Monthly Archives: February 2017

Happy WWII Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, UESiders…

Moments in history don’t get more symbolic, pivotal or worthy of remembrance…  

Or dwarfing of the date’s other designation:  Love Your Pet Day.

(You bet you’re loved, Fido/Fluffy/Tweetie Bird/Mr. Gerbil!!)

On to the week ahead: 

Saturday, February 25th:  82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection, 9am–1pm

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

Fingers crossed but ify on the Nolasco Farm front…  Their winter stores are running thin.

REMINDER:  Coming up March 25th at our Market:  We’ll be hosting GrowNYC’s Regional Grain Project and it’s amazing array of food and drink all made with NYState-grown grain!!  Yet another special event brought to us by the fabulous GrowNYC and Manhattan Market Manager Margaret!!

Last week’s recycling totals:  77 lbs. batteries; 32 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 2 pairs eye glasses; 10 1/2 compost bins; 28 bags of clothes.

Yes!!  We like 10-plus bin weeks!!

By February 28th:  Vote for the One Book All New Yorkers Should Read!!

Head immediately to http://www1.nyc.gov/site/mome/initiatives/1book1ny.page!!! (Winner will be announced in March!)

Thursday, March 9th:  Free Mammogram Screening

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright’s Office, 1365 First Avenue between 73rd & 74th, commencing at 9am

All insurances accepted.  Fees and co-payments all waived.  Free for uninsured women over 40 who’ve not had a mammogram in more than a year.  All anyone needs is an appointment (and it’s a must):  800-564-6868!  

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) 

Closer and closer… 

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, a giant thank you to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their many years of generous Shred-A-Thon grants and Assembly Member Seawright for sponsoring the event!

Sunday, March 12th:  New York Theater Ballet’s “Cinderella”

Schimmel Center, 3 Spruce Street, 3pm

The Dancing Clock…  Those not-so-nice stepsisters…  Everyone’s favorite princess-to-be…  And–  Well, you know the story.  Made all the better when dancing’s added!  With choreography by Donald Mahler, costumes by Metropolitan Opera’s  Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan and sets by Gillian Bradshaw Smith.  Perfect for kids of all ages! (Come at 2pm for fun like prince/princess crown decorating, Cinderella’s magic pumpkin game and a royal photo booth!)   Adults, $20.  Children, $10.  For more and tickets... 

By Monday, March 13th:  Nominate  Your Favorite Library Branch!!

Go immediately to http://www.nyclibraryawards.org

Five NYC Library Grand Prize Award winners score a fat $20,000!!  Five finalists win $10,000!!  The 67th Street Branch…  The 96th Street Branch…  The Webster Branch…  The Roosevelt Island Branch…   The Yorkville Library…  Lots of libraries to love on the UES!!

Miscellany…  Miscellaneous wrong-footedness first:

Say what?  Governor Cuomo’s budget includes a 4% cut in library funding?  (Should you disagree…)

Must read:  The Times’ “The Bee Mogul”!!   (Made the international edition, too!)  

Or that the Nuclear Regulatory Agency considering approval of a new dump for radioactive material in West Texas, with shipping through major population centers to a poor, largely Hispanic hamlet? (Just the facts, people.)

Like what more Appalachian streams’ll be looking like now that coal slag and tailings can be dumped in them again:

coal_stream_pollution_fb-375x211 

Not that NYState doesn’t have water problems of its own…  Immediately coming to mind:  Newburgh (lots of residents still haven’t had their blood tested) and Lake Erie...    

Into sunlight:

LOVE this idea:  The Empire State Trail…  750-miles long…  Multi-use…  Extending from the New York harbor through the Adirondacks and as far north as the state extends to Lake Erie (!) and Buffalo!!  Set to be finished in 2020!!

Beginning with this from Justmeans:  The good news in the European Commission’s “Second Report on the State of the Energy Union” has almost been lost amid the angst over the future of the European Union. The report finds that “renewable energy is now cost-competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels, employs over one million people in Europe, attracts more investments than many other sectors, and has reduced our fossil fuels imports bill by €16 billion.” These facts support the report’s assertion that Europe is on track to meet its ambitious 2020 energy and climate targets. And its larger perspective conclusion is truly eye opening: during 1990 to 2015, the EU’s combined GDP grew by 50% while total emissions fell by 22%. Now that’s a bottom line that adds up to both literal profits and air-clearing benefits.

Abundant cheers for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Monarch Research Project  and the 1,000 of bee-friendly acres they’ll be creating!!   (The first 199 acres will be seeded this spring!!) (There’ll be bee and butterfly plant havens in the Green Park Garden and Bicycle Island Gardens, too!!) 

We’re used to see Lewis B. & Dorothy Cullman’s names at the beginning of countless hours of PBS programming, but who knew they were plant people too?  So, here’s the lowdown on Cullman-funded plant research at the Botanical Garden!

Trust the Greenwich Village Historical Society to get the job done…  i.e. prevent tampering with one of NYC’s 3 remaining Seamen’s hotels and barring the way for another deed restriction lift!  

Unsatisfied with your internet speed?  NYS Attorney General Schneiderman would like to know!!  Read…  Then measure that speed and send to the AG

Live in a building with 10 or more units?  Yeah, there’s a (free) training course involved, BUT you and fellow residents are eligible for free electronics pick-up or even – for 100-plus units – a free E-recycling bin!  10-plus unit buildings can have their own clothes recycling bin, too!! 

Think the EPA should move ahead with banning two toxic chemicals – methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) – found in common paint removers/strippers…?

Toronto’s sure taking an interesting approach to dealing with apartment quality/repair and problem landlords

For those wondering why St. John the Divine was landmarked just last week..

If only this guy (and his machine) would come to First Avenue…

Wine and your health?  The latest from “Consumer Reports”

Holy crow!  Competitive eating has a pre-Coney Island history

Ready for animals: 

Guess what?  Just as references to climate change have magically disappeared from federal government sites, so have docs and records relevant to animal cruelty..  Puppy mills, horse soring (gait improvement via injected irritants, roadside zoos and more would now seem to be AOK.  (Should you object…)  

Meanwhile in Africa…  A hero’s providing water to drought-stricken animals!   

The reputedly oldest rug in the world ‘s woven in the shape of a – what else? – cat!

Year round New Yorker, the Northern Cardinal

An agricultural fair in Paris?  Paris, France??  Salon International de l’Agriculture, no less!!  (Black cow “Fine” is the official mascot and current media star!) 

Rescue dogs as ball boys at the Brazil Tennis Open...?!  (They’ll be returning for Year 2 duty on February 27th!) 

What better way to close than a Hudson River Almanac excerpt:

2/4 – Manhattan: On a recent bicycle ride in downtown Manhattan, I spotted a lone bufflehead on the Hudson River across from Battery Park. In Battery Park there were dozens of brant and Canada geese eating grass. Continuing up along the East Rover I came upon two double-crested cormorants. Although I see fewer of them in winter, these two were actively fishing. I also saw a single pair of common mergansers; the female’s head feathers make her look like a little maestro!   

Female Common Merganser

Female Common                         Merganser

[The hen common merganser is quite gorgeous. With her fly-away red-feathered head, she always reminds me of Elsa Lanchester’s “Bride of Frankenstein.” – Tom Lake.]

2/8 – Manhattan: In early afternoon we went to check our collection gear at the River Project’s sampling station on the lighthouse tender Lilac at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. It was low tide and unseasonably warm. Our crab pots were empty but one of our killifish traps had caught a young-of-the-year striped bass (85 millimeters). We also caught far more tiny mud crabs (about the size of a lima bean) than we had been lately. –  Melissa Rex, Jacqueline Wu

[In the early 1980s, there was an environmental battle to stop a project called Westway that would have substantially altered the inshore ecology of the Hudson River along the west side of Manhattan by destroying piers and filling in the areas between the water’s edge and the pier-head lines. One of the arguments that helped stop the project as proposed was the theory that young-of-year [YOY] and yearling striped bass (Morone saxatilis), such as the one captured today by the River Project, wintered in the inter-pier areas. Researchers tagged and released many YOY and yearling striped bass from the piers in the fall and then recaptured them in late winter in the same locations, indicating that they were wintering there. Other scientists demonstrated that a substantial portion of the total Hudson River population of these juvenile fish was present along Manhattan’s west side during winter months. After the project was halted, the west side of Manhattan was developed into an ecologically-sound park, and the adjacent water areas were designated an estuarine sanctuary. –  Dennis Suszkowski.]

We live to be green,

UGS

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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

Statewide

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:

patchblue200

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,

UGS

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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.
Then:

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:  info@praxistutors.com.

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

RAIN OR SHINE!!

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

10am-12pm

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,

UGS

 

 

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