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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