Happy Fifth Earliest NYC Heat Wave on Record, UESiders!!

(And third 2017 Air Quality Alert Day!)

By luck, we spent 92 degree Thursday up at the NY Botanical Garden strolling along an allee of gorgeous peonies, another of 60-plus foot trees, a path bordering the pretty darned clean-looking Bronx River and it’s mini-waterfall  and taking in Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures, unequaled wherever they’re sited, but in the context of an unequaled garden…

Get yourselves up to the Bronx, people!!

(We’ll be returning to view the Chihulys at night!! )

Meanwhile, prepare yourselves for the intense – in the best possible way – week ahead:

Friday, May 19th:  NYSkies Astronomy Seminar

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

Star master John Pasmino’s subject this time out:  Our Milky Way in the Sky and Space!!  Free and, as always, so illuminating!

Saturday, May 20th:  82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection, 9am–1pm

For once, a Saturday without – knock-knock –  rain!!

And with us – as they were in spite of last week’s downpour – will be American Pride Seafood, Bread Alone, Ballard’s Honey, Hudson Valley Duck, Rising Sun Beef, Ole Mother Hubbert, Alewife, Samascott, Consider Bardwell, Sikking Flowers, Gajeski and Hawthorne Valley Farms!!

Same for our Master Knife Sharpener to be getting your cutlery  up to snuff…  For shredding like crazy…  And for bidding adieu to Consider Bardwell and Hawthorne Valley until they return to 82nd Street late fall…  (You’ll find Consider Bardwell at 92nd Street when it reopens on Sunday, June 25th!)

In the meantime at 82nd:

Saturday, May 27th we’ll be hosting  the Greenmarket Great Grains Project and, on June the 3rd, Cooking with Kallos !!

But to return to the soggy misery that was last Saturday.  In spite of drenching rain, you the wild and crazy folks who shop 82nd filled 10 – 10! – bins with compost!!

Last week’s recycling totals –     71 lbs. batteries; 17 lbs. cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges; 1 pair of eyeglasses; 10 compost bins; 12 bags of clothes.  

Down right incredible!!

Saturday, May 20th:  Shred-A-Thon –  Pre-Memorial Day Edition

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

One night left to be sorting through all those decades-old tax forms at the back of your hall closet!!

Just keep in mind:

NO cardboard or plastic-handled shopping bags.

REMOVE paper clips and spiral bindings. 

NO HARDCOVER BOOKS.   (But paperbacks are fine.)

(Take those hardcovers to Goodwill or Housing Works.)

And we can’t say it enough…

Our thanks to Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their multiple years of generous Shred-A-Thon support and Assembly Member Seawright for sponsoring yet another shredding event!

Both the CM and AM will be us as we aim towards breaking another record for shredded poundage!!

Saturday, May 20th:  Citizen Tree Pruner Refresher Course!

Meet at 38th Street & 28th Avenue, Astoria, 10am-12pm

Calling all pruners!  And we quote, “Are you a longtime pruner who is feeling a bit rusty?  Maybe you are a newly certified pruner seeking some more hands-on practice in the field.  Perhaps you are just looking to meet your fellow Citizen Pruners.”  Whatever the reason, lucky you, there’s the Citizen Pruner Refresher Course, led by the great Sam Bishop, AKA Mr. NYC Trees!!  For more:   sam@treesny.org!    And to RSVP...

Sunday, May 21st:  It’s My Park Day Spring Plantathon Volunteer Day 

Meet at bottom of the East 60th Street ramp, 60th Street & York Avenue, 2-5pm  (If you run late, just proceed up and then down the ramp onto the Esplanade, proceed 50 feet north and past the dog run to the Green Park Garden…  No way, you’ll miss it!) 

They’ve got the milkweeds, cone flowers, native roses and grasses and more!  They’ll fit you out with gloves, trowel if you don’t have ’em, along with the gift of knowing you’ve had a hand in preparing the Green Park Gardeners’ beautiful, block-long native plant garden to give New Yorkers’ pleasure for months to come!! Just let them know you’re coming: greenparkgardenersnyc@gmail.com!   

Wednesday, May 24th:  Secret Lives Tour – Met Arms & Amory Tour

Metropolitan Museum, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, 2pm

Our Met boasts one of the most encyclopedic collections of arms and armor on the globe. Join the Historic Districts Council for a special behind-the-scenes look with Stephen Bluto, Department’s Collections Manager. Tour includes both the galleries and theConservation Lab, where Met Armorer Edward Hunter will explain the ins-and-outs of armor conservation. To quote the Historic Districts blurb:  “Don’t “shield” yourself from this unique opportunity!”  HDC friends and seniors:  $50.  General admission:  $75. For tickets

Wednesday, May 24th:  First Annual Upper East Side Garden Party

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum, 421 East 61st Street, 6-8pm

Calling all UES gardeners!!   Come meet folks who like you make our parks, Greenstreets, bicycle islands, Esplanade gardens and street tree beds bloom!! Yup, those who till UES earth and beautify it will be meeting, greeting and sharing all we’ve learned about making things grow in NYC!!   Sponsored by Assembly Member Seawright and Council Members Kallos and  Garodnick!  RSVP an absolute must and do include where you garden:  uppergreenside@gmail.com 

Breathe deeply, then:

Saturday, May 27th:  14th Annual Horseshoe Crab Festival

Meet at Jamaica Bay WIldlife Refuge, 9am

Then carpool  to nearby site to see the annual mating ritual of the ancient horseshoe crabs!! Other events during the day include children’s program and lectures on horseshoe crabs topics (bet there’re a lot of them!). For more info call (718) 474-0896; e-mail: don@littoralsociety.org.  Organized by NYC Audubon.  Free!

Thursday, June 1st:  Free Mammography Screening

78th Street between First & York, commencing at 9am

All insurances accepted with co-pays and deductibles waived.   Totally free for all uninsured women over 40 who haven’t had a mammogram in a year or more.  Appointments a must, so call 800-564-6868.  Funded by Cancer Program Services ofManhattan and Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert.  Hosted by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.  For questions and further details, contact AM Seawright’s office:  212-288-4607 or SeawrightR@nyassembly.gov.

Saturday, June 3rd:  World Science Fair Great Fish Count

17 Waterway Sites in All 5 Boroughs,  Westchester & New Jersey, 9am-4pm

And we quote:  “From Lemon Creek in Staten Island to the shores of the Bronx River, New York’s waterways are teeming with life — and it’s up to you to find it! Led by top marine scientists and biologists in 17 sites, the Great Fish Count gives attendees of all ages the chance to strap on a pair of waders, cast a net, and discover the underwater world in their own backyard!”  Gotta be great!!  Free.  For more and to sign up

Sunday, June 25th:  92nd Street Greenmarket Reopens!! 

92nd Street at First Avenue, 9am-4pm

Fruit! Vegs!  Baked goods!  Seafood!!  Honey!  Compost collection!!  Going to be great when 92nd Street returns!!

Hitting the miscellany trail:

Front  and center:  51 units of new, affordable senior housing are now available at 1918 First Avenue at 99th Street!!  (Thanks to reader Roger Hernandez for the tip!!) 

A third generation El Barrio resident, Roger (and others) then weigh in on our city’s on-going zoning debate… 


In the Why-Did-You-Bother/Hang-Your-Head-In-Mini-Shame Department:  Architects Hollwich Kushner “redesign”of classic NYC deco buildings

(This while The Times celebrates the enduring utility/livability/aestheics of the UES’s Cherokee Place…)

(Maxi-shame reserved for Stahl and its intention – defeated at every level of court to date – to demolish  the landmarked City & Suburban Homes/First Avenue Estates!)

Should you think we don’t need GMO trees

On the other hand:

Adirondack and Catskill campgrounds open today!!

NYS DEC’s  Becoming an Outdoors Woman  just announced a bunch of great new programs!! 

NYS’s also just launched it’s I-Bird initiative!!

smart (MIT-designed) garbage truck

One amazing new park a-building in central Moscow

The past, dismal present and future of shopping malls

Going way lighter:

Yes, back in his best days, Robert Redford once lived amongst us UESiders and his erswhile duplex is up for sale

New to us edible plant life:  Garlic mustard!

No way to improve on this title:  Driftwood Haiku on the Bronx Riviera

Bring on the animals:

It’s a week of winning titles:   “The Doctor Will See Your Iguana Now”

Amazing “Finding Your Furry Friends Online” took so long to evolve…  Great that it exists and works so well now!! 

And now for our Hudson River Almanac moment:

5/8 – Hyde Park, HRM 82: I spotted a songbird flying erratically around my house today before it gently crashed into a downspout. It seemed unhurt. I picked up the gorgeous magnolia warbler and it used my finger as a tree branch. It seemed to enjoy hanging with me for ten minutes before flying to my roof and then to the sky.   – Brenda Sramek

That Magnolia Warbler

[In the Hudson Valley, the magnolia warbler is seen mostly in migration. Being a bird of the northern forest, it can be found nesting in the Catskills, Taconics, and Adirondacks. For more information about this bird, visit the All About Birds website. Steve Stanne.]

5/8 – Manhattan, HRM 1: We checked our collection gear in late morning at The River Project’s sampling station on the lighthouse tender Lilac at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. The killifish traps and crab pots held an American eel 400 millimeters [mm] long, four blackfish (185-285 mm), and a lined sea horse (90 mm).   – Melissa Rex, Elisa Caref, Toland Kister

a lined seahorse

5/11 – Manhattan: At midday in Inwood Hill Park, the air temperature was 60 degrees; spring seemed to be hesitating. Along the inlet of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, curly dock was fully grown and blooming and mugwort was also plentiful; the invasive species are quick and vigorous. In the woods, garlic mustard had now spread all the way down the Clove but pachysandra was showing new leaves and jewelweed was coming up. Up on the ridge, it looked more like spring. I saw a single flower of common cinquefoil and then several patches of wild geranium flowers. Here and there a single periwinkle flower remained among large numbers of cleavers and lots of porcelain berry. The smaller, non-native geranium called herb-robert, was also flowering and so was celandine. Flowers of yellow rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) were new to me here. False Solomon’s seal was budding and a little patch of Spanish bluebells was lovely. I was especially pleased to see several stems of lily-of-the-valley flowering; I had never seen that here before.  -Thomas Shoesmith


Every day, ever more green,


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