Monthly Archives: January 2013

Greetings with ice cycles, UESiders!!

Herewith, yet another reycling stat to warm your hearts…

The same 25 Greenmarkets – some seasonal, some year round – that accumulated more than a million pounds of compost from mid-June to end December 2012 ALSO recycled a grand total of 1.7 million pounds of clothes/fabrics/hats/shoes/belts!!

Kudos, you wild, crazy and committed environmental stewards!

As for the chilly 7 days to come:

Saturday, January 26th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am – 2pm                                               Compost & Clothing Collection – 9am – 1pm

With us will be American Seafood, Ballard Honey, Bread Alone, Samascott, Gajeski, Feather Ridge and Rising Sun Beef Farms.

Last week’s recycling totals:  56 lbs batteries;  41 #5,  Britta filters/cords/corks/CD/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 15 bags of clothes ;  5 1/2 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/5/13):  156 lbs batteries; 133 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords/CDs/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 40 bags of clothes; 15 compost bins.

Know we’re going to have a 6-compost-bin-Saturday soon!

Monday, January 28th:  Superstorm Sandy –Preservation, Prevention, & Progress

Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, 6:30-8pm

Join the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy and a panel of architectural experts for an exploration of methods to preserve our city’s irreplaceable heritage.  Free but reservations required:  rsvp@gvshp.org or 212-475-9585 ext. 35.   For further details

And coming soon:

Sundays, February 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th:  Urban Beekeeping 101

York Prep, 40 West 68th Street, 11am – 2pm

Offered by the ground-breaking New York City Beekeeper Association,  absolute beginners learn the basics, from the theoretical  to practical application in 4 sessions.   $200.  For more and to enroll

In the distance: 

Saturday, April 6th:  8th Annual Pillow Fight Day

Union Square, 3 – 6pm

Arm yourself with a foam pillow (NO feathers) and wale to your heart’s content!  Free but even tiny donations to organizers NewMindSpace are welcome.  For more

Okay.  On to miscellany…   Serious stuff up first:

Was pretty much an embarassment confined to the UES, but CB8’s icky footdragging re adding audible crossing signals to assist the sight-impaired  went plenty wider via the January 28th issue of NY Magazine

If you take issue with this position, you can express that opinion by writing the CB8 Transportation Committee at info@cb8m.com.  

Of course, the restaurant industry (some City Council members, too!) oppose including Health Department letter grades in Yelp and Zagat reviews

For those few who haven’t been to the SaneTrash site and seen the coverage of the recent Children’s March To Save Asphalt Green...

Meanwhile, our neighbors to the South are organizing to combat the plague of 7-11’s

Good to be informed about USTA and Parks Department plans to expand the USTA complex  – at what some see as the expense of Corona Park…

How, where and what to build post-Sandy will be before New Yorkers for months – if not years –  ahead…  But here’re how similarly afflicted communities have approached the problem

BUT what we do know is that the proposed, Flood Zone A-sited 91st Street MTS should be cancelled forthwith.

On the other hand:

Build It Green has several job openings

Wind now provides 6% of U.S. power, folks!  (Likely would be even more if Congress would make the incentives more than a year’s duration.) 

Love the title of this Urban Green piece on the micro apartment building soon to be under construction:  “Is That A Dish Towel or Wall-to-Wall Carpeting?”

For additional info on how this project so quickly came to be and its financials

Be nice if this new building includes the compost collection capability and green roofs the Durst Organization now includes in its projects…  (Thanks for tipping us off to this, reader Karen Lane!)

Still more green – in the form of penthouse plots to farm – down at Union Square…

And we thought we were so darned clever takiing a metal sculpture course to handcraft our neighborhood’s tree guards…  HA!  Pale, pale, pale in comparison to the gorgeous creations now gracing Myrtle Avenue’s trees…  

You can give our friends at GreenThumb a hand (yes, it’s a Parks Department endeavor and totally worthy) and this while equipping your garden with highest quality seeds ordered from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  For more on the Library and Green Thumb

Sure, you can compost all that pulp produced by your juicer…  Or you can whip up delicious pulp fritters!

As if we weren’t already addicted to the deliciousness of beets…  Check out all they deliver to our healthiness!

Our newest enthusiasm?  Videos on tThe New York Times’ site…   A sampling:  Secrets of Grand Central… 

Animals?  Indeed:

Commencing with a test of your Animal IQ

But we’re otherwise a bit feline-heavy this time out:

Further on subject of unlikely animal pals…  Cat and the bird who grooms his/her whiskers!

 Ever wake up and find your kitty staring into your eyes?…

Or dream of your cat out and strutting his/her stuff on the streets of New York on a leash(Another Times video gem!)

Or how about this from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/18 – Westchester County, HRM 44: Driving home after dark tonight in North Salem, a really big cat crossed the road right in front of me, ran up the hill and into the woods.  Wow!  It was a really large, muscular cat, yellowish in color with a short tail.   A bobcat!  – Irene Marks

But far be it from us to leave canines entirely out of the mix:

1/20 – Town of Wappinger – I was awakened at 4:00am by the shrill cries of coyotes in stereo. In the still and frigid air, even through closed windows, it sounded as though they were everywhere.  In reality, it was likely a small group of four or five – family, extended family, a clan – and they were on the prowl. – Tom Lake

Yours in frosty but abiding greenness,

UGS

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Greetings, UESiders!

Happy Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday!!   

The gentleman would be 204 if he was still with us…  Actually, he still is with us New Yorkers (and beyond his literary legacy) in the form of the beautifully restored Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. 

But we digress from the stranger-than-truth nature notes we intended to commence this week’s edition with.

And so…

The weather was warm last week, yes?  In fact, so warm that if you walk down the north side of 68th between Lex and Park you’ll see a forsythia bush in full bloom!

Weirder still was the sight of bright green parrots – a whole flock of them – roosting in the barren trees on the east side of First Avenue between 116th and 117th.  Next trip up to Target/Costco, check them out.

On to the week ahead:

Friday, January 18th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

McBirney House, 125 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh, 6:30pm

The subject this time out:  Einstein’s outrageous legacy, the blackhole…  Defined as a place that, in spite of its size or mass, cannot be seen…  A notion first (and incredibly) described in 1780 by John Michell.   Free.

Saturday, January 19th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am – 2pm                                               Compost & Clothing Collection – 9am – 1pm

With us will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Gajeski, Feather Ridge and Rising Sun Beef.

Delighted to say that – as they were during the winter months last year –  Ballard Honey is back at a table, as well!

Last week’s recycling totals:  55 lbs batteries;  38 #5,  Britta filters/cords/corks/CD/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 15 bags of clothes ;  5 1/2 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/5/13):  100 lbs batteries; 92 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords/CDs/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 25 bags of clothes; 9 1/2 compost bins.

Wednesday, January 23rd: Community Solar 101 Webinar

2pm

Don’t have to leave the comforts of home and computer to learn the nuts and bolts of making solar a reality in our communities.  Free.  For more details and to sign up

Around the bend:

Wednesday, February 6th:  Stormwater Management Best Practices for Community Gardens and Homeowners

Watson Educational Building, New York Botanical Garden,  2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 6-8pm

Conserve water and help prevent flooding and pollution from the drenching storms that’ve become all-too common in NYC.  Free but registration required… 

Saturday, February 9th:  Make Your Own Vegan Anti-Aging Products: Workshop

New York Botanical Garden Midtown Center, 20 West 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth, 10 am

Discover the raw, vegan, herbs, plants and essential oils that keep skin its most healthy and youthful.  A bargain at (Members) $79 and (Non-members) $85.  For further details and to reserve a space

Monday, February 11th:  Urban Green Council Building Tour

50 West 66th Street, 8-9 am

Get up close and personal with what a LEED Silver building is all about…  In this case an erstwhile armory now home to a multi-media company (read ABC).   Council members, $10;   non-members, $15.  For more details and tickets

Way, waaaaaayyyyyy out there:

Saturday, June 23rd – Thursday, June 27th:  Rails to Trails Conservancy 2012 Great Greenway Sojourn

Great Alleghany Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland

And we quote, “Part bicycle ride, part trail-building program, the Sojourn celebrates newly opened trails and promotes the completion of others to create regional trail systems.  For the whole family and a beautiful thing. Adults, $575;  children 16 and under, $475.  For reservations and more

Let’s get some miscellaneous matters of UES concern out of the way first:

You recall our noting last week that elements on Community Board 8’s Transportation Committee had taken a position against what they consider to be “noisy” crosswalk signals – to assist the sight impared – on especially busy and wide 72nd, 79th, 86th and 96th.  Really.  Must have super-natural ears.  These individuals then managed to have installation of the signals postponed pending “further information”.  If you think disabled folks would be well-served by this assistance, you can write info@cb8m.com. 

Yes, it’s now been confirmed that the trailer than suddenly appeared on the ramp bisecting Asphalt Green is property of Skanska, the construction firm contracted to build the proposed and hotly contested 91st Street MTS.  For more… 

Incredibly and with the usual claims that improved service will result, Lenox Hill Hospital appears to have decided to end its paramedic service!

Council Member Lapppin’s put together an online petition in support of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.  Should you wish to sign

Meanwhile, there’s a big push on for DOE to establish a much needed area middle school in the presently vacant PS158… 

Farther afield:

In the what can they be thinking department, the FDA seems to be moving towards allowing the sale of unlabeled genetically modified salmon.  If you think this is unwise… 

Not that we’d wish our challenges on others, but the same great minds that would build the 91st MTS would construct a $200 million garbage truck garage on First Avenue and 25th Street…  Some kind of harmonious fit with the 3 neighboring hospitals!

Grrrr…  Think – in 2013 – all our new NYC buildings are energy efficient…  Especially if a given building’s LEED???  Think again

Wherever it is in our city, it’s always a humungous drag to hear that a landmark’s status is being appealed…  In this case the Lower East Side’s Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synogogue…  Particularly sad given the amazing history the building has

Calling all High Line lovers (and whom of us isn’t)!!  Proposed developments along its route may incredibly decrease the fabulous openness/views…

For a thorough resume of the recent Sallan Foundation/NYIT Not Your Grandma’s (NYC) Infrastructure conference

Okay.  Enough.  On the much brighter side:

For those in search of meaningful employment, Solar One has just announced five openings in green employment

And head’s up, you older workers…  Google’s signed the AARP pledge to recruit from diverse age groups!

NYState’s also looking for Environmental Conservation Officers

And there’s more environmental good news:

In last week’s State of the State address, Governor Cuomo committed $150 million per year to solar for the next 10 years!

Daylight’s the new state-of-the-art retrofit for New York’s commercial buildings and could reduce power bills by as much as $70 million.  For more from Green Light New York’s illuminating analysis of the subject

You’ve been spotted up there on that balcony in downpours and snow checking on your burgers and New York strips and, for sure, Bobby Flay has nothing on you…  Still,  Consumer Reports has some tips for even the most accomplished winter griller

And the Green Roof of the Week is atop Philadelphia’s glorious, new and green-in-so many-ways Barnes Foundation. 

Want to know what your Greenmarket farmers will likely have on hand via your ear buds?  Wish granted on Heritage (online) Radio!   (New broadcasts posted every Thursday at 1:45pm.) 

More east coast wind turbines coming on line…  This time in Gloucester, MA

Pale Male and kindred redtailed hawks have done their best to keep our hordes of pigeons under control, but out in California they’ve deployed professional avian enforcement

Hard to imagine Third Avenue with an elevated train running down its center or living in a building on either side…  But courtesy of reader Jack Donaghy this rather artful look at what once was…  

For those of you unfamiliar with The Conservationist, NYState’s ovely environmental magazine, this article about the Museum of Natural History’s recent, extraorginary renovation is a worthy introduction…  (Our favorite visual:  applying highlights to Alaskan bear fur!)

Courtesy of The Times’ Sam Roberts the recommended book, “My Life in America Before, During and After the Civil War”, the beautifully detailed autobiography of German immigrant Louis Hensel…  Much of that life spent in 19th Century NYC.

With winter and our being more reliant on store-bought produce, a refresher on what’s essential to buy organic… 

And what foods pack the most and best nutrition for the shopper’s dollar

Green for sure, but also a laughably terrible idea…  Snowmaking with sewage effluent…  Yikes!

 You bet, we hear you…  Bring on the animals:

If we were a corgi, we’d want a  corgi snow tunnel, too…

And if we were a cat, we’d be really curious about our (undoubtedly aristocratic) ancestry

Precious little snow again this winter and when the white stuff came, it was pretty much a drag the minute we had to trudge to work in it…  But tell that to this ecstatic little red panda!

Once again we leave you with an excerpt from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/6 – New York Harbor, Lower Bay:   It was unseasonably warm as we sailed through Buttermilk Channel, on to the Erie Basin and out past the Verrazano Narrows to Swinburne and Hoffman Islands…  All abundant with life…  Brant, gadwall, red-breasted mergansers, buffleheads, and a great cormorant….  A red-throated loon and a peregrine falcon…  More buffleheads, some greater scaup, and three fly-by Bonaparte’s Gulls… Long-tailed ducks, common and red-throated loons and northern gannets…  But the highlight was the dozen or so harbor seals bobbing curiously around the boat.  –  Gabriel Willow

Evergreener,

UGS

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Greetings, UESiders!

It’s 2013!  We’re back in the newsletter traces and looking forward to the coming year full of ever more bustling  markets and recycling events, continued work on the Esplanade and improvements of every kind in our own Upper East Side life…  Commencing with…

The jam-packed weekend ahead:

Saturday, January 11th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am – 2pm                                               Compost & Clothing Collection – 9am – 1pm

At their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Gajeski, Feather Ridge and Rising Sun Beef.

And, yes, Dan of Rabbits’ Run returns from his well-deserved vacation with freshly harvested garlic and turnips, newly minted goat cheese, 9-month old clothbound cheddar and other aged raw milk cheeses!

Last three weeks recycling totals:  (12/22) 52, (12/29) 49 and (1/5) 45 lbs batteries; (12/22) 49, (12/29) 39 and (1/5) 54 lbs #5,  Britta filters/cords/corks/CD/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; (12/29) 2 pairs eye glasses;(12/22) 15, (12/29) 5 and (1/5) 10 bags of clothes ;  (12/22) 3, (12/29) 5 and (1/5) 4 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/5/13) Totals:  45 lbs batteries; 54 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords/CDs/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 10 bags of clothes; 4 compost bins.

A wow start to the new year!

Saturday, January 12th:   Mulchfest 2013!

Carl Schurz Park, 86th Street & East End Avenue, 10am – 2pm
 
Drop off that Christmas tree and watch it be converted to a new and useful life:  Mulch in UES parks!   (Just make sure you remove all ornaments and lights.  Same if you’re putting that tree out on the curb…  And remove that plastic bag.) 

Saturday, January 12th & Sunday, January 13th:  TreesNY Volunteer Event

Jefferson Park Activity Center, First Avenue at 112th Street, 11am-1pm

Our East Harlem neighbors lent us a hand on our It’s My Park Day last year, so it’d be great if we returned that favor and helped them spread Christmas tree mulch around street trees up their way!  You can RSVP:  sam@treesny.org.   

Saturday, January 12th:  “Goldilocks” Puppet Show

Bohemian Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, 12pm

“Zlatovlaska” in Polish and set  in a kitchen, this Drak Theater production took 2012’s first prize for performance for children at the International Festival of Puppet Theater.  Need we say, totally family-friendly…

On the horizon:

Thursday, January 24th: TreesNY Winter Lecture – AIR

 The Arsenal, Central Park at East 64th Street, 6-8pm

Quill & Trowel Award-winning writer, Times columnist and Botanical Garden faculty member William Logan’s  previous books have brought magic to Dirt and oak trees…  Now he’s turned his ever-curious mind to the stuff we breathe.  Free.

Tuesday, January 29th:  100th Birthday Woolworth Building Tour

233 Broadway between Park Place and Barclay Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Organized by the great Open House, an examination of this beautiful building’s lobby and lower level is followed by a champagne reception.  $75 and $150 tickets.  To purchase

Saturday, February 2nd:  NYCH2O Ashokan Watershed Snowshoe Event

Snowshoe through Rochester Hollow in the Shandaken Wild Forest, along  the headwaters of the Rochester Hollow stream for 2.5 miles…  Then take in the beauty of Esopus Creek and the Ashokan – NYC first resevoir – from a comfy car seat…  All under the tutelege of naturalist Aaron Bennett.  Tour with transportation and snowshoes, $90.  Tour and snowshoes only, $40.  Tour only, $25.  For tickets and more details

Thursday, February 21st:   TreesNY Winter Lecture – Evergreens & the City Lecture

The Arsenal, Central Park at East 64th Street, 6-8pm

If there’s a person who knows more about trees of any and every kind and speaks more vividly about them than  TreesNY’s Sam Bishop, please step forward.  Free.  

And way out there:

Saturday, April 6th:  8th Annual Permiculture Excahnge Seed Celebration

The Old Stone House, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 10am-3pm

Seed swapping, free seed handouts. garden education. information on GM food and seed, whole seed displays and a Guess That Seed Contest…  (Does it get any better in the seed world?!)  To attend:  permie@earthlink.net.

Plenty miscellany and a lot of it around our hood:

Beginning with the present pressing need for platelet donors…  Always at its greatest this time of the year it seems.  Please call 1-800-933-2566, head up to the Blood Center on 67th Street between First and Second or visit www.nybloodcenter.org/platelet to schedule a platelet donation appointment!

Okay:

Community Board 8’s Transportation Committee’s weighed in on the need to re-install a ticket booth on the 86th Street station’s uptown side…  The MTA counters eliminating the booth “removes station clutter and improves station appearance”.   (Oh yeah?  If the look of place is so important how about the station ceilings that haven’t been painted in 50 years?)

Sorry to say that at the same meeting, there were persons  present who objected to DOT installing audible street crossing instructions for the visually impaired!  (You bet they were summarily voted down.)

But even these humanity-deficient individuals take on warmth and fuzziness when compared to the NYC Housing Authority’s attitudes toward any green moves its residents undertake…  

Back on the good foot, at least two mega real estate entities are moving to convert their Times Square signage to digital and energy-saving LED.

Yes and if Sandy had to happen at least it put an end to the NYState/Jones Beach giveaway (a piddling $15 million for a 40-year lease!) to Donald Trump!

You do know that the fiscal cliff bill restored the up to $240 per month tax benefit to those who commute via mass transit?

Unfortunately, the bill’s agricultural provisions were a whole lot less satisfactory

But the FDA has made progress on some new and much needed food safety measures

The year is young but it’s already produced a brilliant, low cost and beautifully designed approach to civilizing the scaffolding afflicting so much of our city…   Public seating!

Meanwhile, wind farms are sprouting up all around us…

In northeast Pennsylvania…   (Pretty inscrutable this, as (1)the area’s one of America’s most fracked regions and (2) the project’ll be built by petroleum giant  and sinner BP!)   

To off-shore Gloucester, Massachusetts

And maybe off our own Long Beach

There’s good news on the conventional power front, too…  As in  intensely polluting coal-fired Danskammer Power Plant in the Mid-Hudson Valley being scheduled for demolition…  Leaving NYS with just 4 surviving coal-burning dinosaurs!

From the great folks at Kitchen Garden International and for those lucky enough to have a plot to plant, first rate online tools/assistance in planning the coming summer’s bounty. 

Per usual, Build It Green is stocked up with great stuff, including a gorgeous white marble fireplace…

Thanks to reader Kateri Dupuy and coming soon to a theater near you “Landfill Harmonic”, a doc detailing a Paraguayan youth orchestra playing instruments made from trash.

Last but not least, cross your fingers for the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s efforts to develop a wetlands ecosystem at East River Park

Yes, for sure, we are needing some animals now: 

National Bird Day may have fallen on last Saturday while yours truly was lazing about, but herewith the lovely slideshow celebrating the event

Still in the avian mode, March will be bringing us the NY Historical Society’s stupendous Audubon show!

Just when you thought there couldn’t be one more weird but touching duo of animal friends…  Along come kitty and lizard BFFs… 

Not content with their Catamy Awards for best cat videos, Friskies has now dreamed up an app enabling you to “catafy” yourself

Then there’s the NY sculptor specializing in pet busts… 

We leave you with the pretty darned amazing dancing dog

May your 2013 be unimaginably green,

UGS

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