Monthly Archives: January 2015

Happy 170th Anniversary of the Publication of Poe’s “The Raven”, UESiders!

One of America’s most famous poems – famous even during Poe’s lifetime – that earned its writer a total of 9 big, fat bucks!  

(For those who have yet to visit Poe’s beautifully restored cottage in the Bronx – not where he wrote “The Raven”; that work was composed on West 84th Street – it’s an easy jaunt up to the Grand Concourse with the cottage open Thursdays through Sundays.)

It was also 50 years ago today that Winston Churchill was laid to rest…

On to the week ahead:

Saturday, January 31st:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Sure seems like this weekend’s snow bomb’s holding off to Sunday!

So…

Bring on the compost, people!!

Then drop off those unwanted clothes, batteries, cords, cartridges and corks!! 

THEN head to Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms’ bountiful tables and load up with Super Bowl 49 edibles!

(Our uber manager Margaret Hoffman expects Back to the Future to have milk, cheese and yogurt!)

Last week’s recycling totals: TBA batteries, cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 14 bags of clothes.

And then:

Saturday, January 31st:  Native Plants 101 – Boost your Ecosystem

Third Floor Community Room, 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street, between First & Second, 2-3:30pm
Environmental horticulturalist and master naturalist Kim Eierman shares her gardening wisdom based n her signature eco beneficial approach.  (Just the thing for us Manhattan gardeners!)  Presented by Green Park GardenersNYC (check out their beautiful gardens on the Esplanade at 63rd Street.)  Free. 

Wednesday, February 4th:  CB8 Transportation Committee Meeting – Select Bus Service on 86th Street 

Ramaz School, 125 East 85th Street, 6:30pm

And we quote, “Margaret Forgione, Department of Transportation (DOT) Manhattan Commissioner has reached out to the East 86th Street Association…  She has informed us that the DOT does not plan to eliminate any bus stops on East 86th Street.  We appreciate her contacting us and her openness to discussing our concerns. The plan for off-site payment and bus bulbs for the route currently stands.  We look forward to a full discussion with the Dept of Transportation at the Wednesday February 4th meeting of the Community Board # 8 Transportation meeting. The DOT  will present a video of bus movement on the street.   We urge people to attend and voice their concerns regarding the bus bulbs and and impact on traffic flow on the 86th Street corridor.”

Saturday, February 14th:  Shred-A-Thon – Valentine’s Day Edition

82nd Street between First & York, 10am-2pm

Just two weeks and we’ll be pulverizing tons of paper on 82nd Street!

But you know the drill:  NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we do accept paperbacks.)

Take your hardcovers over to Goodwill.

(Thanks to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their green and generous grants!)

Wednesday, February 18th:  Whole Foods Grand Opening

1551 Third Avenue at 87th Street, 8:30am

Been looking  at that blank glass storefront on the northeast corner of 87th for at least a couple of years…  Now, what with Fairway a block away, we’re talking quality food nexus…  In which the founding of area Greenmarkets – as was true at Union Square – played a substantial role. Meanwhile, Whole Foods is promising a celebration complete with samples and giveaways!  

Then in March: 

Wednesday, March 4th:  “Extreme Planet” with Carsten Peter

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, 7:30pm

A fixture on Nat Geo’s cable channel, photographer/filmmaker Carsten Peter’s made a career of venturing into earth’s most challenging locales…  Be those places on, way above or way below our planet’s surface.  And does he ever have stories to tell and stupendous visuals to illustrate them! Tickets start at $30.  For those tickets and more… 

And the latest miscellany is:

Rats infesting your block or neighborhood?  Yikes, but it’s all too common.  Best strategy:  Contact Department of Health’s Caroline Bragdon, AKA “NYC’s Rat Czar”!  (Pretty stunning that she’s on Linkedin!)

Actually, we’re quite surprised there’re still more than a hundred bookstores (104) in NYC… (But, yes, on the decline since 1950.) 

Scroll down to page 12 for Friends of the Earth’s sobering eco evaluation of the various cruise ship lines

Seems there’s a plan to restore the very ailing Lake Ontario under consideration by NYS!  If you’d like Governor Cuomo to act upon that plan

On the upswing:

In light of the threatened UES desecrations chronicled last week, kudos to those who took such incredible care with the restoration of Brooklyn’s gorgeous Kings Theater!   

New Yorkers of every age were out in force constructing snowmen and – new to us – snowcats!

snow cat

We have a new favorite site:  World Science Festival…  This week – most appropriately – treating us to how snow events come to be defined (snowstorms vs. nor’easters vs. blizzards) and  how and why every snowflake is and isn’t unique! 

While Carsten Peter roams the 7 continents in search of hair-raising adventures, Noah Stryker will be circling the globe with the mission of identifying 5,000 bird species…  Think birding without borders!   For updates on his travels and feathered friends he’s encountered

NYState’s proposing new recreational fishing regulations for winter flounder and coastal sharks! (A proposal that’s written in surprisingly thoughtful, interesting prose!) 

Plenty of animals:

Who would have thought a penguin could live for 40 years and more?  Or be treated for skin cancer on her little, feathered face?  (Hand us that sun block, please!)

Wow!  Count ’em!!  Not one…  But TWO coyotes were apprehended in Manhattan last week!  (And released in wilderness areas of the Bronx–   Bronx?  “Wilderness”?  Huh?)

Yes, friends, NYC needs its wasps

We’re always ready for any number of critter-centric happy endings:

As in what happened to a kitty whose feet were frozen to the inside of a storm drain

OBurt the whippet’s reunion with his loving human after 5 months of living rough and  rescue by a NYC Fireman!

And now for two new, choice kitten videos:

“The Hunt for Pikachu“…

And…

“Jedi Kittens Strike Back”

It may be Superbowl XLIX, but it’s Puppy Bowl XI 

Patriots…  Seahawks…  May the best team be green,

UGS

 

 

 

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Happy Severe Weather Advisory, UESiders!

Let’s talk recycling 82nd & 92nd Street 2014-style, as we finished out the year at:

82nd Street

11/8 – 8 compost bins; 15 bags of clothes:  11/15 – 7 compost bins; 15 bags of clothes: 11/29  – 7 compost bins; 19 bags of clothes: 12/6 – 8 compost bins; 15 bags of clothes:  12/13 – 7 compost bins; 15 bags of clothes; 12/20 – 8 compost bins; 15 bags of clothes:  12/27 – 7 compost bins; 14 bags of clothes.

2014 Compost poundage:  55,220.

92nd Street

11/9 – 5 compost bins;  2 giant bins of clothes (the equivalent of 4 giant bags at 82nd Street): 11/16 – 5 1/2 compost bins; 4 1/4 bags of clothes:  11/23 – 6 compost bins; 4 bags of clothes.

2014 Compost poundage: 10,809.  

And the Grand UES Total is:

Recycled 2014: 2615 lbs batteries; 750 lbs corks, cords, cellphones and ink cartridges; 186 pairs of eye glasses; 1,029 1/2 bags of clothes; 397 1/4 compost bins; 17,639 lbs shredded paper. 
Pretty staggering.
Incredible that despite a 6-month break in their composting regimen, 92nd Street shoppers broke their 2013 records for weekly (6) and total compost bins (68 1/2)!
Equally amazing is that 55,220 lb. number for 82nd Street!
DOUBLE WOW.

On to the coming week:

Saturday, January 24th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables – snow or not – will be folks with anti-freeze in their veins: Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!

Pretty sure Back to the Future will have milk!

Last week’s recycling totals: 57 lbs batteries;  19 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 bins of compost; 35 bags of clothes.

Saturday, January 24th:  Winter Jam – NYC’s Ultimate Snow Day

Bandshell Area, Central Park (enter at East 72nd Street),, 11am-3pm

Presented NYC Parks, Lake Placid, I Love NY,  and I Ski NY, Winter Jam (with partner Gore Mountain blowing mountains of fresh snow), think snow shoeing, snowboarding, skiing, sledding, kicksledding and snowman building for all ages ! Free.  For full details and directions… 

Saturday, January 24th:  Foreign Exchange II – A Festival of Rising Stars

Poet’s Den Theater, 309 East 108th Street, 7:30pm

Great neighbor and impressario Raphael Bonavides presents 14 young artists from 14 countries in concert!  “Stars of tomorrow,” Raphael says and we believe him. Reception with cocktails after the show.  Tickets:  $25.  Students: $10.  For more

And then:

Friday & Saturday, January 30th & 31st:  Winter Carnival at Bryant Park

Bryant Park, 42nd Street & Sixth Avenue, 12-10pm

What winter delights to chose?  Curling lessons?  An ice golf contest?  Frozen-finger juggling?  Snowflake crafting? Indulging in some silent disco moves?  Oh, go for ’em all!  Free.  For the total lowdown

Saturday, January 31st:  Native Plants 101 – Boost your Ecosystem

Third Floor Community Room, 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street, between First & Second, 2-3:30pm
Environmental horticulturalist and master naturalist Kim Eierman shares her gardening wisdom based n her signature eco beneficial approach.  (Just the thing for us Manhattan gardeners!)  Presented by Green Park GardenersNYC (check out their beautiful gardens on the Esplanade at 63rd Street.  Free.
Out there but coming up fast:

Tuesday, February 10th:  “Shop on Mainstreet” – Tuesday Film Club Presentation

BNH Cinema, The Czech Center, 321 East 73rd Street, 7pm

A classic of Soviet-era film making and winner of the 1965 Foreign Film Academy Award.  A black-and-white work of cinematic greatness and on a screen right in our hood (and part of the Center’s February “Shoah in Us” program).  Free.  For more

Saturday, February 14th:  Shred-A-Thon – Valentine’s Day Edition

82nd Street between First & York, 10am-2pm

Three weeks and counting till the big shredding truck arrives on 82nd Street!

Start sorting your files, docs and receipts now, people!!

But, please, NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we do take paperbacks.)

Take your hardcovers over to Goodwill.

(Thanks to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their generous grants!)

Weird we’re so light on miscellany:
You know, we’re getting rather sick of one after another U.S. city being greener in some way – if not in many way – than NYC.   So now, it’s Louisville’s turn…  And have it ever got some arresting challenges!
But plenty of critters:
They’re darned cute when near to grown and they must be insanely adorable in their baby phase, but who in their right mind says, “I want a bobcat for a family pet?” That’s how the saga of teen bobcat Max begins…  For the rest (complete with most happy ending)… 
Wow!  Planet Earth’s experiencing a (totally cute) gray seal baby boom!
And it’s another boom year for snowy owl sightings…  From Chicago to Cape May to North Dakota!  (Can’t believe they’ll skip over NYC!)  To get eBird’s Snowy Owl Alerts… 
Who’d have thought duck courtship was so varied, fun and beautiful!
Last but hardly least on our feather friend theme:  The Great Horned Owl Cam!  (Owls have taken up residence in a former Bald Eagle nest!)
Be pretty great to have a hero dog – one of 17 returning from mine detection duty in Afghanistan – to take for walks on UES streets, teach the joys of frisbee and enter in Schurz Park’s annual Halloween Howl, yes?  For how to adopt…  
And for a final shot of cuteness, we give you “Assassin’s Kittens Unity”
The Puppy Bowl is only 8 short days away…
We’re green no matter how much it snows on us,
UGS

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Happy Martin Luther King Day, UESiders!

And a nice way to spend a bit of it could be:

Monday, January 19th:  Annual MLK Day March

Beginning at the Renaissance Ballroom, 137th Street & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, Ending at 96th Street between Fifth & Madison, 10am-1pm

Led by 8th graders of the Manhattan Country School 8th graders with this year’s theme “Daring to Dream:  A March of Hope”.  Of course, all are welcome!

As for the rest of the upcoming week:

Friday, January 16th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time out:  The winter stars above us… Complete with “open clusters spreading from southeast to overhead along the route of the Milky Way”.  Free and fabulous!

Saturday, January 17th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

With us on this fine, wintry day will be Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski and, Rising Sun Farms and newcomer Back to the Future Farms (with their chicken, eggs, yogurt and cheese)!

Sunday, January 18th:  Upper East Side Stop ‘N Swap

92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street (!), 11am-2pm

Bring clean, reusable, portable items you no longer need – think clothing, housewares, games, books and toys – and take home something you want and can use…  FREE!   You don’t even have to bring something to take something. ( But NO furniture or large items, please.)

Tuesday, January 20th:  Mysteries of Migration Lecture

Central Park Zoo Gallery, Fifth Avenue & 64th Street, just behind to Arsenal Building, 6pm

And we quote, “Join professional birding guide, lecturer and author Giff Beaton for an in-depth look at the amazing feats of endurance and navigation many bird species accomplish twice a year.”  Free.   For further details (and directions to the Gallery)

On the horizon:

Saturday, January 31st:  Native Plants 101 – Boost your Ecosystem

Third Floor Community Room, 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street, between First & Second, 2-3:30pm
Environmental horticulturalist and master naturalist Kim Eierman shares her store of wisdom based her eco beneficial gardening approach.  (Couldn’t be more perfect for us Manhattan gardeners!)  Presented by Green Park GardenersNYC (check out their beautiful gardens on the Esplanade at 63rd Street.  Free.

Saturday, February 7th:  Winter Walk in Pelham Bay Park

Meet at the Bartow Pell Mansion, 895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay, The Bronx, 3-5pm

Even in deepest winter there’s so much life transpiring in those lovely, quiet, undisturbed corners of our city like Pelham Bay Park and there’s no better way to learn and savor that life than with NYC Natural Areas ecologists as your guides!   (Would we ever love to learn how to identify animal tracks!)  Free.  For details, directions, tickets and the lowdown on Natural Areas’ great mission 

Saturday, February 14th:  Shred-A-Thon – Valentine’s Day Edition

82nd Street between First & York, 10am-2pm

Not long now till the big shredding truck is in our midst and obliterating untold amounts of paper of every kind!

So bring it on, people!!

But, please, NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we do take paperbacks.)

Take your hardcovers over to Goodwill.

(Thank you, Council Members Kallos and Garodnick, for your generous grants!)

Saturday, February 14th:  Central Park Ice Festival

Naumberg Bandshell, Mid-Park 66th to 72nd Street, 3-7pm

Celebrate your love of Central Park this Valentine’s Day!  Watch ice artists carve 3,000 pounds of ice into a twin of the Park’s Romeo and Juliet sculpture!  Then disco dance 1980’s-style on the Mall! Open to and appropriate for all ages.  Free.  For more…

On to some very miscellaneous miscellany:

Just who is this woman whose dream is that we quit being thorns in the Department of Sanitation’s side and embrace the MTS…?  AKA Commissioner of Sanitation Kathryn Garcia?  Courtesy of The Times, herewith her warm and fuzzy/non-hundreds-of- garbage-trucks side…  

(One of the best of those thorns would be the versed and eloquent Matthew Chapman, here appearing on Fox…)

On the off-chance you been nurturing doubts about fossil fuel companies’ commitment to due diligence…  Run your eyes over this Sunday Times Magazine piece…  (Holy crow!) 

But…

Tires from dandelions?  Could be!

Meanwhile, as we look to the transformation of our Esplanade, here’s how the people of Hamburg, Germany are addressing the traffic-packed Autobahn that bisects their city  (Thanks to reader Jennifer Ratner for this heads up!) 

Forward-thinking folks over in Hell’s Kitchen might well have been the first to install – albeit temporarily – parklets...  A traffic-quieting/business-building approach that’s now catching fire in the U.S. and abroad!  

Much as we’d like the plague of derelict phone booths (check out First Ave in the 60’s) to disappear, so nice there’re at least 4 NYC locations where classic wooden models endure:  The Harvard Club, the Frick Museum, Bomante’s Restaurant (in Brooklyn) and the 42nd Street Library where they’ve been in place since 1911 when that most beautiful building first opened its doors! 

Time to sign up for next November’s NYC Marathon!

We’d never forget animals:

Really?  Fish and Wildlife finally grants all 83 of Mexican gray wolves that still survive in the wild endangered species status, BUT still lets ranchers shoot them?

OMG  So adorable…  So touching…  So…  It’s that 2012 kitty classic…  The shelter for blind cats

Let’s close with a snippet from the Hudson River Almanac:

12/31 – Inwood Hill Park: Fifty Canada geese were foraging on the upper ball fields in midday. It was low tide, four days from a full moon, and the inlet of Spuyten Duyvil Creek was a mud flat with just six geese standing on it.  On the path up through The Clove, I neither saw nor heard birds until I put out some seed. Within a few minutes they had found it: cardinals (four males and a female), black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, a couple of white-throated sparrows, two blue jays, some dark-eyed juncos, and three rather aggressive mourning doves. Even a red-bellied woodpecker took a couple of seeds; I wonder whether he’s the one I’ve seen through a couple of summers here. – Thomas Shoesmith

Yours in greenness,

UGS

 

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Happy 225th Anniversary of George Washington’s First State of the Union Address,  UESiders!

(And here’s what the great man said.)

Meanwhile…

Yes!!  We’re baaaacccck!!

So without further ado, let’s get down on the hopefully much less frosty week ahead:

Saturday, January 10th:  82nd Street Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

At their tables will be the exceptionally hardy Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey,Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski and, Rising Sun Farms  AND – replacing Garden of Spices  – Back to the Future Farm with their chicken, eggs, cheese, yogurt and – fingers crossed – mushrooms!

But, of course, possible bad weather could make it hard for farmers to travel…

Saturday, January 10th & Sunday, January 11th: MULCHFEST!

Schurz Park, 88th Street & East End Avenue, 10am-2pm

Doesn’t get any better than upclose and personal Christmas tree chipping that ends not only with you knowing you’ve done a good thing for all city parks, but with you departing with your very own bag of mulch!

Wednesday, January 14th:  Smart Grid and Energy Storage Lecture

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

The last in the Sierra Club’s fall/winter Sustainability Series, this time out tapping into the wisdom of experts Jamie Brennan, Con Ed’s Distributed Generation Ombudsman, Philippe Bouchard, VP of EOS Energy Storage and a representative of the Public Service Commission.  Suggested adult donation:  $6.  Suggested student donation:  $3.

And only a little more than a month away:

Saturday, February 14th: Shred-A-Thon – Valentine’s Day Edition

82nd Street between First & York, 10am-2pm

At last, folks, only a little more than a month away and we’ll be shredding like crazy:

Paper of any and every kind!

Bring it on, people!!

But, please, NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we do take paperbacks.)

Take your hardcovers over to Goodwill.

(Thank you, Council Members Garodnick and Kallos, for your generous grants!)

On to miscellany  commencing with fellowship/internship opportunities:

And at the office of none other than Council Member Ben Kallos where – and we quote – “Interns and fellows at our Council office learn firsthand about city government, work closely with senior staff and are encouraged to pursue a project of their own choosing.” Interested parties should forward an email with a cover letter and accompanying resume to internship@benkallos.com.  To learn more

On to outrages great and small:

We’re eating California’s high speed rail dust, people!  Yes, after a long and tortured journey through the judicial jungle and still not being home free, The Golden State’s set to break ground on a L.A. to San Francisco bullet train!  (Thanks to reader Karen Lane for the tip!)

How exactly does a NYC dock on the Hudson River get and stay stolen?  Especially when it’s integral to a free kayaking program? (So maybe we can assist the kayakers in replacing the thing…)

Holy crow, Pennsylvania, as if epidemic fracking wasn’t bad enough!  You’ve just passed legislation letting developers destroy green buffer zones that presently keep your streams and rivers clean and Chesapeake Bay on its way to recovery!

In case you missed The Times piece on imperiled Louisianna…  

And then:

Sorry to report to those who didn’t know that Christopher Gray’ll no longer be writing his Times “Streetscapes” column.  But included among his last few, this history/wisdom on the evolution of the Frick property.

On the upswing:

And what is New York City’s least-loved bridge?  The long-serving, under-rated, soon-to-be-replaced Kosciuszko!

How about a building facade that neutralizes pollutants from 1,000 cars daily?

Further on the subject of pollution, if you think the Keystone Pipeline shouldn’t be built… 

Tip of the hat to the Upworthy people for making restoring the Colorado River a mini laughfest!  (And thanks for reader Carol Rinzler for putting us in the loop!)

Always enjoy accounts of the unassuming heroism/disaster-preventing work of our state’s Forest Rangers… 

Finally…  We can’t really complain about our weather till some of these babies start washing up along the East River Esplanade

We’re ready for animals:

More chuckles from Upworthy people, this time on reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone!  

Totally impressed that – given that our steelhead trout population is currently suffering/dying from epidemic thiamine (Vitamin B) deficiency – the NYS DEC and its Great Lake neighbors/ partners are prepared to inject hatchery steelheads with the vitamin and feed them thiamine-rich diets in hope of a healthier new generation of fish!

Here’re some words we’d thought we’d never write…  America’s critical-to-the-environment but threatened-by-an-invasive-European-skin-disease salamanders need our help!

They – sadly – never roamed Manhattan Island (one of the few iconic American species that didn’t), but for the first time in 200 years buffalo are grazing grasslands east of the Mississippi!

No way 2015 won’t be our greenest year yet,

UGS   

 

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