Monthly Archives: May 2015

Happy Yonkers is the Healthiest U.S. City, UESiders!

Yonkers??!!  Really…

If it’s any consolation,itt only makes that or any grade on only one list and that online Livability Magazine

Still!

It is the first time a NYS city has been so designated by anyone…

Still…!!

NYC shouldn’t be taking this lying down, right??!

(Could local leadership’s inclination to build garbage dumps next to public housing, athletic facilities and toddler parks detract from a healthy image?)  

tradescantia-occidentalis

tradescantia-occidentalis

With that in mind, on to the week ahead:

Wednesday, May 27th – Sunday, May 31st:  World Science Festival

All Around Town

What Is Sleep(!)?  The NASA Orbit Pavilion!  Reality Since Einstein?  A Better Brain?  Navigation on the Open Sea with a NASA Astronaut (and on the schooner)!  Botany at the Bar!  Five jammed-packed days of fascinating stuff!!  Every year more and better!  For the lowdown and tickets  (Look for our friend Starman John Pazmino in Washington Square Park on Sunday!)

Friday, May 29th:  Manhattanhenge!!

As far east as you can get without losing view of New Jersey…  Good spots are major cross streets 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets, 8:15pm

The setting sunlight aligns with our NYC grid!!  An absolute marvel!! 

Saturday,  May 30th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

With us will be Bread Alone, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife and Garden of Spices Farms…

PLUS:  Cherry Lane Farm returns!!  And they’ll have strawberries!!  (Fingers crossed they bring that new baby, too!)

Those of us who formed an immediate addiction to Margaret’s brilliant salad dressing of 2 weeks ago:  Alewife’s lovage is the essential ingredient!  Yum!  (Ask Margaret for the recipe!)

Apologies for our mistaken advice re the Master Knife Sharpener still being out west last Saturday… She was back and at the market…  HOWEVER…  This week – for sure – she won’t be at her table but reading paws at Pet Expo!! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  75 lbs. batteries: 15 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs eyeglasses; 9 very full compost bins;  35 bags of clothes.  

Most awesome!!

Saturday, May 30th:  Community Fun Fair!

67th Street Library between First & Second and St. Catherine’s Park, First between 67th & 68th, 12-2pm

Storytime…  Crafts…  Computer classes…  Balloon animals…  It’s all happening, free, couldn’t be more family-friendly and you’re invited!

Saturday, May 30th:  Jamaica Bay Ecology Cruise

Meet at Pier 2, Sheepshead Bay, 3-6pm

Learn the history, management, ecology, and wildlife of the bay aboard the  100′ boat “Golden Sunshine”…  Take in nesting  egrets, herons, ibis and many another inhabitant of the Bay’s backwater marshes, guided by noted local naturalists Don Riepe and Mickey Maxwell Cohen…  All while consuming good wine, fruit and cheese.  Organized by NYC  Audubon, Gateway NRA and NYC Sierra Club.  Adults,  $55.  Kids under 16, $20.  For more, directions and tickets

Sunday, May 31st:  Spring Migration on Randall’s Island

Meet on the NW corner of 102nd Street and the East River Esplanade, 9am-2pm

Who knew Randall’s Island is home to restored freshwater wetlands and a salt marsh..  Not to mention it’s a premier stopping-off point for migrating water and land birds!   Outing organized by NYC Audubon.  $40.

And then:

Friday, June 12th:  Clearsky Starviewing in Central Park

Great Lawn, 8pm

Brought to us by TotL (Top of the Lawn), an amateur astronomy group with a yen to introduce the rest of us to what happening in skies above us.  They’ve got the telescopes and knowledge, we’ve just got to get ourselves there!  (And it’s amazing what’s visible even with the naked eye!)  Free. For more… 

Thursday, June 18th:  New York Philarmonic in Central Park

Great Lawn, enter at Fifth Avenue at 84th Street,  

Inaugurating the 50th season of fabulous music, Charles Dutoit and the Orchestra will play Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture; Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto No. 3, with Renaud Capuçon as soloist; Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1911 version); and Ravel’s La Valse!   Then comes the fireworks!! Free!  For more, including the Philarmonic’s full summer schedule

Sunday, June 14th – Sunday, June 21st:  National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place

For the first time ever, the major Jewish arts organizations of the world will be uniting for 8 days and nights jam-packed with great plays, concerts, films, and lectures in NYC! Can’t be anything but great!  For complete details and tickets

Thursday, June 19th:  Real Time Sub-Metering – What, Why & How 

The Mohawk Group, 71 West 23rd Street, 18th Floor, 6pm

Master the in-and-outs of determining not just the energy the whole of your building’s system’s consuming, but the efficiency of the individual parts of that system, local law efficiency requirements and the paths to improvement. Organized by the Urban Green Council.  Student & EP Members, $5.  Core Members, $10.  Non-members, $15. 

preissia-quadrata (liverwort)

preissia-quadrata (liverwort)

(And a preissia-quadrata liverwort is…)

The week in miscellany…  Heavy-going up first:

Okay, so NYState has an exemption that allows the landfilling of fracking waste…  AND we’ve accepted a half million tons and thousands of barrels of that poisonous sludge the last 5 years!! (Should you object…)

Surprise-surprise!  Seems like we’re not getting the subway system we are and have been paying for

(Check out pix of the Moscow Metro – turning 80 this year…)

Meanwhile, of course, there’re individuals among us who’re doing their best to weaken clean power efforts…  (Should you prefer your power ungrungy…)

Sun breaking through:

As we approach the UES Tree Count 2015, check out the results of the 2005 effort…  Then and now comparisons have got to be fascinating!

Another take on our all-five-boroughs grid…  NYC as it was in photos… (Thanks to a reader for tipping us to these last two!)

Next time a Citizen Science opportunity appears in these pages know – in these times of under-funded research of every kind – just how important contributions we Ordinary Joes make can be

Deep dip of the hat to Cornell for its assistance in assembling the Hudson Valley Natural Resource Map…  (Our river has a lot of them!)

And to Oakland, CA for its efforts replanting its long lost – uh-hum – its oak trees!

AND to the Center for Biological Diversity’s inspired Endangered Species Mural Project!

Congrats to Dolly Parton who’s just had a newly discovered lichen species – most prevalent in Tennessee and South Carolina – named in her honor:  Japewiella dollypartoniana!

One last tribute (in the crazy column):  The Mad Max 2 Museum!

Amazing how much there is to know about olive oil…  With – natch – The Times providing basics… (Great pix, too!)

The Maiden Lane Clock…  The William Barnacle Tavern…    135th Street Walk of Fame…  Just 3 of MUG’s list of colorful/meaningful NYC sights to take in now that we’ve exited the 40-degree weather zone… 

More wonderful, enduring, endangered, local NYC colorfulness from The Times

Just a partial list (i.e. Bryant Park hasn’t announced its line-up yet), but here’re some of the many venues for out-of-doors film watching this summer!  (Scroll down for Schurz Park’s schedule…)

Then there’s the summer outdoor concert schedule!  (Schurz’s is also on the above link!)

All right!  Seems like chocolate milk is a great/healthy after-workout treat!

rubus-spectabilis

rubus-spectabilis

Let there be animals:

Pretty much a critter we despise, but one we can’t ignore…  Therefore NYS’s newly adopted regulations to beat back the awful emerald ash borer.  (There’re some common-sense precautions!)

We confess to a growing affection for NYS’s own sleek muskellunge fish  (AKA muskelunge, muscallonge, milliganong, or maskinonge…  Got to be a Native American name, right?)  Anyway, we can start reeling them in as of May 30th:       tiger_musky

Prepare the hankies…  Andre the Injured Turtle is returning to the wide ocean

And a frequent and long distance flyer award for the amazing red knot!!  

What would a week be without something from the Hudson River Almanac: 

5/11 – Inwood Hill Park, HRM 13.5:  Now that the weather had turned warm after the long winter, the plants seemed to be rushing to make up for lost time. Star of Bethlehem was suddenly blooming and the little bedstraw called cleavers had both its tiny blossoms and the sticky burrs that are its fruit. A little mustard called shepherd’s purse was blooming; its basal leaves look like miniature dandelion rosettes. Up on the ridge, oak pollen lay in windrows on the paths and petals fell like snow. Every plant seemed to be growing urgently. Stinging nettle was much more widespread than last year. Celandine was blooming more extensively than it had been, as were wild geranium and Herb-Robert, and I saw more common mallow flowers than usual. False Solomon’s seal was also more abundant, but not yet flowering, and poison ivy, always prolific, was setting a new standard. The population of garlic mustard had exploded! It was suddenly everywhere and becoming a real problem. Still, a few little clumps of Spanish bluebells were blooming in the woods.  – Thomas Shoesmith

With hope the Green Spirit gives us some rain,

UGS

 

 

 

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend, UESiders!

May your various grilled meats, potato salad, cold slaw, s’mores and home-made ice cream be just as you like them!

And while you’re digesting recall and contemplate a trio of individuals who’ve done some outstandingly good works of late:

*Eric Schmidt and Doron Weber whose zillion dollar donations to the New York Botanical Garden will create World Flora Online, a definitive, encyclopedic resource/guide to plants!

*Stephen Colbert who’s funded every single DonorsChoose request made by a North Carolina (his native state) teacher! 

pycnostachys-urticifolia

pycnostachys-urticifolia

But as the holiday begins:

Thursday May 21st – Wednesday, May 27th:  Park Avenue Free Tulip Dig

Park Avenue from 54th to 86th Street

And we quote Friend of Parks Carol Rinzler:   “The Fund for Park Avenue invites you to  remove tulips/bulbs c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y from the beds between 54th and 86th Streets.   When digging up the bulbs, do not take any soil and do not cut off the leaves because these tulips, a Darwin Hybrid variety called Ad Rem, are among the most weather resistant of all garden tulips with large flower heads on strong stems. Unlike other varieties, they can come back year after year – provided the leaves are not cut after blooming.  Bulbs should be stored in a dry place until the leaves have turned brittle.   They can be re-planted in October or November. Because of planned maintenance, please refrain from removing the bulbs from the end beds on either side of 67th Street and carry a copy of this notice with you when on the malls.”

Saturday, May 23rd:  NYC Beaches Open for Swimming!!

All Over the City!

At least, get a toe in!!  (For where the H2O is and hours…) (And parks where you can barbecue!) (And food-friendly events throughout the metro area!)

Saturday,  May 23rd:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

At their tables will be Bread Alone, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife and Garden of Spices Farms.

Yup, kick yourself if you missed Garden of Spaces’ fiddlehead ferns (they’re over now)…  So get your hands on their scapes,  Gayeski’s broccoli rabe and Alewife’s multi-colored radishes!

Again, no Master Knife Sharpener…  That lady’s still soaking up California sun!

Last week’s recycling totals:  70 lbs. batteries: 12 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs eyeglasses; 8 1/4 compost bins;  12 bags of clothes.  

Yes!!

Wednesday, May 27th:  Rally for Parks Funding

City Hall Steps, 11am

We all know how starved our parks are for funds… They–  Or, more accurately, he needs to know we’re pretty fed up!   (Even now the mayor seems to be non-committal about adding a paltry $1M to the skimpy tree pruning budget.)

And then:

Wednesday, June 10th & Second Wednesdays of Each Month:  Reading the “Faerie Queene” Group

Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue between 83rd & 84th Streets, 7pm

Who’s read it since college?  But the thing is so beautiful and so worth talking about…  Whether you’re there for the first get-together or join the group at any point!  Free and with a 20% discount on most purchases made pre and post the reading/discussion!  For more

Thursday, June 11th:  NY15 Passive House Conference

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, 8am-6:30pm

How to best passive-fy virtually every kind of residential structure and more.  Our fave:  How Brussels became the first city to adopt mandatory passive home construction!  $225.  For full details

thespesia-populneoides

thespesia-populneoides

Never short of miscellany:

Hats off to NYS DEC for changing course and now requiring an environmental impact study of Global Industries’ proposed rail-to-barge tar sands oil transfer facility on the Hudson at Albany!

Yikes!  Our own NY is one of the 32 retrograde states NOT requiring backseat passengers to use seat belts!!   (If you think all car occupants should be buckled up…)

Double yikes!!  There’re elements wanting to use (herbicide!) Roundup on federal lands!! (Should you disagree with that move…)

Ha!  Add Target to the list of mega stores revising its edible wares!

Double ha!  Lumber Liquidators just joined Lowe’s and Home Depot in no longer selling emission-ridden Chinese-made laminate flooring!

Time for this year’s sunscreen ratings (with many being totally ineffective)…

How about this for some elevating summer fun:  A visit to the Albany Institute of History & Art to see the splendid Hudson River paintings on display combined with a tour of nearby, actual, gorgeous spots artists Cole/Durand/Church immortalized!  (Then proceed directly to the Cooperstown Beverage – as in craft beer – Trail!) 

Amazing but true:  We have a member of the orchid family – the beautiful lady’s slipper – growing in Central Park

Okay, so lint’s the bane of the laundry room…  But Mammoth Cave?  Or Carlsbad Caverns?

ranunculus-repens

Let those animals loose:

Ready for some of NYState’s beautiful marine life...?

Time to cross fingers that a remedy for that bat-decimating white nose disease has been found… Via bananas

Know you’ll be excited to learn that a first-in-2015, NYS record-breaking, 5 pound, 8 ounce white sucker fish was caught last week in Steuben County’s Cold Brook!  

a white sucker

a white sucker

Not to mention that a strategic Mississippi land purchase will protect the endangered dusky gopher frog!

a dusky gopher frog

a dusky gopher frog

And the winners of Audubon’s annual photo contest are… 

To answer to the question, “Do bees have hearts?”…  Just click here…  And prepare to be moved.

We close with this choice tidbit from the Hudson River Almanac:

5/8 – Manhattan, HRM 1: We caught our first lined seahorse of the season this week on the Hudson River at The River Project on Pier 40. It was 9 centimeters (3 3/8 inches) long. – Jessica Bonamusa

the lined seahorse

the lined seahorse

Our best,

UGS

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Happy Zombie Awareness Month, UESiders!

Actually rather apropos as the Long Island City Clock Tower has finally emerged from the half-life of calendared-but-undesignated-landmark-status to fully landmarked!!

(We’ll have to make sure it doesn’t wind up dwarfed by the 900-plus-foot high rise proposed for right next door…)

kaempferia-galanga

kaempferia-galanga

One wild and crazy week ahead:

Thursdays:  Cross Stitch Circle

New York Historical Society, Central Park West at 77th Street, 3:30-5:30pm

Stitchers – from beginners to expert – learn, perfect their skill and work on a project employing that most classic of American crafts…  Cross stitch!  Ages 6 and up.  Not just for girls!  Free with museum admission.  For more

Thursday, May 14th – Saturday, May 17th:  Harlem Eat-Up Festival

Throughout Harlem

Panel discussions on the history of Harlem dining…  Ace chefs from all over town cooking like crazy…  30 incredible restaurants… Tastings…  Knock-out meals…  Get your mouth uptown!!  For full details and tickets… 

Thursday, May 14th – Sunday, May 17th:  Frieze New York 

Randall’s Island Park 

Year 4 of the Festival:  Wander through the indoor exhibits, but save time for the outdoor structures and sound performances for a brief foray into the world of international contemporary art!  Adults, $44.  Students, $28.  Under 16 free with a paying adult.  For more, hours and tickets

Friday, May 15th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pazmino’s topic this time around:  The 2015 Milky Way season is open!  Free.

Saturday,  May 16th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

At their tables will be Bread Alone, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Ballard Honey, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife and Garden of Spices Farms.

Fingers crossed Floral Beauty Greenhouses will be with us, too!

But sorry, folks, no Master Knife Sharpener…  She’s vacationing in L.A.!

Loved the salad made with Alewife’s Russian kale (and Manager Margaret’s dressing)!  And those multi-colored radishes!!

Last week’s recycling totals:  65 lbs. batteries: 18 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs eyeglasses; 9 compost bins;  16 bags of clothes.  

9 compost bins!!

Saturday, May 16th:  Catalyst Community Festival at Thomas Jefferson Park

First Avenue at 111th Street, 2-4pm

Live music…  Arts and crafts…  Puppetry…  A ton of other family-friendly entertainment!  No doubt about it:  Our friends at TJ Park’ve embarked on a major renaissance!   For further details and the list of the event’s powerhouse sponsors...

Saturday, May 16th:  Sumo Wrestler Stew Tasting

Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost Street, 4pm

Yes, partake of that Sumo wrestler staff-of-life chankonabe while a Sumo match streams on flat screens overhead!   Chicken-based to keep wrestlers on their own 2 legs!  (And delicious, we hear!) $35.  For more and to make a reservation

Saturday May 16th – Sunday, May 17th: Ninth Avenue Food Festival 

42nd to 57th Streets, 12-5pm

Philly cheese egg rolls?   Puffed-pork sandwiches?  Bacon-infused everything imaginable? Yummm…  (Better bring along a family-sized bottle of Tums!)  For a block-by-block list of vendors/attractions

Take a deep breath:

Wednesday, May 27th – Sunday, May 31st:  World Science Festival

All Around Town

What Is Sleep(?)!  The NASA Orbit Pavilion!  Reality Since Einstein?  Navigation on the Open Sea with a NASA Astronaut (and on the schooner)!  Botany at the Bar!  Five jammed-packed days of fascinating stuff!!  Every year more and better!  For the lowdown and tickets 

Sunday, May 31st:  Spring Migration on Randall’s Island

Meet on the NW corner of 102nd Street and the East River Esplanade, 9am-2pm

Who knew Randall’s Island is home to restored freshwater wetlands and a salt marsh..  Not to mention it’s a premier stopping-off point for migrating water and land birds!   Outing organized by NYC Audubon.  $40.

jatropha-cinerea

jatropha-cinerea

On to miscellany:

Lots of well-deserved sturm und drang re NYC’s increasingly accidental skyline as splinter buildings proliferate and we function under a 1960’s zoning code… 

Before the petition in defense of our imperiled ocean aquatic life plops in your mailbox…  Read this…  Then sign that petition and all others that come your way! 

Is this crazy or what?!  Many a NYS city’s street lights are owned by tight-wad power companies who refuse to to convert those lights to LED!!  

On the up side:

Meanwhile…  How about solar panel pavement for our Esplanade?!!

And Cleveland Indian-level recycling at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field!  (Thanks to reader Gerry Levine for the tip!)

Holy crow!  The Croton Water Plant is finally up and running!!  (And only 4 times over budget!) 

NYS’s great out-of-doors is open for business!  Witness the ton of activities on offer from one end of the state to another…  And just in May! 

Then there’s DEC’s push for more kids to participate in the National Archery in the Schools program!

 

OMG!  NYState’s home to 14 species of CARNIVOROUS plants!!

You do know we can garden – be it vegs and/or flowers – in hay bales

And the best things to buy in May

Sigh… 

There are those moments when NYC feels so small town…  This piece from The Times chronicles one of them

As does this portrait of a chess teacher and his UGS students

lonicera-sempervirens

lonicera-sempervirens

Animals and the animal-inspired, too:

Custom pillows featuring your pet’s adorable face

A felt cat cave with pointy ears?!  (And from Lithuania!)

Osprey cam alert!!  (There’re eggs in Rachel the Osprey Mom’s nest!)

Yes, there is a Gotham Coyote Project…  (They want to know if you see one!)

Ever so green,

UGS

 

 

 

 

 

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 Happy 8th Annual NYC Wildflower Week, UESiders!

Not only is there a Butterfly Week, there’s a bonafide NYC Wildflower Week organization that puts together a series of choice celebratory events in all 5 boroughs…  Heavy on wildflowers as subject, yes, but including the likes of a “Spring Fungi Walk & Talk”!  To check out the full schedule… 

Also, the 50th anniversary of the Pure Water Act!!  

Something to contemplate as fracking chemicals are now turning up in Pennsylvania drinking water

Solar One Professional Development Workshop

menyanthes-trifoliata

menyanthes-trifoliata

Refocusing on the seven days ahead:

Friday, May 8th:  “East River Flows” Unfurling & Community Celebration

Applebee’s, 117th Street at the East River Plaza, 6-8pm

Thanks to generous Applebee’s for hosting 2 hours during which great East Harlemites/Yorkvillians/UESiders can eat, drink, pat ourselves on the back and shake the hand of Esplanade Friends’ president and founder, Jennifer Ratner, whose unflagging determination brought “East River Flows” – light painting/photography pioneer Vicki DaSilva ‘s gorgeous, haunting, sprawling banner – into being and displayed on our Esplanade at 103rd Street! Free but you must RSVP at EastRiverEsplanade@gmail.com!  

Saturday,  May 9th:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

With us will be Bread Alone, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife and Garden of Spices Farms…  Not to mention Floral Beauty Greenhouses!

Master Knife Sharpener Barbara Hess will be at her table, too!

(Ballard Honey’s taking this Saturday off.)

Look for Gayeski to have a more abundant supply of that scrumptious early asparagus!

Plus…  Radishes and spring onions are coming in!!

Plus…  Market Manager Margaret’s offering a free Greenmarket token bag to anyone who purchases $40 or more in Greenmarket tokens! 

PLUS…  No way “The Greenmarket Cookbook” wouldn’t make the perfect Mother’s Day gift!   

Last week’s recycling totals:  126 lbs. batteries: 19 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs eyeglasses; 8 1/4 compost bins;  16 bags of clothes.

Darned impressive, people.

Saturday, May 9th:  Urban Wildlife Appreciation Day

Indian Road Lawn, Inwood Hill Park, 12-3pm  (enter the Park at 218th Street)

Squirrels…  Coyotes…  Skunks… Birds of many kinds…  They’re all New Yorkers, too, and waiting to meet you and the kids!  Free. For more and directions

Saturday, May 9th:  Museum of Natural History Identification Day!

 Central Park West at 79th Street in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, 12-5[m 

Who knows but that the funny looking stone – with what look like fish-eyes in it – your great-great-grandfather picked up on the shore of Lake Michigan in 1902 is a remnant of some prehistoric life…   Or…?  Let the MNH experts ferret the answer out!  Free with museum admission!  For details…  (And good luck!) 

Sunday, May 10th:  Meet the Fledglings!

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 2-4pm

A chance for one’s child to feed a baby bird?  Build a nest for that same orphaned bird?  Add a host of digestible-by-human-youngsters bird info?   Does kid friendly get any better?!    Member child, $5.  Non-member child, $12.  Free to member adults.  Non-member adults, $19.  For more

Then things get even more dense:

Saturday, May 16th:  Chelsea Garden Club Compost Workshop

Meet on the SE corner of 30th Street & Ninth Avenue, 9am

The fine art of proper compost use in tree beds from the great group that pioneered bicycle island gardening in NYC…  These people know whereof they speak!  Free!

Saturday, May 16th:  It’s My Park Day at Thomas Jefferson Park

Enter at 114th Street & Pleasant Avenue (3 blocks below East River Plaza/Costco) and proceed to the Children’s Play Area, 9am-12pm

Until we reschedule our own IMPD, why not give our neighbors just north a hand planting flat-upon-flat of flowers!  Chosen as a Parks Day press site, be great for purposes of local TV coverage, to have a mass of people getting those flowers into theTJP ground!  Family-friendly, of course.   (Event poster attached to email!)

Saturday, May 16th:  Spring Native Plant Share

Grove Hill Community Garden, Eagle Avenue at 158th Street, The Bronx, 11am-1pm

Four of NYC most plant savvy groups join forces to enlighten even experienced gardeners towards what’ll grow best in their particular patch of earth with an emphasis on pollinator-friendly greenery.  They even send you home with an armful of native plants!  Free but you must RSVP for a place… 

Whew…  Then:

Monday, Mary 25th:  Alexander Hamilton Walking Tour

Lower Manhattan meeting place revealed upon reservation, 11am

And we quote, “Following in the footsteps of Hamilton from his arrival in the city as a teenager to attend King’s College (today’s Columbia University) until his death at the hands of Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804.  An “Inside the Apple” classic!  $30.  To  RSVP

Saturday, May 30th:  Obscura Day 2015!

All over NYC, if not the Globe

We’re talking more than 150 events in 39 states and all whipped up by the folks who’ve let us get up close and personal with the likes of the Times Square New Year’s ball, area cemetery history and so many more urban flourishes/oddities…  The Obscura Society!  To check on what they’ve got in store for this year’s especially big day…  

June already:

Thursday, June 4th: Solar One Green Design Lab/ Professional Development Workshop for Teachers

Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Room 609, 9am-3pm

Calling all teachers with a yen to even more deftly integrate things green into your classrooms! Nobody better to be perfecting your green/STEM outreach skills with!  Free and with lunch provided.  For more on the workshop, check email attachment…   And to RSVP

Tuesday, June 9th:  DIY Crowns 

American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, 6-8:30pm

Once you’ve been versed in the realm of crowns/headdresses/hats by a museum educator, you’ll be turned loose – under the guidance of expert and author ( of “Flower Crowns”) Christy Meisner – to create your own floral, crowning glory!  Members, $50.  Non-members, $55.  For more

Friday, June 13th & Saturday, June 20th:  Botanical Paper Cutting Class

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx & Midtown Locations

We all seen lovely, delicate, cut-paper motifs, garland and silhouettes…  A folk art feature of so many cultures…  But who’d have thought we could possibly DIOurselves in a 2-hour class? Members, $59.  Non-members, $65.  For full details

lepanthes-dewildei

lepanthes-dewildei

Ever so miscellaneous:

Un-Congratulations, Domino’s Pizza, for racking up the highest number of  delivery bike violations in the whole city!

Slightly diminished un-congratulations to UES businesses for accumulating the second most numerous violations of any area in NYC…

But thanks to DNAInfo for publishing the map which identifies the two-wheeled sinners among us

Wider lens:

A mega shopping mall at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park??!!  (Should you think not…)

On the bright side:

Tip of the hat to Hunter for – as of May 1st,  – having opened their lovely Poses Park for the general public enjoyment, 10am-7pm.  Pay it a visit on 68th between Park & Lex.  (For more and a brief history…)  

Add a deep bow to Community Board 8’s Parks Committee which has done yeoman’s work revealing the many legally public spaces utterly unavailable city residents (most notoriously in residential buildings who took advantage in NYC’s Publicly Owned Public Spaces – AKA POPS – Program).  (For more about POPS…) 

Federal court ruled in favor of Vermont’s right to demand labeling of GMO ingredients in food…  Vermont being the first state to pass such a law!  

Wherever you may be gardening, scroll down for KU’s Monarch Watch list of most butterfly-friendly plants!  (We planted many a milkweed seed in First Ave bicycle islands!)

And for KU’s just-released report on the Monarch population’s status

Yes, the NYS DEC will continue active enforcement of clean boat rules stemming the spread of invasive aquatic species in our states beautiful, rich-with-native-life lakes! 

Looking forward to how the 191st Street/1 Train tunnel once the  7 street artists of note chosen to paint it put down their brushes!

Cineaste note:  Satyajit Ray’s brilliant, beautiful, just-restored “Apu Trilogy” will be showing at the Film Forum over the next 3 weeks.  

Bring on the critters:

Familiar with what pets are and are not permitted in NYC?  Pretty unbelievable in the specificity (but realistic) of the regulations… 

Further in the Who Knew Department:  Who knew that NYS waters are home to the tiger muskellunge (AKA “tiger musky”) fish and that the season for trying to catch it commenced on May 2nd?

tiger_musky

What the heck is it with politicians and bobcats?!  (If you’d like to encourage Illinois’ governor to prohibit killing theirs…)

Animal heartbreak story of this or any other week:  Mrs. T the 90-year old…  British..  Tortoise whose…  Legs–  We can’t’ go on.  You’ll have to watch

Haven’t all cat owners dreamed of kitty making his/herself useful around the house?  Like, say, helping us bake bread?

Happiest (green) Mother’s Day,

UGS

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Happy Empire State Building’s 84th Birthday and Opening of the New Whitney, UESiders!

Hope you partake at least one of many Whitney celebratory events…  

(We’re especially looking forward to the amazing light show that’ll be playing out on the happy birthday building – the Empire State – commencing at 8pm tonight!)

bonnemaisonia-hamifera

bonnemaisonia-hamifera

As for the next 7 days (complete with colossally jam-packed Saturday):

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 1st, 2nd & 3rd:  Jane’s Walks 2015

Length & Breadth of our City

Two hundred-plus NYC tours ranging from the historic Bronx Post Office to the city’s most enduring Latin record store to the haunts of Mafiosi of Little Italy. All in honor of the woman for whom the descriptor “urbanist” was coined:  Jane Jacobs!  Free!  For the full schedule…  

Saturday, May 2nd:  The Great Saunter

Register at Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl Street, 7am

And we quote, “See New York City as never before in the Shorewalker’s epic urban hike, the 30th Annual Great Saunter covering 32-miles of beautiful waterfront and more than 20 parks along Manhattan’s incredible shorelines!” (We all have do this once in our lives!)  Free.  For more and additional registration site en route

(For recollections of many another city walk, check out this week’s NYTimes Magazine!)

Saturday, May 2nd:  Esplanade Friends’ PAKA Afro-Caribbean Music Event

East River Esplanade at 103rd Street, 11am-2pm  (Rain Date:  Sunday, May 4th) 

No stopping the new life, beauty and fun Friends are bringing to our long-neglected Esplanade!   This time out:  The totally amazing PAKA drummers and dancers!!   (A lot of drummers and dancers!)   Free!

Saturday, May 2nd:  FDNY 150th Anniversary Open House Celebration!

Ladder 13, 157 East 67th Street, 1-3pm & Ladder 16, 159 East 85th Street, 11am-3pm

And do NY’s Bravest ever know how to throw a celebratory party!!  Think firehouse and EMS station tours!  Great, free fire safety and FDNY career info! Best of all, the chance to meet the great people who so often stand between us and harm:  Our own UES firefighters, paramedics and EMTs! (For more firehouses across the city…)  

Saturday,  May 2nd:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

At their tables will be Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife and Garden of Spices Farms! Floral Beauty Greenhouses will be on hand, too!

Look for Master Knife Sharpener Barbara Hess to be present and raring to hone, as well!

NEWS FLASH:  Get to the market early to lay hands on Gayeski’s first-of-the-season asparagus AND  ramps from Samascott!

Got to try Alewife’s pea shoots, too!   And check out Floral Beauty’s multi-colored ranunculus! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  111 lbs. batteries: 24 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 2 pairs eyeglasses; 7 1/2 compost bins;  15 bags of clothes.

Can’t stop the recycling!

Monday, May 4th:  Esplanade Friends Second Annual Spring Benefit!

Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue between 82nd & 83rd, 6-8pm

Great food!  Great raffle prizes!!  A crowd of great and determined people!  An honoree that’s pointing the way to the Esplanade of the future:  Rockefeller University!  (We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: You’ll be eating our dust one day soon, Riverside Park!)  For your tickets and more

And then:

Friday, May 8th:  “East River Flows” Unfurling & Community Celebration

Applebee’s, 117th Street at the East River Plaza, 6-8pm

Thanks to generous Applebee’s for hosting 2 hours during which great East Harlemites/Yorkvillians/UESiders can eat, drink, pat ourselves on the back and shake the hand of Esplanade Friends’ president and founder, Jennifer Ratner, whose unflagging determination brought “East River Flows” – light painting/photography pioneer Vicki DaSilva ‘s gorgeous, haunting, sprawling banner – into being and displayed on our Esplanade at 103rd Street! Free but you must RSVP at EastRiverEsplanade@gmail.com!  

Sunday, May 10th:  Meet the Fledglings!

New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 2-4pm

A chance for one’s child to feed a baby bird?  Build a nest for that same orphaned bird?  Add a host of digestible-by-human-youngsters bird info?   Does kid friendly get any better?!    Member child, $5.  Non-member child, $12.  Free to member adults.  Non-member adults, $19.  For more

claytonia-virginica

claytonia-virginica

Never has there been more miscellany:

As much we’ve all enjoyed the moral superiority of our NYS’s fracking ban, surely we won’t  let California (where they’re still debating whether or not to frack) get the jump on us with more and better emission control?!

Not so proud of the recently released American Meal Gap Map

(Or the starving of our NYC libraries…)

Sure seems odd that Starbucks continues bottling California’s scant water resources

Water that’s already in such short enough supply throughout the West that power produced by the likes of Hoover Dam’s been significantly reduced

Short enough supply that it may bring an end to avocado cultivation!

Meanwhile, Chipotle’s the latest chain to announce it’ll be getting rid of all GMO-containing ingredients!

Earth to NYC Sanitation:  Chicago garbage trucks pick up inside high rises leaving streets free of mounds of black garbage bags 7 days a week!

This while Hong Kong – rather like the Roosevelt Island system – vacuum-tubes its waste to a central pick-up point.

pinus-thunbergii

pinus-thunbergii

Closer to home:

Building up our 

Haven’t noticed an increase on UES turf, but they’re experiencing a bit of Styrofoam snow storm to our west and south...

Let us hope a new Bronx program actually results – as the things rarely do – in retention of affordable housing units…

Won’t let it escape our notice next time (and there’s bound to be one) the French Institute does a philosophy marathon!

Meanwhile, you do know New Yorkers are setting up on line radio stations?

Return of the Lichens!!  Means NYC trees are getting healthier!!  (Check ’em out on the north sides of some of the young bike island trees on First Ave!)

Still on the fauna beat:  We now have our own version of the horribly invasive kudzu vine in the form of the porcelain berry plant

On the other hand, there’re these 9 unusual but great vegs to grow

Best way to assuage sadness at the many meaningful NYC buildings we lost?  The Museum of the City of New York’s new “Saving Place” show...

And reflect on this small wonder or wonders!  Rather than a rendezvous with a wrecking ball, a vintage – but unlandmarked – building is being somewhat restored!

Remember that long ago time when we were all addictive viewers of “Project Runway” and maybe even paid a visit to the featured Mood Fabrics?  At least on the fabric score, a bit of our interest is revived now that Mood’s offering a sewing course!  $299 or free with purchase of an equal amount of sewing supplies.

NYC Pop Quiz:  How much do you know about (interesting) Inwood?  

Inwood point-of-interest not included in the quiz:  The Ring Butterfly Garden with its milkweed pod sculpture!  (Thanks to reader Katherine Winkleman for the tip and pix!)

ButterflyGarden

Milkweed Pod Sculpture

Milkweed Pod Sculpture

PodSign

(Fingers crossed that all the the milkweed pods we’ve sown in First Ave bicycle islands lure some Monarchs down this way!)

Moving off the reservation:

Check out the new White House china

Tulipa Van Doc

Tulipa Van Doc

Animals:

Bring on the quote marks!!  Trapping – and get a load of the kind of traps – is allowed in our National Wildlife “Refuges”!!  (If you think it should be banned completely…)

ICK!  California bobcat pelts are being traded to Russia?! Okay, the state just ended the practice on the outskirts of National Parks and Refuges, but it’s still happening elsewhere…  Enough with trapping in 2015!! 

Double ick…  There now a designated  “Flameproof/Most Polluted Bird”

Is this one big manta ray or what?

New York Rat Paths…!  

OMG…  Newborn baby lemurs!

Always good to sign off with a snippet from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/22 – Manhattan: They came as an Earth Day gift: a flock of 40 brant geese flew in and landed in the water close to the east side of the Hudson River at Spuyten Duyvil, just north of the Amtrak swing bridge where the Harlem River meets the Hudson. They feasted on the bright green algae growing on rocks along the shore before flying north up the river in separate groups. It was such a treat to see them. –  Jennifer Scarlott

brandt geese

In memory of the great Ben E. King, we’ll stand (green) by him,

UGS 

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