Happy World Ocean Day, UESiders!

And a less happy first NYC Air Quality Health Alert Day of 2015…

Pretty early in the season and all the more reason to devote ourselves to the UESide’s trees and tree beds, parks, Greenstreets, Bicycle Island Gardens, East River Esplanade…  Well, any and all of the green spaces that make NYC life aesthetic and – most of all – healthier.

A good frame of mind in which to familiarize yourself with the present administration’s proposed financial commitment to our Parks...  



Then get down on the pleasures of the week ahead:

From Now On:  Visit High Bridge Park!

Washington Heights, Manhattan, 7am-8pm

With thanks to all those who saved this NYC gorgeousness…  From Mayors Guiliani to Bloomberg…  The City Parks Foundation… Congressman Serrano… Friends of High Bridge Park… Go and marvel!   (For Park history, directions and more…)

Friday, June 12th – Sunday, June 21st:  Human Rights Film Festival

IFC Film Center, 323 Sixth Avenue

Thirty-plus years on, Human Rights Watch’s put together yet another great roster of film chronicling present global challenges and those meeting them.  (For the schedule, times and more…) 

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.  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… 

Saturdays, June 13th, 20th & 27th:  Fly Fishing in Bryant Park

Fifth Avenue Terrace, Bryant Park, 10am-12pm

Learn the art of casting and more from the uber fishing/hunting gear masters of Orvis!  Free and it’d be good to reserve a spot:  212-827-0698.  (For further details…)

Saturday,  June 13th:   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, Floral Beauty Greenhouses, Samascott, Gajeski, Rising Sun, Alewife, Cherry Lane and Garden of Spices Farms…  

PLUS…  We’ll no longer have to content ourselves with Ole Mother Hubbert’s milk.  The lady herself will be with us, along with her full array of wares (soon to include gelato)!

Yes, and the Master Knife Sharpener will be present as well!!

Scallops have never been better, people!!

Last week’s recycling totals:  74 lbs. batteries; 18 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 3 pairs eyeglasses; 8 1/4 compost bins;  35 bags of clothes.

Tuesday, June 16th:  Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden Summer Garden Concert

421 East 61st Street, 6pm

Commencing the season with a harpsichord performance!  Music, a gorgeous garden, a museum tour and a cocktail!  Doesn’t get any better!  Free to members and babies under 1 year old.  Non-members, $15.  Children under 12, $5.  For more…  Or call 212-838-6878.

Tuesday, June 16th:  Divine Felines – Cats of Ancient Egypt Lecture

National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, 6:30pm

The unique roles of cats and lions in Egyptian kingship, mythology and long ago everyday Egyptian life.  Presented by Yekaterina Barbash of the Brooklyn Museum.  Free! 

Just over the horizon:

Saturday, June 20th:  Coney Island Mermaid Parade


A NYC classic!  Looks like you can even still sign up to participate!  For total rundown

Sundays, June 28th – November 22nd:  94th Street Greenmarket Grand Re-Opening!!

First Avenue between 94th & 96th Street, 9am-5pm

Compost Collection – 9am–1pm 

All of our old farmer/baker/fisherman/dairy friends and their fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods, milk, yogurt, cheese, cider and fabulous seafood from the 92nd market…  A mere 2 blocks further north!!   See you there!!

Sunday, June 28th:  NYC Safe Disposal Event

Columbia University/Teachers College, 120th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam, 10am-4pm (If coming by car, approach from Seminary Drive down Amsterdam Avenue.)

Recycling of the heavy duty kind:  Transmission fluid, paint, medications, car batteries, oven cleaner, anything with the skull-and-crossbones/poison on its label…  You get the drift, but for the complete list of what you can recycle



Feel good miscellany up first:

Esplanade Friends’ great public art banner made The Wall Street Journal!

The EPA’s finally moving to cut aircraft emissions!

New fuel economy regulations automobile-style are expected soon…

For once, a developer recognizes and SAVES at least some elements of an architecturally (but unlandmarked, natch) building!


Why are we not surprised at EPA’s timidly couched conclusion that fracking affects water quality???

Over the objections of some that the bill included too much money for infrastructure (!) and especially Amtrak (!!), the House passed not very generous funding for transportation and housing… 

Back with good cheer:

How about a mozzarella-making class..?!   (Yes!!)

Or a 1930’s Brooklyn trolley map…?

bit of East Side character that endures in the form of First and 55th Street’s Jennings TV

How about this for a well-designed logo:



As for those animals:

Yet another osprey chick has hatched!  A third is coming…  (Parents are Rachel and Steve!)

At the other end of the spectrum, 9 of the world’s smallest (adult) birds

As we move into summer, battle with the rapacious southern pine beetle resumes

Rarely shill, but there’s a worthy, endorsed by NYC Audubon and absurdly low-cost wildlife series in the making (“The Creature Show”:  Episode I –  The Jefferson Salamander)

How about we bring down the curtain with the teeny bit of extreme cuteness born in Queens this week… 

And these NYC-centric excerpts from the Hudson River Almanac:

5/30 – As a part of the eighth annual World Science Festival on May 30, a Great Fish Count took place fourteen locations in the greater New York City area, from Staten Island to southern Westchester County, and Jamaica Bay to the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey. A few highlights follow.

Habirshaw Park, Yonkers, HRM 18: Many small seiners covered the beach at the Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak, helping to haul in an amazing eight eels, seven striped bass, a hogchoker, a mummichog, five white perch, and five blue crabs, along with shrimp and softshell clams. The diversity was impressive and the river kept producing seine after seine. The salinity was 5.0 parts per thousand [ppt} and the dissolved oxygen concentration was 10.0 milligrams per liter [mg/L]. – Margie Turrin

Inwood Hill Park, Harlem River, HRM 13.5: We scooped up netfuls of wriggling mummichogs, most no more than two to three inches long. The males were striking in their mating colors, with bright yellow bellies and pelvic fins, an eye-spot marking on their dorsal fin, and silvery striped bars on their sides. Many of the females were carrying eggs. The group intently counted each of 103 fish. Salinity was 10.0 ppt and dissolved oxygen was 10.0 mg/L. – Margie Turrin

Ft. Washington Park, Manhattan, HRM 11: The first net came in with just two small striped bass, but the group of participants at greeted their appearance with great enthusiasm. The second net brought in a blue crab and, as we watched, it began to moult. It suddenly went very still as we set it in a bucket; concern mounted that perhaps it had died. But its eyes began to shift back and forth, and then – with a final push – it was free of its old shell. The crowd erupted into cheers! The next net brought in an old barbeque filled with debris and an assortment of small mud crabs and blue crabs (two more were softshells), more than a dozen shrimp, and two small summer flounder perfectly camouflaged against the sand. A final seine pulled in a northern pipefish. Salinity was 12.0 ppt, dissolved oxygen was 11.0 mg/L, and the water temperature was a warm 72 degrees F.  –  Margie Turrin

molting blue crab

Photo of blue crab molting courtesy of Margie Turrin

Randall’s Island Park, Manhattan: Near the junction of the Harlem and East Rivers, we seined at the mouth of a tidal creek winding its way out of a recently restored salt marsh. Two young of the year [YOY] Atlantic tomcod were the surprise of the day – pretty amazing that these little guys, no more than two inches long and hatched in the freshwater Hudson in late winter, had already made it downriver to Randall’s Island. As the tide fell in early afternoon, large numbers of small fish gathered to feed where the dwindling salt marsh creek entered a shallow bay of the Harlem River. With Advanced Inquiry Program master’s degree students from the Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo, we netted over 900 mummichogs in two hauls of the seine. Among them were a few striped killifish (the first time I’ve found them in Manhattan waters) and at least 20 yearling striped bass. –  Steve Stanne

Valentino Pier, Red Hook, Brooklyn: At this park’s short beach, not a hundred feet wide, the water was a cool and refreshing 63 degrees F in contrast to the 84 degree air temperature. Three dozen beachgoers willingly shared the waterfront with us, as did wading children and Labrador retrievers chasing tennis balls. With the help of volunteers, we hauled our seine, captured three species of native fishes – striped bass 92-102 millimeters [mm] long, winter flounder (119-140 mm), and windowpane flounder (45-60 mm) – and returned them safely to the bay. We also found shore shrimp (Palaemonetes species) and mud dog whelks (Ilyassoma obsoleta) in the net. The salinity was 23.0 ppt; dissolved oxygen was 9.0 mg/L.   – Rebecca Houser, Kacie Giuliano & Tom Lake

Lemon Creek Park, Raritan Bay, Staten Island: We seined at two sites here. The first was a constructed tidal pond. The water was warm and salty (84 degrees F, 27.0 ppt) with a lot of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) but plenty of fish as well. They included dozens of striped killifish, mummichogs, fourspine sticklebacks, Atlantic silversides, an alewife, and an American eel whose efforts to leap out of the bucket and escape delighted everyone. Invertebrates included mud dog whelks, shore shrimp, two green crabs, and several feisty blue crabs. The strangest catch of the day was a small drone (remotely operated vehicle) that someone must have accidentally crashed in the pond. We then moved to the beach on the bay side (77 degrees F, 24.0 ppt). Several hauls resulted in six lady crabs, two dozen bay anchovies, many silversides, and a northern pipefish. Invertebrates included a dime-sized blue crab, both sand and shore shrimp, dog whelks, and a seemingly endless supply of hermit crabs. The young beachcombers among us found a decaying bluefish and an ancient-looking but live horseshoe crab, its carapace covered with a thick layer of barnacles.  – Chris Bowser, Katie Friedman, Carl and Lucy Alderson, Michelle Luebke, Orion Weldon & Mary Lee

female (top) and male (bottom) mummichogs

Photo of female (top) and male (bottom) mummichogs courtesy of Steve Stanne.

Here’re the fish species reported to date from the World Science Festival Great Fish Count:
1. Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitis) – 1,077; high count 943 from Randall’s Island ]
2. Striped killifish (Fundulus majalis) – 64; high count 60 from the tidal pond at Lemon Creek Park
3. Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) – 45; high count 30 from the beach at Lemon Creek Park
4. Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – 43; high count 30 from Randall’s Island
5. Bay anchovy (Anchoa mitchilli) – 36; high count 25 from the beach at Lemon Creek Park
6. Fourspine stickleback (Apeltes quadracus) – 20, all from the tidal pond at Lemon Creek Park
7. Winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) – 12; high count 10 from the seaplane ramp, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn
8. American eel (Anguilla rostrata) – 9; high count 8 from the Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak
9. White perch (Morone americana) – 8; high count 5 from the Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak
10. Summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) – 3; two from Ft. Washington Park and one from Bloomers Beach, Palisades Interstate Park, Englewood, NJ
11. Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) – 2 from the salt marsh creek at Randall’s Island
12. Banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) – 2 from Inwood Hill Park
13. Northern pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus) – 2; one each from Ft. Washington Park and the beach at Lemon Creek Park
14. Windowpane (Scophthalmus aquosus) – 2 from Valentino Pier
15. Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) – 1 from the tidal pond at Lemon Creek Park
16. Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus) – 1 from the Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak
17. Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) – 1 found dead on the beach at Lemon Creek Park

Whew…  That was one big, green mouthful!

(And what a formidable fish incubator Randall’s Island is!)



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