Monthly Archives: August 2014

Happy Upcoming World Elephant Day, UESiders!

Happening next Tuesday, August 12th with plenty of advocacy opportunities like Go Gray for Elephants!

elephants

Needless to say, just one of the good things happening this coming 7 days:

Friday, August 15th:  New York Aquarium Deep Sea Pioneers Celebration

Surf Avenue & West 8th Street, Brooklyn, 6:30-10:30pm

Eighty years ago this month, William Beebe and Otis Barton dropped a then-record 3,028 feet below the ocean’s surface.  Now you can see the Bathysphere in which that historic descent was made up close and personal! Celebration also includes craft beer, sustainably sourced fish tacos, Aquatheater show and an excellent view of the Coney Island fireworks from the Aquarium’s Oceanview Deck!  $11.95.  10% discount when purchased online.  For tickets and more

Saturday, August 9th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us be American Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Cherry Lane, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Fresh Radish Farms and Valley Shepherd Creamery!

Then, as of last week, there’s the new farm that’s just joined our market: Nature’s Way Farm with what uber manager Margaret Hoffman rightly describes as the best lip balm ever…  That and a host of bee-connected products!  (Try the incredible hand lotion!)

And there’s this news flash from Manager Jesse:

“This Saturday market morning,  we’ll be celebrating Rachel Friedman, winner of our Guess the Kernels on the Cob contest, who’ll be receiving a big bag of market goodies..  We’ll be offering up samples of  a Market Parfait —  no coincidence that parfait also means “perfect” because this is the perfect market breakfast! Think granola from Bread Alone, blueberries from Samascott Orchards, cow and sheep yogurt from Garden of Spices and Valley Shepherd and honey from brand new vendor Nature’s Way. Come and enjoy!”

Apologies, folks.  Live Cultures bailed on us so no music this week…

BUT…

Our Master Knife Sharpener will be back at her table!  

And keep in mind that tomatoes, corn and basil are selling out early!

Last week’s recycling totals: 70 lbs batteries;  18 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 5 pair of eye glasses; 6 bins of compost; 23 bags of clothes.

Downright amazing!

Sunday, August 10th:  92nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothing Collection 9am-1pm

At their tables sagging with summer bounty will be Atlantic Seafood, Gonzales, Stannart, Norwich Meadows and Phillips Farms, Bread Alone, Hammond Dairy and Meredith’s Bakery.

Hope Gonzalez Farm has squash blossoms again this week!

Last week’s recycling totals:  35 lbs batteries;  8 lbs cords, cellphones and cartridges; 4 bins of compost;  1 giant bin of clothes (the equivalent of 2 giant bags at 82nd Street).

Yes, indeed!  Another 4 compost bins!! 

And then:

Saturday, August 16th:  Ninth Avenue Chelsea Garden Club Walk

Ninth Avenue & 17th Street, 9am

And we quote great Club president Missy Adams:  “Tour the beautiful bicycle-lane tree pits along Ninth Avenue, as well as meet our newest gardeners, celebrate the flowers, and curse the weeds, theft and vandalism.” These folks have been inspiration to our own growing cadre of First Avenue Bike Island gardeners!  Plan on a slow walk up to 30th Street.  Free! 

Thursday, August 21st to Monday, September 1st: New York State Fair

New York  State Fairgrounds,  Route 690 just west of Syracuse

Concerts, competitions from prize rabbits to crafts to antique cars and beyond!  Regardless of whatever newly minted attractions are added to the mix, these things retain their wonderful, lost-in-time quality.   $10. Children under 12 free.  For details and discounted advance tickets…  

Friday, August 22st:  An Expedition to the Explorers Club

46 East 70th Street, 11am-12:30pm

Since 1904, this’s been the club house for those who’ve broadened our knowledge of earth and beyond.  The place pretty much drips history and adventure.   Not to be missed!  Organized by the Obscura Society.  $25.  For more and tickets

xerochrysum-bracteatum

xerochrysum-bracteatum

In our tradition of the most miscellaneous miscellany:

The Toledo algae bloom experience makes Major Water Incident #2 (remember West Virginia?)…  Meanwhile, yet another NYS entity has consented to using our clean water moneys to finance the new Tappan Zee Bridge…  (All concerned, first and foremost our governor, are calling it a “loan”…) 

Sigh…  Yes, there’re GMOs in our mayonnaise, too

Question:  If a co-op board can preserve a vaguely famous elevator, how come we’re letting them tear Rizzoli down?  (Absolutely glad that elevator’s being saved!)

Think we aren’t experiencing an epic affordable housing problem?  How about the 53,000 individuals applying for 89 new units?

Englewood Cliffs, NJ seems to be coming to its senses and restoring its no-taller-than-35-foot-building-height regulation…  But LG’s permit allowing it to go up 143 feet and, thus, totally protrude above the historically unspoiled Palisades still stands.  If you’d like to encourage LG to back off, rethink and redesign… 

Just in case it’d slipped our minds how far ahead of us – like decades – Europe is in its handling of waste

On the upswing:

Friends of the Esplanade’s first public art project is coming soon!  For a hint as to what’ll be...

Offshore wind seems to be (fingers crosssed) taking off along the NE US coast!

In fact, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just announced development of solar, wind and geothermal as power sources now lead ye olde and dirty coal, oil and gas

High tech in farm fields…?    You bet and it can – among many pluses – reduce planting overlap to 1 inch!! 

Fascinating graphic detailing the worldwide origin of some 60 foodstuffs that’ll ultimately land on NYC store/market shelves

Seems like a somewhat puny amount, but the US Department of Energy is set to apportion $18M among 32 companies that’ll be aiming to reduce geothermal energy costs

Meanwhile, looks like scientists at the Department of Energy have come up with a new material that might allow tons more renewable energy to be stored long term!  (Please, may it work!) 

Great that Minnesota’s about to establish output standards for solar gardens (solar projects where the energy’s shared by homeowners with each receiving credit on their power bills).

Of course, all the plastics we recycle are squeaky clean, but for those who’re still plopping the likes of jam-coated jars in their building’s bins, New Hampshire now has a plant that washes plastic scrap thus making it suitable for making new containers!  (Lots more interesting reading as you scroll down to this article!) 

That Adirondack hiking trail information you need?

Yes, and there’re a myriad of other amazing outdoor activities all around our state

Surprise!  Surprise!  “Cycle paths” are a NYC tradition…  As per this 1908 postcard detailing one such in a Vaux designed park!!  (Do proceed to the “Curbed” article.)

Yet again, Christopher Gray fills us in on UES buildings and neighborhood tone lost and abiding where much good was/still is done

Believe it:  There was once a botanical garden on grounds that are now Rockefeller Center

In the Recycling-At-Its-Finest column, we can add Brooklyn’s superb New York Old Iron to Manhattan’s amazing Demolition Depot

That pocketful of foreign currency you came home from vacation with?  Put it to good use as per this tip from reader Sharon Lowenstein (AKA The Organizing Goddess):  “Consider donating it to the Change for Good program, a partnership between UNICEF and the international airline industry since 1987.”

For the board game addict:  The Brooklyn Strategist, a shop featuring a library of some 300 games for play or sale..  Tournaments…  After school clubs for kids and more!    

Or if you will be traveling in the U.S., here’re an assortment of food festivals scattered around nation!

Hats off to citizen science at its most dedicated/impressive:  A 101-year old Bridgehampton resident who’s been assisting the National Weather Service for 84 years  

Then there’s guerrilla citizen action to encourage urban walking via signage hacking

Last but hardly least, our city’s looking for volunteers who’d like to lend a hand in expanding the impact of the new participatory budgeting process.  Couldn’t be less than fascinating! Check it out!

Well, not quite last…  For those who’ve yet to stop by the lovely Tinsel Trading at 828 Lex

But this is…  From the Things-We-Definitely-Don’t-Need/Are They Kidding File: A $365 market tote

oxalis-oregana

oxalis-oregana

All NYS critters this week:

We’ve noted it in these pages before and can’t imagine this’ll be the last time:  When they make the NYTimes, we know chickens are here to stay in NYC!

A final note from the Hudson River Almanac:

7/18 – Greene County, HRM 112.2: During an early morning guided interpretive kayak paddle on the RamsHorn Creek, in addition to seeing three different beavers, we were treated to an uncommon sighting: three river otters! They seemed as curious about us as we were of them, rising out of the water to get better views, chattering to each other the whole time. They submerged a short time later and then one surfaced with something in its mouth, either an eel or a water snake. It was a magical moment for sure. – Larry Federman

otter

 

Final, that is, except for the Bird of the Week:

green headed tanager

green headed tanager

Living in joyous, brilliant blue, yellow and green,

UGS

 

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Greetings, UESiders!

Can we believe it’s August already?

Yikes! 

empetrum-nigrum

empetrum-nigrum

Let’s get right down on the week ahead:

Friday, August 1st:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

McBurney House, 125 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh, 6:30-8:30pm 

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time round:  Meteor showers and the upcoming Perseids which arrive at earth each year on the nights of August 11th through 13th!  Really!  Free.

Saturday, August 2nd:  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, Samascott, Cherry Lane, Gajeski, Rising Sun Beef, Fresh Radish Farms and Valley Shepherd Creamery!

Yes, as promised,  Garden of Spices returns with their monumental yogurt, chicken, eggs and more!

And Market Manager Jessie adds:

“Last Saturday was all about eggplants and did we ever celebrate – and take home – the many whimsical varieties of this versatile vegetable – from tiny Fairytales, to long Japanese, to lustrous Black Beauties.  Okra made its 2014 market debut…  And melons will be coming soon!

Winner of the Guess the Kernels on a Corn Cob raffle:  The amazing Rachel Friedman, who was only 12 kernels off with her guess of 621 and won the Greenmarket tote bag packed full of market goodies!”

This week’s musical treat:  The Opera Collective!

That our Master Knife Sharpener will be at her table makes for one darned perfect day!  

(Doesn’t get any better than grilled cheese sandwiches made with Valley Shepherd and cheddar and butter!)

Last week’s recycling totals: 64 lbs batteries;  16 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 pair of eye glasses; 5 1/2 bins of compost; 26 bags of clothes.

As we move towards an incredible ton of batteries…

One more time:  Britta filters and CDs/DVDs can now be recycled in your building’s recycling bins!

Saturday, August 2nd:  RiverNet – Great Hudson River Fish Count 

Along Hudson From Albany to NYC

And we, the public, are invited!     Yup, – adults and kids – we can lend a hand as naturalists explore  – and we quote – “the amazing variety of slippery, wriggly, and fascinating creatures usually hidden below our great river’s surface!”   Waterproof waders will be available for one and all. Or why not just watch!   For sites (there are two in Manhattan), times and further details

Sunday, August 3rd:  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, Hammond Dairy and Meredith’s Bakery.

Hammond’s peach yogurt, people!

Last week’s recycling totals:  39 lbs batteries;  10 lbs cords, cellphones and cartridges; 4 bins of compost;  1 giant bin of clothes (the equivalent of 2 giant bags at 82nd Street).

4 compost bins!!  Wow!!

Mondays, August 4th & 18th:  CM Kallos’ Housing Clinic

The Council Member’s Office, 244 East 93rd Street, 3-6pm

Free legal advice on your housing problems on the first and third Mondays of every month.  A volunteer attorney will be on hand for consultation, too.   To RSVP (and you should to speak to the attorney):  212-860-1930, RSVP@Ben.Kallos.com or online

Coming up:

Saturday, August 16th:  Exploration of a Former Industrial Empire Tour

Meet at the Albert E. Short Triangle Park, corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street, Long Island City, Queens, 10:30am-12:30pm

An independent city until 1898, Long Island City was once known as the workshop of America, was home to a vast array of industries and an all-around colorful place…  And now?  Still fascinating as gentrification proceeds apace!  Organized by the Obscura Society.  $20.  For tickets

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 21st, 22nd & 23rd:  Family Nature Walks at the Bronx Zoo

2300 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 10-11am

A 60-minute guided tour complete with zoo-provided backpacks, binoculars, bug jars and journals for your kids to record their observations! $10 (with purchase of Zoo admission).  For tickets

Sooner than we think:

Sunday, September 21st:  People’s Climate March 

Right Here in NYC

Organized by the Sierra Club and set to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit.  We’ll fill you in on details as they become known and/or email dan.sherrell@sierraclub.org.

And this week’s miscellany is:

Of course, the MTA’s short a mere $12B in funding their much needed capital projects

We’ve never knowingly encountered hogweed and we don’t want to…  And we sleep better knowing that NYS’s doing its best to eradicate this awful-sounding, invasive plant!  

Hurrah!  NYC’ll be on the receiving end of some of the $4.7M the Feds have allocated to clear coastal marshes of Sandy debris!

Pleasure to say, restaurants on our shores and abroad are moving the trimming-of-waste- flag – be that waste food or packaging – ever more forward!

More impressive still (and thanks for the tip to reader Gerry Levine) is British chain Sainsbury’s plan to power one of their markets entirely via its food waste!

Yet another great opportunity to do some valuable citizen science:  The 2014 NYS Game Bird Survey!

And how about participating in an art project that very much needs our contributions of chicken wishbones…?  (We’ve already forwarded 4!)  Just wrap your totally clean, dry wishbones in soft padding (like – yes – recycled bubble wrap), place in a crush-proof box (like a metal cracker tin) and forward to:  Yenom Studio, 111 Leroy Street, New York 10014.  Include your name so artist Holton Rower can send you a thank-you! 

Double hurrah!  Non-profit incubator and think tank NYC Design Trust for Public Space’s just published New Data Collection Toolkit for Urban Farmers to create an urban farm database!

Also happy to note that restaurant chain Cosi’s now serving up antibiotic- free chicken!

Doesn’t get more feel-good than this:  Designing custom furniture for disabled kids and fabricating it from cardboard…  (This year’s Pritzger Prize-winning architect, Shigera Ban’s, made cardboard tube construction an art form!)

Triple hurrah…  If California makes a new study come real… That’s “it’s technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy

Back on Gotham turf:

We may be a city of millions, but we still have those special places where you’d never know you were in a metropolis

More on that 18th Century ship recently unearthed at the World Trade Center site… 

Off on another tangent:

Very much fans of the B-and-Bee Festival Camping concept design!

How about a  cute, short test that’ll not only reveal your sustainability personality but – without your giving any info – a donation to the worthy cause of your choice!

At last, some animals:

Most excellent news that d-CON’s super-toxic rat poisons which have long been the source of death for hawks, owls and many other birds will finally be
pulled from retail shelves by early next year!

Holy crow!  The CW Network will be broadcasting the World Dog Awards in January 2015, an event celebrating hero dogs, dogs working in the entertainment industry and everyday canines who’ve found fame on the Internet!

Yes, people.  Chickens are now a fact of many a NYC neighborhood’s life

Thanks to the great Carol Rinzler for making sure we knew that Representative Maloney’s angling for NYC to have (really it’d be a loan) its very own pair of PANDAS!

Yours truly in green,

UGS

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