Happy We’re Not Going to Have a LIRR Strike, UESiders!

How about we set things in motion with one lovely, true life story as told by Michael Swaine, professor at UC Berkeley, Mills College and the California College of the Arts and founder of the Free Mending Library:

Swaine photo“Around 12 years ago, a friend and I were walking by an abandoned alley in San Francisco, and she asked, ‘If you could do anything with this space, what would you do?’ I had just found this old treadle sewing machine, so I said, kind of impulsively, ‘I would set up my sewing machine and just sew for the neighbors.’ 

“Somehow the stars aligned for this strange idea. The Luggage Store, a nonprofit art gallery in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, offered to let me use the alley next to them. I sew from noon to sundown on the 15th of each month. 

“Eighty percent of the people who show up live in nearby low-income housing. I hem a lot of pants and patch a lot of holes. But I don’t say no to anything. Once I sewed a little pink dog collar. Often people sew with me–grandmothers who are losing their vision and can’t thread the needle anymore, people who live in cramped apartments and don’t have a sewing machine. Neighbors help neighbors. The conversations start with sewing and end up someplace else. Sometimes people just want to talk about the hard day they’ve had.

“The thing I love most about the Free Mending Library is that it’s out on the streets. Businessmen sit next to recovering drug addicts or the minister who runs the domestic violence shelter down the street. Having this kind of shared experience has made me see how the conveniences of modern society, like Netflix and air-conditioning, make us stay home and in some inherent way start to fear our neighbor. 

“There are a lot of things we need to do for our environment, like buying less and sharing more. But sharing requires that first step of trust. The fear that’s between people gets in the way of good solutions.” 

Really, community building can happen just about anywhere…  

It surely happens every week at our Greenmarkets:

Saturday, July 19th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At tables piled high with summer bounty will be great American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Cherry Lane, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Fresh Radish and Garden of Spices Farms and Valley Shepherd Creamery!


Summer music – in the form of the blue grass band we all love so much – returns to the market this Saturday!

Grand Master Knife Sharpener Barbara Hess will be with us, too!

Last week’s recycling totals: 66 lbs batteries;  17 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eye glasses; 7 bins of compost; 8 bags of clothes.

You’ll note:  Britta filters and CDs/DVD are no longer included in our totals…  Reason being those items are now recyclable in your building’s very own recycling bins!

Great how our city’s moving forward, yes?!

Saturday, July 19th:  Holmes Residents Family Day

Plaza in front of 1780 First Avenue, between 92nd and 93rd Streets, 12pm

Our neighbors’ great annual party of music, dancing and fabulous food in the Caribbean mode!  Plenty of tables offering great community info, as well!  See you there!

Sunday, July 20th:  92nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothing Collection 9am-1pm

With us will be Atlantic Seafood, Gonzales, Stannart, Norwich Meadows and Phillips Farms, Bread Alone and Meredith’s Bakery and Hammond Dairy!

Yes, we know, Hammond Dairy was MIA last week…  But they and that incredible Ronnybrook milk will be back this Sunday!


Weekdays, he’s our City Council Member nailing down millions to repair our Esplanade…  But some weekends…  He morphs into the chef-clothes-and-apron-wearing/market-food-loving/slicer and dicer who’ll be bringing us this Sunday’s special market event:  Cooking With Kallos! 

Be there at 11am and ready to eat, people! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  38 lbs batteries;  11 lbs Britta filters, cords, cellphones and cartridges; 3 bins of compost;  1 giant bin of clothes (the equivalent of 2 giant bags at 82nd Street).

The veterans on collection duty last week didn’t have previous weeks’ totals, but they’ll be getting them for us!  

Thursday, July 24th:  An Evening Wolf Howl

Wolf Conservation Center, South Salem, New York, 5-10m

And we quote, “Leave city lights behind and head north to Westchester and a visit with these rare and highly misunderstood animals at their favorite hour, dusk.”  Has to be pretty incredible!  (Think there’s at least one wolf pup!)  Organized by the Obscura Society. $60 which includes transport by van, wine and cheese! For more and tickets…Atlas Obscura is Going to the Wolves!



Miscellany and – as ever – all over the landscape:

Reason 8 zillion and 4 to love GrowNYC:  The 800-acre new farm they’ve established on Governor’s Island where, each Saturday, we’re all invited to lend a hand!

Love governmental transparency and that we can now so easily see where the City Council’s discretionary moneys are going this Fiscal Year 2015! Check those numbers out!!

Fantastic – as you’ll read – that we now have a central NYC Archeological Repository!

Continuing in the past mode, we say Christopher Gray outdid himself with last Sunday’s piece on pix of NYC as it was during construction of  subways over the last century!

In the OF COURSE! category is India’s move to – a la the Third World spread of mobile phones sans need of poles and wires – gridless solar to bring electricity to its vast population of rural poor.

(At least half of the food India produces is rendered inedible for want for refrigeration.)

For those of us mourning the loss of a fig tree in our hood (there was a lovely one on the Isaacs campus)… 



Meanwhile, what would a week be without constructive railing:

Okay, so there’s a NYC ferry to Martha’s Vineyard but not up the East River or the Hamptons??

Hard to believe (ha!) Congress’s one move on the soon to expire Highway Trust Fund bill is one of their worst financial slight-of-hands to date

Been wondering how much paper’s produced per tree…?  

As if fracking weren’t injury enough, presumably we’re not alone in not realizing the size (42 inches in diameter) or the right-of-ways (50 feet) pipelines require…  Requirements/damage that loom even larger when it’s your family farm that’s involved



Back on the cheerful path:

So who are the people – or at least one of them – who pilot those banner-dragging planes?  (Pretty darned daring!)  

Feeling compulsive?  There’s an effort afoot to convince more magazines to use recycled paper (like “The New Yorker”)  and Green America’s compiled an impressive email list at said publications to which we can send encouragement!   

So there’s the origami of the little tweeting bird and the little crane… Then there’s the orgami of Robert J. Lang and his ilk!  (And  their video how-to’s!) 

We volunteer to do the road-testing of this reusuable food wrap!  (Crossed fingers it works!)




So sorry to note – but note we will – that the Pacific bluefin tuna population is down to 4% of what it once was, pre epidemic over-fishing… 

Three wonderful-sounding books reviewed in last Sunday’s Times…  Elephant Company “The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar”…  and (we’re talking giant squids) “Preparing the Ghost”… 

Yet another great cam…  The Brown Bear and Salmon Cam…  As in brown bears catching salmon and eating them (poor salmon!) in the midst of Alaska’s beautiful, wild Brooks Falls!

Trust the Cornell Ornithology Lab to advise us on the most bird-friendly bird houses!

Onward in greenness,


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