Monthly Archives: February 2017


Happy President’s Day, UESiders!!

Another 3-day weekend!  

And mighty fine days thereafter:

Friday, February 17th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Starmaster John Pasmino illuminates the astronomy in the saying “March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb” and identifies the bright stars of spring!  Free and always fabulous.

Saturday, February 11th:  82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection, 9am–1pm

Back at their tables will be American Pride Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Hudson Valley Duck, Rising Sun Beef, Comfort Bardwell Cheese, Nolasco, Ole Mother Hubbert, Hawthorne Valley, Samascott and Gajeski Farms!

NEWS FLASH and coming up March 25th:  With us will be GrowNYC’s Regional Grain project!!

Hard to believe that not so long ago, near to no grains were grown in our state.  Then GrowNYC stepped in and – come 3/25 –  we’ll be treated to the fruit of the NYS grain-growing renaissance they’ve created…  From pasta to beer to crackers to spirits and more!  (And, of course, the fabulous Greenmarket baked goods we enjoy every week are all made with the NYS grain!)  Yet another special event devised by uber Market Manager Margaret who’s always making our markets that much better!

Last week’s recycling totals:  73 lbs. batteries; 22 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 10 compost bins; 27 bags of clothes.

Excellent for a miserably cold day!!  

Saturday, February 18th & Sunday, February 19th:  NYS Free Fishing Weekend


Been longing to get your–  Let’s say…  Hands wet and experience the joys of angling?  Here’s your chance – especially if your focus is ice fishing – and it’s totally free!!  For more, including info/advice for beginners…   

Saturday, February 18th & Sunday, February 26th:  “Saving Jamaica Bay” Documentary

Saturday – Channel 13, 1pm & Sunday – WLIW Channel 21, 9pm

How one relentless NY community is overcoming the one-two-three punch of years of pollution, Hurricane Sandy and enduring government inertia!  You go, Jamaica Bay people!!  (To see the trailer…)

Coming up fast:

Tuesday, February 28th:  “In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront” Talk

Reidy Hall, Unitarian Church of All Souls,1175 Lexington Avenue between 79th & 80th, 7pm

When avid birder Heather Wolf moved from Florida to NYC, she wondered how many feather friends she might find in nearby Brooklyn Bridge.  And the answer was…?  A lot!!  So many she wrote a book about her experience and the enjoyment she’s had.   Free. 

Friday, March 10th:  Preserving the Mighty Oak Forum

Ross Lecture Hall, New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, 8:30am-1:30pm

Four reigning experts weigh on how to meet the challenge of the increasing number of invasive pests and diseases now threatening a tree that’s central to our northeast landscape/environment and national iconography.  NYBG members, $30. Non-members, $35.  For more and tickets… 

Saturday, March 11th:  Shred-A-Thon –  Ides of March Edition

82nd Street/St. Stephen Greenmarket, 82nd Street between First &  York, 10am-2pm (rain or shine) 

Better start sorting!!

Just keep in mind:

NO cardboard or plastic-handled shopping bags.

REMOVE paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But paperbacks are fine.)

(Donate those hardcovers at Goodwill or Housing Works.)

As ever, we thank Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their many years of generous Shred-A-Thon grants and Assembly Member Seawright for sponsoring the event!

Sundays through March 13th:  Winter Seals & Water Birds Eco Cruises

Pier 16, South Street Seaport, 12-2pm

Amazing the wildlife that calls our city home during the snowy months…  Common and red-throated loons, horned grebes, bufflehead and red-breasted mergansers, greater scaup. cormorants , long-tailed ducks and harbor seals to name but a few!  Hot chocolate included!!  Adults, $35.  Children, $25.  (NYC Audubon members get a $5 discount!)  For more and tickets

Out there:

Wednesdays, April 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th:  Historic Districts Council’s Spring Preservation School

Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, 6pm

Think  Preservation 101…  From land use to architectural styles to reading architectural renderings to waging a preservation campaign and beyond!  Choose 1 session or all 4!!   $15 per class or $50 for all 4.  For more and to sign up… 

On to the miscellaneous, bad foot first:

In the Are-They-Kidding/What’s-Wrong-With-Us Department:  Bad enough that Frederick Law Olmsted’s Staten Island home is crumbling, BUT the original Erasmus Hall – construction largely funded by Alexander Hamilton – is also falling apart!!  

Neutral ground:

giant cement plant’s coming to Queens

And here’s what going up catty-corner from Bloomingdale’s on Third

Smiling now:

NYS DEC’s just updated the design of their Trail Supporter Patch:


Recognition for those who donate $5 to the fund devoted to maintaining, enhancing and expanding our hiking, biking and horseback trails.  And what trails might there be in NYC, you ask?  Some of the state’s most highly recommended!  As in Staten Island’s Clay Pit Ponds State Park and Saint Francis Woodland, New York Botanical Gardens and Central Park!   

Circa 1850 Brooklyn cheese aging caves

A giant tunnel borer buried under Park Avenue

Critter time:

Have to say some pre-2016 “predator control”/trophy hunting practices once allowed in Alaskan wildlife refuges were pretty grotesque… Like shooting pups and cubs while they’re still so young they’re in their birthing dens. Should you think new, more humane regulations should be maintained

Meanwhile and no surprise, the new administration’s postponed endangered designation for bees…  

This beautiful barred owl was spotted in Harlem last week:

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

An airport animal control manager that’s a…  Dog!!

A kitty with titanium implants

Don’t miss PBS’s great “Spy in the Wild”!! 

Okay, mea culpa that February 9th was Alligators in Sewers Day and we missed it…  A goodly number of our sister/fellow New Yorkers not only did not, but competed in a AISD/NYC trivia contest, received their own rubber alliga–  Well, you read!!    

We close with a bit of youthful poetry from the Hudson River Almanac:

2/1 – Putnam County, HRM 52:

– On a Mountain Top
On a mountain top the flowers are sleeping and the snow is falling.
The snowflakes are coming and this means winter is coming to us.
The winds are calm and the cocoa is ready in the cabin.
The deer are going home; the squirrels are sleeping.
And we are waking on a mountain top.
     – Thea Nazario, 3rd Grade, Lakeview Elementary, Mahopac

Our best,


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Happy Valentine’s Day and International Day of Women & Girls in Science, UESiders!!

Love and science…  What a combo!!

Let there only be more!!

As for the busy week ahead:

Saturday, February 11th:  82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection, 9am–1pm

At their tables will the amazingly frost-resistant  American Pride Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Hudson Valley Duck, Rising Sun Beef, Comfort Bardwell Cheese, Nolasco, Ole Mother Hubbert, Hawthorne Valley, Samascott and Gajeski Farms!

Last week’s recycling totals:  67 lbs. batteries; 16 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 9 compost bins; 28 bags of clothes.

Just shows how far we’ve come…  9 bins now feels kind of puny and sad.  

As we resume our 11 bin groove…!  

Saturday, February 11th:  6th Annual Central Park Ice Festival!

Naumburg Bandshell, mid-Park from 66th to 72nd Streets, 3-7pm

11-inches of snow?  Consider ourselves prepared to relish an afternoon of ice-sculpting with chain saws, molding your own miniature version of a CP classic sculpture, CP trivia, the festival’s signature Silent Disco and food truck treats from Wafels & Dinges, Crepe Crave, Uncle Gussy Greek and the Don Cafe!  Free!!  For more and to RSVP...

Sunday, February 12th:  Second Avenue Winter DayLife 

LowLine Lab, 140 Esssex Street between Rivington & Stanton Streets, 11am-4pm

Pickle dogs?  Pizza balls?  Portobello subs?  All that and more from food meccas of the great Essex Street Market and served up in the miraculous LowLine Lab underground garden!   Free!  For more

Mondays, February 13th to April 17th at the Webster Library Branch (11am-3pm) & Fridays, February 10th to April 14th at the 67th Street Library Branch (10am-2pm):   FREE AARP Tax Preparation!

Webster Branch, 1465 York Avenue at 78th Street / 67th Street Branch, 328 East 67th Street

AARP volunteers – certified by the IRS –  prepare all returns at zero cost to you for preparation or electronic filing! Do make sure you bring all necessary docs (W-2s, 1099s, support for expenses and deductions).  First come, first served.  And, yes, that right…  100% free!

Thursday, February 16th: How Do We Keep Ourselves from Freezing and Keep the Planet from Burning Forum

Patagonia Soho,  72 Greene Street, 6-8:30pm

Arjun Makhijani, Project Scientist at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, fills us in how we can make “Residential Heating and Cooling Climate-Friendly in New York State.”  Couldn’t be more timely as Governor Cuomo just announced a proposed $15M rebate program for renewable heating and cooling.  Organized by Alliance for a Green Economy.  Free!

Sunday, February 19th:  Washington’s Birthday Ball

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street, 

Yes, you can celebrate the birthday of our Nation’s First President as New Yorkers did in the 19th Century! Costumed dancers perform and teach traditional country dances.  Festivities include toasts to the great Washington and historic refreshments, including Washington Cake!  Museum tour and family-friendly scavenger hunt are also included.  Members and kids under 12, $10.  Non-members, $15 Adults.  Reservations required  or call the Museum:  212-838-6878.

Saturday, February 25th:  Practice ACT, SAT & SHSAT Tests

67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street 

Think test run…  After which you learn your teen’s strengths and weaknesses so they can be addressed for max performance on the real thing!   Free.  For more and/or to register:

Thursday, March 2nd to Wednesday, March 8th:  10th Annual NY ReelAbilities Film Festival

Numerous Venues and Various Times

And we quote:  “The ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities.”  Just right after Oscar Season. Check out the great line-up!  

Yes, you’ve been waiting:

Saturday, March 12th:  Shred-A-Thon –  Ides of March Edition

82nd Street/St. Stephen Greenmarket, 82nd Street between First &  York, 10am-2pm


Will we or will we not fill the shredding truck to the brim again?  (The Shredding Force seems to be with us!) 

Will we average more than a Shredee every 30 seconds?  (Smart money’s says we will!!)

Just remember:

NO cardboard or plastic-handled shopping bags.

REMOVE paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But paperbacks are fine.)

(Donate your hardcovers at Goodwill or Housing Works.)

As always our thanks to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their many years of generous Shred-A-Thon grants and Assembly Member Seawright for sponsoring the event!

Mark those calendars:

Saturday, April 8th:  Randall’s Island Spring Waterway Cleanup


Sponsored by outdoor brands United by Blue and REI (their efforts resulted  in 177 cleanups and removal of 995,291 pounds of trash in 2016), here’s yet another brilliant volunteer opportunity as we prepare our UES for spring/summer enjoyment!!  All cleanup supplies provided!  Volunteers eligible to win United By Blue prizes! More details to follow…

Saturday, April 29th: People’s Climate March

All Across the Nation and NYC

As has always been the case, it falls to Americans to stand tall for the integrity of our land, air, water and the people living on Mother Earth.  Stay tuned…

Pinus Ponderosa

Pinus Ponderosa

Miscellany, a contentious item first:

As in the debate concerning the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims located at Fifth and 103rd

Happier now:

Tip of the hat to IKEA for its reusable flat-pack refugee housing

Good on Target, too, for phasing out personal care products containing poisons like formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and more.    (If you think personal care product giant Unilever should do the same…)   (And time to start reading labels, if you aren’t already!) 

More like a mini-nod to Starbucks for pledging to serve up poultry free of “routinely used antibiotics” by 2020… 

Need updated posters/info materials for your recycling area

Check out this 248-year old NYBG daisy plant… 

Sigh…  Oak wilt’s spreading in our city and it’s amazing/shocking how it spreads

Oh, yeah, it’s hardy, but ivy around trees

A kelp forest off the British Columbia coast

A kelp forest off the British Columbia coast

Yes, animals:

Indeed, squids do have their own language… 

The latest great American zoo rivalry?  Which can tweet the cutest animal pix!  (NYC’s doing well!)

kitten and bubble gum

And from the Hudson River Almanac:

1/20 – Atlantic Ocean: A year ago today we received our final satellite transmission indicating the whereabouts of the gray seal rescued from the Hudson River in Saratoga County, 175 miles from the sea, by the Riverhead Foundation on December 4, 2015. This was possibly only the second gray seal ever recorded for the Hudson. The seal had become marooned above the federal dam in Troy, trapped at Lock One of the Hudson-Champlain Canal in Half Moon. Named “Charlie” by the Riverhead Foundation, it was rehabilitated, fitted with a tag (150975) and satellite transmitter, and released on December 10 at Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays, Long Island.

Over the next 41 days Charlie, monitored by satellite, traveled northeast past Block Island, then north into Narragansett Bay, past Newport, Rhode Island, through the Cape Cod Canal into Cape Cod Bay where he spent three weeks. He then left Cape Cod Bay and moved south past Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket Island, and into the open sea. Our final transmission occurred on January 20, 2016, indicating that Charlie was moving toward Little Gull Island in Block Island Sound, a place where gray seals are known to congregate in winter. At that point, it was thought that the battery on his transmitter had failed.

This was another wonderful example of the connectivity between the Hudson River and the greater western Atlantic Ocean. – Tom Lake.

1/25 – Brooklyn: I spotted six tundra swans flying northeast to southwest over Brooklyn today. Keep your eyes open for them. –  Shane Blodgett

[Tundra swans are often called “America’s native swan.” Their common name refers to their summer nesting range north of Hudson Bay in the Arctic tundra. They can usually be heard calling long before they are seen, which leads to another frequently used colloquial name, “whistling swan.” David Sibley remarks that distant flocks sound like “baying hounds.” Tundra swans are occasional visitors to the Hudson Valley during spring and fall migrations. Tom Lake.]

A warm and fuzzy adieu on a snowy afternoon… 

Yours in greenness,




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