Greetings, UESiders!

Let’s talk styrofoam and the possible banning of same within NYC borders!  

Wish there were numbers on how much of the crumbly but  virtually indestructable stuff is permanently fixed – in tree beds, sidewalk cracks – in our environment…  Which says it’s more than time to stop the madnesss…

And who’s the sterling individual behind this move?  None other than Deputy Sanitation Commissioner Ron Gonen, the person we have to thank for Greenmarket compost collection!

PLEASE…  Take the quickest  moment to encourage the man to go for the gusto with this new, great, initiative:

Meanwhile, it was just last week that we gazed down First Avenue from the vantage point of 62nd Street, spotted a bus maybe 5 blocks south and sighed with relief.  No flashing lights!  A local!

BUT NO!   It was a Select bus with with malfunctioning lights.

WRONG AGAIN!  Seems that – four years plus after the service began up in the Bronx – it was “discovered” that many kinds of emergency vehicles are  equipped with flashing blue lights, others on our streets were confusing the two, complaining and – then! – that there was a law prohibiting the use of blue lights on anything but said emergency vehicles!.

The horrendously expensive blue crystal lenses were then summarily removed from Select buses and flashing of any color ceased.

Let the buck-passing begin

And what promises to be years of debate about what color Select lights can and should be…  And spending buckets more money on new lenses.   

Meanwhile, a recent CB8/Hunter study of POPS (Privately Owned Public Spaces) could mean good news for our UES and its pitifully small park-per-resident ratio. 

Seems that, commencing back in  Sixties and continuing till 2000, developers were allowed to build higher if they created POPS at ground level. 

Problem is that for at least a decade there wasn’t a requirement that any amenities – like, maybe, a bench that might’ve allowed the public to enjoy the space or even preceive that it was available to them – be provided. Developers didn’t even need to put up signs!

Then, when those requirement were finally put into law/code, there was no enforcement.

So now. great young graduate students of Hunter College’s Urban Studies program have identified some 76 of  these POPS…  By far the majority of which are “under-utilized”.

The city says it’s doing its best to encourage building owners to make POPS more inviting.  (Uh-huh.)

But the best news is that now we citizens know what we were promised by developers, what they’re legally obliged to provide our community and what we have every right to expect!

A good summary of which is found in this DNAInfo piece… 



On to the week ahead:

Saturday, February 9th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street between First and York, 9am – 2pm                                              NO Compost & Clothing Collection this week

It’ll be storm-sized market tomorrow with – as of 4pm Friday – stalwarts Ballard Honey and Samascott and Rising Sun Farms on hand.

But even if the market’s a tad mini, there’ll still big things happening…

Case and point and as if there weren’t already miriad reasons to be a Greenmarket regular:  Introduce/refer a friend/friends to the market experience and prizes for you will follow!  Pretty irresistable, yes?  Just stop by Market Manager Emma’s table for details and to get started!

Not only that but beginning this Saturday and continuing through the end of March, Greenmarket will be doubling the value of WIC Fruit and Vegetable benefits!   Spend a $6, $10, or $15 check and receive an equal amount in FREE Greenmarket Bucks to spend on fruits and veggies (at the market, of course!). 

Yes, and then there’s this suggestion for Valentine’s Day:   Why not gift your honey with some scrumptous local honey?

Last week’s recycling totals:  55 lbs batteries;  39 lbs #5,  Britta filters/cords/corks/CD/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair eye glasses; 17 bags of clothes;  5 compost bins.

YTD (from 1/5/13):  262 lbs batteries; 224 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords/CDs/DVDs/jewel cases/cellphones and cartridges; 4 pairs of eye glasses; 74 bags of clothes; 26 compost bins.

Pretty darned amazing.

Sunday, February 10th:  Tales of the Awful Dead at Green-Wood Cemetary Tour

Green-Wood Cemetary, Gothic entrance gate, 25th Street off of Fifth Avenue, 11am-1pm and 2-4pm

Obscura’s at it again with a slew of new outings, i.e.:  “Interred in the ornate graves of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Brooklyn are among our city’s most scandalous and corrupt…  Murderers who killed in a fit of passion or for just plain hire.”   Learn the delicious details from devote Allison Meier.  Includes a visit to the cemetary’s catacombs!.   $18 with a portion benefitting the Green-Wood Historic Fund.   For  tickets and details

Tuesday, February 12th:  East River Crew Valentine/Annual Benefit Party

Poet’s Den Gallery and Theater,  309 East 108th Street, between First & Second, 7-9pm

You know those wonderful big boats so many of us went rowing in last summer?  Well, Sandy roughed up them up a bit…  Along with equipment and even the containers the boats are stored in!  No way we UESiders won’t make sure the Crew’s back on the East River come spring…  And   Valentine partying down at the same time!   Tickets $25, $50, $75, and $100 (and totally tax deductable).  For full details…  

Tuesday, February 12th & Wednesday, February 12th: Asphalt Green’s Spring Open House & Crazy Membership Offer

York Avenue at 92nd Street, 5:30am – 10pm

Remember that resolution you made – only a few weeks ago –  to get fit in 2013?  How’s this for follow-through incentive:  New members can join Asphalt Green for $2 and get two months free when they sign up for an annual membership.  At the very least, you can nail down two days in the gym free.  For the lowdown… 

Saturday, February 16th:  From Garbage to Gardens with Neighborhood Explorers

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, 2-4pm

Neighborhod Explorers of the Lehman Village Community Center – middle schooler with a mission – have learned a thing or two about reducing waste in and greening their neighborhood that we all could benefit from…  But , of course, especially great for the young people in our lives.   Free.  For more and to sign up…  (Great to see F.A.O. Schwartz has a kids foundation!)

Down the month:

Monday, February 18th through Friday, February 22nd:  Winter Science Camp – Plant Pioneers

New York Botanical Garden, 2300 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 9am-4pm

Lucky 8-10 year olds can spend their break being a plant scientists/inventors in the mold of the great George Washington Carver.  (Nobody does this stuff better than the Botanical Garden.)  $250.  For details and to register 

Wednesday, February 20th:  The Gardens of Alcatraz Lecture

New York School of Interior Design, 170 East 70th Street, 6-7:30pm

Gardens on Alcatraz?  Indeed there have been for the last 150 years, of many kinds and tended by an array of gardeners.  Shelagh Fritz, horticulturist and project manager at the Gardens of Alcatraz, has one amazing story to tell!  Members, $15.  Non-members, $30.  For more and to register… 

Friday, February 22nd:  Jefferson Market Library, Collection & Clock Tower Tour

Library Foyer, 425 6th Avenue, Greenwich Avenue at 10th Street, 7:30-9pm

Who knew that – in one of its many, earlier incarnations – this was where Sanford White’s murderer (Harry Thaw) was tried?  That its tower was once a fireman’s lookout?  (You’ll get to climb up into it!)   That’s just scraping the surface …  Another Obscura event.  $12.  For tickets and more…  

Wednesday, February 27th:  Poetry Idol Open Auditions

Poet’s Den Theater, 309 East 108th Street, 7pm

No stopping our East Harlem neighbor and impressario Raphael Benavides…  Now he’s challenging all comers to bring on their poetry game.  Must be 21, have your composition memorized and speak for no longer than 3 minutes.  For full details…   

Thursday, February 28thSecrets of the Livingston Masonic Library

71 West 23rd Street, 14th Floor, 6:30-8pm

Who knew there was a Masonic lodge – let alone library – on 23rd Street?  Heaven knows how the folks at Obscura got entrance but tour members will be treated to the fully Monty of the secretive bunch’s history and rituals and the library’s collections and memorabilia.  $12.   For tickets and further info

Thursday, February 28th:  Re-Imagining the East Harlem Waterfront

Johnson Community Center at James Weldon Johnson Houses, 1820 Lexington Avenue, just north of 112th Street

Hunter College urban planning students are at it again…  This time grad students at HC’s Greening The Gap  urban planning studio and in partnership with TreesNY.   Needless to say, those of us living just to the south need to address many of the challenges along our esplanade.  Free.  To sign up

(Win a $100 prize if you live or work in East Harlem and complete this survey re your opinions on the East Harlem waterfront!)

It’ll be here before we know it:

Wednesday, May 15th – Friday, May 17th:  3rd Annual Urban Agriculture Conference

Kimmel Center at NYU, 60 Washington Square South

And we quote: Food and culture, community networks, sustainable urban agriculture, youth engagement, economics, local food sovereignty, policy, and field trips to farms in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.”  Organized by the Horticultural Society.  Volunteer opportunities are available!  For full details



 All over the lot with this week’s miscellany:

Last week it was bees…  This time out it’s over-fished sharks that’re needing our help

Can’t hurt to have 7 million pairs of keen NY citizen eyes trained on how our city’s money’s being spent via a new site just launched by the comptroller’s office…   (And check out what The Times says on the subject…)

Good news that the EPA moved to ban some of the anti-coagulant rat poisons that’ve so adversely affected children, pets and the birds which prey upon the rodents –  hawks, eagles and owls.

No any other area  beats us in our quintifecta of excellence in #5/battery/electronics/compost/paper shredding collection…  But we remain lodged in middle ground overall…  As this recent Sanitation Department map attests. 

(Hey, no way we’re not  up to the challenge!)

Rather a surprise that European austerity’s sufficiently austere that it’s brought on a return to the land movement in France and Greece…  (Hope the Orthodox Church distributes those plots free or at little cost.) 

Maybe even more surprising that the Javits Center is now equipped with a lovely green roof!

News of China’s newest high speed rail service slipped through the cracks over the holidays but still bears reading…  (1,200 miles in 8 hours!)  

What’s not to like about a DIY solar panel for $104 and small change

Meanwhile, in Australia, windpower is now cheaper than fossil fuels oil and coal

Kudos to Caitlin Van Dusen for her recent New York tap water vs. bottled taste test

Perchance you missed last week’s tale of a library book returned only 55 years late

Lots of hysterical Downton Abbey send-ups going around and here’re two:  Sesame Street’s “Upside Downton Abbey”  and Happy Face’s Downton Pics and Posts.



Hello, animals:

Thanks to reader Jack Donaghy for tipping us of to NYC’s Top Dogs; Mapping Names & Breeds in the City

And these excerpts from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/22 – Piermont, HRM 25: A report came in today from Lorri Cramer of the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society… 

(A Turtle and Tortoise Society?!  Our great city really does have it all!)  (And the society meets at the Central Park Arsenal!!)

1/27 – New York Harbor, Lower Bay:  A relatively balmy and calm day which allowed for excellent views of sunning seals on the rocks of Swinburne Island.  Bird highlights included large rafts of greater scaup, common goldeneye, a couple of red-throated and common loons, northern gannets diving in the distance, and several buffleheads…  – Gabriel Willow

And a bufflehead is

female bufflehead

female bufflehead

male bufflehead

As snow falls, we’re dreaming of spring green,


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