Monthly Archives: November 2015

Happy Approaching Thanksgiving, UESiders!

And what better holiday vamp than a great Sunday afternoon infesting the beds in and around the Stanley Isaacs Playground at 96th Street with daffodil and grape hyacinth bulbs… All with the help of parents and kids from Temple Shaaray Tefila! Sunday 7Sunday 6Sunday 4

Big thank you, one and all! 

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On to the week ahead:

Now – August, 2016:  The Secret World Inside You

Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street

And is there any subject more fascinating than…  Oneself!  And here we’re talking oneself way, way up close…  The microbiome of your skin!  The building of your microbiome from birth!  Even the microbiome of your digestive tract!  The possible cures that lie hidden in our micro-organisms!  For further details and tickets

Friday, November 20th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pazmino helps answer the question:  Which of the many great choices is the right star atlas for you?  Free and always fabulous!

Friday, November 20th:  Bringing Back New York’s Oysters Lecture

Hunter College,Hunter West Building, Room 714, 7-9pm

So how are do we restore this one dominant and central life form to New York waters?  Pete Malinowski of the Billion Oyster Project and teacher/environmental activist Damian Griffin and his Bronx River Oyster Reef!  Presented in cooperation with NYC H2O, the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities and the National Park Service.  Free.  But you better RSVP.  

Friday, November 20th to Sunday, November 22nd:  Sondheim’s “Company”

The Poet’s Den Theater & Gallery, 309 East 108th Street

Yes, Sondheim on East 108th Street!  But then impresario Raphael  Benavides has always got something interesting (and affordable) going on in what’s become a transformative cultural force in the East Harlem neighborhood.  Presented in cooperation with the Village Light Opera Company.  For more (there’s an opening night reception!) and tickets

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

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

As the Turkey Day countdown begins…

Market Manager Margaret says:  “Greenmarket = Your whole Thanksgiving meal!  Turkey from Garden of Spices…  Samascott for cranberry sauce…  Gajeski, Cherry Lane and Alewife for the fix’ins…  Bread Alone for your pie and Mother Hubbert’s gelato to top it off…  Don’t forget the cheese course (the pilgrims didn’t) from Valley Shepherd…  Candles for the table?  Ballard’s Honey has them, of course…  And, yes, Atlantic Seafood’s Peconic Bay scallops are the perfect appetizer!” 


Oh, and that big, beautiful bird you’re serving up?  It’ll be perfectly carved thanks to the Master Knife Sharpener!

(Be great if you can contribute a dollar to making sure needy neighbors have their own lovely holiday meals!) 

Last week’s recycling totals:  76 lbs. batteries; 24 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 6 pairs of eye glasses;  7 1/2 compost bins; 34 bags of clothes.


Saturday, November 21st to Sunday, January 18th, 2016:  New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show!

2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx

Bigger (as in 3,00 square feet bigger) and better than ever and not to be missed!  ‘Nuff said!  For more and tickets!

Sundays through November 22nd:  94th Street Greenmarket 

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

Compost Collection – 9am–1pm 

The 94th Street Market’s final 2015 Sunday…

So fill up those (reusuable) shopping bags with the best Thanksgiving fare going!

Fruit, vegs, herbs and more from Stannard and Phillips Farms…  Those Peconic Bay scallops from American Seafood…  Pies and other sweets galore from Bread Alone and  Meredith’s Bakery… Gelato, milk, yogurt and cheese from Ole Mother Hubbert…  Wager’s Cider for Turkey Day toasting…  Doesn’t get any fresher, more flavorful or more local!!

(As you shop, please do remember our neighbors in need and drop off a dollar with Market Manager Guramrit at her table!) 

And remember…  When this wonderful market returns next June it’ll be back where it was born on First and 92nd Street!! 

Last week’s recycling totals:  20 lbs. batteries: 4 lbs. corks, cellphones, cartridges and cords;  3 3/4 bins of compost.

Hats off, folks!!

Sunday, November 22nd:  Love Our Park – Meet Our Neighbors

Meet in front of the Thomas Jefferson Park Recreation Center, First Avenue between 112th & 114th Streets, 11am-12:30pm

Bring garden gloves, at least 2 black plastic bags, yourself, your passion for park improvement and get busy in great company! For more: or 646-436-9006.

Monday, November 23rd:  Live Inside Washington Square Arch with Parks Commissioner Silver!

On Your Computer, 3pm

Yup, our Parks Department is cooking up all kinds of fun adventures to stream via their new live, free  Periscope tours

On the horizon:

Wednesday, December 9th:  Phantom Breweries of the Upper East Side 

Ryan’s Daughter, 350 East 85th Street, 6:30pm

Sure, aren’t we all familiar with the Ruppert Brewery that once was…  But Ehret’s Hell’s Gate Brewery?  Or the 48 other beer makers that once called Yorkville/Upper East Side home?  Join architectural historian Francis Morrone for the history and cultural context of a NYC industry of yore… Followed by a tasting of local craft beers!  Presented by Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. Members, $10.  Non-members, $20.   For tickets

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Regrettable miscellany up first:

Yuck, madness and something new to add to the NEVER EAT list…  GMO salmon has just been approved by the FDA!!  (Oh, yes, and it won’t be labeled as GMO either!)

But on the good foot:

Much as we have a ton of intensely local concerns occupying our minds…  When it comes to the clean-up of a toxic Hudson River coal tar leak of a century-plus duration, seems like we can take a few seconds to sign a e-petition… 

The list of science museums ending relationships with the fossil fuel industry continues to grow

Remember when we mentioned the Smithsonian’s Kickstarter campaign to restore Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit?  And how folks pledged the $ needed double-quick?  Here’s the first reward:  A high-res photo of the “before” suit!    

Great that there’s now a Bird-Smart Glass Program, a rating system stops birds from hitting windows!

Check out the host of great holiday-themed classes scheduled at the NY Botanical Garden

It’s come to this…  Not only was the first Taco Bell building ever recently saved from destruction, but the grounds of TB headquarters will soon become its forever home!

From Swedish to Armenian, Eating in Translation’s compiled a 5-borough list of NYC holiday food festivals of many an ethnic persuasion!  (Plenty on or near our home turf!) 

Hit 1020 on your Time Warner remote…  Click on Arts & Entertainment…  Then documentaries…  Then “Beekeeper” for the trials, tribulations and uplift experienced by NYC beekeepers!  (There’re hives atop the Waldorf Astoria!) 

In a world of extreme everything…  Extreme bagpiping just does stand out!

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Time for critters:

With this week’s announcement that it’s going going cage-free, Taco Bell earns itself Mention #2 in this 11/19 newsletter!

What happens when best friends goat and donkey are separated…  Then reunited?

Who knew the “duck stamp” played and continues to play a vital role in waterfowl conservation?

Yes, you, too, can overcome your fear of spiders if you take the London Zoo’s Friendly Spider Programme

Who can resist Fowl or Foul:  The Wacky North American Fowl Quiz?

A happy and ultra-green Thanksgiving, friends!,



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Yes, Happy America Recycles Day, UESiders…

And Happy Indian Pudding Day, too!!

Who knew that the one-time American staple is an adaptation of (English) hasty pudding?!

Or – check the recipe – that it sounds downright awful?!

We say bring on the pumpkin pie…

And what’s happening over the week ahead:

Now Till Spring:   Project Feeder Watch

Your Bird Feeder

Citizen science at its finest, most grassroots and as simple as checking your feeder a couple of times a day to see which of our rich NYC winter bird population’s paying a visit! Organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  $18 (for your Research Kit).  To learn more and sign up

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

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

Compost & Clothes Collection – 9am–1pm 

Ready and waiting for Thanksgiving prep will be Bread Alone, Ballard Honey, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Samascott, Rising Sun, Garden of Spices, Gajeski, Alewife, Cherry Lane and Ole Mother Hubbert Farms! 

The Master Knife Sharpener will be with us, too, and waiting to hone that holiday carving equipment of yours!

Last week’s recycling totals:  91 lbs. batteries; 19 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 9 pairs of eye glasses;  9 compost bins; 49 bags of clothes.

Definitely “9” is the number of the week!! 

Sundays through November 22nd:  94th Street Greenmarket 

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

Compost Collection – 9am–1pm 

As Thanksgiving nears…

Those fabulous tables on First Ave have never been heaped with more wonderful, fresh, seasonal fruit/vegetables/meat/seafood/yogurt/milk/cheese/baked goods… American Seafood, Bread Alone, Meredith’s Bakery, Wager’s Cider Mill, Ole Mother Hubbert, Stannard, and Phillips Farms!

(Yes, Norwich Farms’ season is over…)

Last week’s recycling totals:  10 lbs. batteries: 11 lbs. corks, cellphones, cartridges and cords;  3 3/4 bins of compost.


Thursday, November 19th:  East River Esplanade Visioning Session

Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, 2nd Floor, 6pm

And we quote from CM Kallos’ invitation, “Join our office, Hospital for Special Surgery and Rockefeller University to see and comment on plans for the East River Esplanade.”  Every opportunity to express your opinions should be seized upon, people!!  To RSVP… 

On the horizon:

Friday & Saturday, December 4th & 5th:  Holiday Candlelight Tours at the Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden 

421 East 61st Street, 6:15pn & 7:30pm

It’s Christmas 1830 complete with caroling, sweets, beverages and treats of the time in the UESide’s lovely house museum… Add in a period music performance following Saturday tours!  Member, $10; Non-members, $20; Children under 12, $5.  Reservations recommended: 212-838-6878.

Tuesday, December 15th:  Holiday Plum Pudding Workshop 

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street, 6:30pm

Join Flora Miller, head cook of the Mount Vernon Hotel, in making a boiled pudding from a historic recipe…  Yummm!   Oh and yes, beverages will be served with your pudding! Reservations required:  212-838-6878.

Yes, indeed, miscellany…  Weighty up first:

As if more arguments against the MTS were needed, how about the steadily increasing number  of property damage/personal injury lawsuits being filed against NYC Sanitation

Holy crow!  London fog is returning…  And for the same basic reason it was a plague in the 19th Century: Air quality!

Could cause, effect and remedy be more obvious?  But now a study attests:  Give children organic food to eat and presence of pesticides in their bodies dramatically drops!

In the knowledge-is-power department:

Fifteen things you should NEVER put down the toilet…!

Brightening up with…

One great way to have celebrated Veteran’s Day:  The State of Virginia now has provided housing for ALL its homeless vets!

Both fascinating and anger-inducing facts in Times article on what’s up with our grain… Especially whole wheat!

HOWEVER…  Because we purchase our baked goods at the NYC Greenmarkets, we know that GrowNYC requires them to contain at least 15% locally grown grain…  With the average actually being a big, fat 50%!! 

FURTHER…   For close to a decade, Greenmarkets/GrowNYC’s blazed a trail for a return to grain-growing and milling here in our own NYState!!   

Change of subject and mood:

A  Roosevelt Island ferry stop?!  Bring it on!!

Remember when old NYC subway cars were deployed to aid in reef-rebuilding? Here they are taking the plunge back in the day and what’s “riding” in them now

Trust the Obscura people for a homage to an often-ignored glory:  The vintage, office building mail chute

In our none too humble opinion, compost collecting/paper shredding/daff-bulb-planting/green-eating UESiders justly deserve the many massages that make us the most massage-having people in all of Manhattan! (We rank 15th in the U.S.!)

(So, of course, we support tummy massages/rubs for hedgehogs!) 

Always a new horizon in green travel…  Like carbon-free cooking – cuisine and lessons – at a Thai resort!

Looking toward December: 

Last year, about this time, we knitted a scarf for Seaman’s Institute’s Christmas at Sea campaign and, a few months later, got a thank you postcard from a MAERSK container ship mailed in Dubai!

This year, the National WWII Museum initiated the similar Knit Your Bit with scarfs to be given out at Veteran Centers across the country.  (Takes just a couple of evenings with needles or crochet hook, if that!)  

Hey, animals:

Nine things we didn’t know about sand cats??  

And add fun facts about owls!!

Okay, so it’s a shibu inu who likes playground swings…  But – watch your insulin level – things get a ton cuter than that…

Ever greener,








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Happy 138th Anniversary of Susan B. Anthony Being Arrested For Trying to Vote, UESiders!


Still a struggle for too many of our fellow citizens.

Enough said.

On to the week ahead:

Friday, November 6th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pazmino answers the questions:  Why do planets sometimes bunch up in one region of the zodiac?  Why do the planets stay within a few degrees of the zodiac  and not scatter out all  over the sky? Why do Venus and Mercury stay – relatively – stable in the sky while the other planets seem to wander all around the zodiac?  Free and fabulous!

Saturday,  November 7th:   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, Ballard Honey, Valley Shepherd, American Seafood, Samascott, Rising Sun, Garden of Spices, Gajeski, Alewife, Cherry Lane and Ole Mother Hubbert Farms! 

And, yes, the Master Knife Sharpener will present and ready to get that cutlery of yours into good Thanksgiving carving form!! 

Just in from Market Manager Margaret:  “Try a new apple variety this Saturday!  And bring the pumpkins you’re not eating for composting!”

(Alewife’s got amazing radicchio!!)

Last week’s recycling totals:  106 lbs. batteries; 28 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 14 pairs of eye glasses;  9 1/2 compost bins; 43 bags of clothes.

AND those long-awaited  corrected totals for 10/3 to 10/24 are in…  Adding another 44 bags of clothes to the YTD total!

AND you did note last week’s recording setting 9 1/2 compost bins, right??!! 

Saturday, November 7th:  E-Waste Recycling Event!

Eleanor Roosevelt High School, 411 East 76th Street, 10am-4pm

Accepted will be:

• Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes)
• Monitors
• Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
• Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
• Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers, etc.)
• Tablets and E-readers
• Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
• TVs, VCRs, DVRs, & DVD Players
• Digital Converter Boxes, Cable/Satellite Receivers
• Portable music players
• Audio-visual equipment
• Video-games
• Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
• Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

NO appliances or smoke detectors.  Media (disks, CDs, and VHS tapes) accepted at a $.50 per item charge.

For further details

Sundays through November 22nd:  94th Street Greenmarket 

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

Compost Collection – 9am–1pm 

Back after the Marathon pause…

And don’t be deterred by the tree planting that’ll be happening on the Ave…

All our wonderful farmers will be present and at their tables: American Seafood, Bread Alone, Meredith’s Bakery, Wager’s Cider Mill, Ole Mother Hubbert, Stannard, Norwich Meadows and Phillips Farms!

And keep in mind:  Tired pumpkins = Compost

Tuesday, November 10th:  Recycling & Zero Waste Forum

West Park Presbyterian Church, Amsterdam at 86th Street, 7-9pm

This time it’s experts ranging from our very own Sanitation Department to The Nature Conservancy to  NYC Pest Control to commercial waste handler SIMS laying out challenges and solutions.  “Bring your questions,” they say.  (We’re New Yorkers.  You don’t have to ask us twice!)  Free but a suggested $5 donation.  To RSVP

Coming soon:

Wednesday, November 18th:  Growing the Urban Farm

Ross Hall, New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 6-8pm

Urban agriculture viewed from all perspectives – from starry-eyed  to cynical – by 4 experts on the front lines!  Presented by Bronx Green-Up.  Members, $10.  Non-members, $20.  For further details and reservations

Saturdays & Sundays, November & December:  Survival/Outdoor Skills Classes

Parks throughout the Boroughs

Fire making!  Shelter building!  Survival skills – both “primitive” and “modern” – in cold weather! Organized by NYC Parks.  Free!  For the schedule and locations…    

From the ever-burgeoning miscellany file:

Pretty darned creepy that Sims Recycling Solutions – the firm with that gigantic facility out in NYC’s Sunset Park – has “declined” to renew their e-Stewards certification…  (Scroll down!)

Creepier still that the United Nations Environment Programme (yes, programme) reports that 2/3’s of European e-waste isn’t being properly recycled!  (Scroll down further…)

On home turf:

From the host of deserving candidates for landmarking, the Commission will be hearing testimony on 2 groups of Manhattan structures today…  Including 412 East 85th Street

Be good if you’d weigh in on the National Park Service’s plan to restore Jamaica Bay’s Wildlife Refuge West Pond…  Easy to crib from NY Audubon’s position that a freshwater source (well or pump) be devised to quickly refill the pond, rather than than let the job be done over time by rainfall and run-off. 

And we do want bird-safe buildings, yes? 

For starkest contrast, best viewed around 6pm, accompanied by distant horns blaring on First Avenue:  “Rush hour” in Copenhagen! (Thanks to reader Evelyn Wilkins for the tip!)

Hard to believe in 2015 there isn’t a comprehensive protocol for on-the-street medical emergencies involving the wheel chair bound!

Or that individuals are still dumping tires…  In this case a tractor tire weighing in at almost a ton!  (Kudos to Riverkeeper, Metro North and Sea Tow for dealing with the gigantic eyesore!)   

Then there’re the many abandoned boats blighting our harbor

Lightening up:

Okay, bike lanes in The Motor City…  (And a lot of them!)

But cycling in Antarctica??!!

Sixteen houseplants that’re all but impossible to kill?!

Yet another stellar UES business and master crafts person makes The Times! 

And then:

No wearing your Darth Vader mask to “Star Wars“?!

Let there be critters:

How about 7 ways we can support our area animal shelters!

All right, sure, nesting season is well over, but let’s be prepared for the spring/summer 2016 with a comprehensive, international list of bird nest cams!

Great new feature on NYC Parks site: “Periscope” virtual tours, focusing on surprising Parks’ activities and complete with Q & A!     

Love this from the Hudson River Almanac:

10/17:  Bronx River, New York City:  We caught and tagged a big 860 millimeter American eel in July at the 5th dam on the Bronx River.  She was a “yellow eel” at the time.  Today, we recaptured her at same location and she was “silvering”.  John Waldman, Jake LaBelle, Richard DeMarte

[“Silvering,” or “silver eel” is a colloquial name given to female American eels, 20-30 years old that have undergone physical changes preparatory to spawning. They have changed from the green-and-yellow coloration of their yellow eel phase, to dark black and stark white. Their eyes become enlarged and their alimentary canals atrophy. These changes are adaptations to traveling in the deep, dark waters of the North Atlantic to spawning locations that are still a mystery. – Tom Lake]

American "silver" eel

American “silver” eel

Thirty-year old eels…

Yours in greenness,


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