Monthly Archives: March 2012

Happy 92nd Greenmarket 2012 Renewal,UESiders!

(Deep, joyous sigh of relief.)

And happy Annual Earth Hour, too!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when folks around the world will demonstrate concern for Planet Earth by turning out off all unnecessary lights…  This coming Saturday, March 31st,  from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.  To learn more and sign up…  

It is, after all, our one and only Mother Earth and home…

Then, Facebook people, head for the Residents for Sane Trash Solutions page and “like” the group.   (They are leading the charge against the MTS/garbage dump!)

Then click on this Times’ article describing all the clean energy Europe’s making from their waste…  THEN ask yourself why our City and Mayor are investing zillions in out-dated endeavors such as the MTS…

THEN ask why we don’t just finance advanced, 21st Century scrubbers for the Jersey City and Newark waste-to-energy plants to which Manhattan’s non-recycleables are presently shipped…  Likely for a fraction of the rumored, true $245 million cost of the proposed MTS…  Why indeed.

And now for the crazy-busy week ahead:

Saturday, March 31st:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

With us will be American Seafood, Silver Thread Vineyard, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms. 

And our wonderful Market Manager Caroline’s organized the loveliest family-friendly event for this Saturday at 11am…  Making  seed spout necklaces with seeds from our own Gajeski Farm…  Seed necklaces that – helped by our human body heat – spout, can then be planted and ultimately produce things you can eat!   

Be there!!

Last week’s recycling totals:  40 lbs batteries and 14 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 6 pairs of glasses .

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  459 lbs batteries; 196 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 10 pairs of glasses. 

Now through Saturday, April 28th:  Torn in Two – The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

The Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, 10am – 5pm. Monday through Saturday

Maps, broadsides, photographs, and documents of the period assembled by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library and first exhibited there.  Totally brilliant, folks, and packed with the unexpected.  Free.  For more

Sunday, April 1st:  Carl Schurz Park Easter Egg Hunt (Rescheduled from Saturday, March 21st)

Enter the Park at 87th Street just east of East End Avenue

Egg decorating…  Face painting by Sheila J…  The Carl Schurz Easter Bunny…  Moey’s Music Party…  Plus 3 egg hunt times so kids can search at their own pace…  12 noon, 12:20 and 12:40pm!   Free.

Saturday, March 31st:  Tekserve/Lower East Side Ecology Center Electronic Recycling Event

Tekserve, 119 West 23rd Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues, north side of 23rd, 10am – 4pm

Can’t wait till April 28th’s Recycle-O-Rama’s to divest yourself of that closet of old electronics?   Head down to this LES/Tekserve event.  (No shredding, no clothes and scroll down to the list of tech accepted under the Recycle-O-Rama entry below.)

Saturday, March 31st:  Out with Old, In with the New De-Cluttering Conference

35 West 31st Street, 10th floor, Suite 1001, 12:30 – 2:30pm

Once you’ve cleared out all that moribund tech, separate the wheat from the chaff in the rest of your existence with Certified Professional Organizer Sharon Lowenheim (AKA: the Oganizing Goddess) and feng shui expert Julie Anna Alvarez.  Members of the Mt. Holyoke Club, $15  Non-members:  $20.  For tickets

Sunday, April 1st:  Herb and Weed Study Group

The Garden of Union, Union Street, between 4th & 5th Avenues, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 12 – 3pm

Primetime for herbal and folk remedy enthusiasts eager to  share their wisdom and learn from experts Laura Sheinkopf and Claudia Joseph.  Free.  For details

On the horizon:

Saturday, April 28th:  Recycle-O-Rama – Aprez Tax Edition

St. Catherine’s Park, First Avenue between 67th and 68th, 10am – 3pm

Electronics recycling …  Paper shredding…  Clothes collection…  Just in time for that spring cleaning sweep!

Electronics Accepted:

•    Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes)
•    Monitors
•    Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
•    Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
•    Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.)
•    Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
•    TVs, VCRs, & DVD Players
•    Video-games and audio visual equipment
•    Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
•    Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

Remember:  NO APPLIANCES.

Paper:

Please remove paper clips and spiral bindings.

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.  (But we do take paperbacks.)

Clothes:

Including hats, belts, fabric of all kinds and shoes…  All in any condition.

Saturday, April 28th:  The 17th Annual Big Swim

Asphalt Green, 1750 York Avenue at 91st Street.  

And we quote:  “A swimsational day of FREE fun swim races for children ages 6–12!   Meet Olympic and elite swimmers! Get fun FREE stuff! ”  And most of all support Asphalt Green’s wonderful Waterproofing program which, since 1993, has taught thousands of public school students how to swim  free of charge.  For times, tickets and more

Way, way out there:

Thursday, May 17th – Tuesday, May 22nd:  International Human Rights Film Festival

East Harlem Presents, Poet’s Den Theater, 309 E 108th Street, between First & Second

Set simultaneously in Barcelona, Paris and New York, fiction, documentary and animated films exploring questions of human rights, social justice and equality will be competing for coveted jury and special awards.  Yet another great event from our neighbors just to the north.  For more details

It’s back-on-the-soap-box time:

Can we believe that some 40 years later, Dow Chemical still hasn’t cleaned up their Bhopal plant, site/cause of the greatest industrial disaster in history?   If you think this sin of omission should disqualify them from being a London Olympics sponsor, express yourself here… 

Or, in our own backyard, that a new Tappan Zee Bridge might actually be built without mass transit lanes?   (Comment here…) 

Meanwhile, on the upside:

The distinguished, erstwhile Yorkville Bank Building at 85th and Third is a candidate for landmarking!   Express your support to Landmark Commission Chairman Tierney at info@lpc.nyc.gov with the simple statement:

“I urge the Commission extend landmark protection to the  1905 Yorkville Bank Building located at 1511 Third Avenue, an elegant Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure designed by architect Robert Maynicke.”

Really happy as well that the Department of the Interior’s decided against allowing uranium mining in the Grand Canyon!  (Whew!)

Don’t know what to feel about Con Ed’s conversion of its highly polluting/#6 oil burning Manhattan plants to natural gas…  Would this insure more fracking?   What do you think? 

Spotted on a West Village corner:

Ever think about starting your own radio station?  Thanks to the Local Community Radio Act and this week’s FCC dismissal of various corporate roadblocks to Low Power FM transmission, you could make that dream real.  For resources

The Coke vs. Pepsi war now extends to the greenness of their respective bottles…  A best kind of rivalry, we say!

And then there’s this especially nice Botany Photo of the Day

Animals, you say?

There’s  a month-old lamb at the Central Park Zoo and her name is Babydoll… 

Some truly amazing bird pix from National Geographic…

And trust the Cornell Ornithology LaB to come up with spring warbler identification tips!

Proud to note there’re at least two Monarch Butterfly Migration Waystations in Manhattan:  Battery Park and Stuyvesant Park…  And no way, one day soon, we can’t make one happen on our own East River Esplanade, too!   Check out the requirements

We close with this excerpt from The Hudson River Almanac:

3/9 – Manhattan: While waiting outside a building near the Battery I saw a herring gull fly high over the sidewalk and drop an object to try and crack it open. This is typical gull behavior for breaking open mussels and clams and I wondered what kind of bivalve it could have obtained in an area with a shoreline of vertical sea walls. I walked over to the busy traffic island between the Customs House and a subway entrance and saw it wasn’t a bivalve; a clever urbanized gull can perform this behavior with chicken bones too. And it worked; the thick femur was cracked and the bird had extracted marrow.     – John Waldman

Yours in abiding greenness,

UGS

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Happy World Water Day, UESiders!!

Grateful as we all are for the rain we’ve enjoyed this last year, it’s great news that the City’s now offering $125 vouchers as incentive to replace the estimated, remaining 800,000 old-style, water-intensive toilets still in place in our 5 boroughs. 

The result:  Trimming our water consumption by 30 million of the 1 billion gallons of water we use each day!

The NYC Department of Environmental Conservation’s also committed itself to responsible recycling of all that out-of-date porcelain…  Maybe refashioning it into tile, other bathroom fixtures, foundation for road beds, construction fill or drainage material!

Thank you, NYC!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already heard, there’s some new little New Yorkers living among us…  In the form of the recently discovered “leopard” frog (no fancy, official name yet):


Pretty handsome, yes?

Let’s get down on the week to come:

Saturday, March 24th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

At their tables will be American Seafood, Silver Thread Vineyard, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms. 

Can’t tell you how great our Rising Sun steak was last week!

Last week’s recycling totals:  33 lbs batteries and 12 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 6 pairs of glasses .

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  419 lbs batteries; 182 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 10 pairs of glasses. 

(This in less than 3 months!)

Sunday, March 25th:  Cooking with Irene

Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene, 1 – 4pm

Many of you will remember our wonderful market manager of 2 years ago, Irene Plax.  Now working with the great folks at JustFood, as in 2011, she’ll be sharing her expertise in this one day class in which participants will learn to prepare 6 delicious dishes, what’re the latest gadgets and a host of useful tips.  $40.  To sign up and for exact address:  ireneplax@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 31st:  28th Annual Green Thumb Grow Together

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

Again we quote:  “Join a thousand community gardeners and greening professionals from all over New York City for a day of learning, sharing, networking and greening inspiration.”  $3 in advance.  $5 day of event.  For more…  

Coming up fast:

Tuesday, April 3rd:  NYC Beekeepers Assocation Monthly Meeting

Seafarers & International House, 123 East 15th Street, 7-9pm

This month:   A Swarm Prevention Workshop!   And we quote:  “Measures explained, and many swarms including on mailboxes, traffic signals, and trees will be shared, as both warnings and entertainment”!    Free.  For more on this and NYCBA’s beekeeping apprentice program…  

Tuesday, April 3rd – Wednesday, May 2nd:  New York Chapter of American Landscape Architects Design Award Exhibit

Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, Monday – Friday, 12 – 6pm

From the master plan that’ll be greening Hartford, CT to an eco-dock in Pittsburgh, PA to a community garden in our own Harlem…  It’s the best of the best of landscape design and a perfect celebration of Landscape Architects Month.  Free. 

Saturday, April 7th:  NYC’s 7th Annual Pillow Fight Day

Washington Square Park, 3pm

Those wild and crazy folks at Newmindspace are at it again.  Come with your foam rubber pillow and be prepared to lightly flail a multitude of other participants.  (We caught a bit of it at Union Square last year and it was totally hilarious!)  Free.  For more details

Saturday, April 14th:  Harlem – From Warrior to Grandeur

Poet’s Den Gallery & Theater, 309 East 108th Street, 6 – 10pm

An evening of music, tapas, libations accompanied by an art exhibit and short film screening…  All to benefit the upcoming East Harlem International Film Festival, June 1st – 8th.  For more, contact Jill Zdanow at 717 253 4354 / jillzdanow@aol.com.

As for miscellany…  A bit of it on the cranky side:

Want to help select a conservation project that’ll get funded?  Then cast your vote here… 

Or if you’d like to speak out against the horrendous water  – you bet, water again! – pollution caused by gold mining

One last water note…  That being the world’s 9 most majestic rivers…  All in some state of peril.

Closer to home:

Our Mayor’s proposing to cut some 20.5%/$75 million from Park’s budget this coming year…

And first we hear of his administration’s proposal for the waste-to-energy and wind/solar farm approach…  (So, tell us again why Manhattan’s unrecycleables shouldn’t be going to Newark/Jersey City waste-to-energy plants?)

Still, in just the first two months of 2012, our neighbors in New Jersey installed more solar than New York State has in its entire history…  And other states are passing us, too

On the other hand, on March 13th, after years of pressure by the Riverkeeper and S.W.I.M., New York City and State agreed to invest $2.4 billion to reduce sewage pollution in the Hudson River, Newtown Creek, Gowanus Canal and other waterways!  For more details

So much for industry claims that minimal amounts of chemicals are used in fracking…  How about tons?

Just in case you’re not familiar with “pink slime” which is  presently an ingredient in NYC public school lunches… 

It’s good you’re already sitting down as you check out NYState’s biggest polluters…  With some of the more egregious (thanks so very much, Con Ed!) right in our own backyard…

Still, NYC air has improved since 1943:

 

Last – we promise – on this subject, seems workers on the Second Ave subway have been inadequately protected from silica produced from blasting…  (Now what about those of us above ground?)

Moving on to:

The Green Roof of the Week…  Affixed to The Watershed House, winner of 2011’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.     (Indeed, water yet again.)

This past Monday, 21 environmental groups delivered a letter asking NYS Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens to enforce a nearly 40-year-old law requiring disclosure of household cleaning products’ ingredients!

And Governor Cuomo’s just announced the “Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program” which will provide rebates of $350 to folks who buy high-efficiency, Energy Star refrigerators and $250 for high-efficiency clothes washers!  For more details

DNAInfo did a lovely piece on the historic Yorkville purveyor of German food, Schaller & Weber…  More than survivor of subway construction and the advent of Fairway.  In fact, they see Union Square-style synergy in all the great new food sources on the UES!

Can’t wait for the Cooper-Hewitt’s renovation to be complete and the museum to reopen…  In the meantime, this Christopher Gray Times article on the historic structure, once Andrew Carnegie’s home.

Check out the first designs submitted for the High Line at the Rail Yards extension

And here’s what’s going on at the soon-to-be Four Freedoms Park on the tip of Roosevelt Island…

Hardly green, but while we’re speaking of design, some of the choicest ever is on display at Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee exhibition…  (Her grandmother Queen Mary bought up virtually all Romanov jewelry that Stalin put up for sale.)

Calling all nature photographers!  The National Wildlife Fund’s just launched their annual Wildlife Photo Contest

And now for the week/month/year’s most contradictory and marginally weird entry …  Featuring the above-mentioned silica, but this time in those little packets that accompany everything from new shoes to vitamins.  Seems they’ve got  further uses.  (Do ignore #1 which suggests packing them in one’s “ammo cans and gun cases”!)

And now for some animals:

There are happy dogs…  And then there’re 8 REALLY happy dogs...   (A couple of which we’ve seen before, but they hold up.)

Why shouldn’t the Jungle World have its own Facebook page?

Once again courtesy of reader Jack Donaghy, we give you the 1961 casting call for the title role in “The Black Cat”!

We do dream in green,

UGS

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Erin Go Bragh, UESiders!!

Coincidentally (but why not designate it as prelude), NASA will be firing off 5 rockets in a 5 minute burst between midnight and 1:30am tonight…  This to study winds at the very edge of space…  And maybe see if any leprechauns are lurking and making mischief up there.

Meanwhile, on the UES Sanitation front, check out the more- thorough-than-is-usually-the-case and lengthy coverage of MTS controversy on (local) Fox’s Street Talk, during which Council Member Lappin is particularly effective.   (Note: there are 3 separate segments.)

Continuing on the subject of things Sanitation, it’s good to know that the property on which the erstwhile East 73rd Street garbage truck garage on East 73rd once stood has been sold.  Great that this grungy facility is over and done with on CB8 turf…  Not that we wish it on any other neighborhood.  To read more… 

And it’s not like the DSNY garage on East 99th and disgustingly across the street from Metropolitan Hospital is going away any time soon, if ever.    

But let’s wrap up this into passage with two wonderful tales of New York walls…  First being yet another discovery downtown, this time of a 3 centuries old stone rampart…  Second, back on the holiday theme  and courtesy of reader Jack Donaghy, a short history of the enduring walls still protecting the old St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.  

Oh!  And we just have to note that GrowNYC’s School Gardens Grow to Learn Program  not only just celebrated its first anniversary, but also enrolled its 200th school!  To learn more

So, what’s up this week?

Now through June:  MillionTreeNYC Tree Giveaway

NYRP and more than two dozen partners are providing FREE trees to New Yorkers from March to June…  Their biggest giveaway yet!  Register online to find your nearest location, the pick-up days and get your tree.

Now through Sunday, July 15th:  The Greatest Grid – The Masterplan of Manhattan 1811`-`2011

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue

How our admirably rational street plan came to be, complete with the hand-drawn maps from which it evolved.  For tickets, days, hours and accompanying lectures… 

Saturday, March 17th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

With us will be American O’Seafood, Silver Thread O’Vineyard, Bread O’lone, Ragho’O, O’Gajeski, O’Samascott,  Rising Sun O’Beef and O’Rabbits’ Run Farms. 

And no way our great Market Manager Caroline would let the day go uncelebrated.  As we write, she’s home and brining a Rising Sun brisket and turning it into corned beef that’ll be served up Saturday at her table with the requisite, traditional cabbage!

Yummm!!   

Last week’s recycling totals:  37 lbs batteries and 8 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 6 pairs of glasses .

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  386 lbs batteries; 170 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges and 10 pairs of glasses. 

Stunning, folks.

Friday, March 16th:  The Future of Urban Farming

Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, 10am – 2:30pm

What should we be doing with 25,000 farm-able acres within our city’s border…  And that’s not counting roofs.  So, how do we following in the footsteps of trail-blazing NYC community gardens and the Brooklyn Grange?  Breakfast and lunch included.  $15.  For more and to register

Friday, March 16th:  NYSkies Bi-Monthly Astronomy Seminar

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

The subject this session:  Reliving Sputnik Days…  One heck of a weird, scary, Cold War time!  Free. 

Tuesday, March 20th:  92nd Street Greenmarket Renewal

New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, between First and Second, 6:30pm

One last time…  Come – even for a few minutes – and tell Community Board 8′s Street Fair Committee the depth and breadth of your support for our 92nd Street Market, how much the great Stellar cooks have taught us all about eating right (even those of us who previously thought our diets walked on water) and how it’s brought our wonderfully disparate community together more than ever!

All else failing:  EMAIL…  OR WRITE  (Street Fairs Committee, Community Board 8, 505 Park Avenue, 10065)!!

Wednesday, March 21st:  Our Boilers, Ourselves – Reloaded

GE Monogram Center, 150 East 58th Street, 10th Floor, 6:30pm

Expert Henry Gifford of Gifford Fuel Saving imparts boiler knowledge you never knew was to be known about that fossil-fuel-eater in your basement.  Sponsored by GreenHomeNYC.  Free but please RSVP.

Thursday, March 22nd:  The Boiler Dilemma – Are There Reliable Alternatives to Natural Gas

Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th Street, 6:30pm

Boilers are an important part of the energy mix.  In additional to energy wasting, there’s all the pollution they produce…  But not if these efficiency experts – Chris Benedict, Dehran Duckworth and Ron Kamen – have their way.  Sponsored by numerous churches and eco groups including the Sierra Club and the Friends of the Clearwater.  Free.

Thursday, March 22nd:  Blue and Gold – Water Wars Screening

Syska Hennessy Group, 1515 Broadway, between 44th & 45th, 6:30

The precip we’ve had this last year makes it hard to keep in mind that conservation of potable water is one of the issues of our time…  This film is a reminds  us all of the many reasons why.  $10 but a RSVP is a must (scroll down).

Coming Up:

Tuesday, April 3rd: Wild Bird Fund Takes Flight

“Birdie” Vanderbilt Mansion, 60 East 93rd Street, 6:30 – 9pm

Believe it or not, New York is the only major city without a wildlife rehabilitation center!  But Ms. Vanderbilt and the Wild Bird Fund aim to change this sorry state of affairs with this benefit/fundraiser.  $100.  For tickets and more… 

Thursday, April 12th and every second Thursday each month thereafter:  City Chicken Workshop 

87-91 Schenectady Avenue., Crown Heights

From designing a coop to feeding your hens to passing City health inspections.  No price or time set as yet.  For more… 

On to miscellany, commencing in the activist mode:

Think the powers-that-be should inform us whenever there’s a stewage overflow or spill  in NY?  If so, pay a visit to the Riverkeeper’s petition

Or that BPA should be prohibited from use in our food packaging

Granted many of the public spaces created by high-rises (so they could be built higher still) are pretty bleak and ill-maintained, but the one-time playground at the Camargue on 83rd…  Well, read for yourself… 

Guess what?  Thanks to the Amazon petition, they’re no longing selling whale and dolphin products on its Japanese site!

Okay, enough of that:

Are organic eggs worth the price? Consumer Reports answers with a resounding and unequicoable YES!

Recycle giant played-out electronic billboards like the ones in Times Square?  Yes, indeed! 

How about a video tour of a Passivhaus – Passive House – design, an approach developed in Germany and built in Maine.  Zero heating bills over a Maine winter it’s claimed!  Read the article and then watch

The Smithsonian’s putting some fun and varied quizes on line…

Ready for some animals:

Who says a pumpkin isn’t the world’s most exciting plaything?  Yeah, well, tell that to this red panda

Remember that rufous hummingbird that’s been hanging out at the Museum of Natural History:

2/23 – Manhattan, New York City, HRM 5.5: The rufous hummingbird continued through today at the West 81st Street entrance to the American Museum of Natural History. Look for it at the feeder to the right of the entrance.      

                                 Tony Lauro, Tom Burke

Awwww…  An affectionate prairie dog clan

Love this penguin photo

And this of the Bird of the Week

No better way to end than with baby hedgehogs!

Every day is a day to be green,

UGS

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Happy International Woman’s Day, UESiders!

Marked by an especially lovely Botany Photo of the Day

And here’s some good international news:  2 billion more people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010…  Five years ahead of the target date! 

What’s more, on the national scene…  Today, the Senate  acted 4 – count ’em – times on environmental issues…  #1 -voted for directing BP Clean Water Act penalty monies to (duh!) Gulf restoration and the Land and Water Conservation Fund…  #2 – voted against hamstringing clean air regulations…  #3 – voted against fast-tracking the Keystone Pipeline…  #4 – voted against new Arctic drilling!

Here in New York, two State courts have now ruled that towns have the right to use local zoning to ban fracking!

This while the Assembly’s proposed a bill to close a loophole  presently letting frackers get away with improperly disposing of (horrendously) contaminated waste water!

In the negative column is our federal government’s inclination to reduce monies devoted to FMNP, a program which enables low-income women with children and senior citizens to purchase fresh produce at Greenmarkets.  (Yes!  You read that right!)  Should you disapprove of such a cut, you can express your disagreement here

There’ll also be a petition to sign at the 82nd Street Greenmarket if you prefer.

That and please forward your letters of support for renewal of the 92nd Street Greenmarket into Community Board 8’s  Street Fairs Committee via email or 505 Park Avenue, 10065.

And now for the gangbuster week ahead:

Saturday, March 10th through Saturday, March 30th:  Listen – An Art Exhibition Celebrating International Women’s Month

The Poet’s Den Gallery, 309 East 108th Street, between First & Second

Our friends at East Harlem Presents exhibit the work of four exceptional women artists,  Noreen Dean Dresser, Kim Holleman, Lina Puerta and Yukako.  For hours and more

Saturday, March 10th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

With us will be American Seafood, Silver Thread Vineyard, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms. 

Speaking of Rabbits’ Run Farm…  They’d like to announce a recent happy event…  That being the birth of baby goats Ash and Acer (both male) to mother Tithonia (Spanish for sunflower): 

(Mom looks a tad tuckered out!)

Last week’s recycling totals:  39 lbs batteries and 14 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  349 lbs batteries; 162 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges. 

(So impressive.)

Saturday, March 10th:  Make Your Own Solar Module

The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, between Hoyt and Bond, Brooklyn, 9:30am – 6pm

Yes, we’re talking a DIY solar module…  AKA photovoltaic module/photovoltaic panel/solar panel!  Just 12 volts, but hey!  Full day: $125.  Half day: $80.  To sign up and/or learn about a host of other great events organized by the fabulous folks at City Solar.       

Saturday, March 10th:  Guided Tour of Bohemian National Hall

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, 3pm

Built in 1896, brought back from delapidation by a superb restoration, now a premier venue for art, film and community gatherings and general UES gem.  Free but reservations required.

On the horizon:

Friday, March 16th:  The Future of Urban Farming

Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, 10am – 2:30pm

Incredible that we have 25,000 farm-able acres within our city’s border…  And then there’re all those roofs.  So, what do the experts see in our agricultural future?  Breakfast and lunch included.  $15.  For more and to register.   

Thursday, March 22nd:  S.W.I.M. Public Meeting

Hudson River Foundation, 17 Battery Place, 9th Floor, 3 – 5pm

Join members of S.W.I.M.  – Stormwater Infrastructure Matters and water purity advocates – for an update on what’s known as C.S.O. – as in the “combined sewage overflow” that overwhelms NYC’s water treatment system whenever we get more than a 1/4″ of rain, sending untold amounts of untreated ickiness into the Hudson, East River and NY Harbor.  Free but RSVP at swimmablenyc@gmail.com.  

Sunday, March 25th:  “Gasland”  Screening

Draesel Hall, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street, between First & Second, 2pm

Academy Award nominee and quick course on what can happen to land, water and health when fracking for natural gas comes into play.  Followed by an update by Food & Water Watch.  Free.  Refreshments served.  For more call 212-289-4100, ext. 201.  

Way, way out there:

Sunday, April 1st:  Old Croton Aqueduct Bike Tour

Beginning at the 42nd Street Library, 1pm

Hard to envision 42nd and Fifth as the terminus of a 41-mile system delivering water from the Croton River (there’s a Croton River?) to NYC.  Bike a manageable portion of that route to Highbridge with NYC/H2O’s Matt Malina and Hannah Riseley-White.  $20.  For more and tickets

Saturday, April 21st:  First Annual Blocks for Blocks Symposium 

Rutgers Community Space, 236 West 73rd Street at Broadway, 9am – 1pm

Hosted by the NYC Coalition of Block & Community Leaders (CBCL), this will be a first of its kind conference organized by and for block and community leaders, focusing on improving outcomes across neighborhoods and communities by sharing best practices and linking block and community organizations to form a more powerful voice.   Free but RSVP at cbclnyc@gmail.com.  For more details:  DeAnna Rieber at info@w75ba.org  or Christine Gorman at west55ba@gmail.com.

And now for some serious miscellany:

In case you didn’t catch coverage of the last week’s Department of Sanitation’s MTS presentation at Asphalt Green…  (Note the big turn-out and a pox on the reporter’s ill-informed tone of inevitability.)

More essential viewing:   Last “CBS Sunday Morning’s” story on the plastic debris in our oceans…

And big thanks to UESider Marcia Yerman for putting the MTS into a larger context and on the Huffington Post Green map.

How many souls could possibly be crammed into NYC’s 5 boroughs?  Read what the experts say…  (Hints:  A lot and there’s nowhere to go but up.)

Might be good if the powers-that-be investigated a state-of-the-art tool that another fast-growing city’s employing to improve quality of life for its denizens new and established.

Of course, we in forward-thinking New York buried our phone and power lines a zillion years ago…  Too bad the author of this Times opinion piece isn’t thinking along the same lines when it comes to proposed unsightly, exposed-to-the-elements wire strung across unspoiled landscapes.

Really, why aren’t we putting them underground everywhere that we can?

(Sure, it does cost more.  On the other hand, consider how long  post-Hurrican Irene that people and businesses throughout the Northeast went without electricity last summer and fall.)

Oh and, yes, that’s how it’s done in much of Europe. 

Meanwhile, labeling food when it contains genetically modified ingredients is alive and well.  If you’d like to nudge the FDA further down that road… 

In case you missed this in March 2nd The Times:

Some community leaders have suggested making the safety record of delivery cyclists part of a restaurant’s letter grade. Others, including State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents a large portion of the Upper East Side, are pushing for a change in state law that would hold employers accountable for violations by their deliverymen, issuing tickets to both the cyclists and the restaurants.

Advocates for pedestrians and cyclists pointed to Lenny’s, a bagel and sandwich chain, as a model for balancing service with safety. The company’s cyclists face reprimands for minor violations and can be fired for not wearing a helmet — required by law for working cyclists — or for riding on the sidewalk.”

Deep sigh.

Presented with the prospect of wind turbines on UES roofs, trust Community Board 8 members to instantly make the mental leap to 300-foot high turbines sited on top of and defacing venerable, landmarked buildings.  Yikes.  No, folks.  Think smaller/shorter installations, out of sight, hundreds of feet up, on highrises.  For more on these deliberations

Stepping down from the soap box

Easy to get to know some of our northern neighbors – and what they’re up to  – by way of their 93rd Street Block Association’s very fine newsletter

(And, yes, PLEASE do send us links to your community group’s sites, newsletters and blogs!   (We should all know what each other’s up to, yes?)

Rather breaktaking, the design below…  Bosco Verticale, twin apartment towers encrusted in trees being built in Milan:  

  

More modest but great are the greening of Manhattan roofs in this DNA slideshow…   (Indeed vegetables can be grown in small, blue, plastic wading pools!)

You did wish the Oreo a happy birthday, didn’t you?  (Quite the surprise it was concocted and first baked in what is now the Chelsea Market!) 

Animals, at last:

As promised, pix of paw print-reader-extraordinaire, Madrette, and two of the many pooches who sought her insight:

One should never underestimate the charms of a toy mouse

Yes, Virginia.  Dogs can not only be taught to clean but also to really love it!

We live to be green,

UGS

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Happy March, UESiders!

This past Monday, another hefty crowd assembled at Asphalt Green to hear out representatives of our Department of Sanitation offering assurances that the proposed transfer station will be so clean, quiet, odorless and discreet it will be all but invisible.   Ha.  Oh, sure.   But do read the DNAInfo account… 

Then turn your attention to this article in The Post which points out what might be the administration’s finessing of FAA rules governing the siting of an MTS “bird magnet” within 5 miles of an airport…  In this case, La Guardia.

THEN make sure you put Tuesday, March 20th down on your calendar…  The 20th being day that Community Board 8’s Street Fair Committee will decide if the 92nd Street Greenmarket gets approved for another year.

If you can’t make the meeting – and we surely hope you can – then please, PLEASE do write CB8 a letter of support!   (Complete, easy instructions below.)

Somehow, this time around, WordPress (what we use to compose this missive) isn’t allowing pictures to be inserted, so you’ll just have to wait for pix of Canine Appreciation Day, the all-seeing, purple turbaned Madrette and many dogs whose happy, bone-filled futures she foretold.

On to the week ahead:

Saturday, March 3rd:   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. 

Last week’s totals:  44 lbs batteries and 16 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

(We’re talking 2 giant IKEA bag full of telescoped #5!)

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  310 lbs batteries; 148 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges. 

Sunday, March 4th:  Hands On – Paper Sculpture with the Laundromat Project

Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, 1 – 4pm

Ever imagine you’re Frank Lloyd Wright with a brilliant, far out new design for a NYC building?  Okay, bring it to 3-dimensional life in paper in one of the best workshop ideas that’s come down the pike lately.   Free (thanks to Target).  For more and to RSVP… 

Tuesday, March 6th:  In Conversation with Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller

The Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street, 7pm

One half of the iconic songwriting team of Lieber & Stoller shares the lowdown on how 4 decades of hits came to be…  From “Hound Dog” to “Kansas City” to “Stand By Me”…  Joined by his wife, jazz harpist great, Corky Hale Stoller.  And these two know how to tell a story.  Adults: $25.  Seniors and students: $18.  For more and tickets

Tuesday, March 6th:  Beekeeping in Kenya & Beyond

Seafarers & International House, 123 East 15th Street, 7 – 9pm

Bees Without Borders volunteers and father and son Norm and Andrew Coté (recently written up in Grist) treat attendees to tales of their recent beekeeping trip to Kenya where they worked with the Samburu to enhance their beekeeping skills, as well as previous jaunts to Uganda, Moldova, Haiti and Fiji.   Free.  For more

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

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

Residents, building managers and staff:  Civitas and Carnegie Hill Neighbors are giving you another chance  to update your understanding of the ins-and-outs of  new regulations governing what we heat with,  lower its cost and wind up with cleaner air.  Free but please RSVP at  info@civitasnyc.org or 212-996-0745.

Coming up: 

Tuesday, March 13th:  Cleantech Pitch Slam

Green Spaces, 394 Broadway, 5th Floor.,6:30 – 9:30pm

Can only be amazing to witness young  entrepreneurs speed pitch their green ideas/businesses of the future to folks from the venture capital world.  $18.  For tickets or to pitch  

Tuesday, March 20th:  92nd Street Greenmarket Renewal

 New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, between First and Second, 6:30pm

As in five years past, Community Board 8’s Street Fair Committee once again sits in judgement on 92nd Street’s fate.  Come hear committee members winge over bricks and mortar establishments, the loss of a  few parking spaces for a few hours and ask questions like, “Do farmers pay taxes?”   THEN SPEAK UP in support of the market, all it brings to the community and the synergy between it and all our many other prosperous local purveyors of edibles… OR EMAIL  OR WRITE  (Street Fairs Committee, Community Board 8, 505 Park Avenue, 10065).

Further down the way:

2012 World Environment Day International Art Contest:  One Small Change

April 2nd to May 2nd

Calling all budding environmentalists, grades 1 to 12!   Design a poster showing one small thing all we humans could do that would  hugely benefit our beautiful planet, mail your entry in and you could win a prize!  For rules  and where to send your masterpiece

On to miscellany:

A huge split in opinion on the present and future of the waste-to-energy approach to disposing of what can’t be recycled…  An issue of particular importance to us UESiders, given the proposed MTS and our counter desire to shoulder our share of the burden with the most innovative and enduring technology.  So bring yourself up to speed on one most promising waste-to-energy methods:   plasma incineration.

Then give the people of Chicago a collective, congratulatory pat on the back…  For on February 28th, the city announced  it’ll be closing its last 2 coal-fired plants producing electricity.

Praise to Pennsylvania and Ohio, too.  Between them, they’ll be shutting down 7 of these insanely pollluting facilities.  

Closer to home:  

Things are moving lickety-split over on Roosevelt Island where Cornell’s already chosen the 6 prestigious firms who’ll be vying to design the first building to be constructed on its tech campus…  This will be net-zero building, meaning it’ll limit energy waste by creating as much power as it’ll consume!  To read more

A shout-out to the very nice woman I encountered on the M31 following the Asphalt Green/MTS meeting…  In fact, there’re now sorting machines that read the molecular structure of plastics, so even if a label or little triangle’s missing from the item, it can still be recycled.  Further on the subject

Okay, get ready to be appalled…  Sitting?   Smelling salts near at hand?  All righty then…  Since Sanitation plans to ship NYC trash to poor areas in the Carolinas, wouldn’t you think that’d mean there weren’t any landfill sites in NYState?  Au contraire.   Check our very own, many “Active MSW Landfills” out!

Not ony that…  Dumping your landfill in NYState is such a bargain, Canadians truck their garbage over the border rather than burying it in their own soil!  Yes, read it and weep (scroll down to the “Border Interference” section).    

As previously noted, we’ve been seeing strange-for-this-time-of-year sprouts and buds all over the UES since mid-January, but that’s small potatoes, folks.  Up at the Botanical Garden, it’s spring!

If  you’d like to express your opinion of the MTA’s new Fastrack Program, you can do so here… 

Or join the Times’ online discussion of we should best deal with violations of our traffic laws…

The greenroof of the week is in Brooklyn!

Animals are always worth waiting for:

A live  polar bear cub  cam anyone?  (Only 4 months old and straight from Denmark’s Scandinavian Wildlife Park.)

A (voluntarily) swimming cat?

A cat running…  For the U.S. Senate?  (Oh, why not?)

We say tree-hugging is a most honorable estate.  And we’ve got the noble critters to prove it…  (There actually are flying lemurs and tree kangaroos!)

Shifting our gaze to The Cute Zone:

And a dreaming little white mouse

And back by popular demand!  Baby sloths!!   Giving new meaning to cuteness as they  learn climbing skills from  human pals…

 (Bet you ace a test of your sloth knowledge.)

Your most sincerely green,

UGS

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