Monthly Archives: February 2015

Happy 22 Days to Spring, UESiders!

And what better way to approach the season than with a new survey that finds 66% of Americans believing it’s a moral obligation for world leaders to address climate change!

Even more impressive:  73% see confronting the issue as a personal ethical obligation as well!



On those most affirmative notes, our week ahead:

Saturday,  February 28th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

A second Saturday with no snow predicted!   Hurrah!!

Maybe even some of the ice melted on our one day above freezing this week… Thus allowing American Seafood to return to its accustomed spot in the churchyard!  

Regardless, look for our full compliment of farmers/fishermen/bakers/beekeepers: Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!”

(Okay, you have to try Back to the Future’s cheese!) 

Last week’s recycling totals: 76 lbs batteries: 26 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 7 compost bins;  25 bags of clothes.

7 bins and 25 bags on a 20 degree day?  Amazing!!

Thursday, March 5th:  Tasty History – American Values Reflected in Food

American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square/Columbus between 65th & 66th Streets, 7pm

Trace the evolution of American eating with Dr. Libby O’Connell of the History Channel and author of The American Plate:  A History in 100 Bites,  then chat her up over the wine and cheese refreshments that follow!  Members:  $10.  Non-members:  $12.  For more and tickets     

 Friday, March 6:  Audubon’s Aviary – The Final Flight

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street

Chapter III in the Historical Society’s epic, tripartite  exhibition of every Audubon print in their unequaled collection!  (Best copies don’t hold a candle to being upclose and personal with the real thing!)  For details, hours and more

On the horizon:

Friday, March 13th – Sunday, June 7th:  Life of Cats – Selections from the Hiraki Uiyo Collection

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

And we quote, “Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art”…    As in 120 of Japan’s finest examples of feline imagery!  For details, including days and hours

Wednesday, March 25th:  Trash Free Water Initiatives in NYC

City College of New York, Room 105, corner of 140th Street/St. Nicholas Terrace & Convent Avenue, 9:30am

Haven’t we had enough of refuse on the shore of every body of water, huge, floating gyres of waste in every ocean.  Time to get down on this totally man-made disaster.  Free.  For more and to register

Coming up in April (!):

Sunday, April 12th:  “The Travel Assignment” Photography Seminar

Lighthouse International Executive Conference Center, 111 East 59th Street, 9am-4pm

National Geographic Traveler emeritus photographers Dan Westergren and Jim Richardson share their wisdom of decades of capturing fabulous travel pix.  $199 (includes lunch).  For more and to register

Saturday, April 18th: Cares’ Spring Cleanup NYC Day

All Over Our City

Even without this year’s ferocious weather, NYC emerges from winter as something of a mess. The remedy?  Turning out for a few hours to tidy up shorelines, tree beds and public spaces of all kinds!  (Perfect prelude to It’s My Park Days!)  For projects and to sign up… 




In the must-be-an-upstate-thing-department:  The temp may be below 32, there may be 30 inches of snow and first aid kits, snow shoes and more de rigueur, but the NYS DEC is wanting us out on Adirondack high altitude trails!  

(Thank goodness for Forest Rangers!)

On the other hand, DEC’s urging ice fishermen/persons and snowmobilers  to be super cautious!

For those of us lacking East River views…  The current study in ice!

Even more so on the Hudson!

Short breather:

Yup, we’re kind of suckers for kitchen gadgets/gizmos, but think July and strawberries and then check out this Ball Freshtech Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker!  (Lots of vendors have it for $79!)

The Brooklyn Brainery does such great stuff (and we continually urge them to bring at least some of it to us)…  Case and point:  Making bread as we did in colonial times… Baking With Fire

Is this an amazing plant seed or what?

(Brooklyn’s Old Stone House – NYC outpost of fire baking – looks pretty fabulous, wouldn’t you say?)

Yes, food podcasts!!

Then in the civic groove:

Okay, right now there’s not enough $ for lighting ballfields in Riverside Park… How long before a big spender steps in to fill the breach?  (Not very, given the admirable history of giving to the West Side’s “esplanade”.)  

Always good to see the frequently lethargic NYC acting to protect a surviving stop on the Underground Railroad!

Think we could do without growth hormone in our milk?

The semi-counter balance to our food waste crisis:  Big food’s experiencing serious revenue downturns

Like the documentaries you see on Channel 13?  Let them know!  (They’d like to relegate POV and Independent Lens to the Siberia of WLIW!)

Nominate your choice for the Municipal Art Society’s best architecture/urban design project completed in NYC in 2014… (And good luck coming up with one!) (Check the map.  There’ve been zero winners on UES over past years.)

Back to the all-consuming subject of weather:

And we think we’ve had snow!  Check out Russian winters of times past… (Maslenitsa being a celebration of the end of winter.)

viburnum tinus rigidum

viburnum tinus rigidum

On to the world of the furry and feathered:

Bears mentioning again:  There is an organization specifically dedicated to the health and welfare of…  Trout

So great those 19 manatees were saved from that Florida storm drain

And the top 3 dogs in NYC are

As if we didn’t know cat purring is good for human body and soul… 

What a combination:  Eagles and romance!

Wow!  We’ve got (they’re useful birds) vultures in our skies, too, as per the Hudson River Almanac:

2/15 – Manhattan, HRM 5: As I was taking a Riverside Park sunset walk along the partially frozen Hudson River at the 70th Street Pier, looking for any sea life sheltering from the cold, I spotted four black vultures flying very high over the West Side Highway. I was hoping they’d come closer but they were catching the fierce northwest tailwind, headed inland. – Alan Drogin 

Yours in greenness,




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Happy Love Your Pet Day and Academy Award Weekend, UESiders!

Be interesting to see what comes of growing sentiment in the business that the Academies should be moved back to April and Monday night…  That and a return to 5 nominees for Best Picture.   

Academy Mondays in Los Angeles existed in their own time-space continuum…  The city hushed… Waiting and so savoring every second of the anticipation.  Stores and restaurants – except for Nate & Al’s Deli – empty…   Then that late afternoon sound of limousines moving on the streets of Beverly Hills…  Down and out of the Canyons…   

Only other 12 waking hours remotely like it:  The day of Frank Sinatra’s funeral. 

But that’s L.A. and this N.Y.C.



And we’ve got a great week ahead:

Saturday, February 21st:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

The threat of more snow?  They shrug it off!  Temperatures below 32?  It’s nothing to for them!
They are the incredible Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!!
Last week’s recycling totals: 55 lbs batteries: TBA lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; TBA eyeglasses; 7 compost bins;  16 bags of clothes.
And let’s not forget those awesome 8,752 lbs of paper we shredded!!

Saturday, February 21st:  A Child’s View of Life in 19th Century New York

Old Merchant’s House, 29 East 4th Street, 3:30pm

And we quote, “Come tour the house and learn what life was like for children (and adults) in the 1850s, from schoolwork and chores to games and play. Could you carry a bucket of coal up steep stairs? Do you have a calling card? A top hat? What, no hoop skirt? How did you take a bath? And penmanship really, really mattered.”  Couldn’t be more family friendly!  One adult with one child: $15.   One adult with two or more children: $20.  For directions and more… 

Thursday, February 26th:  Grow to Learn Spring Seed Giveaway

GrowNYC Greening Library, 49 Chambers Street, Room 212, 2-6:30pm

Free packets of flowers, herbs and vegetable seeds, a planting calendar and a crop planting sheet! No, spring can’t be so, so far away!  Organized by Green Thumb and GrowNYC.   Free but first come, first served.  For more and to RSVP

March (!) is just around the corner:

Thursday, March 12th:  Attainable Sustainability – Greening NYC Co-ops and Condos

Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Room 200, Kew Gardens, Queens, 6:30-8:30pm

Recent weather leaves leaves no doubt:  NYC buildings of every kind need to get a fix on their inefficiencies and address them…  Especially when there’s so much expert assistance out there… As this upcoming lecture/Q&A session attests!  Free, folks.  For full details and to register

Monday, March 9th – Sunday, May 10th: The Plains Indians – Artists of Earth and Sky

Metropolitan Museum, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

Artists of Earth and Sky

America as it once was, as perceived by Omaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Lakota, Blackfeet, Pawnree, Kiowa and Comanche tribes people.  For hours, tickets and more… 



High time for some miscellany:

We’ve praised the great people of the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project (the folks who raise hundreds of pounds of vegs in plastic wading pools atop the Metro Baptist Church on West 44th and then give that produce away) in many a previous newsletter.  If – like us – you think they’ve earned an Edible Manhattan Food Hero Award, here’s where you can cast a vote

(Scroll down the ballot and vote for the great GrowNYC in the “non-profit” category!!)  

We gained nice chunks of new national park territory this week…  The gorgeous Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, the Pullman National Monument in Chicago and the Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii! 

Have thoughts on where Citibike stations should or shouldn’t be and you didn’t make the DOT meeting last week?  Or even if you were at the meeting…  Weigh in on DNA’s map!  

Of course, we all knew how great an institution the New York Botanical Garden is…  But that it’s presently pre-eminent worldwide in the field?  For a beautifully written account of how botanical gardens came into being and all that distinguishes our NYBG

Could be you’ll be inspired to sign up for one of the Botanical Garden’s great spring line-up of classes!

And here’re Kitchen Gardeners International’s 5 tips for starting vegetable seeds indoors!

Interesting new app – OpenLabel – rates the social integrity of companies behind hundreds of grocery store products…

Add Atlantic ocean health to New Yorkers’ concerns.  Get yourself up to speed on the NYS Ocean Action Plan and then weigh in on it

(NYS’s got a fisher cat management plan, too!)

For the masochists among us:  This week’s NYS DEC’s Adirondack High Peaks (Hiking!) Bulletin!  (Thanks, NYS, for letting us know we need to dress warmly!)

Oh and they’ve rescheduled that free ice fishing class for March 7th!  

Holy crow!  Charles Dickens’ son (Alfred Tennyson Dickens) is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum on West 155th Street! 

Wow…  Amazon’s just added a documentary series to its production slate: The New Yorker Presents!  (See the first Episode free!)

Curious as to what your Chinese horoscope’s got in store for you over this lunar Year of the Sheep…?



Very much time for some animals:

Took almost st a decade years after the critter turned up in an Australian fishing net, but the world now has a new seadragon (relative of the seahorse) species…  The ruby sea dragon!

Very mysterious that – after all but unanimous scientific opinion and a host of petitions – Fish & Wildlife still hasn’t listed the wolverine as endangered!  (If you think it should be…) 

Of course!  Snowy owls – who spend most of their time in Arctic climes – are being spotted round about NYC!

Who knew there was a group – the Xerxes Society – dedicated to the protection/preservation of invertebrates…  Yes, insects but including butterflies and bees!  

Doesn’t look so baby-ish at 6 months of age, but he/she (gender presently unknown) is the first King Penguin to hatch in NYC and is now on view at the Central Park Zoo!

So many great people unknown to us have added so much to our knowledge of the natural world… Case and point, C. Lavett Smith as remembered by The Hudson River Almanac’s Tom Lake: 

2/10 – Hudson Valley: A hollow feeling was left in many hearts today when we lost one of our great teachers, C. Lavett Smith (“Smitty”), Curator Emeritus of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History.  For those of us who were inspired by and loved Smitty as a dear friend, colleague, and mentor, it is a fitting tribute that we still use his book, The Inland Fishes of New York State (1985), as the go-to reference for Hudson River fish identification and life history.

The Inland Fishes of New York State!

Living the good green life, 






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Happy Valentine’s Day, UESiders! 

Happy Presidents’ Day and Happy Lunar New Year, too!

And add to the pleasures of a long weekend and the upcoming Year of the Sheep/Goat, some lovely Greenmarket news:

Janice and Lew of Cherry Lane Farm welcomed son Lewis IV into the world on February 2nd!! 

Baby Lewis IV

Baby Lewis IV

Lew III and Baby Lewis IV

Lew III and Baby Lewis IV

One wonderful way to launch into a jam-packed new week:

Saturday, February 14th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Hallelujah!  No snow till late afternoon!!
Which means the full compliment of our hardy friends  – Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms – will be at their tables of deliciousness!
Snow or no snow, we’re planning on keeping innards warm with quarts of Samascott’s hot apple cider! 
Last week’s recycling totals: 60 lbs batteries: TBA lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; TBA eyeglasses; 8 compost bins;  13 bags of clothes.  
8 bins on a snowy day!

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

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

The clock is ticking…  A matter of hours and the great Shredding Truck will be in position on 82nd!

So bring on that paper in spades!!

But one last time…  NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

REMOVE those paper clips and spiral bindings, please. 

And NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we’ll take paperbacks.)

(Get those unwanted hardcovers over to Goodwill.)

AND one big thank you to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick and Kallos for their grants!

Saturday, February 14th:  Central Park Ice Festival

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

Celebrate your love of Central Park (and an abundance of no-chance-in-hell-it’ll-melt ice) this Valentine’s Day!  Watch as ice artists carve 3,000 pounds of cold stuff into a twin of the Park’s Romeo and Juliet sculpture!  Disco dance 1980’s-style on the Mall! Open to and appropriate for all ages.  Free.  For more

Sunday, February 15th:  Washington’s Birthday Ball 

Mount Vernon House Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street, 1-3pm

Party like it’s 1790 and just like George and Martha with period music, dancing (experts will show you and the kids how), refreshments and toasts to our great first president. Total family fun!  Members and children under 12:  $10.  Everybody else: $15.

Thursday, February 19th through Sunday, March 1st:  Lunar New Year Celebrations

All Around Town

From the Houston Street to Sunset Park  to the Prospect Park Zoo…  Think Chinese folk performance, martial arts, firecrackers and more and all courtesy of NYC Parks!  Free.  For the lowdown

Saturday, February 21st:  Inside the Holographer’s Laboratory

Holographic Studios, 240 East 26th Street, 11am-12:30pm

Trust the Obscura Society to come up with the truly far out…  As in time up close with holograph pioneer/artist Jason Sabon, his gallery of holographic portraiture and laser laboratory!  $25. For reservations/tickets… 


And in the miscellaneous department:

Congrats, Frankfurt, Germany!  You are now the #1 most sustainable city in the world!

Of course, we’re not alone in feeling besieged by ill-considered alterations to our neighborhood landscape…  Case and point:  Wood vs. cement to repair Sandy damage to the Coney Island boardwalk… 

You are correct, friends.  Flooding in the U.S. and river floods, in particular, are a more frequent occurrence

Great that there’s an EPA program to replace aging – and polluting – school buses with greener models...    

Hardcore downtowners may miss the the graffiti and decay.  We’re always happy when even the smallest bit of our worthy architectural past remains in place and is given new life.

Fingers crossed  the same happy fate awaits Loew’s 46th Street Theater out in Brooklyn…   (Why not another fabulous movie palace restoration?) 

Still in the architectural mode:  Check out the evolution of the Met from 1880 forward

Come spring/summer, there’ll be a lot of milkweed plants – not a weed and food vital to monarch butterfly survival – gracing our First Ave Bike Islands and our stretch of the Esplanade (Stuyvesant Cove is an official stop on the Monarch Butterfly migration route!)…  But there are right and wrong varieties.  For the right ones to be putting in your garden (or the Bike Island you adopt)… 

asclepias incarnata      (AKA milkweed)

asclepias incarnata (AKA milkweed)


Many a feathered friend (and friends of feathered friends) this time out:

Commencing with humans who studied animals…  Like the astonishing number of female ornithologists in Cornell’s Class of 1921!  

Ahem!  Heart-String-Tugging/Cuteness Alert!!  Australia’s oldest man – 109 and going strong – knits tiny sweaters for penguin victims of oil spills…  Really.

And we close with this from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/24 – Manhattan, HRM 7: A male common redpoll visited the Evodia Field feeders in the Ramble in Central Park today. – Ed Gaillard


Shivering but green,


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Happy Tu BiShvat, UESiders!!

Okay, so it was two days ago…  What better to celebrate in the depths of winter than the New Year of Trees.  No, it’s not the season for planting in NYC, but we can promise to plant trees like crazy and give better care to our stoic, determined-to-survive, already existing trees when spring arrives!! 

(Think trees and tree beds on your block and bike islands on First Ave!)

On to the decidedly un-spring upcoming week:

Now:  New York Botanical Garden Spring/Summer Class Registration

2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx and 20 West 44th Street, Manhattan

From botanical art and illustration to horticultural therapy to landscape design and back again! Doesn’t get more greener!  For full details… 

Saturday,  February 7th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am – 1pm 

Another weekend…  Another Sunday snow storm on the horizon, but staying well out of the way of our Greenmarket!

Thus, to quote Market Manager Margaret, “We’re expecting a full house:  Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Atlantic Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun and Back to the Future Farms!”

May we give the most glowing recommend to Back to the Future’s chocolate milk? 

(For those who didn’t hear:  American Seafood’s truck broke down last week, but it’s totally AOK now.)  

Meanwhile…  January 31st’s compost total?  10 filled-to-the-brim bins!!

Last week’s recycling totals: 91 lbs batteries: 32 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair eyeglasses; 10 compost bins;  21 bags of clothes.

And then:

Thursday, February 12th:  Bikeshare Community Planning Workshop

Christ Church, 524 Park Avenue at 60th Street, 6pm and 7pm

However you shake out on Bikeshare expansion, you’ll be wanting a chance to weigh in!   Workshop led by Department of Transportation Josh Orzeck.  For more:

Thursday, February 12th:  New York Pet Fashion Show

Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 Seventh Avenue at 33rd Street, 6-11pm

And we quote, “The New York Pet Fashion Show kicks off Westminster Weekend with glitz, glamour, and fabulous dogs showcasing top pet clothing designers and some of New York City’s wonderful shelter dogs awaiting their forever homes.”  Proceeds benefit shelters throughout the region.  Tickets: $50.  For those tickets and more…  (Sure.  Why not do the Bikeshare Workshop then segue to the Pet Fashion Show?) 

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

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

A mere 7 days away! 

Plenty of time to sort through those moldy docs, bag them up for their rendezvous with Mr. Shredding Truck!

And you know what can and can’t be shredded…  As in   NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.

And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But we’ll take paperbacks.)

It’s Goodwill for hardcovers.

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

Sunday, February 15th:  Washington’s Birthday Ball 

Mount Vernon House Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street, 1-3pm

And celebrate it much as George and Martha would have with period music, dancing (experts will show you and the kids how), refreshments and toasts to our great first president.  Absolutely for the whole family!  Members and children under 12:  $10.  Everybody else: $15.

Only a couple of down notes in this week’s miscellany:

Yikes!  Just when we’ve gotten micro beads out of skin care products, we’ve got to deal with nanoparticles in pesticides!

Double yikes!!  NYState may not be allowing fracking within its borders, BUT the powers-that-be are permitting tons of fracking waste material to be placed in our landfills!!

On the other hand:

Why are we not surprised that it seems off-shore wind would produce more energy and jobs than off-shore drilling?  (BUT we were shocked that off-shore wind would produce TWO TIMES as many of both!)

Protect Eyes on the Seas is going to revolutionize our ability to discover illegal fishing and identify who’s doing it!

And how about the new California Community Solar Energy Plan…  (But we’re ahead of them on legal beekeeping!)

Haven’t seen as complete reporting on traffic innovation on the east side of town as this on what Vision Zero’s got in store for the West Side…  (Love those “split-phase” traffic lights!)

Exciting that we – as in the greater NYC – will be getting more ferry service…  Not so exciting that it won’t be reaching the UES till 2016 earliest with – strangely – stops only at 60th and 90th Streets…  (Nice waiting for the ferry as scows pull in and out of the MTS!) 

Coming sooner – like this spring – will be Select Bus Service – complete with bus bumps, planters and street seating – on 86th Street.  (Let’s cross fingers it’s better managed than what’s going on on First and Second Aves…)

Turkey – of all places – is developing a bio-concrete with a mix that includes sunflower hulls!  Not for structural purposes as yet but a great insulator and considerably more crack-resistant than the standard stuff! 

Couldn’t be a more perfect fit:  Native Americans and organic farming!  (Okay, Sioux were pretty much nomadic, but still…) 

Can’t say we agree with how the Municipal Art Society comes out on all the entries on their Watchlist for 2015, but we agree these are potential changes in our urban landscape to clock…  

In case you forgotten just how cold last Sunday was… 

We very much like this statistic:  65% of the people in Central Park on any given day are regular visitors who use the Park once a week or more!

Yup, NYC public transit couldn’t be more egalitarian…  Even folks with titles ride our subways

Of course, animals:

Test your photo captioning chops with the National Geographic Photo Captioning Contest

A fish the size of a manhole cover…?

Bats setting up house at Javitts Center?  (Scroll down to Page 17.)

How could we have skipped over Nat Geo Wild’s Fish Bowl last week?  (Weirdly brilliant.)  Or that Animal Planet would engage in counter Kitten Bowl programming with a Puppy Bowl half-time Kitten Break?

Yes, people, there is a “Hamptons Pet Magazine”

Yours in ever greenness,




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