Monthly Archives: February 2012

Greetings, UESiders!!

We’ve all seen those tulip, crocus and daffodil tips poking up in tree beds throughout the city…  But blooms?  In February?  Yes, indeed:

(Photo courtesy of Karen Lane.)

(I hesitate to bring that small but bright blue splotch to the right of the blossoms to your attention…  Gum.    Can whoever tossed it there really be thinking it’s compost fodder?  Grrrr….)

Meanwhle, 3 cheers for the NYState Senate and their vote to bring back mass transit tax credits!

Also for Judge Phillip Rumsey of the NYState Supreme Court who ruled that communities can ban fracking within their boundaries!

And El Barrio’s Operation Fightback and Artspace whose extreme persistence has finally achieved the federal tax credit that will turn the old PS 109 on East 99th Street into affordable artists’ housing

AND the two young guys who – a la the High Line – are undertaking to work another NYC miracle with the “Low Line” by converting the old Delancey Street station to a sun-drenched garden underground garden and have embarked on fundraising via Kickstarter.  If you’d like to contribute a dollar to to this fabulous endeavor, just click here…  

Should the MTA choose to investigate the level of sound produced by nighttime blasting along Second Avenue…  Well,  we’ll cheer them too.

On to the week ahead:

Saturday, February 25th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Another great market shopping day, yes…  With heaps of apples, parsnips, seafood, goat cheese, chicken and grass-fed beef…  

Add to all that, this Saturday’s special event:  Official Canine Appreciation and Photo Shoot Day…  Presided over by the one, the only Maddrette, Dog Paw Reader extraordinaire!    See Fido and you there!!

Last week’s totals:  40 lbs batteries and 12 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  266 lbs batteries; 132 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges. 

Saturday, February 25th:  Just Food Conference 2012 – Eat.  Grow.  The Movement

Food & Finance High School, 525 Weest 50th Street, 8am – 6pm

The annual gathering of CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) members from all over the city.  For more and tickets… 

Coming soon:

Saturday, March 3rd through Sunday, April 22nd:  The Orchid Show and Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens 

2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 10am – 6pm

For those unfamiliar with Patrick Blanc (and/orhave shrugged off our previous mentions), he’s a bonafide genius and the Botanical Garden’s the site of his most recent masterwork.   Get yourselves up to the Bronx, folks!  Adults, $20.  Seniors and Students, $18.  Children 2-12, $8.   For tickets, directions and more

Tuesday, March 6th:  Heating Oil & Air Quality Meeting

St. Thomas More Church, 65 East 89th Street, 6pm

Who in their right mind doesn’t want lower heating costs, cleaner air and more knowledge about the city’s new regulations regarding what keeps us warm in our homes?  Presented by Civitas and Carnegie Hill Neighbors.   Free but please RSVP at or 212-996-0745.

Ye olde miscellany:

Incredible isn’t really adequate to describe a 21st Century science that manages to regenerate 30,000-year old plant material... 

Of course, there’s an online kitchen garden planning tool…  Courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International, of course.

Who knew we had a craft emporium/workshop here on the UES?  We do and appropriately named Little Shop of Crafts, 431 East 73rd Street.

The (great) Riverkeeper’s has a new anti-fracking petition out there if you’d care to sign…

Then there the Grand Canyon’s natural sound level…  If you think it should be maintained, here’s where you can express that belief.

Or if you believe Amazon shouldn’t be selling whale meat (yes, whale meat!), tell Mr. Bezos here

Back on our home turf, the Historic District Council’s just created an online archive of applications to the Landmarks Commission by those wishing to effect major changes in landmarked buildings…   The better for us citizens track and express our opinions regarding said changes.

Don’t recall the UES building Christopher Gray refers to in his recent, wonderful piece in Times, but we like to think if it was threatened today, we’d save it…

All one had to do is read how clean Sao Paolo’s subways are to be sure the MTA has plenty to learn from the Brazilian city’s transportation chiefs.

Give the renderings for the new Fulton Street Station a look…  Oh, make that Fulton Street Transit Center

Could our governor really be contemplating a new Tappan Zee Bridge without a public transit component?  Seems he is.  To learn more

Suburbs…  The word’s enough to give one chills.   Still, some interesting thinking’s going on on ways to refashion these permanent fixtures on the American landscape.

Whew…  Animals at last:

Ever hear a ruffled grouse drumming its wings?  You actually feel the throb in your bones in this Cornell Lab recording…

While we’re on the subject of birds:

This beautiful adult snowy owl was seen in late January and early February at Jones Beach.  Photo © David Speiser.

Believe it or not, this week saw the launch of a new cable channel:  DogTV.  (Indeed, you read that right.)  Designed to calm canines stressed out by their humans’ absences.  Check the promo out… 

In need of some cute stuff?   Then try Puppy vs. Broccoli

To be green is happiness,


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Greetings, UESiders!

Good MTS rally today.   So good that several of contractors climbed over the chest high fence separating the MTS driveway and Asphalt Green building…  This rather than walk past the very orderly crowd of protesters massed at the driveway gate!     Yup, really.  They did.


Ladies:  Did we know there was at least a little lead in all our lipsticks?  Well, there is and the FDA’s presently pondering the obvious decision to institute a ban but, in the meantime, here’s the FDA’s breakdown detailing how much is present in some 400 bands.

On to the week ahead: 

Now And For The Foreseeable Future:   Warm Up With Wildlife 

The Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx

Feeling chilly?  You need a visit to the 800 tropical critters of Zoo’s Jungle World.   (Don’t miss the Bug Carousel and Dora and Diego’s Adventure in 4D.)  Need we say “family friendly”?  Tickets $4.  For hours, directions and more

Friday, February 17th:  New York Skies Seminar

McBurney House, 125 W 14 Street, 6:30 between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, 6:30 – 9:30pm

This session:  “The astro of -logy and -nomy”!  Believe it or not, in spite of the divergence of function, there are many features of astrology that do apply to astronomy.  (If you haven’t experienced star enthusiast John Pazmino, do yourself that favor.)  Free.

Saturday, February 18th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Tabling will be the good people of American Seafood, Silver Thread Vineyard, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms.  (Snow-clogged PA roads kept Rabbits’ Run at home last week.)

Last week’s totals:  43 lbs batteries and 16 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 5 pairs glasses.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  226 lbs batteries; 120 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, celllphones and cartridges. 


Tuesday, February 21st:  “Gasland” Screening

Einhorn Auditorium, Lenox Hill Hospital, 133 East 76th Street, 7pm

The Academy Award nominated exploration of fracking and the devastation it’s wrought our Pennsylvania neighbors.  Presented by Food & Water Watch and Assembly Member Kellner.  Free but you’ll need to RSVP to Food & Water Watch or call AM Kellner’s office at 212-860-4906.     

Out there:  

Saturday, March 3rd:  H2O Tour of the Yonkers Sewage Plant 

Quoting from H2O’s invitation:  “Ever wonder what happens to water after it leaves your house?”  Well, now’s your chance to  “follow the flow” of sewage as it’s treated and learn what happens to the end product.   For more, directions and to RSVP:  (Preference given to educators and people working in the ecology field.)

Thursday, March 15th through Sunday, April 15th:  Whack’d – Portraits of Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors

First Floor, Medical Science Building, NYU Langone Medical Center, 550 First Avenue,  round the clock

Twelve powerful paintings by artist Eliette Markhbein – herself a survivor of traumatic brain injury – of others so injured and who more than lived to tell the tale…  Among them Keith Richards, George Clooney, Bob Woodward and Troy Aikman.

Way out there:

Saturday, April 14th:  Local Food & Travel Expo

Skylight One Hanson, 1 Hanson Street, Brooklyn, 12 – 5pm

Yes, you can sample local wines, cheese, fudge, chocolate, jam, apple juice and a myriad other regional farm-fresh, regional foods, but the real gold here is info about the many options existing for sustainable getaways and agri-tourism day trips, all – in these astronomically high gas price times – within a few hours of NYC.   Tickets:  $14.  Children under 10 free.  For directions, tickets and more… 

Moving on to some particularly pertinent miscellany:

Our great Public Library’s just embarked on a reimagining of itself, its mission, how its local branches can better serve and it wants to hear from you.  Read what they’re thinking, then email them your bright ideas at

As in a Houston hospital and Kaiser Permanente medical facilities incorporating farmers markets in (and even inside) their bricks and mortar establishments and – as we do at most of our markets now – subsidizing the purchase of healthy fresh produce for those of modest means.  To read more…  

Pleased to share the news that the sale of bottled water is now prohibited in National Parks.

Consumer Report’s just updated their Lightbulb Green Buying Guide

Unearthed by reader Shirley Koshi, an article packed with  expert but easily do-able advice on how to care for trees beset by construction…    Or any street tree living on New York streets!

Further on the subject of heroic NYC trees, we give you this Times  photo essay and this non-NYC entry from the Botany Photo of the Day.

If you’d like to encourage the NYState Senate to close the existing loophole in regulations pertaining to hazardous waste transport and disposal (we’re talking chemical-ridden fracking waste water), click here

Meanwhile, Germany’s discovering cancer clusters sited above pipes transporting its fracking water to disposal resevoirs! 

Meanwhile, Bulgaria. – impoverished, corrupt Bulgaria, for crying out loud! – just banned shale gas exploration.

So if you believe that our great state should maintain funding for Environmental Protection at its present, modest  $134 million level, then click here

Oh, one last tidbit on the energy front…  Hawaii – sunny, tropical Hawaii – will soon be constructing its first, modest solar project.  (They describe an installation serving a max 12,000 homes as “huge”.)

This while Britain embarks on building the world’s biggest offshore wind farm

They’re still smoothing out  some rough patches, but the great people at Place Matters have just launched a map that plots a ton of meaningful NYC sites and with more to come!

And wonderful that there’s now a Hudson River Greenway Water Trail.

Never realized cast iron facades – like ours on Sixth Avenues – existed out there in the Heartland, but they do and they’re treasured…

Antique New York post office windows, anyone?  Somehow it doesn’t feel these things are up for sale, but Build It Green’s got ’em… 

Another great Botany Photo of the Day

Ready for some animals?

Pretty wonderful watching staff at Sea World save a dolphin calf caught in a fishing net…

How about a boxing cat?

Or a mysterious purple squirrel?

The parade of baby animals continues with…  Infant orangutans!

Pretty darned cute…  But they’ve got competition in the form of the world’s smallest chameleon!

Then there’s this gorilla march/encounter   (Some wonderful expression on the gentleman’s face, yes?)

And the gorgeous bird of the week is

Just in case you’re not one of the 94 million people who’ve already watched “Talking Dog”…  (Even if you are, it plays great many times over!),

Identify the mystery bird of the month and win a plush song bird from the National Audubon Society.  Email his/her name to, subject (what else?) “Mystery Bird”:

November 2011 Mystery Bird | Credit: Jim Rathert/USFWS

No animals, but we leave you with Van Gogh’s Starry Night…  Animated

Joyuosly green,





Saturday, March 3rd:  H2o Tour of the Yonkers Sewage Plant 

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Happy Valentine’s Day, UESiders!

Instead of candy or flowers,  we at UES would be thrilled if you’d sign and send those letters to the Army Corps of Engineers and our electeds attached the email body…  Please…  (We’re such a cheap date…)

And then pay a visit to the Residents for Sane Trash Solutions’ site, and get yourself up to date on the MTS, okay? 

All righty, on to the week ahead:

Friday, February 10th:  New York Solid Waste Management Plan

Pratt Manhattan, 144 West 14th Street, 6 – 7:30pm

The “wisdom” of a panel comprised of Gavin Kearney of NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, Eric Goldstein of Natural Resources Defense Council and Brian Mahanna of the Mayor’s Office.   Needless to say, these individuals need to hear from those who have in the past lived and that they would have in the future co-exist with a garbage dump on their doorstep.  Free but RSVP required:

Saturday, February 11th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Can’t stop the 82nd Street events…

This Saturday’s being devoted to – of course! –  Farmer Valentines…  Complete with a Valentine Photo Booth and an apple cider French toast cooking demo prepared by Market Manager Caroline!

Hey, let’s show our farmers/vendors the love they deserve…   American Seafood, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms and Silver Thread Vineyard!! 

Last week’s impressive totals:  41 lbs batteries and 26 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

(Now it takes 2 IKEA bags to get the #5 to its destination!)

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  183 lbs batteries; 104 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, celllphones and cartridges. 

Coming up soon:

Friday, February 17th to Monday, February 20th:  The Great Backyard Bird Count

Your New York City Neighborhood

Calling one and all and of every age to participate in some citizen science…  Identify and tally up the birds you see over this 4-day period and submit your report to the Cornell  Lab of Ornithology.  A beautiful thing.  For details

Sunday, February 19th:  Traditional Herb and Food Swap

All Saint Ukranian Church, 206 East  11th Street, between Second & Third Avenues

Bring that extra stew, soup, kombucha, kefir or herbal cream you make and swap it for another’s sauerkraut, liver pate, sprouted granola or herbal tincture.   The swaps are as varied as the foods & herbs you imagine and prepare!  A truly beautiful way for community members to get to know each other and other cultures!   Free but registration required.  For more and traditional food guidelines:…  And for some of this interesting church’s history

Sunday, February 19th:  Washngton’s Birthday Ball

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum, 421 East 61st Street, 1 – 3pm

Celebrate Honest Abe’s birthday 19th Century-style with period music and dances…  And you doing those dances to that music!  $15 non-members; $10 members and children under 12.  Reservations recommended: 212-838-6878.

Sunday, February 19th:  Wind and Water Turbines – What Is Their Potenital For New York City?

Cathedral House of St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Avenue at 110th Street, 12:15-2:45pm

Rooftop wind? Water turbines in the East River?  What are some of the new technologies being developed now?
How much electricity could they supply to the city power grid?  What are the pros and cons of these turbines, and what are some appropriate installation sites?   You’ll emerge from this forum with an overview of key issues.  A suggested $5-$10 donation.

Any Day or Time You Want:  “Raccoon Nation”

Saturday, February 11th, 5pm and  Online

The latest installment of the PBS’s Nature series…  Fascinating furrinesses that are ever more living close among us urbanites (remember the raccoon who briefly resided in our high 80s (before being hit by a car)?  Lots of baby raccoons on screen, too…  But – through no fault of its own – a tragically invassive species in places like Japan and Germany…

Thursday, February 23rd:   Markets of Greenwich Village – A Lecture by Karen Seiger

Hudson Park Library Branch, 66 Leroy Street, off  Seventh Avenue South, 6:30-8pm

Actually Ms. Seiger’s reach – and the book she’s presently promoting “Markets of New York” – extends to all the city and views its markets from perspectives ranging from their particular specialties  to their impact on neighborhood economies.  Free but reservations required: or 212- 475-9585 ext. 35.  

Wednesday, February 29th:  Intro to Green for Co-ops & Condos

New York Society for Ethical Culture,  2 West 64th, 7-9pm

A crash two-hour workshop on NYC’s new codes, how to boost your building’s energy efficiency, trim costs and make it all-around greener.  Co-sponsored  by Solar One and  the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums.  Free to CNYCC members.  $30 non-members.  Pre-registration required

And on the horizon:

Thursday, March 8th:   Kleindeutschland: the Lower East Side’s Forgotten Past – A Lecture by Peter Conolly Smith

Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, between Bleecker and Houston Streets, 6-730pm

News to us that the LES had a German history…  Complete with beerhalls and anarchist clubs!  Another great Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation program.  Free  but you’ll need to RSVP:  RSVP to or (212) 475-9585 ext. 35. 

Sunday, May 19th to Wednesday, May 23rd:  NYC to DC Climate Ride

From Manhattan  to – 300 miles later – the steps of the Capitol Building in 5 challenging but do-able laps…  All in support of a variety of environmental objectives/improvements with moneys you raise from folks who sponsor your ride.  $75 to register, then you raise $2,400 and ride.  For more

All too miscellaneous miscellany:

Great news – given our swelling population of young – that the UESide’s got a new elementary school (P.S. 527, on the site of the former Our Lady of Good Counsel School, 323 East 91st), but it also means new district lines will be drawn.     Check them out

And that the CDC’s advisory committee is now proposing a lower limit to qualify as lead poisoning in children

So, Germany just passed laws prohibiting genetically modified foods from its marketplace.

If you think U.S. food companies should at least inform us on  labels when contents include genetically engineered fruit and/or vegetables, here one place to raise your voice

Or that we shouldn’t be growing “Agent Orange” corn in America, just click…  

Or if you think the U.S. can and should increase its auto fuel efficiency to 54.5 by 2025 (13 years away, for crying out loud!), make your voice heard here

Or if you’d like to support teen farmers organized by GrowNYC in the Bronx by purchasing the great-looking calendar they’ve designed…

For those rejecting the notion of climate change, here’s the newly issued USDA plant growing zone map… 

At last, considering the 100,000 New Yorkers who perished from the disease, an AIDS memorial in the form of a small park in the Village and with a lovely design…  

So Walmart’s going pretty green in China…  (How about coughing up some more green dollars for female employes in the U.S.A.?

Kind of dense and taking some navigation, but Johns Hopkins has done a masterful job of analyzing and visualizing where our U.S. Farm Bill moneys go

We’ve noted the wonderful Hudson River Almanac a newsletter or two ago…  Check out the latest entries and get hooked (in the nicest possible way)…

How about the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world?

Or the oldest living thing on our earth?

Or the haunting Botany Picture of the Day?

At last, animals:

As in the gorgeous Bird of the Week…   The black-rosy finch

And a pair of cutest baby slow lorises

With green valentines galore,


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Happy Day After Groundhog Day, UESiders,

You know, of course, that Staten Island Chuck and  Punxsutawney Phil totally disagreed about this winter’s duration.  Well, we shall see…  In the meantime, how about a short contemplation of things groundhog?  And some  groundhog trivia

What’s sure is that there was one great Recycle-O-Rama last Sunday at 92nd Street!   As in 4,000 lbs of electronics,  6,600 lbs of paper, 16 giant duffel bags of clothes and 225 lbs of batteries (that’s right), 25 lbs of #5, ink cartridges, Britta filters and corks and 21 pairs of eye glasses!!

Totally fantastic.

Add to that good news the 2 new historic districts designated this week:  the Grand Concourse Historic District, and the (Brooklyn) Borough Hall Skyscraper District.

As for the next 7 mighty fine days: 

Saturday, February 4th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

The vamp to the Superbowl and we’ll be celebrating with free, perfect-for-the-ocassion recipe packets featuring ingredients from the market…  Plus Market Manager Caroline will  cooking up sweet potato chips for your delectation.

At their tables and well-stocked with those choice ingredients will be our friends Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms, Silver Thread Vineyard  and American Seafood.


Go 82nd Street recyclers, too!   Last week you racked up 43 lbs batteries and 25 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  142 lbs batteries; 78 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, celllphones and cartridges. 

Now till Sunday, February 26th:  Caribbean Garden Show

New York Botanical Garden,  2900 Southern Boulevard, The  Bronx

Whatever it’s doing outside, it’s pure tropics in the Enid Haupt Conservatory.  You can even learn to salsa.  Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.  Members free.  Non-member adults, $20; Seniors/Students, $18; Children 2 – 12, $8.  For more info and tickets

Tuesday, February 7th:  Sustainable Landscape Trends

Skanska Offices, Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, 32nd Floor, 6:30-8pm

Organized by the Urban Green Council and presented by Patricia Olmstead, covered will be subjects from native plants, to green and cool roofs and garden facades.  Free for members.  $5 non-members.   For more and tickets… 

Coming up soon:

Monday, February 12th:  Finding Bigfoot 

Animal Planet (Time Warner Channel 88), 2pm

Crank up the DVR…  There’ve been reports of Big Foot/Sasquash sightings in our very own Catskills and the Bigfoot Research Team’s in hot pursuit!

Thursday, February 23rd to Saturday, March 3rd:  “Same River” Multi-Media Performance 

Irondale Center,  85 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn

Fresh from their acclaimed production of “10 Brecht Poems”, the Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble now tackles hydrofracking and its effects on the New York’s watershed via improv, music, dance and video.  Tickets: $20-$40.  For schedule and details

Saturday, February 25th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

A great market shopping day, yes…  You bet!

But it also will be Official Canine Appreciation and Photo Shoot Day at the Market…  Presided over by the one and only Maddrette the Dog Paw Reader!   Be there!!

On to this week’s miscellany:

So let’s get the serious stuff out of the way…  Beginning with Manhattan areas – exclusively in the vicinities of public housing – with the highest incidence of child pedestrians injured by cars.

If you’re opposed to allowing fracking in Catskill Park, you can click here and  let our governor know…  (Wonder if the frackers have heard about those Bigfoot sightings?!)

Or if you think there should be tax parity between transit and parking benefits, then click here

Or if you support continuing the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, you can click here

Meanwhile, the CIA’s being urged to release its presently top secret report on climate change and its relevance to national security!

No, there really is no end to the relentless craziness going on in our capital.   Witness the proposal of an Alaskan Senator – payback for protecting wild lands in his state – to make Central Park a national park!

Why does that disembodied voice tell us not to lean on subway doors…?

Definitely time to lighten up:

Who knew the U.S.S. Monitor was built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard or that the Yard itself dates back to 1761?

Quite a number of job opportunities at the Botanical Garden and not all of them requiring a background in botany or horticulture.

We’re all familiar with the Lu Esther Mertz Foundation’s sponsorship of PBS programming, but who knew she also accumulated a library devoted to subjects botanical, including a 12th-century manuscript known as the Circa instans, a catalog of commonly used medicinal plants which is viewed as the first advance made in Western science since the fall of the Roman Empire.  Well, our own Horticultural Society not only has the oldest known copy, but it’s now online!

So, California’s now getting 5% of its energy from wind power!

And despite austerity in every other economic sector, the British are expanding their high speed rail

But we in NYC can report our  potholes on line!

And we’ve got our very own synchronized skating team!

Plus the Vudu Lounge is no more…

Not only that, but the State Liquor Authority’s made it a bit easier to see what bar is where and how many there are in a given area with their new online map.

Green wall/roof genius Patrick Blanc is at it again…  This time with an entire green house!   

At last, animals and heavy on the feline this time ’round:

Okay, the guy’s trained and experienced and the mother lion obviously loves him, but…  Well, you’ll see

And this kitten…  We’re talking a real sense of theater…

Tips of tulips were poking up in tree beds on 92nd Street last week,


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