Monthly Archives: December 2018

Happy Bill of Rights Day, UESiders!!

December 13th being the day that, in 1952, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were transferred from storage in the Department of State to an alcove specially constructed for the documents’ display in the National Archives building!!

Check out the Archives’ video on why and how the move was made…

That while contemplating the greatness of each/both… 

And enjoying every minute of the pre-Christmas holiday week ahead:

Saturday, December 15th:  82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket

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

Compost & Clothes Collection, 9am–1pm

At their tables will be American Pride Seafood, Bread Alone, Samascott, Ole Mother Hubbert, SunFed Beef, Alewife, Hawthorne Valley, Walnut Hill, Consider Bardwell and Nolasco Farms!!

As you make out this Saturday’s shopping list, Mega Manager Margaret advises:  “In celebration of Grains Week, 82nd Street’ll be hosting both the great Greenmarket Regional Grains Project (add superb supplies for your holiday baking needs to locally grown beans and unique pastas made from heirloom grain varieties) and Springbrook Farm Distillery (primo spirits to get you into the holiday mood – just in case you’re not there yet)!!”

Then adds:  “Unfortunately the unseasonably cold weather upstate has kept the ground frozen preventing Alewife from harvesting the remainder of their crops so they will not be in this week. They are hoping this weekend’s warmer weather will cause enough of a thaw so they can harvest for next week. Stay tuned!”

Last but hardly least, this Margaret wisdom:  “So many gift options at the market this time of year…  Example:  For those folks on your list who have everything  try gifting them some Greenmarket tokens so they can choose for themselves and support our local farmers at the same time!!  Stop by the info tent for details!!” 

Last Week’s Recycling Totals –  85 lbs batteries;  17 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges;   2 make-up wands;  11 pairs of eye glasses;  13 compost bins;  40 bags of clothes 

YET ANOTHER 13 BIN WEEK!!

Sunday, December 16th:  119th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count

For the UES:  Central Park

Who wouldn’t want to be part of America’s longest-running citizen science project?  The Central Park count organized/hosted by NYC Audubon.  For more and to volunteer (and scroll down to page 19)…

Tuesday, December 18th:  Holiday Celebration & Concert for Peace

Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Avenue, 7pm

Commemorating the World War I Armistice, the concert features the award-winning and UES favorite Cantori Chorus.   Sponsored by the Office of Assembly Member Seawright.  Free, but do RSVP or 212-288-4607…

Wednesday, December 19th:  CM Powers’ City Hall in Your Borough

Hunter College, West Building, 904 Lexington Avenue, 6:30pm

Start accumulating all those questions you’ve been yearning to pose to the Mayor and members of his administration!!  There’ll be updates on municipal projects, too!!  See you there!!

Get ready for 2019:

Saturday Friday, January 4th to Monday, January 13th:  Mulchfest 2018!!

Citywide!!

Remove ornaments, lights and tinsel and get that tree out and curbside on your usual Sanitation pick-up days…  No wrapping your tree in plastic either!!

OR BETTER STILL… 

Saturday, January 11th to Sunday, January 12th:  Chipping Weekend!!

Carl Schurz Park, East End Avenue at 86th Street, 10am-2pm

Transport that tree up to Schurz Park, watch it be chipped and depart with not only a bag of mulch but the satisfaction of knowing your holiday tree’ll be enriching street and park trees throughout the city throughout the coming year!!

Wednesday, January 9th:  Open Space Dialogues – Healthy Spaces, Active Places Forum

New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, 6:30pm

Representatives of government, nonprofits, and neighborhood groups discuss and enlighten on how to create opportunities for active physical recreation in our parks!!  Free but please RSVP

Friday, February 15th to Monday, February 18th:  Great Backyard Bird Count

Across America

So, okay, backyards are in short supply on the UES…  But have we ever got parks and an Esplanade…  And birds are forever turning up in non-park NYC locations!!  To get yourself into this wonderful loop (and scroll down to page 19!!)…  

In the miscellany/pre-Christmas activism file:

If you think that oil/mineral extraction should be barred from the Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument

If your of the opinion that factory farms shouldn’t be exempt from reporting their toxic air emissions… 

Or – on the local front – that the area south of Union Square is deserving of landmark protection

Seems like the administration stepping back on the quality of school lunches…  

The good and bad news about 7 recently banned food flavorings

Onto the good foot:

A big, life-saving moment for our NYS Forest Rangers last week

And the green good foot:

Why we buy our (fantastic) seafood from American Pride at Greenmarkets

How about Made-in-NYC holiday gifts

How about a NYS New Year’s Day/First Day hike (great for the whole family)…

January 1st Hike

Some 2018 First Day Hikers!!

Or edible Christmas ornaments

What wrapping paper is and isn’t recyclable:

recycling wrapping paper

Continuing down the green Christmas road, how about LED Christmas lights??!

All over the lot:

Come 2019, the Guggenheim’ll be open 7 days a week!!

First there was its amazing waste-to-energy plant…  Now Copenhagen’s home to a ground-breaking solar building facade!!  

Ten examples of great NYC holiday decor… 

An easy way to thread a needle

Ho-ho-ho, you animals:

25 cat facts

This week’s migration update

A vaccine for bees…

Meet the marine mammals of NYC…  (Including the Santa-like – whiskers, belly – harbor seal…)

This week’s Hudson River Almanac installment:

12/5 – Staten Island:  In late morning, on the east side of Brooks Pond in Clove Lakes Park in northern Staten Island, I spotted a varied thrush. It was robin-size with a dark bill, prominent orange eyebrows, an orange breast with a dark band, and its breast feathers were rough, not smooth. I saw it again twice more into mid-afternoon. The area is comprised of lawn with large oaks, sweet gum trees, brushy hedgerows with fruiting bittersweet, and multiflora rose along the pond. – Catherine Barron

varied thrush

That Varied Thrush

[A record such as this one is accorded the description of an “Accidental.” In the parlance of Stan DeOrsey, these are birds that are found far out of their normal range, and while known to wander great distances, were not expected. The varied thrush (Ixoreus naevius) breeds in the evergreen forests of northwestern North America, from Alaska to northern California. While there have been several dozen records of varied thrush state-wide, the last known sighting on Staten Island was in November 1936. – Tom Lake] 

12/5 – Hudson River Estuary: With the cold weather and subsequent cold-water season upon us, Kim Durham (New York State Sea Turtle Coordinator, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society) urges us to be on the lookout for stranded sea turtles. If you come upon a sea turtle, whether you think it’s alive or dead, immediately call the New York State Stranding Hotline at (631) 369-9829. Some sea turtles become paralyzed when “cold stunned,” giving the appearance of death but are actually in dire need of recovery and resuscitation. If you have photos or video, please send them to sightings@amseas.org. – Tom Lake

[Records of sea turtles in the lower estuary have been limited to Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii). Juvenile Kemp’s ridleys (2-3-year-olds) have been documented using Long Island Sound as an intermediate habitat and occasionally, but rarely, we find one in the lower estuary. The most recent Kemp’s ridley occurrence was last July when beach-walkers at Rockaway Peninsula noticed a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in need of rescuing. The last report in the estuary was August 1995, when Buddy Long, trolling for bluefish, collected a prop-injured sea turtle in the river off Spuyten Duyvil (river mile 14). – Tom Lake]

12/6 – Manhattan:  When we checked our research sampling gear in Hudson River Park at The River Project’s sampling station on the lighthouse tender Lilac at Pier 25, we thought our pots and traps were empty. But there it was, our first sand shrimp of the season! – Siddhartha Hayes, Melissa Rex, Toland Kister

sand shrimp

Sand Shrimp

[Sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa) are delightful little crustaceans, generally less than 50 mm long. As their common name implies, they are brown, and their camouflage allows them to “dissolve” into sandy bottoms. Along with a few species of Palaemontes, they are colloquially called “grass shrimp,” owing to a preference for the hidden safety and security of aquatic vegetation. (They are the M&M’s of the river for the myriad of predators with which they share the river bottom.) When captured in numbers, they can be very frenetic, bouncing all over. Our students on the beach like to call them “popcorn shrimp.” – Tom Lake]

12/7 – Manhattan:  A birding survey of Central Park today resulted in 40 species. Among the highlights were rusty blackbird, pied-billed grebe, barred owl and northern saw-whet owl. Notables at The Reservoir included Canada Geese (75), northern shoveler (43), gadwall, bufflehead, ruddy duck, and American coot. Raptors included the two owls, an immature Cooper’s hawk, and an American kestrel on The Great Lawn. There were four woodpeckers: red-bellied, male yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy, and a northern flicker. Both red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches were found, along with brown creeper. Elsewhere in the park, there was a hermit thrush, northern mockingbird, and 40 common grackles in Mugger’s Woods, including a leucistic individual with a white head. – Robert DeCandido

May your Christmas and New Year be stupendously great and green,

UGS

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Happy World Soil Day, UESiders!!

Something we celebrate each of the three (four over summer/fall) days a week we fill UES compost bins!!

Compost that improves soil, sure,  enabling it to not only provide wonderful edibles, but also to also contribute to ever more critical carbon sequestion!!

And there’s so much more to learn about the marvelous security blanket of our earth (including a doc)...   

Soil, we salute you!!

(This past Tuesday was World Wildlife Conservation Day!!)

Ready yourselves for the week ahead:

Now:  Yeti, Set Snow” Winter Show 

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, Central Park 

What happens when a pair of young girls cross paths with a snow-hating Yeti??  Kids of your acquaintance will love finding out!!  Another Marionette Theater classic!!  $8-$12.  For tickets, schedule and more… 

Saturday, December 18th:  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, Samascott, Ole Mother Hubbert, SunFed Beef, Alewife, Hawthorne Valley, Walnut Hill, Consider Bardwell and Nolasco Farms!!

Yes and the Master Knife Sharpener will be present and accounted for, too…  And making her final appearance till Christmas, so bring on that cutlery!! 

Manager of Market Managers Margaret weighs in:  “As I’ll be off this weekend, we’ll have a guest super star manager at 82nd Street…  GrowNYC’s very own assistant director, Liz Carollo will  be in charge!!”  

Then M. adds, “With just 2 more Saturdays till Christmas, time to start thinking about those holiday party menus, traditional meals and Greenmarket gifts! Be sure to check out Walnut Hill’s beautiful dried flower wreaths. Perfect for giving your home or office a festive feel.  See you next week!!”

Last Week’s Recycling Totals –  78 lbs batteries;  21 lbs cords, corks, cellphones and cartridges;   8 pairs of glasses;  13 compost bins;  42 bags of clothes 

Yes, people!!  AN ALL-TIME, BRILLIANT RECORD 13 BINS!!

Sunday, December 9th:  Christmas Blessing of the Animals

Christ Church, 524 Park Avenue, 2-3pm

No over-estimating total sweetness of this event where, last time we attended, there absolutely was a llama!!  

llama blessing

The service includes a procession of animals to the altar for blessing.   All pets must be accompanied by their owners.  All owners must be accompanied by their pets. Hosted by Cindy Adams, the New York Post and Christ Church. Seating on first come first served basis. Space is limited. No RSVP required.

Monday, December 10th:  End-of-Year Honey Tasting Competiton & Bee B-Movie Night

NYIT, 16 West 61st Street, 11th Floor Auditorium, 6:30pm

Once upon a time and not so long ago, NYC Beekeepers met in secret…  Now they’re legal, holding honey contests, enrolling New Yorkers in  their beekeeping courses and more!!   Free to all bringing honey to compete.  Non-honey bringers/early bird  tickets, $5.  Non-honey bringers/at-the-door tickets, $10.  For more and tickets

Tuesday, December 11th:  Beyond Sims – A Community Informational Session

Touro College, 230 West 125th Street, 6-8pm

Now that the statue of – best case – controversial physician Marion Sims’s been relocated from its Central Park East perch, Manhattanites are now asked to engage on what the replacement should be…  Manhattanites as in all us!!  (Our opinion:  A Kara Walker work!!)  For more

Tuesday, December 11th:  Forgotten Drinks – From Flip and Rattle Skulls to Switchel & Spruce Beer

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

Who knew the cocktail was one of America’s first gastronomic innovations…  With ingredients like honey, vinegar and fruit…  With some being stirred with hot pokers??!!  Author Colin Hirsch enlightens on the evolution of our early mixed drinks and even tastings!!   Presented in conjunction with The Culinary Historians of New York.   Members, $25.  Non-members, $40.  Students, $10.  For more and tickets

Tuesday, December 11th:  East Side Coastal Resiliency Project Meeting

Brookdale Campus, 425 East 25th Street, 6:30pm

The powers-that-be communicate their East Side Coastal Resiliency Project plans. We let them know our analysis of/feelings about those plans.  At stake:  The future of our ES waterfront!!  Be there!!

Thursday, December 13th:  CM Kallos’ Annual Holiday Party

The CM’s District Office, 244 East 93rd Street, 5-7pm

Holiday cheer, light refreshments and a chance to convey concerns/hopes for the coming year!!  Please RSVP or 212-860-1950…

Tuesday, December 18th:  Holiday Celebration & Concert for Peace

Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Avenue, 7pm

Commemorating the World War I Armistice, the concert features the award-winning and UES favorite Cantori Chorus.   Sponsored by the Office of Assembly Member Seawright.  Free, but do RSVP or 212-288-4607…

Wednesday, December 19th:  CM Powers’ City Hall in Your Borough

Location TBA, 6:30pm

Start accumulating all those questions you’ve been yearning to pose to the Mayor and members of his administration!!  There’ll be updates on municipal projects, too!!  See you there!!

Then, suddenly, it’s 2019:

Sunday, January 13th:  CM Kallos’ Annual State of the District

Memorial Sloan Kettering Auditorium, 430 East 67th Street, 1pm

And we quote, “Please join me for my annual report to you on the State of the District, recognizing all the work my office and members of our community have done together over the past 5 years and giving a preview of what’s in store for 2019.”  RSVP or 212-860-1950…

On the miscellany beat, commencing with one but meaningful bit of activism:

As in efforts to extend the 42nd Street Library’s hours….

Moving on:

The Color of the Year 2019 is…   

Living Coral

LIVING CORAL!!

(That’s how we like our coral!!)

The Times not only weighs in on climate issues but (scroll down) assuages Christmas tree guilt

Advanced waste-to-energy tech comes to the U.S. by way of – no, not NYC or NYS – West Virginia

12 not-to-be-missed NYC art installations

Great green books to read and/or gift

The erstwhile City Island Bridge has a new, green life/mission

The long-ago West Point egg nog riot

Yes, les animaux:

Prospect Park makes this week’s NYS DEC’s Outdoor DiscoveryWatchable Wildlife list…  (Scroll down!)

chipmunk Prospect Parkk

A Prospect Park Chipmunk

mother hen shields her brood

How to best assist alley cats

Winners of the British Ecological Society’s animal photo competition

Does your dog need winter clothes…??

And from the Hudson River Almanac:

11/15 –- Manhattan: We checked our research sampling gear in Hudson River Park at The River Project’s sampling station on the lighthouse tender Lilac at Pier 25 and found an interesting mix of fish and crustaceans. The most impressive were three white perch that ranged in size from 85-240 millimeters (mm.) They are perhaps the signature estuarine fish. The saltwater effect brought us three adorable feather blennies (65-75 mm), and the brackish water estuary brought us two young-of-summer blue crabs (25, 50 mm). – Siddhartha Hayes

Feathered Blenny

A Feather Blenny

[Feather blenny (Hypsoblennius hentz), a seasonally marine resident, is a small, scaleless fish with fleshy cirri (“feathers”) on their head. Their lower jaw has a row of small, close-set teeth like those of a comb, thus their family name, combtooth blennies (Blenniidae). Blennies are benthic dwellers where they often burrow in the soft bottom or find refuge in old mollusk shells.  – C. Lavett Smith]

11/24 – Manhattan: My family and I were driving north on Manhattan’s West Side Highway in midday when we saw a huge bird gliding along not more than 40 feet above the traffic. It was low tide on the river – a good hunting tide for eagles – and, sure enough, the bird had an American eel in its talons. It was absolutely breathtaking to see this beautiful mysterious creature flying over Manhattan. 
– David Yaffe

11/26 – Orange County: Tom Hall remembers when his dad worked on a farm in the Black Dirt region of Orange County near Pine Island. One day, his dad found an interestingly flaked stone in a furrow and kept it as a curiosity. With a little investigation, Tom now knows its pedigree. The three-inch-long stone tool with a broken tip, is a biface – worked on both sides – and is what archaeologists call a projectile point. In reality, this tool may have served a multitude of practical uses as a spear point, hide scraper or, if hafted onto a wooden handle, a knife. The point was fashioned from a type of stone called chert. While “typing” prehistoric stone tools is an inexact science, certain physical attributes suggested that this one is what archaeologists call a Bare Island point from the Late Archaic Period, named for its type site at Bare Island, on the lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. 
– Tom Lake

NYS Projectile

That Projectile

[About 4,000 years ago, the first of us living in the Northeast made a series of small, stone spear or dart points that archaeologists have stylistically-labeled the Narrow-stemmed Tradition, of which the Bare Island was one. These pre-ceramic, pre-bow-and-arrow technology Indians were likely Algonquian-speakers, perhaps ancestral to the people who met the first Europeans more than 2,000 years later. They were mobile hunters, gatherers, fishers and foragers. Other than analyzing their stone tools, we know very little else about them. The dating of stone artifacts is tricky. For projectile points (“arrowheads”) we often rely on the accuracy of radiocarbon dating (C14) of organic material found in association with stone tools to arrive at an approximate date. Discoveries like these of long-ago artifacts help define the great time-depth of the Hudson Valley and put a face on an ancient human occupation. -Tom Lake]

Yours in enduring greenness (and we will survive SantaCon 2018),

UGS

 

 

 

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