Monthly Archives: March 2014

Happy Earth Hour Saturday, UESiders,

And do – easy now that we’re back on Daylight Savings – flip those light switches into the off-position for that one hour…  Then follow the event as it travels and is celebrated around our world!

Meanwhile…  Isn’t great we dodged that most recent snow/blizzard bullet?

In celebration, herewith this excerpt from Robert Frost (courtesy of reader Kathleen Treat):

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.



Until it’s well and truly here, we’re adopting this antidote to winter blues… Giving a tree a great, big hug…  Science-proven to make us humans feel better Honest!

So what if it’s rainy, it’s going to be in the fifties this Saturday:

Now to June 30th:  Steinway & Sons Tour

1 Steinway Place, Astoria, 9:30am-12pm

Founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street, Steinway creates some of the most wonderful pianos in the world, used by over 90 percent of concert pianists. For more than a century, Steinway & Sons’ manufacturing process was a closely guarded secret, but about 10 years ago, the company started guided tours of their factory, offering just one tour a week for 15 visitors and requiring booking well in advance: or 718-721-2600. 

Now till…They Don’t Say:  Ponds, Pipes, and People Exhibit

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, 110th Street and Central Park North, 7 days a week, 10am-5pm

Explore the many ways water figures in the great park’s history and design, the park’s vibrant aquatic ecosystems, and the Conservancy’s care of 150 acres of water in the middle of a dense urban landscape. Free.  Gallery tours for visitor and school groups are available with minimum two-weeks advance registration: 212-860-1370.  For more

Now – September 7th:  Palaces for the People – Guastavino and the Art of Structure Tile

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avene between 103rd & 104th

If you’ve ever been to the Food Emporium under the 59th Street Bridge, you’ve experienced the UES exemplar of the Guastinvos’ – father and son – inspired work.  Or if you’ve been on the Grand Central’s lower level around and in the Oyster Bar…  High time the pair, their art and innovations are given the accolade of a museum exhibition.  For more and hours…  

P.S. Check out Christopher Gray on Upper West Side row houses designed by father Rafael Guastavino Sr.  

Saturday, March 29th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us on what’s projected to be a 60-degree day will be the great people of American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

Darn!  Another week chicken livers sold out before we arrived!

She won’t be with us this week, but shall we say folks were happy to see her last Saturday:

The Master Knife Sharpener Holds Court

The Master Knife Sharpener Holds Court

Last week’s recycling totals:  62 lbs batteries;  19 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 4 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Another “slow” week…

(Do keep in mind,Wearable Collection’s Earth Month Shoe Drive!)

Upon us soon:

Saturday, April 5th:  13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Tour

Meet at the Albert E. Short Triangle Park, corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street, Long Island City,  11am-2pm  

Really and we quote:  “In 13 steps, Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman will show attendees the then and now of the Dutch Kills tributary, once known as the “workshop of the United States.”  Another great Obscura Society event.  $20 and advance tickets required.  For more and to reserve your place…  

Monday, March 31st: Archeology in the Seaport

South Street Seaport, 6pm

Alyssa Loorya, president and principal investigator of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, leads a tour highlighting archaeological discoveries unearthed from beneath this storied commercial district’s streets during its redevelopment and revitalization. The tour will end with a rare, hands-on survey of recent archaeological finds. Organized by Open House New York.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $25.  For tickets

Thursday, April 24th:  Exploration of the Past and Present State of the East River Waterfront

House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, 6:30pm

Architectural historian John Kriskiewicz and landscape architect Signe Nielson explore the history of East River waterfront and in the library of the former Fabbri Mansion, now (and landmarked) House of the Redeemer.  Suggested donation, $10.  Registration requested. Call 212-289-0399 or

Saturday, April 26th & Sunday, April 27th:  Green Festival

Pier 94, 55th Street & the West Side Highway, 10am-6pm

Some years it’s great, some years a bit blah, but good equals a ton of green products you can get up close with and grill their makers/inventors. Think food, fashion, health,  energy, construction, design and activities designed for families. Goldstar’s offering bargain tickets, too ($5-$10)! 

Monday, April 28th:  Friends of the Esplanade (60th-120th) Benefit

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

We’ll be beating the drum non-stop on this until the day…  And keep pointing out that as with so many things in this life – even with the Feds, State and City contributing bigtime – we of the UES’ll get the Esplanade we pay for…  BUT you’ll be getting great wine, eats and raffle/silent bidding fun with your generous contribution!   So head on over to the event page

Sooner than we think:

Tuesday, May 20th:  Citizen Tree Pruner Class

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street

Definitely one of the best things ever: Trees New York’s signature Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course, 5 sessions long and offering New Yorkers a comprehensive curriculum covering basic tree biology, street tree identification, pruning and care. Graduates emerge with a license empowering them to legally prune their neighborhood’s street trees!   A bargain at $100.  For further details and to sign up



And with that, on to things miscellaneous:

First in the queue:   Guess what?  We have our very own nuclear waste site in NYS!  Even more incredible?  Our State Senate’s attempting to cut funds for a long, long overdue clean-up!  If you disagree with that move

In the same realm of incredibility?  Elements in our House of Representatives wishing to prohibit the creation of any more national parks!  If you feel otherwise… 

But let’s talk local outrage, albeit of considerably smaller scale…  This past Tuesday, as Related Companies excavated what was once Ruppert Playground, a vestige of the once great Ruppert Brewery was unearthed. Just a few brick arches but a meaningful bit of Yorkville’s past, partially demolished before archeologists were given access and allowed only the briefest to document before bulldozers leveled it.   Really.

Of course, all the antibiotics fed/applied to what we humans eat would have effects on us…  One being the surge in our weight.

Yes, it seems endless, but there are those who keeping wanting to shoot wolves… This while others who support science and maintaining their endangered species protection.  If you’re a protector… 

And should you also think that Congress should maintain funding for all endangered species at its present current (drastically reduced since 2008) levels rather than cutting it further

And if proliferation of crude oil being transported via the Hudson River is one of your concerns… 

As it bears on demands on UES infrastructure, pedestrian and traffic flow, density and so much more, this from Council Member Garodnick on wisest modernizaton of neighboring East Midtown

Bite the bullet, friends, and if you haven’t already, read The Times on ourcity’s decrepit maze of underground pipes.

On the much brighter side:

The mayor’s named an interesting new Parks Commissioner:  Mitchell Silver.

The EPA’s just proposed a rule that’ll restore Clean Water Act protections to streams, wetlands, and the drinking water affecting 117 million Americans nationwide!  

Our new Borough President has made her feelings plain about NYPL’s plans for dramatic alterations in the main branch and sale of Mid-Manhattan in her letter of March 25th…   (She very much disapproves.)

Attendance has been so high at the year-old Museum of Mathematics, they’re looking to expand!

Prospect Park Zoo’s a finalist for IKEA’s 2014 “Life Improvement Project” makeover in Brooklyn and we can help!  Vote today and the zoo could win a much-needed IKEA-designed space!  

For those who’ve seen (and been shocked) by graffiti on First under the 59th Street Bridge, DOT’s promising to remove it within 30 days…  Cross you fingers!  (Won’t hurt if you also call 311, too.) 

We’ve become total fans of our state DEC’s online tip sheet, Green Living! Of course, we UESiders already know about bird bath cleaning…  But burping trout? What to do with those leftover earthworms you took fishing? The journey clothes/fabric you give to Wearable Collections can take?  Green Living’s great!

Buildings covered in bougainvillea…  Surrounded by jasmine and Jacaranda trees…  Doesn’t get more cutting-edge and beautiful than this design for a medium-rise development in Morocco

Meanwhile, if you’ve noted Robert A.M. Stern’s recent appearances around town…  Here’s why…  Another luxury behemoth and here on the UES,  

Transition time:

Craving a Zagat’s Restaurat guide?  Review a few of the eateries you frequent and receive a guide as reward!

In case you missed news of this world-shaking development…  The UES cupcake ATM!




Is the red-winged blackbird beautiful or what?  Plus it braves NY winters…  Making it wild and crazy, too!

So bats are afflicted by a  deadly white fungus visible on their noses…  Now, it’s a virulent eye disease spreading among House Finches.  The good news is that Citizen Scientists are making big contributions to understanding the killer pathogen!

It’s a heavy decision but you be the judge:  Who’s the best alarm clock?  Cats…? Or dogs?

Then there’s this from the wonderful Hudson River Almanac: 

3/14 – Croton-on-Hudson: A large, healthy-looking German shepherd-sized canine loped through the woods at the edge of my yard. Was it a tan-and-gray of a coyote?  No, too big to be one. It made its way over a rock wall to the road, disappeared down the slope to the Croton Reservoir and I caught glimpses of it running across the frozen expanse. Hope it made the other side safely as the reservoir was beginning to thaw in places. It was probably the same critter that’s made larger-than-coyote prints all around my back door each fresh snowfall. I was always armed with my guide to animal tracks but never made a satisfying identification.  – Robin Fox

[Identifying animal tracks in snow, unless they are extremely fresh, can be very tricky. The walls of the print tend to move, melt, or crumble, generally increasing in size. This description sounds like a healthy eastern coyote (“Woyote”).  – Tom Lake.]

Our bracket is green (with some white) for Michigan State,



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Happy First Day of Spring 2014, UESiders!

So what if the Weather Service and NOAA are saying – due to our mind-boggling winter – solid spring weather will likely be delayed at least 2 weeks…   We’re seeing the little green tips of crocus and daffodil leaves poking up in planters and tree beds!

March 20th some 18 years past, we were on I-40 on day two of the three-and-half day scramble NYC-to-L.A. when the sky darkened at the southern edge, moving fast due north and towards us…  Pretty scary till you made out the leading edge of a way beyond a Mississippi-wide river of migrating birds.

What else to do but pull over, get out and look up with reverence…   Along with everyone else in a car or 18-wheeler…  To a one, in tears, laughing, feeling tiny but together in that moment…

Not as intense as our experience, but this gives an idea

As the next few weeks unfold, do check what’s in bloom at Schurz Park then go over and see for yourself!

Plenty of great things coming up on our dance card:

Friday, March 21st:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time out:  The two new spring evening planets, Mars & Saturn…  Visible in Manhattan with or without equipment. Always a treat and free.  

Saturday, March 22th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us on what’s projected to be a 60-degree day will be the great people of American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

We’re making soup with Gajeski’s baby spinach!

Last week’s recycling totals:  59 lbs batteries;  21 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 13 pair of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 17 bags of clothes.

And, as of 12pm, we thought it was going to be a slow composting day…  HA! 

Wednesday, May 26th:  Pledge2Protect Demonstration

City Hall, Park Row Entrance (west side City Hall, adjacent to 4-5-6), 12:30-2:30pm

Last week’s demonstration was a slam-dunk success…  Wear your P2P t-shirts and buttons…  Wave signs…  Get fact sheets into the hands electeds and everyone else entering the inner sanctum!  Do RSVP… 

Tuesday, March 25th:  Paradise Planned – The Garden Suburb and the Modern City Lecture

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 6:30pm

Star-Architect Robert A.M. Stern shares his wisdom on the evolution of suburbia and the important lessons it holds for present-day cities.  Members, $18.  Non-members, $30.  For tickets and more...

Wednesday,March 26th:  Take Wing and Fly Here – An Evening in Conversation with Prianka Kumar and Jane Alexander

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, 3rd Floor Gallery, 6pm

Author Kumar and Academy-nominated and Audubon Society board member Alexander discuss conservation and birds in art.  Free.  Presented by the Audubon.  For more

Thursday, March 27th:  NYC Clean Heat Meeting

McCaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th Street, 6:30-8pm

We’ve all looked out and seen those freaky black plumes gushing out of chimneys across the street…  The end result of burning most polluting #4 and #6  heating oil.    Could be your building’s…  Well…  Being equally naughty.  Check it out on the Spot the Soot Map and get yourself over to 67th for the lowdown on conversion and what you can do to make it a cleaner air a reality!  Free but best to RSVP

On the horizon:

Saturday, March 29th:  30th Annual Green Thumb Grow Together Conference

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

And we quote, “Join thousands of NYC community gardeners and greening professional for a day of learning, sharing, networking, greening inspiration and handds-on workshops!”  Pre-registration (and guaranteed breakfast, lunch and t-shirt), $5.  For more and tickets

Monday, March 31st: Archeology in the Seaport

South Street Seaport, 6pm

Alyssa Loorya, president and principal investigator of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, leads a tour highlighting archaeological discoveries unearthed from beneath this storied commercial district’s streets during its redevelopment and revitalization. The tour will end with a rare, hands-on survey of recent archaeological finds.  Organized by Open House New York.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $25.  For tickets

Tuesday, April 1st:  NYC Beekeepers Association Meeting

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

This month’s special guest:  Sarah Red-Laird, AKA Bee Girl, founder/Executive Director of the Bee Girl Organization and degreed bee researcher. Honestly, this is the kind of interest/activity that makes NYC the place that is.  Free.  Be there at 6pm if you like to sign up as bee apprentice.

Out there but coming up fast:

Saturday, April 26th:  Run for the Wild

The Bronx Zoo, Runners – 8am, Family Fun Run/Walkers – 8:45am

Proceeds from this year’s 5K event will support 96 elephants…  The number killed each day for their ivory.  You can even make a virtual run at home on your treadmill!  Registration for adults, $40.  Kids & Seniors, $30. Register by March 24th and receive $5 off.  For more and to sign up

Thursday, April 10th:  Urban Agriculture Webinar 

At Home in Front of Your Computer, 10:30am-12pm

Join Hone Strategic LLC and the Pace Law School Land Use Law Center to explore barriers to urban food production and how to surmount them through comprehensive planning and zoning.  Staff from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will also discuss technical and financial support for urban agriculture.  Organized by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Free.  For more and to sign up

Sunday, April 13th:  4th Annual Tour de Staten Island

Commencing at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, registration at 8am 

Ever biked to the beaches of Staten Island?  Pedaled through a landfill-turned-park?  Admired Lower Manhattan from across New York Harbor? Here’s your shot at  all that and more!  Members, $15.k  Non-members, $20.  Riders limited to 1,000 so sign up soon!



Time for miscellany…  Excellent, good and migraine-inducing: 

Wow!  We will soon – as of April 1st – now have a new Sanitation Commissioner…  Ms. Kathryn Garcia!

Last week we noted approval of that uber-upscale restaurant in Union Square… A city move that’s inspired a petition calling out the increasing privatization of our parks.  Should you object to this – our city’s present – strategy…  (And please forward on…) 

Meanwhile and thankfully, the 1914 East 77th Street Ardsley Garage’s been proposed for landmarking!  Should you support preservation of this lovely utilitarian structure and learn more

Mayor Mike may be history but the development steamroller remains…  In this instance in the name of funding Hudson River Park...  With the probably result of a farthest West Side corseted by high rises…

Okay, so now they’re wanting to build a natural gas line from Pennsylvania fracking country to Schoharie County, New York en route to northeastern markets.  Of course, it’ll be crossing numerous aquifers, watersheds, wetlands… You name it and decision-making is moving fast.  If you believe more time and thought are required…    

And, no, vampire-like the desire of West Virginia coal companies to engage in mountaintop removal has yet to have a stake permanently driven through its heart…    (If you disapprove of the practice…) 

Believe it or not but there are elements out in Indiana trying to rescind the state’s successful energy efficiency program

Kudos to the Hilton Hotel chain that they’ll no longer have shark fins on the menus!  (If you’d like to give them a thank-you…)

Interesting stuff in Consumer Reports’ most recent newsletter…  Where we are on getting antibiotics out of orchards…  When and/or if farmed fish can be organic…  Action to take on misleading food labels…  

Would have been great if there’d been even more, but 80,000 green jobs were created last year!

Then there’s this:

Wonder no more why that Time Warner bill is going and will continue to go through the roof



We’re ready for animals:

You bet, Blossom the baby bat is totally cute…

Push-ups with a walrus

On World Happiness Day we’re joyfully green,




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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, UESiders!

While we’re eating corned beef and cabbage and chugging green beer, the Paris will offering free travel for 3 days!

No, not for easier partying, but a desperation move…  The city’s air is presently so polluted, they’re hoping to get drivers out of the cars!   

Meanwhile, Inside the Apple postcard mystery solved!  

Beidler Forest

Beidler Forest

Erin Go Bragh big-time, people!

And happy National Reading Month, too:

Saturday, March 15th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms!  

You have had burgers made with Rising Sun’s ground beef?!

Last week’s recycling totals:  56 lbs batteries;  24 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Yes, indeedy.  Another mind-boggling 8 1/2 bins!!

Saturday, March 15th & Sunday, March 16th:  Four Freedoms Park Open House

FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, 10am-2pm

If you haven’t yet a paid a visit to the UESide’s beautiful and newest Park, get yourself over to Roosevelt Island’s southern tip, meet Conservancy members and maybe even be inspired to become a volunteer park Greeter! For more… (Thanks to 1,000+ Friends for the tip!)

Thursday, March 20th:  “Water  Blues Green Solutions” Screening

The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, 6:30pm

NYCH2O’s at it again, this time with a doc that details the ways real people solve their water problems in impressively green ways…  Including our Bronx neighbors and the Bronx River!  Co-presented with the Bronx River Alliance and Penn State Public Media.  Light refreshments.  $5 donation. For more and to RSVP

Friday, March 28th:  The Lock Picking Party

The John Mossman Lock Collection of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, 20 West 44th Street, 7pm

And we quote:  “Learn how to pick locks with one of the world’s very best while indulging in classic cocktails, live music and 19th century splendor. Calling the crafty and the curious; everyone leaves with their very own lock picking kit!” Organized by the Obscura Society, of course.  $75.  Open bar so you have to be 21!  For more and to sign up

Wednesday, April 16th:  Daylighting the Saw Mill River Forum

Hansgrohe – AXOR Design Studio, 29 Ninth Avenue, 6:30-8pm

The poor Saw Mill River…  Buried for decades but back again, at least in part. Speakers hail from the many entities that’ve restored the river to life in downtown Yonkers.  Free.  For more on the project... 

crassula morgan's beauty

crassula morgan’s beauty

As for miscellany:

Let us commence with the Are They Kidding Department…  As in the folks at our State Department of Environmental Conservation are intending to cut water quality testing!!!  Read and if you object

Be interesting to hear – from the man himself – why Governor Christie’s closed down Tesla car sales in NJ

Thanks to reader Jackie Raven for this on the mega tons of road salt used these last few months.  Lucky that NYC water’s supplied by isolated, pristine reservoirs.  Not so our Jersey neighbors, much of whose H2O comes from rivers contiguous to roads and highways. 

But on the good foot:

We’ll have to keep fingers crossed and surely industry will appeal, but it could be energy companies will have to reveal contents of the fracking chemical cocktail!

Then there’s the soon-to-be Brooklyn start-up incubator – a partnership between New York City Economic Development Corp. and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering – with a focus on ” sustainable infrastructure, energy efficiency and climate adaption”!

Mostly approve of this year’s Historic District Council Award winners (being in the Ederle Center addition just does feel tomb-like)…  May there be ever higher standards for our city’s architecture! 

Pretty darned fabulous that the European Union has just passed a universal charger (for electronic devices) bill to take effect in 3 years!!  

On the good side of our NYS DEC – and, natch, they do have a very good side – is their annual Annual Garlic Mustard Challenge!  

Yes, NYC’s made sufficient strides in its compost collection that we’ve been profiled by no less than!

(We on the UES need our own commuter compost drop off site!!)

Think we need to have these great people pay our market a visit some Saturday!

Veering over to screwball:

The Flatiron Building the place to be for ogling men?  You bet, a hundred plus years ago!

zinnia grandiflora

zinnia grandiflora

Animals, at last:

Inscrutable that Yellowstone’s bisons get themselves shot if they wander off park land…  And they do wander in winter in search of more grass. Should you take issue with this approach to wildlife management

Can you name this bird:

mystery bird

mystery bird

And the answer is

What would a week be without a snippet from the Hudson River Almanac? 

3/3 – Manhattan:   Near the river shore, along the Hudson at Riverside Park South late in the day:  Found two females…  A common goldeneye and red-breasted merganser.  And in the park itself…  Robins, common grackles, a brown-headed cowbird and red-winged blackbirds.  – Tom Fiore

phacelia fimbriata

phacelia fimbriata

We’ll be seeing green and 4-leaf clovers all Monday,


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Wednesday, March 19th:

Happy Clocks Spring Forward Weekend, UESiders!

Hardly seems possible that we’ll be moving to Daylight Saving Time when there’re still crusty patches of snow around street trees…

Even so, as those of you with western exposures have likely observed, late last week, the afternoon sun’s angle changed and its light is now much more direct... This while there’re many a tree branch with those little swellings that will, in just another few weeks, be leaves!

Can’t wait!!



But there’re great days in the present:

Saturday, March 7th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Could be we’ll be enjoying an above-freezing market day!  Even if we’re not so lucky, at their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Yellowbell, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms.  

Fingers crossed on Ballard Honey!


Last week’s recycling totals:  76 lbs batteries;  41 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 6 pairs of eye glasses; 8 1/2 bins of compost; 15 bags of clothes.

Yes, people, that’s a record-breaking 8 1/2 compost bins!!  (The gentleman in charge of pick-up was really pleased with himself for allocating a 9th bin to 82nd Street!)

And then there’s that Shred-A-Thon total of 9,424 pounds!

(For ultra-last-minute market updates, check 

Tuesday, March 11th:  “Created Equal – America’s Civil Rights Struggle”  Screening

Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium, 417 East 61st Street between First & York, 6:30pm

Organized by The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden with The Museum of Tolerance and Restore NYC, the screening will be followed by a discussion of our nation’s ongoing efforts to create equal rights for all.   Free but please RSVP at 212-838-6878.



And then:

Saturday, March 15th:  Block Party Workshop!

Bowne Printers, 211 Water Street, 11am-2pm
Bowne Printers is one of the joys of the new South Street Seaport, offering wonderful classes like this one:  The basics of block carving and printing with Resident Printer Ali Osborn.  (We’re thinking bookplates!)  Members, $45.  Non-members, $50.  For more and to reserve a spot: or 646-628-2707.

Wednesday, March 19th:  Green Infrastructure Grant Workshop

Tishman Auditorium, New School University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, 6-7:30pm

Been contemplating a green roof for your building?  Replacing cracked and crumbling neighborhood sidewalk with porous pavemen?   Installing a rain garden?  Or…?  Whatever your pet project might be, our NYC Department of Environmental Protection has $6 million in grant money for residents to tap into and engineers to offer advice and refinements to what you’ve got in mind.  (Spring grant applications due May 5th.)  For full details

Wednesday, March 19th:  Murals of New York City Lecture

The Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street, 6:30pm

And what are the 30 most timeless and influential of our city’s murals? Artist, restorer and author Glenn Palmer-Smith weighs in on the subject of this talk and his new book.  Members, $15.  Non-members, $20.  Both include an invitation of the Society’s pre-lecture happy hour!  For more and tickets

Thursday, March 20th:  Designing with Native Plants Lecture

Ross Hall, New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 10am-12pm

For those unfamiliar with lecturer Thomas Rainer, he’s among the foremost American proponents of landscaping with our native flora and obviously a fellow from which we have much to learn.  Members, $31.  Non-members, $35.  For tickets, directions and more…   

Thursday, March 20th:  Impact of the New Organics Law Meeting

290 Broadway, 30th Floor,  Room 3, 9:30am-12pm

Yet another sign that NYC couldn’t be more serious about composting expansion: Intro 1162-A which bans the landfilling of food scraps from large restaurants, food retailers, caterers, sports arenas, and other establishments larger than 25,000 square feet.   And great the federal  E.P.A.’s supporting this brave, great new development with this informational gathering.  Free.  For full details and to reserve a place

Tuesday, March 25th:  Green Your Restaurant!

Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship, Baruch College, 55 Lexington Avenue at 25th Street, Suite 2-140, 2-4pm

Can’t have enough sources of info on the brave new world of composting by businesses…  In this instance, guest speakers from Con Edison’s Green Team, The Green Restaurant Association, The Mayor’s Office of Composting and more.  Free but pre-registration advised.  For more and to sign up

Saturday, March 29th:  30th Annual Green Thumb Grow Together Conference

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

And we quote, “Join thousands of NYC community gardeners and greening professional for a day of learning, sharing, networking, greening inspiration and handds-on workshops!”  Pre-registration (and guaranteed breakfast, lunch and t-shirt), $5.  … 



And then, next month and thereafter:

Sunday, April 6th:  Central Park North Woods Hike

We’ve had this great experience and, yup, there are more than a few moments when you imagine yourself in some remote, beautiful, faraway woodland!   Free.  Organized by American Forests, details will be revealed when you RSVP…  

Thursday, Friday &  Saturday, May 1st to May 3rd and Friday, May 9th & May 10th:  GrowNYC Annual Spring Plant Sale

Hattie Carthan Community Garden, Brooklyn and College Avenue Garden, The Bronx 

Yet another of GrowNYC’s many, many good works:  Perennial and annual flowering plants, herbs, and vegetables…  All cultivated by Greenmarket farmers and made available to us at wholesale prices! For how order, full schedule details and more



For once, we’re light on the miscellany…  Well, not that light:

So, guess what?!  Flooded with petitions, both Kroger and Safeway – #1 and #2 conventional grocery store giants – will no longer be carrying unlabeled GMO salmon!  (Costco next…!)

Maybe our governor needs some of the same medicine given that he’s proposed cutting library funding by 4%.  If you object, you can call and tell him so at 518-474-8390 or 212-681-4580!

Meanwhile, it’s America’s water under siege…  Fracking and industrial agriculture waste everywhere!

But, happily for NYC turf, was this week’s announcement that settlement moneys from that massive Exxon oil spill in Greenpoint are beginning to flow

Thanks to reader Karen Lane for this compilation of info graphic stats as to which age groups are best and worst environmental stewards…  (Hold your heads high, mature people!)

Packed with PR, but Recycling Today‘s article covering the opening of the Sims Sunset Park recovery facility – the place where our recycled residential glass/metal/plastic  is processed – is informative reading.

Scroll further down the page and rejoice that in only another year and a quarter – while industry vainly tries to prove that “dirty foam” can be viably be recycled – and NYC will be banning styrofoam altogether!  

Thanks to park champion Carol Rinzler, 1000+ Friends of Parks and Michael Powell of The Times for keeping us in the loop re the expensive eatery that’ll soon be occupying precious space in Union Square Park.

Amazing that this is the first we hear about Queens’ John Bowne High School!

Moving well off the reservation:

Ever wonder what the real status – rent controlled, rent stabilized, market rate – of your apartment might be?  Here’s how to approach finding out… 

On the subject of NYC apartments past, there’s this lovely Christopher Gray piece on his first residence…  A second-floor railroad flat on Third south of 81st!   

And on UES real estate in the present



Hummm…  Animals:

You bet there’s a best way to clean your birdfeeders and birdbaths and stamp out avian diseases like Songbird Fever!  

Best animal name of the week?  The adorable Timberdoodle!

And then there’re these two little gems from the great Hudson River Alamanac:

2/19 – Manhattan, HRM 1: While checking our traps off the steamship Lilac at Pier 25 we caught our first glass eel of the year. The River Project interns found the water temperature to be 36 degrees Fahrenheit and the salinity to be 12.0 parts per thousand. (In 2013, our first glass eels were taken in Yonkers on February 22.) – Nina Zain

glass eels

(Freshwater eels have survived global cataclysms for millions of year, but now some populations appear to be diminishing – even disappearing – worldwide and scientists are not quite certain why. Compared to other fishes, their lives are cloaked in mystery. While American eels are considered freshwater fish, they are born at sea and many of them spend much of their lives in tidewater. Glass eels are one of their juvenile life stages. They arrive by the millions in the estuary each spring following a six-month to year-long journey from the Sargasso Sea where they were born. “Glass eel” is a colloquial name owing to their lack of pigment and near transparency. This is a particularly vulnerable time for them, about which little is known. In anywhere from 12-30 years, depending upon their sex, they will leave the Hudson River watershed for the sea, where they will spawn once and then die … or so we think. Tom Lake.

2/27 – Fishkill:  I watched a gray squirrel this morning scamper across the snow-covered yard, carrying nesting materials in its mouth. It proceeded high up into a white pine where there once was a crow’s nest which Ms./Mr. Squirrel was refurbishing.  – Ed Spaeth

It’s a wonderful green world,



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