Monthly Archives: May 2014

Happy, Manhattanhenge, UESiders!

Don’t worry if you miss this evening’s display…  There’s another coming up on July 12th! 

But do prep yourself with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s expert observations on the phenomena…

manhattanhenge

On to the week ahead: 

Saturday, May 31st:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Cherry Lane, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef and Garden of Spices Farms!

Yes, Cherry Lane is back…  And they’re hoping to have strawberries this Saturday!!

A word about Rabbits’ Run Farm…  Yes, after however many years with us, they suddenly vacated their spot in the churchyard for one at Grand Army Plaza.  Of course, we understand economics, but we’re sorry not to have been able to say farewell and wish good luck.  

Meanwhile, we’re informed,  a new farmer with dairy products will soon be in place! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  62 lbs batteries;  17 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 2 pairs of eye glasses; 7 bins of compost; 31 bags of clothes.

Hummm…  Holiday weekend equals 7 compost bins…

Friday, June 6th:   DEC-Endorsed Erosion and Sediment Control Training

US EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway Room 27A, 8:45am-1:45pm

A once-every 3 year class…  A must for contractors, of course, as well as for those who want to make sure those contractors handling immense excavations right! $100 and registration by May 30th mandatory… 

Saturday, June 14th:  Pepacton Reservoir Paddle

Shavertown Bridge Launch, 11am-2pm

Only since 2012 has NYS DEP been issuing permits for such outings on this most pristine of reservoirs and major supplier of NYC water.  Yes and, of course, NYCH2O’s gotten their green hands on one.  With transportation and canoe, $100.  Without transport but with canoe, $50.  Provide your own transport and canoe, $25.  For more and tickets

Sunday, June 22nd:  92nd Street Greenmarket Returns!!

92nd Street and First Avenue, 9am-3pm

Compost & Clothing Collection 9am-1pm

At their tables will be Atlantic Seafood, Gonzales, Stannart, Norwich Meadows and Phillips Farms, Bread Alone and Meredith’s Bakery!

Yup, you read it right!  We’ll also be collecting clothes/fabrics/hats/belts/shoes at 92nd! 

Sunday, June 22nd: Shred-A-Thon – Welcome Back 92nd Greenmarket Edition!

Curbside, West Side of First Avenue between 92nd and 93rd, 11am – 2pm

You’ve been waiting…  You’ve been wanting…  And now it’s almost here!!

What a great way to celebrate 92nd Street’s return!

We’ll be shredding:

Paper of any and every kind, you brave recyclers!!

But, please, NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

Please remove paper clips and metal and plastic spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   But falling-apart paperbacks are just fine.

(Take those unwanted hardcovers to Goodwill or HousingWorks!)

(Many thanks to Council Members Dan Garodnick and Jessica Lappin for their most the generous grants!) 

Sunday, June 22nd:  Audubon “It’s Your Tern” Festival

South Battery Triangle, Governor’s Island, 12-4pm

Fun includes expert bird walks and talks, displays, plus family-friendly hands-on activities like creating oyster-shell jewelry…  PLUS Audubon naturalist Gabriel Willow will be leading boat tours out to the tern colony via the Buttermilk Channel!  Free.  For more

Really out there:

Saturday, September 20th – Tuesday, September 24th: Climate Ride NYC-DC

And we quote:  “From the exciting departure by ferry in Manhattan to the hero’s welcome and rally at the steps of the US Capitol, the east-coast version of Climate Ride is more than a bike trip – it’s an inspiring journey with 200 like-minded people who are united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles – the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.”   (You’ve got time to think about it!)   For more and to sign up

doryopteris-decipiens

doryopteris-decipiens

Doesn’t get more miscellaneous:

Commencing with this for you citizen scientists:

REQUEST FOR REPORTS OF GOLDEN CLUB

Polgar Fellow Julia Les and Erik Kiviat at Hudsonia and the Bard College Field Station are conducting surveys to determine the conservation status of the rare plant goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum) in Hudson River wetlands from about Barrytown north. We would like to hear from anyone who sees this distinctive plant anywhere on the Hudson River or has seen it in previous years (with the location, date, and roughly how many plants). The plant is most recognizable by its yellow stalks. There is a particular mystery about whether, or where, goldenclub occurs at Stockport Flats, but we also want to know about your sightings elsewhere. Please contact Erik Kiviat or Julia Les  kiviat@bard.edu;   jcles92@gmail.com

Golden Club

Golden Club

For a larger picture

On the barracades for a moment:

Disconcerting, to say the least, but National Geographic on on an new approach to feeding the world is must reading…

Think there’s no place in children’s products for toxic chemicals and other health-endangering ingredients

Check out the “manner” of one Steven Spinola, arch-enemy of landmarking

Yikes!  Nothing like perusing a NYS Sewage Discharge Report to make one question…  “Is this really 2014?”

Same for the Ohio move to abandon its renewable energy standards

Ditto the NYState  Real Estate Finance Bureau…  (Index cards?  Really!!)

Have to say, we’re even more critical of the mission/architecturally-challenged, progressively more pointless ego-trip exercise of the Presidential Library than Sam Steklow… (An Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the Clinton Library?!)

Brighter:

Ulster County’s just passed 2 resolutions demanding much-needed, higher safety standards on rail shipments of crude oil, including a review of proposed oil shipping expansion! 

Greenmarkets are constantly expanding our eating horizons, needless to say… But we can always improve and further support the farm-to-table movement, the esteemed Dan Barber says…

Brighter still:

As of October, by law, all of Massachusetts commercial food waste must be directed to energy-producing or composting facilities!  (Scroll down.) Incredible, huh?! 

It’s a first that we know of:  Discounts for early booking of NYState campgrounds…  All 112 of them!  For full details

Hope NYC museums are considering incorporating London’s Victoria & Albert’s approach to contemporary acquisitions:  Rapid Response Collecting.

Always something to learn about our city…  This time out, what we now know as Gramercy Park

Been waiting for this inexpensive construction approach to make it’s way out of emergency housing and uber-second home circles:  Even a step beyond modular in affordability…  Apartments from containers

Here’s a stunning new concept:  A German supermarket that’s stocked  entirely with non-packaged goods!

For the hyper-industrious among us:  How to make your own lavendar-scented detergent

oenothera-fruticosa

oenothera-fruticosa

Hey, animals:

So dragons return to the Bronx Zoo

And a flock of hummingbirds is called?  Get ready…  A bouquet…  A glittering…  A hover…  A shimmer…  Or a tune!

Seems ferrets will soon be legal pets in NYC

This week’s animal piece de resistance:  Nat Geo on dogs who’ve served America

So wonderful about the new ASPCA facility!

Feeling ever so warm, fuzzy and green,

UGS

 

 

 

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend, UESiders!

Now that Mother Nature’s finally bestowed some rain on all – and it was a lot – that got planted up at 96th Street last Sunday, let’s have total, unadulterated sunshine till Tuesday at least…

Meanwhile, as we gather around the barbecue grill, let’s recall that this weekend also marks establishment of America’s first nursery school in 1827 and the merging of the Lenox and Astor Libraries, creating our great NYPL!

anemone-blanda

anemone-blanda

So, what does the immediate future hold:

Saturday, May 24th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Rabbits’ Run Farms and Garden of Spices Farms!

Last week’s recycling totals:  65 lbs batteries;  14 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 39 bags of clothes.

Back in that 8 compost bin groove!

And the Greenmarket item of the week is…  Rhubarb!  (Technically a vegetable!) 

Monday, May 26th:  Memorial Day Celebration at the Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument

Riverside Drive and 89th Street, 12:00pm

Uber historian, writer and Lincoln authority Harold Holzer delivers the annual Memorial Day address in memory of all who’ve served our nation. Free and all are welcome!

Monday, May 26th: Annual Memorial Day Walking Tour 

Location reveal with reservation, 12:30pm

From the great people who bring us Inside the Apple, a 2-hour exploration of Lower Manhattan sites associated with war and American patriotism.  $20.  To reserve a place (and state how many in your party) email: footprintsinnewyork@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 27th:  Restore & Revitalize Wetlands on Randall’s Island

Randall’s Island, 9am-12pm

And we quote, “Weed, water, mulch, and help maintain these beautiful wetlands and gardens on Randall’s Island. Wear old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, bring water and a snack.”  RSVP required 

Tuesday, My 27th:  NYC Beekeepers Association Meeting

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

Debbie Hadley, naturalist, freelance writer, photographer and insect advocate (she raises monarch butterflies), enlightens “beeks” and friends on “Insects Beyond Bees”.  For more

Coming up:

Saturday, May 31st:  Old Brooklyn Waterworks Bike Tour

Meet at the Ridgewood Reservoir, Brooklyn, 11am

Manhattan Borough Historian, Michael Miscione, leads an exploration of water supply – and its remaining vestages – that served the City of Brooklyn until it was absorbed by the Greater New York in 1898.  Organized by the water crazy guys of NYCH2O!  $25.  For more and tickets

Friday, June 6th:  Summer Night with Greenmarket Chefs

North End of Union Square Park at 17th Street, 4-6pm

Celebrate summer (let’s hope it’s above 40 degrees) with a host of celebrated chefs and the great Union Square farmers!  Delicious food, yes, but much family fun and live music, too!  For more

Saturday, June 7th & Sunday, June 8th:  The Rose Garden Celebration

Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, New York Botanical Garden,  2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx

Two days of tours, music, water color painting, Q&A gardening sessions, raffles and more!  For full details...

For once, our miscellany’s pretty much upbeat:

Serious info combined with laughs as Letterman and Colbert weigh in on fracking

Results of the 2014 Trash Free Seas Report is in…  Last fall, some 650,000 volunteers in 92 countries cleared more than 12.3 million waste from beaches and waterways!  For the full report…  (We need to get busy on those giant, floating gyres!)

Pretty much a map of shame detailing which states are “home” to the most endangered species…  (Could be worse in NYState.)

Amidst the zillions of cars recalled, GM’s touting installation of its 400th electric car charging station!

Coming soon, we hope, truly biodegradable plastic from a silk protein and shrimp shells!

This while some parents are trading in plastic tableware for china/ceramic.

Meanwhile, following in Vermont’s footsteps, two Oregon counties have banned GMO crops!

And Minnesota’s the first state to ban triclosan, a soap and hygiene product ingredient thought to foster resistant bacteria…

Still in the Midwest, Wisconsin’s got the Green Roof of the Week!

But, of course, a Londoner would take up gardening in the city’s potholes!

Herewith from NYS DEC, advice for those of us heading up to the Adirondack back country this weekend

Who knew NYC Parks operates a Junior Golf Center?!

But, yes, Central Park now has a newly enhanced app

And Staten Island’s home to a revered mandolin maker!

Glad Consumer Reports has rated sun screens again this year

Thanks to DNAInfo for a look at the new prefab building now renting in Inwood…  (Micro apartments are nearing completion on First and 27th.)

Further on the subject of buildings, is it really necessary for the proposed Cornell-Tech structure to block views of 59th Street Bridge

Wrapping things miscellaneous up:  Seems our mayor’s traffic management philosophy – i.e. Vision Zero – is modeled on the Swedish approach.   (Be great if it works here!)

Heavy on the really cute animal items this time out:

As in mother animals adopting little ones of other species…  (Ready for a baby squirrel that purrs like her kitty mom?)

The season’s barely begun and a record fish’s already been caught…  A 60-pound striped bass

Robots milking dairy cows?  Yes, indeed, up near Albany…  (New York State’s the third largest milk producer after Minnesota and Wisconsin.)

And now there’s a great horned owl cam…  (One really beautiful bird.)

There’s a seal island cam, too!

Serious for a moment:  Will the Forest Service please lay off prairie dogs?

Back to upbeat…  How about ten fascinating facts about chickens? (Really!)

We leave you with the latest chapter in the now justly glamorous life and times of Tara the Hero Cat

Yours in greenness,

UGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean Conservancy

 

 

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Happy Children’s Book Week, UESiders!

Very appropriate for us to be celebrating as our own Yorkville Community School –  attended by characters in the children ‘s classic “The House on 88th Street” – has just been designated a Literary Landmark!

Which makes this the fifth stroke of luck bestowed our part of the world these last 7 days…

(It’s also Emerald Ash Borer Week and here’s lowdown on how to spot the tree-killing bug!)  

Shall we fasten our seat belts for the week ahead:  

Fridays Year Round:  Friday Evenings at the Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, 7-9pm

Take in the latest exhibition(s) and/or enjoy music performed by Mannes College/New School of Music students.  Free.   (Thank you, reader Kathleen Treat.) 

Friday, May 16th:  Fishblade Design Exhibition

Bohemian National Hall, Czech Center, 321 East 73rd Street, 6:30-8:30pm

NY Design Week brings this one-day presentation of a new collection of pocketknives by students of Prague’s Academy of Art and Design that follows local traditions of the Czech cutlery industry.  Reception following. Free. For more…   (No way we’re missing this!)

Friday, May 16th:  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 omega Centauri star cluster! Free.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 16th, 17th & 18th: Annual Ukranian Festival 

East 7th Street between First and Second

Pretty much lost history in 2014, but the East Village was once a Ukrainian bastion. Today – much like St. Stephen of Hungary – decendants of erstwhile residents come in from the suburbs and keep St. George Ukrainian Church lively and its annual street fair first rate. Once you’ve eaten your fill of great Ukrainian food (and it’s great!), listened to music and watched the dancers, consider stopping by the lovely Ukrainian Museum on East 6th (Ukranians past and present really know how to paint).  For more on the festival, including hours And the museum...

Saturday, May 17th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Rabbits’ Run Farms and Garden of Spices Farms!

Last minute newsflash:  Check out Garden of Spices will not be with us this week! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  61 lbs batteries;  10 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eye glasses; 8 bins of compost; 37 bags of clothes.

Yup, we’re back in our 8 bin groove!

Sunday, May 18th: Esplanade Friends Public Art Event & UGS It’s My Park Day – Part II 

Base of the Footbridge, East River Esplanade at 103rd Street, 11am-1pm

Yes, friends, it’s two simultaneous Esplanade events!   Head up to 103rd with your kids, let them participate in a child-friendly art project, take in a fantastic group of mariachi dancers, then join the March of Mariachis and follow the music over to Randall’s Island’s 14th Annual FLOW Art & Music Festival!  (For more and to volunteer…)

Meanwhile, to the South:

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

We’ll be gardening up a storm!  Roses…  Russian sage…  Milkweed to lure Monarch butterflies… More lavendar…  And who knows what else our landscape maestro Banford Weissman will have us planting!  Yes, of course, we’ll be scraping and painting more railings, too!   See you there!

Sunday, May 18th:   Shred Fest!

South Plaza, Union Square & St. Nicholas Park, 135th Street & St. Nicholas Avenue, 10am-4pm at latest

Organizers advise that you arrive early as shredding trucks will depart when they’re full…  Which could be well before the official 4pm closing-down time.  Free!

Tuesday, May 20th:  Community Board 8 Vendor Task for Committee Meeting

Einhorn Auditorium, Lenox Hill Hospital, 131 East 76th Street, 6:30pm

In light of the many complaints by merchants and residents, vendors on 86th…  Well, they make for a lot of congestion and unsightliness… Problems that could be addressed by enforcement of existing regulations. Your negative experiences can only help turn up regulatory heat, so come and share.

Coming up:

Wednesday,  May 28th:  Columbia University Yorkville Community Presentation

St. Jean Baptiste Church, 173 East 76th Street, 6pm

We may not be the Hudson Yards, but no question that development on the UES is back, abundant and potentially imperiling buildings providing flavor and meaning to this place where we live.  Thank goodness Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District’s been hard at work documenting area cultural resources and now, in concert with Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, is ready to share their comprehensive preservation plan.  Free but RSVP… 

Out there:

Sunday, June 22nd:  Audubon “It’s Your Tern” Festival

South Battery Triangle, Governor’s Island, 12-4pm

Fun includes expert bird walks and talks, displays, plus family-friendly hands-on activities like creating oyster-shell jewelry…  PLUS Audubon naturalist Gabriel Willow will be leading boat tours out to the tern colony via the Buttermilk Channel!  Free.  For more

Ah, miscellany:

It’s presently just a big idea, but the recently released plan to decentralize power production in NYState could be our 6th stroke of luck…  To check out the report

Want the $27 million the City Council’s added to Parks’ budget to stay in place? There’s a petition for that

For sure, there’s some parallel between waiting for Godot and the M31… 

Really, too incredible that Kodak’s in bankrupcy…  Still, there’s some consolation in NYState having established a trust fund that’ll guarantee continued monitoring and remediation of company-caused environmental damage in and around Rochester and to the Genesee River.

Last weekend, 1,900 volunteers joined together to remove more than 31 tons of trash and recyclables from the shores of the Hudson estuary and watershed!

rare event for members of the animal kingdom, rarer still for plants, but the flowering Kentucky glade cress now has Endangered Species Act protection!

Three decades after Reagan had solar panels removed from the White House roof, they’re baaaaccckk!

Heard that rumor that European cork trees are suffering from a devastating disease and being cut down in swaths being why we’re seeing plastic replacements capping wine bottles?  Totally, thankfully false!   (Thanks to reader Karen Lane.) 

In fact, there’s now a group of women organized around buying wine sealed with cork and only cork…  Because it’s both produced by nature (as opposed to energy-gobbling plastic) and totally recyclable.  (Ha!  We of the UES’ve been recycling our corks for years now!) 

Be sure to check out the DNA slideshow featuring Yorkville Community School’s impressive new Literary Landmark plaque!

Moving off our eco track:

From our friends at Precinct 19:  Questions you’ll be asked – and expected to answer – should you need to call 911…  (Always good to be prepared.)

Consider the decor of your under 1,000 square foot apartment the epitome of great design?  Apartment Therapy‘s got a contest for you to enter

Always a soft spot for things WWII…  Like this Times piece on an unusual 70th anniversary tribute to the D-Day landing

NYC’s new postermaster is

Given what Friends of the UES Historic District has already done, no way we can’t duplicate this project this project in NYC…  (And do it even better!)

Even more interesting when Christopher Gray lets himself entertain a subject like NYC cobblestones

Prepare yourself for major heart-warming…  Chicago seniors are helping young Brazilians learn English via Skype… 

Light on animals but the 3 are pretty choice:

And the Bird of the Week is…

small but most worthy cause:  A kitty in need of dentistry..

Then there’s getting up close and furry with Tara, the Hero Cat

Yours in greenness,

UGS

 

 

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Greetings, UESiders!!

Terribly sad but important to note today’s tragic traffic death at 93rd and Second Avenue

Shall we say, it bodes ill for the much larger vehicles/trucks that’d be involved in the 91st Street MTS and the very much smaller and younger people frequenting Asphalt Green.

plectritis-congesta

plectritis-congesta

Let’s be grateful for the week ahead: 

Saturday, May 10th:  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, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Rabbits’ Run Farms and Garden of Spices Farms!

Check out Garden of Spices beautiful mushrooms!

Last week’s recycling totals:  55 lbs batteries;  21 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 pair of eye glasses; 7 1/4 bins of compost; 35 bags of clothes.

Looking at this 7 1/4 bins as a total aberration…

Here’s to being back in the 8-bin groove this coming Saturday!

Saturday,May 10th: Carl Schurz Park Conservancy’s Annual Plant Sale

East End Avenue at 86th Street,  9:30am-4:30pm

And we both quote and attest, “Choose from among hundreds of the highest quality plants for your home, terrace, garden or office.”  (You’ll be ensuring the enduring beauty of Carl Schurz Park as well.)

Sunday, May 11th:  NYC SAFE Disposal Event

Union Square, North Plaza (south side of 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue), 10am-4pm

The Sanitation Department’s (usually) once-a-year, free event that gives us all a chance to clear our homes of potentially dangerous household items… Think nail polish…  Anti-freeze… Moth balls…  Old paint…  Pesticides… Stuff that no way should be flushed or poured down a kitchen sink or street drain or just tossed. Electronics, too!  For the complete list and more

Tuesday, May 13th:  East River Crew’s Rowing Season Begins

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 4:30pm

One of the best things ever on our Upper East Side…  Being out on the river in the company of expert boat people, rowing or not rowing yourself, experiencing the world of water and wildlife and our city from a new perspective. Free but donations welcome. No reservations required.  Just show up for the fun.  For more

Wednesday, May 14th:  “Leave it to Beavers”  

Channel 13, 8pm

Could well be our NYState animal will save the nation’s water supply… (Program includes plenty of baby beaver footage, too!)

Then:

Saturday, May 17th:  First Bronx Zoo Birdathon

2300 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 8:30am-5:30pm

Bird watchers of all ages and levels of expertise – even total non-expertise – learn and compete for fun and prizes at this first of it’s kind of event and at the peak of the spring migration season!  The Zoo’s got fabulous bird exhibits, too!  Adult Member, $15.  Child Member, $5.  Non-member Adult, $30.  Non-member Child, $15.  For more and tickets

Sunday, May 18th:   Shred Fest!

South Plaza, Union Square & St. Nicholas Park, 135th Street & St. Nicholas Avenue, 10am-4pm at latest

Courtesy of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and we quote, “Arrive early! Shredding trucks will be available until 4 p.m. (latest) or until they fill, which may be sooner.”  Free!

Sunday, May 18th: Esplanade Friends Public Art Event & UGS It’s My Park Day – Part II 

East River Esplanade at 103rd Street, 11am-1pm

Yes, friends, it’s two simultaneous Esplanade events!   Head up to 103rd with your kids, let them participate in a children-friendly art project, take in a fantastic group of fabulous mariachi dancers and then join the March of Mariachis over to Randall’s Island’s 14th Annual FLOW Art & Music Festival!

Meanwhile, to the South:

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

We’ll be gardening up a storm!  Roses…  Russian sage…  Milkweed to lure Monarch butterflies… More lavendar…  And who knows what else our landscape maestro Banford Weissman will have us planting!  Yes, of course, we’ll be scraping and painting more railings, too!   See you there!

Sunday, May 18th:  Greek & Roman Architecture on the Upper East Side Lecture & Walk

Pratt Mansions, Formal Parlor, 1026 Fifth Avenue, 11am-2pm

It’s all around us, folks, and our streetscape is the better for it!  Join Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District and the Padella Institute and learn how and why the neo-classical figures so widely in UES architecture. Light brunch will be served.  $25.  For details and to reserve a place… 

Sunday, May 18th:  Happy Birthday Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Gardens

421 East 61st Street between First & York, 1-4pm

Those of us familiar with this Upper East Side treasure know its special gift for merging fun and learning for all ages…  All the more so on the occasion of its 75th birthday party!  We’re talking games, crafts, a giant birthday card, CAKE and more!  Members free.  Non-member adults, $10.  Non-member children, $5.

Out there: 

Wednesday, May 21st:  Photovoltaics – Use of the Sun for Clean, Cheap Energy Lecture

Seafarers & International House, 123 East 15th Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Has to be tremendously informational given the guests:  Marlene Brown of the Federal National Lab and Max Joel of NYSERDA.  Presented by the Sierra Club’s Sustainability Series.  Free but please RSVP:  212-348-7183 or blanewebber@aol.com. 

Wednesday, May 21st:  “One Man’s Trash”

Ovation, Time Warner Channel 83, 10pm

Six Portland, Oregon artiss create art from an interesting array of – you guessed it – trash!  (Thanks to reader Karen Lane for the tip!)

Saturday, May 31st:  Old Brooklyn Waterworks Bike Tour

Meet at the Ridgewood Reservoir, Brooklyn, 11am

Manhattan Borough Historian, Michael Miscione, leads an exploration of water supply – and its remaining vestages – that served the City of Brooklyn until it was absorbed by the Greater New York in 1898.  Organized by the water crazy guys of NYCH2O!  $25.  For more and tickets

Way out there:

Wednesday, June 18th:  President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

Seafarers & International House, 123 Est 15th Street, 6:30-8:30pm

Hear it and be able to question an authority:  Judith Enk, EPA Adminstrator for New York, New Jersey & Puerto Rico. Presented by the Sierra Club’s Sustainability Series.  Free but please RSVP:  212-348-7183 or blanewebber@aol.com.

Way, way out there:

August 3rd:  4th Annual Circle Manhattan By Bike Ride!

Commencing on the East River Esplanade at the foot of the 60th Street & York Avenue Ramp, 9am

Ride the Greenway counterclockwise – heading south from 60th Street – around Manhattan for a fantastic 4 hours and 32 miles!  No question, for moderately to better-conditioned riders.  $22.  RSVP required.  To sign up and for further, important details

Never a dearth of miscellany:

In this 2014, can we not devise some other way of dealing with waste – in this case, really toxic waste – than burying it in Mother Earth?   (Do email a comment!) 

In the meantime, we are actually importing facking waste into NYS from Pennsylvania!  WORSE STILL, last week, a bill to end this crazy importation failed to make it out of the State Senate committee!  (Could there be a fracking waste lobby?!)

Think our roads leave something to be desired now?  FYI:  Congress is entertaining a big budgetary cut

And then, much as we all know about state of public transportation, there’s this: Rail tunnels under the Hudson are rapidly aging out!  (Thanks for cancelling those two new tunnels, you genius, Governor Christie.)

Meanwhile, the long-awaited study of New Jersey’s water systems finds two-thirds are contaminated with man-made chemicals!

In the It’s-Come-To-That Department:

Scientists are hard at work developing farm animals better suited to life on a warmer planet!

Last but not least:

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

On to the What-About-New-York score:

The Feds are allocating $48 billion for three off-shore wind power projects…  Off Virginia, Oregon and New Jersey shores!  (Say what?) 

NOW for the good news:

And we do mean good:  U.S. organic standards will no longer allow antibiotics to be used in organic fruit production!

Props to Bonnie Lane Webber’s “grass-roots” newsletter!  Do check out the perceptive summaries of eco issues and more news of our UES hood.  

All kinds of attention and energy focused on our East River Esplanade these days!  For example… 

We like this:  Send a New Yorkers for Parks’ e-card and a donor buys the group a daffodil bulb for us to plant next next fall!  (Nobody will be keeping your email either…) 

Like this as much and more:  This wonderful picture of the Hell’s Kitchen Kitchen Farm and that they reached their funding goal! 

Who knew the first power grid was located in lower Manhattan, circa 1882. For more on this tidbit of local history

More local lore:  What the contour of Second Ave at 42nd Street once was… And how/why it was reshaped to what we know now

Heads up, fishing enthusiasts!  Our NYS State Department of Environmental Conservation has lots of great info – most important, where the best fishing is! – for you!

(On the international fishing stage, the Pew Charitable Trusts is underwriting satellite technology to clamp down on nefarious, over-harvesting of tuna.) 

Ahoy, folks who boat in upstate waters!  The DEC’s needs our help in containing invasive species!  (Critters like the spiny water flea and Asian clam…) 

a spiny waterflea

a spiny waterflea

asian clams

asian clams

And hikers…  DEC’s alerting us to muddy conditions on Adirondack trails

No more bikes chained to everything vertical in NYC?  Could be now there’s a bicycle that folds up to the size of an umbrella!

Of course, you know what code is…  Now you can learn to write it via online courses and reasonable “membership” fees!.

Let there be animals:

Herewith 10 false animal facts that people believe are true

The Puffin Cam is up and running!

Cornell Ornithology’s now offering free online tutorials to hone bird identification skills!  (Scroll down.)

Doesn’t get better than green,

UGS

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Happy Hamburger Week, UESiders!

It’s Sustainable Seafood Week, too! 

Better still, it’s also a week during which, in the year 1744, NYC passed its first sanitation code, the central feature of which was to forbid skinners, tanners and starch makers from pouring waste from their business activities onto city streets!

Even better, it’s a reasonably warm first week of May:

Saturday, May 3rd:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables will be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Rabbits’ Run Farms and Garden of Spices Farms!

This Saturday at 10am, there’ll be a special treat for the young ones among us… Storytime with Natalie Cronin – area resident and founder of Tinker Tree Play/Care  –  plus an introduction to Natalie’s friendly and industrious composting worms! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  62 lbs batteries;  24 lbs filters, cords, CDs/DVDs, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 8 pair of eye glasses; 10 bins of compost; 42 bags of clothes.

One more time!  A record 10 compost bins and 42 bags of clothes!!

Holy crow!!

Saturday, May 3rd: The 19th Annual Big Swim

Asphalt Green Aqua Center, 1750 York Avenue at 91st Street, 10:45am

And we quote, “A swimsational day of free fun swim races for children ages 6-12 that also raises funds for AG’s Fit Kids Fit City Campaign!”  Olympic and other elite swimmers will also be on hand!  (Pledge2Protect will be there and active, too!)  For events, schedules, registration and more… 

Saturday, May 3rd & Sunday, May 4th: Jane’s Walk NYC and Birthday Party

All Around Town

Choose one of the 100-plus, unique, free guided tours, avail yourself of new, interesting perspectives on our city and its challenges, then wrap up the day at a birthday party…   All in honor of great urbanist Jane Jacobs.  For tour info and to RSVP for the party

Monday, May 5th:  Precinct 19 Shredding Event

19th Precinct Station House, 153 East 67th Street, 4-7pm

Of course, the NYPD’s concerned about identity theft and fantastic that our 19th Precinct is adding to the UES’s shredding opportunities!  Free.   (And consider attending the Precinct’s always interesting monthly meeting in the station house at 70m!)  

Tuesday, May 6th:  Why The World Needs An Urban Sustainable Development Goal Webinar

On Your Computer, 12-1pm

And don’t we all want and need a more livable and storm-resilient city! Organized by the Municipal Art Society Global and featuring a quartet of distinguished experts/speakers. Free. For more on the subject and to register

Tuesday, May 6th:  East River Esplanade Improvement Meeting

Regis High School, 60 East 85th Street, 6:30pm

Ideas needed…  And if you spent a minute on the delapidation which is our Esplanade recently, we’ll bet you’ve got plenty of them!  So come, share and let your imagination run free and green! 

Saturday, May 9th:  Butterfly Project NYC – Native Plant Share

East 153rd Street and Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 11am-1pm

Of course, we want to know more about native plants – especially milkweed – pretty to look at and a magnet for hungry butterflies.   This 2-hour session provides the basics and free plants – for use in public spaces like bike island gardens – as long as supplies last. Free like the plants.  To RSVP

Friday, May 9th: Impacts of Radon from Natural Gas on Indoor Air Quality Public Hearing

250 Broadway, 19th Floor, 10am

Among its many un-virtues gas from shale contains substantially more radon – the #2 cause of lung cancer – than conventionally- produced natural gas…  A risk that various NYS Assembly committees are now investigating.  For a full description of the hearing and its intent, including rules governing testimony… 

Saturday, May 17th – Sunday, September 7th: Groundbreakers – Great American Gardens and the Extraordinary Women Who Designed Them

The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx

Some of the names are familiar, others are not, but to-a-one they moved the landscaping art forward, often redefining what made for a beautiful garden. Adults, $20.  Children under 12, $10.  For details, hours and more…  

Then:

Sunday, May 11th:  NYC SAFE Disposal Event

Union Square, North Plaza (south side of 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue), 10am-4pm

The Sanitation Department’s (usually) once-a-year, free event that gives us all a chance to clear our homes of potentially dangerous household items…  Think nail polish…  Anti-freeze… Moth balls…  Old paint…  Pesticides… Stuff that no way should be flushed or poured down a kitchen sink or street drain or just tossed. Electronics, too!  For the complete list and more…  

Saturday, May 17th – Sunday, September 28th: Free Kayaking!

Pier 96 at West 55th Street & the West 72nd Street Dock

The all-volunteer Manhattan Community Boathouse will be offering free weekday and weekend kayaking on the Hudson to all comers.  Can’t be anything but great!  For the group’s calendar and more

Coming soon:

Sunday, May 18th:  It’s My Park Day – Part II 

East River Esplanade at 96th Street, 10am-3pm

Roses…  Russian sage…  Milkweed to lure Monarch butterflies… And who knows what else our landscape maestro Banford Weissman will have us planting!  Yes, of course, we’l be scraping and painting more railings, too!   Be there! 

Some of the IMPD-Part I Gang

Some of the IMPD-Part I Gang

As for miscellany this time out:

And why are we so fixated on milkweek these days?  Because it’s so directly tied to the drastic fall in monarch butterfly numbers.  And the link between the two is

What’s next in the skeevy goings-on around GMO labeling? Smucker’s trying to discourage the legislation, that’s what!  If you think the company – as Kraft, Dole and others have done – should cease and desist...

And if you believe that the EPA shouldn’t approve the use of a variant of Agent Orange on genetically engineered crops

How crazy is LG’s inclination to ruin the lovely, unspoiled, panoramic Palisades view with a mega-building that’d be way visible above the tree line?!  (If you think the company should reformulate their architectural plan…) 

And now for a bit of news that poses the question…  If you were a major corporation and your prospective interior contractor (new term to us, too) already had one big, fat felony conviction, why would you and a whole lot of other major corporations hire that firm? 

FYI, this past Wednesday was the 11th rainiest day ever recorded in NYC.

In ye olde grey area:

Interesting to see how it plays out…  “It” being the City Council’s new approach to discretionary spending… 

Same for the City’s just announced initiative to convert payphone kiosks into a citywide wifi network.  (Presumably all 3 grotty kiosks on our block won’t be required to accomplish the task!)

Yeah, the Landmarks Preservation Commission landmarked Park Avenue…  Mostly…  And with one significant qualification.

Getting on our genuinely smiley face: 

Happiness is the Supreme Court upholding EPA standards that’ll compel coal-fired power plants in 28 states to deal with emissions responsible for 34,000 deaths a year,  add some $280 billion to America’s medical bill and drift over the borders of neighboring states, wrecking their air as well.

More joy in news that Community Board 5’s focused on the shading of Central Park by existing and proposed super-skyscrapers (and they’d appreciate your help)!

Okay, so its population is only 10,000…  Still, herewith, the world’s first island powered entirely by renewable energy!

Here in the energy-profligate First World, nice that Boeing and Kaiser Aluminum are now partners in turning millions of tons of aluminum scrap into new airplanes!

Then there’s the soon-to-be tallest structure in the U.S…  A solar wind tower!! (Thanks to reader Kathleen Treat for the tip!)

Attention anglers:  The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has expanded your opportunities to fish for summer flounder/fluke… 

Considering a camping trip somewhere in NYState?  Now you can comparison-shop potential campgrounds via the Department of Recreation and Historic Preservation’s new online virtual tours

For those unfamiliar with the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project…  Get familiar!  It’s one of the most unique and lovely community endeavors in a city teaming with good works! 

Always a thrill when items of NYC’s distant past are unearthed… This time out, 150-year old beer bottles!

This while – on a grander scale – The Museum of Natural History’s just put online some 7,000 photographs from the 1897-1902 Jesup Expedition which sought to prove that the Americas’ first people migrated over a frozen Bering Strait!

And now for something completely different:

Since all we New Yorkers are experts on matters of design, here’s a test:  “Do You Know The 10  Most Famous Classic American Designers?”

 Bring on those animals:

One small but good thing you can do for the 96 elephants killed by poachers each day:  Encourage PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” to no longer appraise items made of ivory… 

Bears live in the desert?!  Yes, indeed, and in the form of the Gobi bear!

It’s baaaacckkk…  Osprey Cam ( beautiful Mother Osprey keeps soon-to-hatch eggs warm in a Maine nest)!  (Watch her sleep at night!)

The critter hasn’t been around of a few hundred thousand years, but we say young Olivia McConnell is right…  The Colombian Mammoth should be South Carolina’s official state fossil!  (Think we need a fossil of our own, NYStaters!)

In case you missed the latest viral sensation (involving a squirrel)

Yours in perpetual greenness,

UGS

 

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