Monthly Archives: May 2012

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, UESiders!

May your next three days be filled with sun, salt and/or chlorined water, lots of barbecue sauce and traffic without snags!

Meanwhile, were we hallucinating earlier this week when we espied a young man in baseball hat and casual clothes moving from telephone booth to telephone booth on First Avenue with a bottle of Windex and roll of paper towels?   Could he have actually been spraying and wiping each one down inside and out?  And this in an act of pure neighborliness?  

Hummm…

There’s more standard, welcome news, too:  

1.  Strange to tell, the NY Assembly voted unanimously to enhance our state’s Environmental Fund!  (Senate better do as well.)

2. Rye – that suburban New York Rye just to our north – has just banned plastic bags!  (Ever closer and closer…)

3. Hot off the presses!!  By a vote of 13 to 1, Los Angeles just adopted a plan to ban plastic bags!   (A charge of 10-cents per paper bag will further encourage folks to carry reusables.)

Oh!  In case you haven’t signed up for news from SaneTrash‘s efforts to derail the proposed 91st Street MTS…

Let’s get down on the week ahead:

Friday, May 25th:  Stargazing at Carl Schurz Park

Meet on the East River Esplanade at 86th Street, by sunset, 8:16pm

One Friday during spring/summer months, members of the Amateur Astonomers Association share their y knowledge of the heavens with us earthbound folks.   Amazing what you can see with the naked eye even in our bright city.  Incredible how much more’s visible even with a low-power telescope.   Totally fun and fascinating!  Free.  For more and more dates

Saturday,  May 26th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

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

While Silver Thread and Ballard are taking this Saturday off, they’ll be back on June 2nd. 

(Until then you can bone up on Silver Thread in this WSJ article!)

BUT, for sure, Master Knife Sharpener Barbara Hess will be back and ready to hone!

Last week’s recycling totals:  5 lbs batteries; 23 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges; 15 bags of clothes;  2 1/2 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  693 lbs batteries; 336 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones, cartridges; 22 pairs of glasses; 56 bags of clothes; 8 1/2 compost bins. 

(Wow!)

Now through  Sunday, July 15th:  News PAPER Spires Exhibition

Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, Wednesday to Sunday, 12 – 6pm

Once upon a time there were 43 newspapers in NYC!  What they were and the many, long lost buildings they called home (many on the famed Newspaper Row) is brought to life with archival drawings, blueprints, photographs, and the newspapers themselves.  Tickets:  $5.  For senior and students: $2.50.  For further details… 

Wednesday, May 30th:  Civitas/TreesNY Tree Stewardship Event

East River Esplanade at the 107th Street Pier, 6pm

Learn the basics of good tree care while  sprucing up the landscaping adjacent to this marvelous pier, one of the more pleasant locations in our city.  Free.  Space is limited so RSVPing is a must:  info@civitasnyc.org or  212-996-0745.

Directions to Pier 107:  Enter the Esplanade from 96th or 103rd Street (via the 103rd Street Footbridge) and walk north to 107th Street…  OR access the Esplanade at 111th Street and walk south!

Thursday, May 31st:  An Evening of Finnish & Czech Gypsy Music

The Czech Center, 321 East 73rd Street, 7pm

Czech gypsy music, okay.  But gypsy music from famously stolid, unflamboyant Finns?  Needs to be heard.  Free.

Coming up really soon:

Friday, June 1st:  “Dump the Dump” Free Community Concert

Asphalt Green Field, York Avenue at 90th Street, 5 – 7pm

Headlined by Caroline Sunshine (of Disney’s “Shake It Up”), featuring great local talent and including surprises galore!  Gates open at 4:30pm.  Did we say FREE?  Or that there’ll be FREE T-SHIRTS for the first 1,000 attendees?!  Gonna be great!!  Be there!! 

Tuesday, June 5th: Transit of Venus Viewing with NYSkies

Intrepid Museum Pier, Hudson River at 45th Street, 5pm

Take in this literal once-in-our-lifetimes astronomical event   with the great John Pazmino and fellow experts of NYSkies.   The actual Transit commences at 6:04pm.  (No looking directly at the sun!)   For more…  And still more

Wednesday, June 6th:  Highbridge Park Walking Tour

Meet at 155th Street and Edgecomb Avenue, The Bronx, 6:30pm

Sidney Horenstein leads a lucky few on an evening exploration of one New York’s least known parks which – among many glories – includes our city’s oldest bridge…  Yes, The Highbridge!  Organized by NYCH2O.  $20.  For tickets and directions

On the horizon:

Sunday, June 17th:   92nd Street Greenmarket Re-Opens!!

First Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Street, 9am – 4pm

More farmers!   A second bakery!!  The Stellar Cooks return!!   Compost collection!!   Not an inch to spare between 92nd and 93rd!!  Unbelievable!!

We’ll be repeating these vital composting instructions the next three week, so read and commit to memory (we’ll have flyers at the market, too)…

YES:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Non-greasy foood scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal, etc.)
  • Coffee grounds & filters and tea bags
  • Eggs and nut shells, fruit and vegetable pits
  • Cut and dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil

 NO-NON-NYET:

  • NO Meat or fish
  • NO Bones
  • NO Greasy food scraps
  • NO Fat or oil
  • NO Dog or cat waste
  • NO Kitty litter, coal or charcoal
  • NO Coconuts
  • NO Diseased or insect-infested houseplants
  • NO Soil
  • NO Compostable plastics

What a fantastic development this is!

Way, way out there:

Saturday, July 28th – December 2012:   Spiders Alive!

American Museum of Natural History, 77th and Central Park West

We’re talking an exhibition that includes such arachnids as the goliath bird eater (one of the biggest), the western black widow (deadly), African whip spiders (feelers up to 10 inches long) and spider fossils.   Yikes!  A must!!  For tickets,  hours and more

Ye olde miscellany:

Yes, the mayor’s people now admit that projected costs for the MTS now weigh in at $545 million – as in more than a half billion dollars! – over the next 20 years!  This for a 20th Century “technology”.   

Remember the guide to effective sun screens included in last week’s edition?  Well, there’s now a petition asking retailers to remove bogus brands from their shelves

Another petition out there asks the FDA not cut the number and qualifications of its poultry inspectors,

Then there are the manufacturers flouting Federal rules as to how rat poison is made with resulting harm to pets and wildlife and, potentially, children too.  If you think these companies should obey the law

Okay, let’s lighten up:

Beginning with a trove of historic film starring the Lower East Side and discovered by a librarian at the NYPL’s Seward Park branch!

Nice that this record of the past exists given the city’s grand new plan for this same Seward Park area

Genius Patrick Blanc’s done it again…  No kidding this San Francisco school wins Vertical Garden of the Week!  (When do we get some of his work in Manhattan, huh?!)

And how about this lovely Botany Photo of the Day:

Vanilla Rocheri

(Related to but not the plant that produces the vanilla bean.) 

There’s a Place of the Month, too…  Fittingly, given that May’s Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, Chinatown’s Columbus Park

From the pen of Christopher Grey:  the Con Ed plant at 74th Street and the FDR…  “A rich piece of industrial history”.

From The Times Sunday Magazine:  “For the past six years, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong have owned the World Airport Awards.  Seoul’s Incheon offers lounges open to all passengers; Singapore’s Changi has a pool.  But what matters most, according to Skytrax, the firm that issues the awards, is good, old-fashioned efficiency.  Maybe that’s why J.F. K. came in 74th.”

Would actually be kind of fascinating to visit #1 on this list of the world’s most inhospitable places…  In June.

Who knew THE Captain Kidd once resided in NYC?  Or that piracy was ever considered a form of economic development?

What would a week be without the subject of sewage being raised?  Believe it or not, some genius figured out that Clearwater, Florida could use a local manufacturer’s leftover product to treat the city’s sewage and save money!  Read and believe it!  

Scant but meaningful animals time out:

A lovely BBC piece courtesy of reader  and It’s My Park Day scraper/painter Katherine Winkleman which we’ll summarize as a man, 120 giant tortoises, an island and the the 14,000 trees the man planted upon it

Cross fingers that a few of the surviving, genetically pure buffalo will soon return to the American prarie

And that GPS punches a hole in rhino horn poaching  

File this Hudson River Almanac snippet in the nature-red-of tooth-and-nail file:

5/10 – Bryant Park, HRM 3.5: “This evening’s New York City Audubon Bird Walk was quite productive. We were treated almost immediately to the sight of prothonotary warbler and witnessed the amazing sight of his catching a red admiral butterfly. He couldn’t fly with it, so fluttered down to the ground, where he bashed it into submission and swallowed it whole with apparent gusto!”

Bet he took it back to a bunch of baby warblers in the family nest…

With best green wishes,

UGS

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Happy National EMS Week, UESiders!!

Very happy in NYC where these fantastic people answered residents’ calls for assistance 1.2 million times! 

Let’s talk more good news…

#1.  Tuesday’s rally with something like 300 gathered on City Hall steps in spite of the downpour.  Plenty of press coverage, too…  For example on NY1 (you won’t believe the mayor’s comment) and while not entirely positive reportage, not as negative as it has been.   

Thanks to all who were there and most of all to Isaacs Center seniors!  Were they deterred by drenching rain?  No curb cuts for their walkers?   They were not!!

Bottom line:  We’ll beat them down with our resolve!!

#2.  Last Saturday’s Greenmarket collection tallies.  We’re talking 2 1/2 of those giant bins full of scraps and 15 giant duffel bags of clothes!!  The most of any site in the program that day!!  And were representatives of Sanitation ever impressed!!  (Lots of other recycleables gathered, too!)

#3.  Pleasing developments on the preservation front:

Not only did Community Board #2 overturned its previous approval of a developers plan to construct something hulking next to the Old Merchant’s House on 4th…  A home built for a member of the same Tredwell of Tredwell Farm Historic District on East 62nd Street.

But also, after a 6-year struggle, Landmark status has been conferred on 128 East 12th Street, likely NYC’s last surviving horse auction mart, an assembly-line training site for women during WWII and once Frank Stella’s studio.

#4.  We of the UES have now and officially recycled more than 1,000 pounds of household batteries in 2012…  And the year’s not even half over!! 

And now for a mini-rant:

Perhaps you’ve noticed the bike lanes and accompanying pedestrian/some-day-to-be-landscaped islands being installed in the Sixties on First…  A process that began with applying clean white lines of several types, followed by excavation and construction of said islands during which many trucks turned the white lines – as briefly white as NY snow – to a dingy grey.

Late last week came the application of green to the bike lane and the astonishing sight of a protective shield keeping the curb clean of paint…  Inspiring a short-lived but warm and fuzzy feeling that at least some involved in this production not only actually cared a little about the quality of their own work, but also that of those who’d preceeded them.

HA!

Yeah, you guessed it.  Within an hour, trucks supporting the lane painters drove over that clean green strip, leaving it greyish with black streaks and as if it’d been applied eons ago.

Can’t wait till they get around to applying the bike lane symbols…

On to the rather hectic week ahead:

Friday, May 18th:  National Bike to Work Day

For NYC Bike to Work Day events

Saturday,  May 19th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

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

Plus, returning for the season are our friends of the Cherry Lane Farm!

Wonderful that now, rather than Cherry Lane changing off with Gajeski during summer months, Gajeski will now be with us through summer months, too, with its tables at a new location in the churchyard.

Silver Thread Vineyard and Ballard’s Honey are back this weekend as well, with Silver Thread’s winemaker Sharon Brock paying us a visit!  

PLUS Master Knife Sharpener Barbara Hess will be back and on hand to tend to those dull cutlery issues!

But there’s one bittersweet note…  This will be Market Manager Caroline’s last Saturday at 82nd.   No surprise she’s been promoted…  A promotion that’ll include the luxury of having Saturdays off!

Please stop by her table and wish her well…  And then make the  acquaintance of new Market Manager Emma!

Last week’s recycling totals:  43 lbs batteries; 21 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges; 15 bags of clothes;  2 1/2 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  688 lbs batteries; 313 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones, cartridges; 22 pairs of glasses; 41 bags of clothes; 6 compost bins. 

(Are we the greenest or what?!)

Saturday, May 19th:   It’s My Park Day – Spring Edition

107th Street Pier, East River Esplanade, 10am – 2pm

Going to be so great joining forces with our neighbors and friends at East Harlem Presents and sprucing up many feet of Esplanade railing!   Meet us at 96th Street at 9am for the walk up…  Or make your own way…  Even an hour or two would be great!  Refreshment will be on ice! 

Directions to Pier 107:  Enter the Esplanade from 96th or 103rd Street (via the 103rd Street Footbridge) and walk north to 107th Street…  OR access the Esplanade at 111th Street and walk south!

Co-sponsored by the East River C.R.E.W., East Harlem Presents and UGS. 

Saturday, May 19th:  Rally with U.S.  Represenative Carolyn Maloney

Asphalt Green, York & 92nd Street, NW corner, 12 noon

SaneTrash and our Congresswoman turn up the No MTS heat one notch further.  A busy Saturday, yes, but do make time!  For further details and more news from RSTS…  

Saturday, May 19th – Sunday, May 20th:   Sacred Sites Open House Weekend Tour

33 Churches and Synogogues in all 5 Boroughs (and throughout NYState)

Organized by the New York Landmarks Conservancy to learn what lies behind the walls of these marvelous, historic structures…  Their history, architecture, art and community service.  Donations not required but would be nice.   For participating houses of worship and more…  Or call Sacred Sites Director Ann Friedman at 212-995-5260.

Saturday, May 19th and Sunday, May 20th:  IKEA Water Taxi Test-Run

East 35th Street Terminal on the East River

And we quote, “A ride with no assembly required.”  If enough East Siders show up chances are IKEA will make Midtown service permanent.  Pretty fabulous way to get to Red Hook and the store!  Free.  For the schedule

Sunday, May 20th:  Vote To Win GrowNYC a New Truck from Toyota!

Today and ONLY TODAY!

Check out the vintage present truck (How 1980’s is that logo?)…   Then click on over to Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Facebook Page and cast your vote for GrowNYC!!

Sunday, May 20th:  Drums Along the Hudson – A Native American Celebration

Inwood Hill Park, 218th Street and Indian Road (4 blocks west of Broadway), 11am – 6pm

Believe it or not, this is the tenth annual celebration of our city’s indigenous past in a park that once was home to the Lenape tribe and features the only open-air powwow in Manhattan!  (There’re other powwows?!)  Free and with free bike valet!  For more details

Now – Sunday, September 2nd: BE SURE! BE SAFE! GET VACCINATED! Smallpox, Vaccination and Civil Liberties in New York Exhibition

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

Believe it or not, smallpox – a disease that nearly killed the young George Washington and could have brought an entirely other end to our Revolutionary War – remained a threat until the moment of its eradication only 35 years ago.   A museum show that’s like great science fiction but hits the great, underlying issues, too.  Adults $15; Seniors $12;  Students $10; Children 7-12 $5; Free if you’re under 7. 

Tuesday, May 22nd:   Mammogram Event

Lenox Hill Senior Center, 343 East 70th, 9:15 am-4pm

All a woman needs is a reservation, to be is 40 years old or older and to have not had a mammogram within the last year.   Free for those with no insurance; all insurance plans accepted; co-payments and deductibles are waived.  Sponsored by Council Member Jessica Lappin.  Call 212-980-1808 for that reservation.

Thursday, May 24th:  City Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

City Council Chambers, City Hall, 12:30pm

Indications are that funding plans for the four marine transfer stations –  including 91st Street –  will be discussed at this hearing.  No public testimony will be permitted, but they should know that our eyes on those in erroneous support.  For more

Plenty ahead too:

Friday, June 1st:  “Dump the Dump” Free Community Concert

Asphalt Green Field, York Avenue at 90th Street, 5 – 7pm

Headlined by Caroline Sunshine (star of Disney’s “Shake It Up”, you few un-hip), featuring great local talent and including surprises galore!  Gates open at 4:30pm.  Free t-shirts to the first 1,000 attendees.   You bet, activism can be fun!! 

Friday, June 8th:  A-MAZE-ING Water Exhibit

New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue and West 8th Street,  Brooklyn

Experience life as a droplet of water as you navigate through local waterways, dart past pollutants, head out to the ocean and frolic with creatures like this: 


For hours and tickets

Tuesday, June 12th:  34th Annual Museum Mile Festival

Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th Streets, 6-9pm

This year’s event skewing especially family friendly with  interactive chalking drawing projects, magicians, jugglers and lots of live music.  Free.  For further details… 

Sunday, June 17th:  92nd Street Greenmarket Re-opens!!

First Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Street, 9am – 4pm

More farmers!   Another baker!!  The Stellar Cooks with us for a second year!!   Compost collection!!  Does it get any better?!

Until that time, get your composting game together:

YES:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Non-greasy foood scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal, etc.)
  • Coffee grounds & filters and tea bags
  • Eggs and nut shells, fruit and vegetable pits
  • Cut and dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil

NO-NO-NO:

  • NO Meat or fish
  • NO Bones
  • NO Greasy food scraps
  • NO Fat or oil
  • NO Dog or cat waste
  • NO Kitty litter, coal or charcoal
  • NO Coconuts
  • NO Diseased or insect-infested houseplants
  • NO Soil
  • NO Compostable plastics

Let’s fill those bins to over-flowing!!

On the miscellany score:

Ever more essential info:  The annual rundown on what are and aren’t effective sun screen products

This year’s Straphangers Campaign report on the state of our public transit is in, too…  (Sigh.)

And Environmental Advocates has just published its investigation of NYState’s pitifully poor tracking of toxic waste water produced by fracking. 

Yet again the Clean Water Act’s under attack.  If you think that its protection shouldn’t be weakened, you can say so here

Meanwhile, NYC would like to be cutting Bronx Zoo and NY Aquarium funding by 58%!  (Are they kidding!)  But we can speak up if we object… 

The City’d also like to re-house patients at Roosevelt Island’s Goldwater Hospital in a building next door to the Sanitation Department garage on 99th Street.  Does the proposed new $52 million residence to be constructed next to that garage convince us it’s a great location for disabled and/or elderly people to live?   To read more

Of course, Crayola markers are out there in their million and totally unrecyclable…  That is, unless Crayola establishes a program.  Let the company know if you think it should

No wonder with all the cuts that Parks is doing so poorly by our trees and that people are getting hurt and worse…  (The first of three Times articles on the subject and all worth reading.)

Meanwhile, the City’s contemplating privatizing the operation and maitenance of the new tunnel and underground station being built to link the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central…  (Yikes!!)

On the bright side:

A stroke of genius by Community Board 8:   They now support only those applying for liquor licenses who agree to abide by such bicycle guidelines as no riding on sidewalks!

Mystery partially solved as to why Sanitation so suddenly picked up the composting baton…  Its new and suddenly created recycling czar!  (Still shouded in mystery:  Why after years of resistance, this hire and now?) 

Kudos to Mario Batali and other gilt-edged chefs taking up the challenge of sustaining healthy life for a week on the $1.48 per meal provided to Food Stamp recipients…  That adds up to a whopping budget of $31 for a week.  (It’ll be less than that if some folks down in D.C. get their way.)

For those of you’ve never canned (you’ll love it!) , of course The Times has the lowdown

Yes, we’re ready for some animals,too:

Great this just released report from the Center for Biological Diversity that the Endangered Species Act is saving threateneed wildlife!

Could the Bird of the Week be more beautiful?

Be patient till mid-way when the baby alpaca starts leaping about on its spindly, pogo stick legs

We bid you farewell with more from the Hudson River Almanac:

5/2 – Manhattan, HRM 7.5-5.5: Our New York City Audubon morning birding group in Central Park…  A total of 59 species were seen…  Warblers (15 species), vireos (four species), flycatchers (two species) and thrushes (five species), as well as scarlet tanagers and Baltimore orioles.      – Joe Giunta 5/2 – Manhattan, HRM 7.5-5.5

Roses are blooming and scenting the air on East 71st Street.

And we remember Justin Smith, the 15-year old who drowned in the East River at 102nd Street last week. 

UGS

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Happy Mother’s Day, UESiders!

May the weather but fine and the tributes be many!

Then…

Come Monday, we can all raise our glasses and salute International Compost Awareness Week!!   

(Are we ever aware on the UES!)

Sure is a lot happening these upcoming, uber- compost-aware 7 days:

Saturday,  May 12th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

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

Queen of the Knife Sharpeners (caps intentional) Barbara Hess will be with us, too!

Silver Thread and Ballard Honey return next Saturday, with Silver Thread being with us every other week thereafter.

Rabbits’ Run had catnip plants last week…  Hopefully, they’ll have more this Saturday, too!

Now beginning to appear at our market tables:

Asparagus
Blackfish
 Chives
 Garlic Scapes
 Lilacs
 Radishes
 Rhubarb
 Sea Trout
 Stinging Nettles
 Strawberries
 Watercress
 
Said it before…  Saying it again…  And it can’t be said enough:  Last Saturday, you doubled April 28th’s compost collection total!!

Shayla, Caroline and we are truly, totally thrilled!!

Last week’s recycling totals:  46 lbs batteries; 23 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pairs of glasses; 10 bags of clothes; 2 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  645 lbs batteries; 292 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones, cartridges; 22 pairs of glasses; 26 bags of clothes; 3 1/2 compost bins. 

Saturday, May 12th:  Carl Schurz Park Plant Sale

Schurz Park, East End Avenue at 86th Street, 10am – 4pm

Take home a plant – or 2 or 3 or an armloard from the many varieties on offer – and help Schurz Park be beautiful!   Cash, checks or credit card.  For more details

Tuesday, May 15th:  Residents for Sane Trash Solutions Rally

City Hall Steps, 12:00pm

Sign up for the free bus (at the Holmes Association Room, 1780 First, Friday or Monday, 7-9pm) or take the Lexington Ave 4/5/6 subway to the City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge stop.  Make signs, folks!  Sane Trash will have “No MTS” t-shirts for all us ralliers!  ESSENTIAL that you have your  photo ID for City Hall Security.  For more, the rally flyer and rally instructions…  Or call 212-759-6895.  For the sake of Yorkville/East Harlem…  Be there!!

Tuesday, May 15th (and every Tuesday thereafter): East River C.R.E.W. Community Row Season Begins

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 5- 6:30pm or dusk, whichever comes first

Can’t really describe the pleasure and wonder of being out on our very own East River in a sturdy, sleek, well-handled craft…  You owe it to yourself.  Free and open to all ages, all abilities and to swimmers and non-swimmers alike, with a signed waiver.   No open-toed (flip-flops, sandals, etc.) or high-heeled footwear.  For more information, email: tgilbert@eastrivercrew.org, mnhawk@eastrivercrew.org or winklemnpr@aol.com.  

Approaching fast:

Saturday, May 19th:   It’s My Park Day – Spring Edition

107th Street Pier, East River Esplanade, 10am – 2pm

We’ll be returning the favor of all the hard work – digging trenches, planting daffodils, scraping and painting a heck of lot of railing – our friends at East Harlem Presents so generously devoted to our stretch of the Esplanade last fall…  Minus the daffodil planting part, of course.  But there’ll be some intense railing scraping/painting!   For a look at the gorgeous “worksite”...  And the offical project description.   Come meet our wonderful neighbors just to the north!! 

Directions to Pier 107:  Enter the Esplanade from 96th or 103rd Street (via the 103rd Street Footbridge) and walk north to 107th Street…  OR access the Esplanade at 111th Street and walk south!

Co-sponsored by the East River C.R.E.W., East Harlem Presents and UGS. 

Sunday, May 20th:  Manhattan Valley Family Days Recycling Event

Amsterdam Avenue at 106th Street, 12-5pm

Accepted:  Electronics…  Household batteries…  Clothes/textiles…  Compact fluorescents…  Small appliances… Paper shredding (3-5pm)… 

No large appliances  i.e. refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.

Wednesday, May 30th – Sunday, June 3rd: World Science Festival

Various NYC Venues

Lectures, films, symposia and more from the likes of Oliver Sachs,  E.O. Wilson…  Well, the list is long…  And on subjects as diverse as neutrinos, coral reefs, exo-planets,  human resilience and Hedy Lamarr.  For full details…  

Round the bend:

Monday, June 11th:  “The Bungalows of Rockaway” Screening

Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at Second Street, 6:30pm

Once there were 16,000.  Now maybe 500 remain.  And this lovely 2010 film celebrates those valiant survivors.  Benefitting the Historic Districts Council.  Friends of the HDC:  $5.  General public:  $10.  For tickets…  

Sunday, June 17th:  92nd Street Greenmarket Re-opens!!

First Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Street, 9am – 4pm

We’ll be collecting composting, too!!  At both our markets!!  And here’s what and what not:

YES:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Non-greasy foood scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal, etc.)
  • Coffee grounds & filters and tea bags
  • Eggs and nut shells, fruit and vegetable pits
  • Cut and dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil

ABSOLUTELY NOT:

  • NO Meat or fish
  • NO Bones
  • NO Greasy food scraps
  • NO Fat or oil
  • NO Dog or cat waste
  • NO Kitty litter, coal or charcoal
  • NO Coconuts
  • NO Diseased or insect-infested houseplants
  • NO Soil
  • NO Compostable plastics

To be included in this program is such an honor, folks!!

Monday, June 18th:  Grow to Learn NYC Benefit 

Gotham Bar & Grill, 12 East 12th street, 6 – 10pm

Celebrate GrowNYC’s great school gardens initiative, Grow to Learn NYC, with an evening that includes  cocktail reception, dinner by Chef Alfred Portale and  friends Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen, Bill Telepan of Telepan restaurant, and Adam Longworth of The Common Man Restaurant.  Got to be fabulous.  Tickets begin at $500. 

Wednesday, June 27th:  Annual Patrons Lecture – Monet:  Painter, Gardener, Poet, Patriot

Sotheby’s 1334 York Avenue, 7:30

Presented by Doctor Paul Hayes Tucker, curator of the NYBotanical Garden’s upcoming Monet’s Garden exhibition.  Free to patrons.  Member: $35.  Non-members: $39.  To register  or call 800-322-6924.

This week’s miscellany launches with an offer hard to refuse:

It being  that the 92nd Street Y’s CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture group) still has shares available.  For details and a link to the farm providing the produce

Now for some soap box time:

We ‘ve been there and done that with the 59th Street lantern that went missing for 4-decades…  The soon-to-be-homeless object in question this time out?  Of all things, the “Sphere” that survived the WTC collapse.  

No end of the shenanigans attempted by frackers…  If you object to their siphoning  off millions of gallons of Susquehanna River water to shatter more shale

Just in case you’re not up-to-date with the “dispute” concerning the choice of a new taxi design and that City Hall’s choice isn’t handicapped accessibile, read and catch up

An appeal from our Brooklyn Speaks neighbors who’re resisting the latest envelope-pushing desire of the Barclays Center…  This time to have to no cut-off time for the Center’s 18,000-seat bar!  Should you wish to sign the Brooklyn Speaks petition

Meanwhile, up in the Bronx and Van Cortlandt Park, the Parks Department is about to make major changes in the much-loved Putnam Trail, widening it from 8 to 15 feet,  cutting down 1.5 acres of trees and natural brush and then paving the trail with asphalt.  Locals very much object.   To read more and support them if you wish…  

Should swimmers be required to wear bathing caps in City pools?  Read, then weigh in!

Holy crow, the House of Representatives has voted to allow hunting in our national parks!  They call it the Sportmen’s Heritage Act. (Congresswoman Maloney voted “no”.)

Mercifully, however, the Sewage Right to Know Act passsed the NYState Assembly.   (Pat on the back to all who signed that petition!)

Speaking of sewage (yes, we must), for an easily understandable demonstration – the famous “Sewer in a Suitcase” – why combined sewer systems like NYC’s are such disasters, we once again turn to The Times…  

Moving on to the bright side and staying there:

For all they’re rust belt as can be, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are exploring high-speed rail

Down in Florida, they’re turning old tennis courts into community gardens

What with all our crazy weather, no surprise the U.S. D.A. Plant Hardiness Map has been revised…

Ever wonder who devised the classic Mason jar?  Well, wonder no more…

But we digress…

The new Coast Guard Headquarters complex will have one of the expansive greenroof designs to date

Only makes sense in California, of course, and we could question why it took until 2012, but all 51 schools of the Contra Costa District are now equipped solar panels and  getting 90% of their power from them!

Ready for a computer printable house?

Or the discovery that sugar creates fear in fish?

But let’s talk NYC:

How about we produce electricity from our water pressure

Then there’re the Brooklyn pioneers who’re turning vacant lots in mini-Edens

Another fine NYTimes account, this time of the lovely, lively woman who’s lived for at least 100 years on East 84th Street…

And yet another:  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was this underdog’s unlikely triumph

 At last, animals:

Scroll down to page 2 to view the glorious North American bird migration flyways

Pretty lovely that amongst the last people you’d think are helping troubled cats become adoptable

We bid farewell with two snippets from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/26 – Manhattan, HRM 12.5:  Bluebells were blooming as well as wild columbine.  In an hour of walking I saw one butterfly, a new one for me, sulfur-yellow with brown spots – just beautiful.      –   Thomas Shoesmith

4/28 –  Manhattan, NY62 :   Saw Mama egret with a “pink” fish…  A ten-inch-long goldfish.   Goldfish, a minnow, are not native to the East River estuary. Their presence can be traced to baitfish introduction or, more likely, parents emptying the occupants of children’s sorely unattended aquaria into the river.  – Tom Lake 

This is also NYC Wildflower Week!

Yours in enduring greenness,

UGS

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Happy Super Moon Weekend, UESiders!

Yes, at 11:35pm on Saturday, May 5th, not only does the moon become full, but since this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest

A worthy tribute to the last weekend’s stellar recycling effort at St. Catherine’s Park…   Yes, folks, we’re talking 2 1/2 tons of electronics, 3,600 pounds of shredded paper, 21 giant duffel bags of clothes and 26 pairs of glasses!! 

Meanwhile, up at 82nd Street, you recycling maniacs racked 7/8 of a giant composting bin, 10 bags of clothes, 45 lbs of batteries, 21 pounds of #5, Britta filters, CD/DVDs, corks and cartridges!

Totally wild!!

Deep breath. 

And now for your May gardening tip:  Dead head your daffodils…  Accomplished by running your hand down the flowering stem to the base of the daffodil and snapping if off with your thumb and forefinger. Leave leaves intact to wither.

On to the coming week:

Friday, May 4th:  NYSkies Bi-Monthly Seminar

McBurney House, 125 West 14th Street, between Sixth and Seventh, 6:30pm

The subject:  The upcoming Transit of Venus, the passing of the planet Venus across the face of the sun!  Free.

Friday, May 4th: Dance Your Values

Stuyvesant Cove Park, East River Esplanade between 21st and 22nd Street, 6-11pm

And we quote:  “Come to first outdoor dance party of the season!   Solar One is host to the Dance Your Values Party…  The only FREE, outdoor, solar-powered dance party where you can make a pledge to live your values AND have a beer AND dance by the East River!”  For more details

Saturday,  May 5th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

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

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

Fingers crossed Ballard Honey returns.

Of course, we’ll be collecting compost and clothes as well, under the expert guidance of Coordinator Shayla.

Still – but for the last time – this reminder: 

YES:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • YES Non-greasy foood scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal, etc.)
  • Coffee grounds & filters and tea bags
  • Eggs and nut shells, fruit and vegetable pits
  • Cut and dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil

 ABSOLUTELY NOT:

  • NO Meat
  • NO Fish
  • NO Bones
  • NO Greasy food scraps
  • NO Fat or oil
  • NO Dog or cat waste
  • NO Kitty litter, coal or charcoal
  • NO Coconuts
  • NO Diseased or insect-infested houseplants
  • NO Soil
  • NO Compostable plastics

CLOTHES (in any condition):

  •  Hats
  •  Belts
  •  Linens
  •  Fabrics of all kinds
  •  Shoes

Last week’s recycling totals:  45 lbs batteries; 21 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges; 10 bags of clothes; 7/8 compost bin.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  599 lbs batteries; 269 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones, cartridges; 18 pairs of glasses; 16 bags of clothes; 1 1/2 compost bins. 

Tuesday, May 8th:  New York City Beekeepers Association Monthly Meeting

Seafearers and International House, 123 East 15th Street, 7 – 9pm

This month’s speaker:  Frederique Keller, President of the American Apitherapy Society, who’ll hold forth on the health-nuturing aspects of honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom.  For more…  (And check out how the NYCBA signs their communications!)

Saturday, May 12th:  Carnegie Hill Historic District – A Walking Tour

Meet on the NW corner of Fifth Avenue and 86th Street, 1pm

With Bernie Cohen as your guide, explore the UESide’s second largest historic district, replete with architectural gems and varied topography.  Organiz by Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District.  Members:  $10;  Non-members: $15.  For tickets and more

Tuesday, May 15th:  May NY Audubon Member Walk in Central Park

Meet at Central Park West and 72nd Street, 8 – 9:30am

Join NYC Audubon Board Member Harry Maas for a walk through Central Park’s best birding spots during the height of spring migration. Look for warblers, vireos, tanagers, and more. Limited to and free for 20 Audubon members (more reason to join up).  For membership/reservations, call Adriana Palmer at 212-691-7483. 

(Magnolia Warbler)

Tuesday, May 15th:  Residents for Sane Trash Solutions Rally

City Hall Steps, 12:00pm

The powers-that-be expect passion to peak and the neighborhood to just lie down and accept the – they say – inevitable garbage dump…  Fat chance!!    Be there and with a sign!!

Miscellany, you say?

The U.S. Department of Energy enacted a rule last year   requiring all new furnaces installed in 30 Northern states to be high-efficiency models.  A great idea, yes?  Not according to the Philadelphia Gas Works.  (Kerosine as an alternate fuel?  In 2012?  Really?!)  For the very annoying details

Why should we have to sign a petition to know if there’s sewage in NYState waters and, if so, which ones?

Meanwhile, herewith the Riverkeeper’s latest report on the state of the Hudson…

On the plus side, now that its wild Vegas partying days have come to screeching halt, the GSA’s taking the high road, opting for responsible recycling of its old electronics and will no longer allow them to be landfilled!

Speaking of Vegas, the Atlantis Casino is now recycling its worn-out plastic poker chips!

Meanwhile, there’s a company now making structural – as in bridges – building materials out of recycled plastic!

Back in the day, cities everywhere soured on planting female trees because of resulting seed debris cluttering sidewalks.  The result:  A male tree mono-culture and the pollen fest we enjoy today…  

On the subject of much smaller plants…  Here’s the lowdown on the new “it” vegetable…  The ramp.

For those intent on growing edibles themselves – be it on a windowsill, roof or community garden – there’s a great new site:  Kitchen Gardeners International!   

Continuing on the theme, the New York Botanical Garden’s got innumerable great courses on offer from gardening to horticultural therapy to garden photography and many at its Midtown Education Center at 20 West 44th Street…

The tally and construction/rental/purchase allure of NYC buildings with  rooftop farms just keeping growing and now includes  Serviam Gardens, an affordable development for seniors at 323 East 198th Street in the Bronx.

Ever more green, they’re also harvesting rainwater up there in the Bronx!

That while a Bronx couple’s established a fish farm in plastic trash and recycling containers!

More miscellaneous still:     

Fingers crossed we never need them, but why not have instructions on how to survive a night in the NYState wilderness on mental file…

Nature and its contradictions…  As in the creepiness of most fungi – apart from mushrooms, of course – and the beauty of some others:

 

Ever hear of the Friends of Terra Cotta?  Check out their site

Bring on the animals:

Pretty darned epic is the only way to described NYState’s efforts stocking 3,000 miles of its coldwater streams with baby trout!

And banding our peregrine falcon population… All of which specialize in nest-building in the most inaccessible places…

And how great that we have an official Bobcat Management Plan!  (What a gorgeous creature!)

Meanwhile, one stressed-out house cat find relief in a massage

Some wild and crazy biologists have equipped an osprey nesting out at Jamaica Bay with GPS!

Lots of bird action in Manhattan excerpts from the Hudson River Almanac:

 4/21– Central Park, HRM 7.5-5.5: There was clearly a good push of neotropical migrants overnight with some rather early-birds, such as a female prothonotary warbler(Neotropical migrants winter far to the south, some in the Caribbean, Central America, and even South America.)  – Tom Fiore

 4/23 – Manhattan, HRM 3.5: Matthew Rymkiewicz reported a prothonotary warbler in mid-day at the southeast section of Bryant Park. The bird was seen moving in trees behind the New York Public Library’s main branch building.     – Tom Fiore

We close with adorableness…  In the form of baby horned owls… 

One can never be too green,

UGS  

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