus State Parks and Historic Sites From Montauk to Niagara Falls

Nearly 6,000 New Yorkers turned out in 2014!  Can’t be enough opportunities to make our city/state more beautiful, we say!  To find an event that speaks to you

Sunday, May 10th:  It’s My Park Day – Spring Edition – Part 1

On the Esplanade

You know the drill…  Getting the 96th Street Planter – where we put in those hundreds of bulbs last fall – up to spring/summer snuff… Expanding our signature professional-grade railing scraping and painting beyond its present, amazing 2 block extent!…  Trimming, pruning, sweeping, partaking of great, fortifying snacks and more!  Be there, people!

cortinarius-ceskae

cortinarius-ceskae

On to miscellany:

Okay, as yesterday’s explosion demonstrates, NYC gas lines are threatening mess…  Same for the pipes, sorry to say.   (If you’d like some of our public money to move to modernize them…)

Grrrr…  What would a week be without announcement of yet another zillion-dollar/public friendly transformation of a Hudson River Pier

Hats off to the French yet again!  Paris’s mayor – one no-nonsense female – is moving to ban vehicles powered by diesel fuel within city limits!  (You recall that during a particularly bad pollution patch last year cars with odd and even number license plates – except for electrics – were banned from driving in Paris?!) (Scroll down to be chagrined by traffic green that other cities/countries are up to…)

Parallels to the tobacco industry and it can’t happen soon enough for us…  i.e. The death of coal that some predict 

Let us not forget that it was only a few months ago that the newly appointed Landmarks Commission attempt to purge buildings like Bergdorf Goodman from their calendared list (an attempt that went down in flames), but props that they’ve now calendared the very deserving Clock Tower Building in Queens Plaza!  

So whatever happened to the guy who expanded NYC’s plastic recycling and gave us compost collection...?  (And how come he wasn’t appointed Sanitation Commissioner?!!)

Believe it or not, there might well be an 1830’s locomotive entombed under Atlantic Avenue! Almost as strange is what’s/who’s keeping us from knowing for sure… 

Don’t we all need Consumer Reports Pesticides in Produce Guide

And a Mediterranean Diet Chart!

AND a list of 9 things we all need to have on hand in case of emergency!

Doesn’t get more miscellaneous than time-lapse photography of acorn-to-sapling

Or this Times account of how giant cruise ships move in and out of port in a matter of hours (with many recycling an amazing percent)!

senecio-pectinatus

senecio-pectinatus

No dearth of critters this time out:

Feeling really badly NYS DEC only got around to announcing this year’s “Big Night” Amphibian Migration just two days before the last night’s event when Hudson Valley volunteers turn out make sure that thousands of amphibians – frogs, toads, salamanders – migrate safely across streets, roads and highways.  Pretty fabulous, huh?  Until next year! In the meantime, learn more…  

Meanwhile, here’s what happened to the first 20 animals protected by the Endangered Species Act

Latest victim of our propensity to overfish:  The herring, AKA bedrock fish of the marine eco system.  (Should you think herring deserves some protection…) 

Resident Red-tailed Hawks – Big Red and Ezra – are back nesting on the Cornell campus and watchable on the Bird Cams!

Love that we’re now able to track ospreys as they head northwards to and up the U.S. coast from South America!

Newsflash from the trades:  “In the dog-eat-dog world of cable network programming, the Hallmark Channel has a new secret weapon: Cats. In its second year, Kitten Bowl, hosted by Beth Ostrovsky (wife of shock jock Howard Stern), reached 1.3 million viewers between noon and 3p on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s an increase of 28% over last year’s inaugural telecast. The broadcast also jumped 38 percent in the coveted women 25-54 demo. What’s more, #kittenbowl garnered more than 50,000 tweets, leading the network to its biggest-ever Twitter response. Talk about the cat that ate the canary! The network has plans to expand the franchise with Kitten Games, which will coincide with the summer Olympics in July 2016.”

Cats!  Cats!  And MORE cats!  Especially if they’re Rescue Cats Boogie (on duty at Midtown Ladder 24) and Carlow of Yorkville Tower Ladder 13!   (Hey, Yorkville Tower Ladder 13:  Carlow needs his own tiny Rescue Cat fireman’s hat!)

No, you’re not dreaming…  There’s a little lamb now roaming the streets of NYC

Naturalists aren’t sure why, but NYC’s harbor seal population is going up

First we had penguin sweaters…  Now there’re chicken jackets (complete with knitting instructions)!

Chicken Jackets

Little green tips of tulip and daffodil leaves are peaking through on the Esplanade,

UGS

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy First Day of Spring/National Proposal Day, UESiders!

(Celebrations/getting down on one knee will commence once snow is shoveled!)

ceanothus-thyrsiflorus

ceanothus-thyrsiflorus

As we contemplate the daffs and tulips and crocuses soon to come: 

Saturday,  March 21st:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Fingers crossed the white stuff that’s still falling as we write  won’t impede our farmers;/fisherman’s/bakers travel into NYC and that Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Ole Mother Hubbert (formerly Back to the Future) Farms will all be at their tables!  (Bet they will!)

Last week’s recycling totals: 55 lbs batteries: TBA cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 compost bins;  12 bags of clothes.

Yes!  7 bins and 12 bags on that horrible rainy day! 

Thursday, March 26th:   Midtown Public Library Campus Public Planning Session

42nd Street Main Library Branch at Fifth Avenue, enter on 41st Street (between the lions), 6-8pm

$18M wasted on a wrong-headed star-architect’s redesign plan…  Sale of the erstwhile Science and Business Branch on 34th…  Smoke and mirrors about interior space landmarking, location and safety of research materials… The continuing uncertain fate of Mid-Manhattan…  Plenty for We the People to weigh in on and be heard by library “trustees”!  To RSVP…   

Thursday, March 26th:  Obscura Society Tour of the NY Academy of Medicine & Public Health

1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, 6:30pm

If you’ve ever wondered just what goes on in the lovely building across the street from the Museum of City of New York…  Important things that’ve impacted on the well-being of NYC for generations and brought to life as only the wild and crazy folks of the Obscura Society outings can. $30.  $100 for the 5-part series. For more and tickets… 

And then:

Sunday, March 29th: NY Road Runners Health & Fitness Clinic for Kids

PS 59, 233 East 56th Street between Second & Third, 1-4pm

Yes, fitness events for the K-6 complete with expert advice…  Add nutrition workshops and  a “Finding Fun in Fitness” talk by “Biggest Loser’s” Olivia Ward!   Sponsored by Council Member Dan Garodnick. Totally free but you do want to RSVP…  (Flyer attached to the cover email or call the CM’s office:  212-788-7393!) 

Tuesday, March 31st: Meet Atka the Wolf!

Broken Land, 105 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, 6pm

Incredible that one of America’s pre-eminent wolf conservation centers is located just an hour plus to our north, up in Westchester County…  Not to mention that its most famous resident will soon be journeying to Green Point to meet us!  Who else but the Obscura Society could/would put this event together!   $28.  Advance purchase mandatory.  For more and tickets…  

Then in April (!): 

Saturday, April 11th –  Sunday, April 19th: Participatory Budgeting VOTE!

Various UES and Roosevelt Island Locations TBA

Is up to us to decide how $1 million in city funds get spent on projects on our home turf, District 5!   Check out the worthy nominees (ballot attached to the cover email) …  Sign the Pledge to Vote…  Check the entries out up-close and personal at one of the project expos…  Then VOTE! 

Saturday, April 18th:  Cares’ Spring Cleanup NYC Day

All Over Our City

Even without this year’s ferocious weather, NYC emerges from any winter season as something of a mess. The remedy?  Turning out for a few hours to tidy up shorelines, tree beds and public spaces of all kinds!  (Perfect prelude to It’s My Park Days!)  For projects and to sign up… 

Sunday, April 19th:  It’s My Park Day – Spring Edition – Part 1

On the Esplanade

You know the drill…  Getting the 96th Street Planter – where we put in those hundreds of bulbs last fall – up to spring/summer snuff… Expanding our signature professional-grade railing scraping and painting beyond its present, amazing 2 block extent!…  Trimming, pruning, sweeping, partaking of great, fortifying snacks and more!  Be there, people!

elaeocarpus-angustifolius1

Miscellany…  Alternating the good and the bad this time out:

Applies only to federal land, but there’re now actual rules regulating fracking and the 100,000 wells on our public acreage!

Municipal Art Society’s analysis of  the 421-a tax abatement program‘s non-contribution to NYC’s affordable housing could hardly be more scathing… 

Seems like new-fangled, wonderful  (and traffic-taming) greenness form is springing up round about our city:  The Greenway!  Planning of a beautiful Brooklyn iteration – to be known as The Brooklyn Strand –  is well underway, with more in the planning stage.  (Thanks to reader Karen Lane for the tip!)  Here in Manhattan, a bunch of inspired dreamers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to install a PopUp mini-forest in Times Square

But we do not at all like what the powers-that-be are allowing to happen to yet another historic bit of NYC life, the venerable Essex Street Market!

Elsewhere in the world (Denmark and even D.C.), they’re running some pretty amusing ads for their public transport…  (Note absence of peeling paint, grimy tiles and chewing gum-speckled platforms.)

Beating that same poor horse, seems like NYC will soon be home to the world’s longest, most taxing and inconvenient way of getting to an airport…  But maybe we’re just not seeing the genius of the proposed Air Trans route to LaGuardia

Then there’s our crumbling Port Authority Bus Terminal…   (Think they know the City’s wanting to spend a quarter billion on obsolete technology at 91st Street?) 

Yup, we’ve got 10 National Parks in and around NYC‘s harbor!

So wouldn’t be great if that harbor water were infinitely more sewage free?  (If you agree, here’s how to tell NYState…)

Be prepared for some surprises in Cornucopia’s yogurt healthfulness ratings

Herewith, a Nat Geo review of antibiotic (over)use in factory farming… 

Who knows how recycling announcements like this wind up in UGS’s mailbox, but we like when they do…  We’re talking U.S. Government liquidation of items like tank tracks!

actinidia-deliciosa

actinidia-deliciosa

Time for some animals:

Haven’t we all wondered what goes into removing animals from the endangered list?

Amazing that it took till 2015 for those same folks at Fish & Wildlife to ban the import of “constrictor” snakes… (Except for the boa that’s now totally and likely irreversibly infested the Everglades.)

Cornell’s bird people have really upped their online game with “All About Fancy Males!

Okay, it’s pathetic, but we LOVE the Geico free-range chicken commercial 

chicken

Ever notice the unusual black squirrels who make their homes in the trees in City Hall Park? Trust the Hudson River Almanac to have the lowdown, albeit as an observation on a Hudson Valley black squirrel:

3/8 – East Fishkill, HRM 67: I came upon a black squirrel foraging for and finding peanuts under the snow near Emmadine Pond. – Rich Taylor

[Melanistic or black squirrels are genetic variants of the eastern gray squirrel that have increased melanin, resulting in black fur. Biologists have suggested that black squirrels may have a selective advantage over gray squirrels due to an increased cold tolerance. While not particularly rare overall – they are common in parts of Canada – it is estimated that only about one in 10,000 gray squirrels is melanistic. – Tom Lake.]

There’s green beneath that snow,

UGS

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Erin Go Bragh & Happy International Women’s Month, UESiders!

Yes, for sure, last Sunday was World Women’s Day, but in the U.S. of A. it was pretty much engulfed – and why not? – by the Selma/Pettus Bridge March anniversary…

That still leaves 18 days of March to celebrate International Women’s Month and the many, many women making our world a better place (among them these 6 great New Yorkers) and maybe take in one of zillion women-centric gatherings/conferences/lectures organized under the U.N.’s banner 

All while being sure to do the requisite partying down on St. Patrick’s Day!

Yes, it’s one intense second week of March 2015:

Saturday,  March 14th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Rain or shine, at their tables will be Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Ole Mother Hubbert (formerly Back to the Future) Farms!

(Ballard has some really wonderful beeswax candles!) 

Last week’s recycling totals: 72 lbs batteries: 24 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs of eyeglasses; 8 compost bins;  18 bags of clothes.

Yes!  Another 8 bins!

Saturday, March 14th:  South Street Seaport Broth Festival

Sugarcube at South Street Seaport, 17 Fulton Street, 12-9pm

Six of notable eateries vie for your nod as home of NYC best bone broth!   Almost as much fun, that the savoring will be in a big white inflated sugarcube!  Tastings conducted in 90-minute sessions.  $33.  For more and tickets

Sunday, March 15th:  A Tribute to the Tredwell’s Irish Servants 

Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East 4th Street, 12:30pm

Walk in the footsteps of Tredwell maid, Bridget Murphy…  Check out the recently restored servant’s quarters high under the eaves…  Compare their lives with those of downstairs at Downton Abbey.  Tickets, $10.  Seniors/students, $5.  Free for those under 12.  For more… 

Coming up soon:

Tuesday, March 24th:  Water-Wise Gardening and Hydrants 101

NYC GreenThumb Office, 49 Chambers Street, Room 1020, 5-7pm

Tools, rules and permit applications for accessing water for your garden from city hydrants! Already have a permit?  Bring it for free lamination while you brush up on the requisite skill set! Free.  (Bring ID to enter the building!)

And out there:

Sunday, May 17th:  19th Precinct Shredding & E-Waste Collection Event

151 East 86th Street (in front of the NYSports Club, 10am-1pm

Bring on the paper!  All that unwanted tech, too, with all working devices receiving free data destruction!  There’ll also be free electronics registration with the NYPD’s Operation ID!   Did we say everything’s free?!  (But businesses are limited to 2 banker’s boxes of paper.)  

(Has to weigh in at less than 5 pounds, but for those who absolutely/positively cannot hand in there till May or the next Shred-A-Thon, Staples is offering free shredding this weekend for those who click here, scroll down and print the coupon!)  

ribes-sanguineum-glutinosum

ribes-sanguineum-glutinosum

As ever, all-over-the lot miscellany:

Most days it’s just the plain old N/R/Q platform at Third and 59th.  Today, it was a mini-Niagara Falls…  

What next you ask?  How about – in the wake of the Bloomberg-envisioned up-zoning-to-the-max of mid-Manhattan – the new plan to toss our present “contextural” zoning and let developers build however big they want wherever they want?  (If you object…)

Dealing with a covered airshaft in your walk-up building?  Lots of contradictory legal action on that score and maybe a tenant air/light victory!

Yikes!  The U.S.D.A.’s approved chickens grown and “processed” in China for sale in the U.S!  (Scroll down if you think it should be barred from American school meals…) 

Here in NYS looks like GMO labeling legislation is in play!  (Should you wish your representatives up in Albany to get on board…)

Meanwhile, geologist have designated a new rock form presently principally found on the beaches of Hawaii:  Plastiglomerate.  A mixture of sand, volcanic rock, wood, shells…  And plastic!  

Lighter now:

Lovely article on that UES jewel – the Mount Vernon Hotel & Garden – in last Sunday’s Times Metropolitan Section! 

Question:  How do we know that, at long last, spring’s approaching?  Answer:  Because NYS DEC’s just announced all ice fishing huts must be removed from bodies of water by March 15th!

And the first modernist house in NYC was/is…?  (There’s an example by the same architect on the UES!)

FYI, it’s 80 years and 2 days since FDR delivered his first fireside chat.

magnolia-vulcan

magnolia-vulcan

Time for some animals:

So, just how big is the world biggest rabbit?  Fifty-five pounds big and his name is Ralph

As if how stupendously cute-looking they are wasn’t enough, get a load of baby otter talk

Of course, cats love music…  It just has to be their kind of music… 

Yes, coyotes are here and among us in NYC, howling and mostly running free!

The Hudson River Almanac has an entry from our own East River this week:

3/1 – Manhattan, New York City: I spotted a red-necked grebe (in transitional plumage) feeding not too far off the shore along the east side of the East River a short distance south of the Robert F. Kennedy Triboro Bridge. Among other duck species present were ruddy, common goldeneye, bufflehead, gadwall, black duck, and red-breasted merganser.  – Thomas Fiore

red-necked grebe

Oh!  No less an authority than Snopes is on record that the woodpecker-riding-weasel photo is 100% real!

We’ll all be just that much more green on St. Patrick’s Day,

UGS

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy First Session of the House of Representatives, UESiders!

Yes, the day was March 4th and the year 1789…  George Washington presiding over the lightly attended gathering (13 representatives showed up) at our own Federal Hall on Wall Street!

Two hundred and twenty-six years later…  Snow or no snow…  Thermometer stuck below 32…

greyia-sutherlandii

greyia-sutherlandii

We’ve still got a great week ahead:

Friday, March 6th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

Friday, March 6th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

McBurney House, 125 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh, 6:30-8:30pm 

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time out:  “Observing Our Moon” covering the moon’s motion and location relative to the sun, stars and horizon, its role in the zodiac and chaos theory!.  Free.

Saturday,  March 7th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

A second Saturday with no snow predicted!   Hurrah!!  (Okay, so Old Man Weather dumped everything he had on us today.)

Still, yet again, looks for all our farmers/fishermen/bakers/beekeepers: Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms to be at their tables!

(Rising Sun’s ground makes the best burgers ever!) 

Last week’s recycling totals: 76 lbs batteries: 26 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 8 1/2 compost bins;  17 bags of clothes.

We’re back in into our usual 8/9 bin groove!

Monday, March 9th:  Water Quality Standards Public Meeting

EPA Building, 290 Broadway, Room 27A, 12pm

Wouldn’t it be great to swim in, say, the Hudson, Harlem River, Bronx and East Rivers?   Not to mention Flushing Bay, the Newtown Creek or even (bit of a reach) the Gowanus Canal?  Believe it or not, NYState would like for it to be possible, too, and this hearing is one of the many but necessary steps in that direction.  Be there!  

Tuesday, March 10th:  Developing Future Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Scenarios

NYS DEC Webinar, On a Computer Screen Near You

Made for us Flood Zone A residents who’d like to get the gist of how the formulators of NYC Flood Report arrived at their conclusions!  Free.  To sign up… (Scroll down and note the many other intriguing webinars coming soon!)  

Tuesday, March 10th:  Creating Landmarks – Revival Style Townhouses of 19th Century Manhattan

Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East 4th Street, 6:30pm

Explore the origins of thebeautiful, architectural bedrock of Manhattan’s – and the UES’s – historic districts with architect/lecturer Curtis Estes.  Members, $5.  Non-members, $10.  To insure a place:  nyc1832@merchantshouse.org.

Thursday, March 12th:  Attainable Sustainability – Greening NYC Co-ops and Condos

Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Room 200, Kew Gardens, Queens, 6:30-8:30pm

Recent weather leaves leaves no doubt:  NYC buildings of every kind need to get a fix on their inefficiencies and address them…  Especially when there’s so much expert assistance out there… As this upcoming lecture/Q&A session attests!  Free, folks.  For full details and to register

Thursday, March 12th:  Historic Pie Making Workshop

Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 Est 61st Street, 6:30pm

Why wouldn’t the pie have a distinguished history?  Learn all about it and prepare a pair of mini-pies from classic recipes while you’re at at!  Members & Students, $15.  Non-Members, $20.  To reserve a place:   212-838-6878.

Coming soon:

Tuesday & Wednesday, March 17th & 18th:  New York Geothermal Geopalooza

Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York

An immersion course on geothermal, the cutting edge of how homes of the present and future will be heated and cooled.  (There’re are at least 3 geothermal buildings we know of here on the UES.) $99-$389.  For schedule, speakers and more…  

Saturday, March 21st:  31st Annual Green Thumb Grow Together

Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 9am – 4pm

And we quote, ” join thousands of community gardeners and greening professionals from all over New York City for a day of learning, sharing, networking and greening inspiration”…  Complete with breakfast, lunch and a t-shirt!  For more and to pre-register (which guarantees your lunch and shirt)… 

A little more than a month away:

Four Tuesdays, April 21st – May 12th:  Birding by Ear in Central Park

Meet at Central Park West & 72nd Street, 7:30-10:30am 

Really, to which of our feathered friends do those many chirps, tweets, trill and warbles belong? Expert Tod Winston will help you connect the sound dots on spring tramps across Strawberry Fields and in the The Rambles!  NYC Audubon Members, $80.  Non-members, $115.   For further details and to sign up

Friday, April 24th – Sunday, April 26th:  New York City Green Festival

Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street, 12-6pm

Not every day a couple of hundred companies and lecturers of a green persuasion gather under one roof!  (No way we’d miss the “Investing from a Vegan Perspective” talk!)  Tickets, $11-$29. For more and early bird ticket purchase…  

cyathea-cooperi

cyathea-cooperi

The latest collection of miscellany:

Swhat companies piled on the bucks to pass and/or defeat GMO labeling legislation in Colorado and Oregon? (Surprises on both sides!)

This as elements in Congress are seeking to prevent the designation of any more national parks! (If you think this is bad thinking…)

Meanwhile, elements on the City Council would like to “The Right of Way Law”.  (If you think pedestrians should have the right-of-way in crosswalks regardless of who’s behind the wheel…) 

Meanwhile, another bit of NYC’s past – Roseland - is having an encounter with a wrecking ball…

Of course, the push/rush to demolish is an old story in NYC…  The original Plaza Hotel structure lasted a grand total of 15 years!

Lack of sunshine is no impediment to growing great edibles…  Case and point:  Battery Park’s new Forest Farm!

((Yes, we know.  We are also tired of the fabulousness of what’s going on in so many other parks along the Manhattan coastline!)

Last week 500,000 Americans asked the U.S. Fish & WIldlife Service to place monarch butterflies on the endangered species list!

Whoever it is that writes the DEC’s High Peaks alerts has one real flair for understated humor:

Adirondack High Peaks Bulletin 3-5-15:  “Brisk weather for most of the preceding week with wind speed recording 45-55 miles per hour during the last snow event.”   (Snow being driven into your face at 45 mph is “brisk”?)

Lovely new blog from the NYBG recently plopped into our mailbox…  “Science Talk” in our baptismal issue on the subjects of Citizen Science for middle school students and the wonders to be found in a wintry Bronx River!

Oh!  The Manhattan edition of PBS’s “Victory Garden” series is now being streamed!   

iris-unguicularis

iris-unguicularis

Ready for some animals:

Really wonderful wildlife in winter photos from “NYS Conservationist Magazine”!

Is this little local critter cute or what…?

white footed mouse

On the odd chance you’ve yet to experience the woodpecker/weasel pic:

woodpeckerweasel

(Fingers crossed the darned thing is real!!)

Dreaming of the greenest spring,

UGS 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy 22 Days to Spring, UESiders!

And what better way to approach the season than with a new survey that finds 66% of Americans believing it’s a moral obligation for world leaders to address climate change!

Even more impressive:  73% see confronting the issue as a personal ethical obligation as well!

magnolia-sprengeri

magnolia-sprengeri

On those most affirmative notes, our week ahead:

Saturday,  February 28th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

A second Saturday with no snow predicted!   Hurrah!!

Maybe even some of the ice melted on our one day above freezing this week… Thus allowing American Seafood to return to its accustomed spot in the churchyard!  

Regardless, look for our full compliment of farmers/fishermen/bakers/beekeepers: Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!”

(Okay, you have to try Back to the Future’s cheese!) 

Last week’s recycling totals: 76 lbs batteries: 26 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 compost bins;  25 bags of clothes.

7 bins and 25 bags on a 20 degree day?  Amazing!!

Thursday, March 5th:  Tasty History – American Values Reflected in Food

American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square/Columbus between 65th & 66th Streets, 7pm

Trace the evolution of American eating with Dr. Libby O’Connell of the History Channel and author of The American Plate:  A History in 100 Bites,  then chat her up over the wine and cheese refreshments that follow!  Members:  $10.  Non-members:  $12.  For more and tickets     

 Friday, March 6:  Audubon’s Aviary – The Final Flight

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street

Chapter III in the Historical Society’s epic, tripartite  exhibition of every Audubon print in their unequaled collection!  (Best copies don’t hold a candle to being upclose and personal with the real thing!)  For details, hours and more

On the horizon:

Friday, March 13th – Sunday, June 7th:  Life of Cats – Selections from the Hiraki Uiyo Collection

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

And we quote, “Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art”…    As in 120 of Japan’s finest examples of feline imagery!  For details, including days and hours

Wednesday, March 25th:  Trash Free Water Initiatives in NYC

City College of New York, Room 105, corner of 140th Street/St. Nicholas Terrace & Convent Avenue, 9:30am

Haven’t we had enough of refuse on the shore of every body of water, huge, floating gyres of waste in every ocean.  Time to get down on this totally man-made disaster.  Free.  For more and to register

Coming up in April (!):

Sunday, April 12th:  “The Travel Assignment” Photography Seminar

Lighthouse International Executive Conference Center, 111 East 59th Street, 9am-4pm

National Geographic Traveler emeritus photographers Dan Westergren and Jim Richardson share their wisdom of decades of capturing fabulous travel pix.  $199 (includes lunch).  For more and to register

Saturday, April 18th: Cares’ Spring Cleanup NYC Day

All Over Our City

Even without this year’s ferocious weather, NYC emerges from winter as something of a mess. The remedy?  Turning out for a few hours to tidy up shorelines, tree beds and public spaces of all kinds!  (Perfect prelude to It’s My Park Days!)  For projects and to sign up… 

aerides-odorata

aerides-odorata

Miscellany:

In the must-be-an-upstate-thing-department:  The temp may be below 32, there may be 30 inches of snow and first aid kits, snow shoes and more de rigueur, but the NYS DEC is wanting us out on Adirondack high altitude trails!  

(Thank goodness for Forest Rangers!)

On the other hand, DEC’s urging ice fishermen/persons and snowmobilers  to be super cautious!

For those of us lacking East River views…  The current study in ice!

Even more so on the Hudson!

Short breather:

Yup, we’re kind of suckers for kitchen gadgets/gizmos, but think July and strawberries and then check out this Ball Freshtech Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker!  (Lots of vendors have it for $79!)

The Brooklyn Brainery does such great stuff (and we continually urge them to bring at least some of it to us)…  Case and point:  Making bread as we did in colonial times… Baking With Fire

Is this an amazing plant seed or what?

(Brooklyn’s Old Stone House – NYC outpost of fire baking – looks pretty fabulous, wouldn’t you say?)

Yes, food podcasts!!

Then in the civic groove:

Okay, right now there’s not enough $ for lighting ballfields in Riverside Park… How long before a big spender steps in to fill the breach?  (Not very, given the admirable history of giving to the West Side’s “esplanade”.)  

Always good to see the frequently lethargic NYC acting to protect a surviving stop on the Underground Railroad!

Think we could do without growth hormone in our milk?

The semi-counter balance to our food waste crisis:  Big food’s experiencing serious revenue downturns

Like the documentaries you see on Channel 13?  Let them know!  (They’d like to relegate POV and Independent Lens to the Siberia of WLIW!)

Nominate your choice for the Municipal Art Society’s best architecture/urban design project completed in NYC in 2014… (And good luck coming up with one!) (Check the map.  There’ve been zero winners on UES over past years.)

Back to the all-consuming subject of weather:

And we think we’ve had snow!  Check out Russian winters of times past… (Maslenitsa being a celebration of the end of winter.)

viburnum tinus rigidum

viburnum tinus rigidum

On to the world of the furry and feathered:

Bears mentioning again:  There is an organization specifically dedicated to the health and welfare of…  Trout

So great those 19 manatees were saved from that Florida storm drain

And the top 3 dogs in NYC are

As if we didn’t know cat purring is good for human body and soul… 

What a combination:  Eagles and romance!

Wow!  We’ve got (they’re useful birds) vultures in our skies, too, as per the Hudson River Almanac:

2/15 – Manhattan, HRM 5: As I was taking a Riverside Park sunset walk along the partially frozen Hudson River at the 70th Street Pier, looking for any sea life sheltering from the cold, I spotted four black vultures flying very high over the West Side Highway. I was hoping they’d come closer but they were catching the fierce northwest tailwind, headed inland. – Alan Drogin 

Yours in greenness,

UGS

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Love Your Pet Day and Academy Award Weekend, UESiders!

Be interesting to see what comes of growing sentiment in the business that the Academies should be moved back to April and Monday night…  That and a return to 5 nominees for Best Picture.   

Academy Mondays in Los Angeles existed in their own time-space continuum…  The city hushed… Waiting and so savoring every second of the anticipation.  Stores and restaurants – except for Nate & Al’s Deli – empty…   Then that late afternoon sound of limousines moving on the streets of Beverly Hills…  Down and out of the Canyons…   

Only other 12 waking hours remotely like it:  The day of Frank Sinatra’s funeral. 

But that’s L.A. and this N.Y.C.

arctostaphylos-pallida

arctostaphylos-pallida

And we’ve got a great week ahead:

Saturday, February 21st:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

The threat of more snow?  They shrug it off!  Temperatures below 32?  It’s nothing to for them!
They are the incredible Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!!
Last week’s recycling totals: 55 lbs batteries: TBA lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; TBA eyeglasses; 7 compost bins;  16 bags of clothes.
And let’s not forget those awesome 8,752 lbs of paper we shredded!!

Saturday, February 21st:  A Child’s View of Life in 19th Century New York

Old Merchant’s House, 29 East 4th Street, 3:30pm

And we quote, “Come tour the house and learn what life was like for children (and adults) in the 1850s, from schoolwork and chores to games and play. Could you carry a bucket of coal up steep stairs? Do you have a calling card? A top hat? What, no hoop skirt? How did you take a bath? And penmanship really, really mattered.”  Couldn’t be more family friendly!  One adult with one child: $15.   One adult with two or more children: $20.  For directions and more… 

Thursday, February 26th:  Grow to Learn Spring Seed Giveaway

GrowNYC Greening Library, 49 Chambers Street, Room 212, 2-6:30pm

Free packets of flowers, herbs and vegetable seeds, a planting calendar and a crop planting sheet! No, spring can’t be so, so far away!  Organized by Green Thumb and GrowNYC.   Free but first come, first served.  For more and to RSVP

March (!) is just around the corner:

Thursday, March 12th:  Attainable Sustainability – Greening NYC Co-ops and Condos

Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Room 200, Kew Gardens, Queens, 6:30-8:30pm

Recent weather leaves leaves no doubt:  NYC buildings of every kind need to get a fix on their inefficiencies and address them…  Especially when there’s so much expert assistance out there… As this upcoming lecture/Q&A session attests!  Free, folks.  For full details and to register

Monday, March 9th – Sunday, May 10th: The Plains Indians – Artists of Earth and Sky

Metropolitan Museum, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

Artists of Earth and Sky

America as it once was, as perceived by Omaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Lakota, Blackfeet, Pawnree, Kiowa and Comanche tribes people.  For hours, tickets and more… 

phoenix-dactylifera

phoenix-dactylifera

High time for some miscellany:

We’ve praised the great people of the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project (the folks who raise hundreds of pounds of vegs in plastic wading pools atop the Metro Baptist Church on West 44th and then give that produce away) in many a previous newsletter.  If – like us – you think they’ve earned an Edible Manhattan Food Hero Award, here’s where you can cast a vote

(Scroll down the ballot and vote for the great GrowNYC in the “non-profit” category!!)  

We gained nice chunks of new national park territory this week…  The gorgeous Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, the Pullman National Monument in Chicago and the Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii! 

Have thoughts on where Citibike stations should or shouldn’t be and you didn’t make the DOT meeting last week?  Or even if you were at the meeting…  Weigh in on DNA’s map!  

Of course, we all knew how great an institution the New York Botanical Garden is…  But that it’s presently pre-eminent worldwide in the field?  For a beautifully written account of how botanical gardens came into being and all that distinguishes our NYBG

Could be you’ll be inspired to sign up for one of the Botanical Garden’s great spring line-up of classes!

And here’re Kitchen Gardeners International’s 5 tips for starting vegetable seeds indoors!

Interesting new app – OpenLabel – rates the social integrity of companies behind hundreds of grocery store products…

Add Atlantic ocean health to New Yorkers’ concerns.  Get yourself up to speed on the NYS Ocean Action Plan and then weigh in on it

(NYS’s got a fisher cat management plan, too!)

For the masochists among us:  This week’s NYS DEC’s Adirondack High Peaks (Hiking!) Bulletin!  (Thanks, NYS, for letting us know we need to dress warmly!)

Oh and they’ve rescheduled that free ice fishing class for March 7th!  

Holy crow!  Charles Dickens’ son (Alfred Tennyson Dickens) is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum on West 155th Street! 

Wow…  Amazon’s just added a documentary series to its production slate: The New Yorker Presents!  (See the first Episode free!)

Curious as to what your Chinese horoscope’s got in store for you over this lunar Year of the Sheep…?

clerodendrum-quadriloculare

clerodendrum-quadriloculare

Very much time for some animals:

Took almost st a decade years after the critter turned up in an Australian fishing net, but the world now has a new seadragon (relative of the seahorse) species…  The ruby sea dragon!

Very mysterious that – after all but unanimous scientific opinion and a host of petitions – Fish & Wildlife still hasn’t listed the wolverine as endangered!  (If you think it should be…) 

Of course!  Snowy owls – who spend most of their time in Arctic climes – are being spotted round about NYC!

Who knew there was a group – the Xerxes Society – dedicated to the protection/preservation of invertebrates…  Yes, insects but including butterflies and bees!  

Doesn’t look so baby-ish at 6 months of age, but he/she (gender presently unknown) is the first King Penguin to hatch in NYC and is now on view at the Central Park Zoo!

So many great people unknown to us have added so much to our knowledge of the natural world… Case and point, C. Lavett Smith as remembered by The Hudson River Almanac’s Tom Lake: 

2/10 – Hudson Valley: A hollow feeling was left in many hearts today when we lost one of our great teachers, C. Lavett Smith (“Smitty”), Curator Emeritus of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History.  For those of us who were inspired by and loved Smitty as a dear friend, colleague, and mentor, it is a fitting tribute that we still use his book, The Inland Fishes of New York State (1985), as the go-to reference for Hudson River fish identification and life history.

The Inland Fishes of New York State!

Living the good green life, 

UGS
     

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day, UESiders! 

Happy Presidents’ Day and Happy Lunar New Year, too!

And add to the pleasures of a long weekend and the upcoming Year of the Sheep/Goat, some lovely Greenmarket news:

Janice and Lew of Cherry Lane Farm welcomed son Lewis IV into the world on February 2nd!! 

Baby Lewis IV

Baby Lewis IV

Lew III and Baby Lewis IV

Lew III and Baby Lewis IV

One wonderful way to launch into a jam-packed new week:

Saturday, February 14th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Hallelujah!  No snow till late afternoon!!
Which means the full compliment of our hardy friends  – Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms – will be at their tables of deliciousness!
Snow or no snow, we’re planning on keeping innards warm with quarts of Samascott’s hot apple cider! 
Last week’s recycling totals: 60 lbs batteries: TBA lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; TBA eyeglasses; 8 compost bins;  13 bags of clothes.  
8 bins on a snowy day!

Saturday, February 14th:  Shred-A-Thon – Valentine’s Day Edition

82nd Street between First & York, 10am-2pm

The clock is ticking…  A matter of hours and the great Shredding Truck will be in position on 82nd!

So bring on that paper in spades!!

But one last time…  NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

REMOVE those paper clips and spiral bindings, please. 

And NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we’ll take paperbacks.)

(Get those unwanted hardcovers over to Goodwill.)

AND one big thank you to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick and Kallos for their grants!

Saturday, February 14th:  Central Park Ice Festival

Naumberg Bandshell, Mid-Park 66th to 72nd Street, 3-7pm

Celebrate your love of Central Park (and an abundance of no-chance-in-hell-it’ll-melt ice) this Valentine’s Day!  Watch as ice artists carve 3,000 pounds of cold stuff into a twin of the Park’s Romeo and Juliet sculpture!  Disco dance 1980’s-style on the Mall! Open to and appropriate for all ages.  Free.  For more

Sunday, February 15th:  Washington’s Birthday Ball 

Mount Vernon House Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street, 1-3pm

Party like it’s 1790 and just like George and Martha with period music, dancing (experts will show you and the kids how), refreshments and toasts to our great first president. Total family fun!  Members and children under 12:  $10.  Everybody else: $15.

Thursday, February 19th through Sunday, March 1st:  Lunar New Year Celebrations

All Around Town

From the Houston Street to Sunset Park  to the Prospect Park Zoo…  Think Chinese folk performance, martial arts, firecrackers and more and all courtesy of NYC Parks!  Free.  For the lowdown

Saturday, February 21st:  Inside the Holographer’s Laboratory

Holographic Studios, 240 East 26th Street, 11am-12:30pm

Trust the Obscura Society to come up with the truly far out…  As in time up close with holograph pioneer/artist Jason Sabon, his gallery of holographic portraiture and laser laboratory!  $25. For reservations/tickets… 

olsynium-douglasii1

And in the miscellaneous department:

Congrats, Frankfurt, Germany!  You are now the #1 most sustainable city in the world!

Of course, we’re not alone in feeling besieged by ill-considered alterations to our neighborhood landscape…  Case and point:  Wood vs. cement to repair Sandy damage to the Coney Island boardwalk… 

You are correct, friends.  Flooding in the U.S. and river floods, in particular, are a more frequent occurrence

Great that there’s an EPA program to replace aging – and polluting – school buses with greener models...    

Hardcore downtowners may miss the the graffiti and decay.  We’re always happy when even the smallest bit of our worthy architectural past remains in place and is given new life.

Fingers crossed  the same happy fate awaits Loew’s 46th Street Theater out in Brooklyn…   (Why not another fabulous movie palace restoration?) 

Still in the architectural mode:  Check out the evolution of the Met from 1880 forward

Come spring/summer, there’ll be a lot of milkweed plants – not a weed and food vital to monarch butterfly survival – gracing our First Ave Bike Islands and our stretch of the Esplanade (Stuyvesant Cove is an official stop on the Monarch Butterfly migration route!)…  But there are right and wrong varieties.  For the right ones to be putting in your garden (or the Bike Island you adopt)… 

asclepias incarnata      (AKA milkweed)

asclepias incarnata (AKA milkweed)

 

Many a feathered friend (and friends of feathered friends) this time out:

Commencing with humans who studied animals…  Like the astonishing number of female ornithologists in Cornell’s Class of 1921!  

Ahem!  Heart-String-Tugging/Cuteness Alert!!  Australia’s oldest man – 109 and going strong – knits tiny sweaters for penguin victims of oil spills…  Really.

And we close with this from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/24 – Manhattan, HRM 7: A male common redpoll visited the Evodia Field feeders in the Ramble in Central Park today. – Ed Gaillard

redpoll

Shivering but green,

UGS

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized