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Dear UESiders, 

There’s good news and there’s good news to the nth power…  In this case, made even better because you the people were so much part of making it happen…  And you certainly were!!  

*Which is to say, thanks to the relentless advocacy of CM Powers, with CM Kallos’ support AND you 20K-plus individuals who signed the petition, NYC’s 2021 budget includes Compost Collection!!

No details yet as to when the program resumes and there will almost certainly be modifications and, yes and inevitably, a reduction in funds allocated.

But so what, we say!!

We’ll up ton-upon-ton of scraps and trimmings at whatever sites powers-that-be designate!!

Because the program continues to exist, it’s there to build on, reinstate fully and expand over years to come.

This is victory.

But that’s not all:

*Closing of 82nd Street during Saturday Greenmarket hours is now officially permitted!!

Yet again, those many petition signatures and street residents’ endorsing emails – amassed in a matter of days – are absolutely what made this leap forward possible!!

PLUS

How about we let Alta Market Manager Margaret do the sharing:

Dear Greenmarketeers,

Headline news for 82nd is that CB8’s approved street closure during market hours!!  Won’t solve all our challenges, of course, but should ease crowding and allow for a somewhat more consistent set-up from week to week.

Many, many thanks to all who signed the petition and to those 82nd Street residents who emailed me!!

Returning to those aforementioned challenges: 

Sitcky WIcket #1:  We’ll still be at the mercy of parked cars, so it’d be incredibly helpful if you know or see anyone pulling into a spot from the SW corner of 82nd to the St. Stephen’s Residence at 414 East 82nd, late Friday/early morning Saturday, please-please ask them to choose one of the many other available spaces nearby…  That just in case they don’t know, 6am-2pm Saturdays is 82nd Street Greenmarket Time and we’d love them to come shop!!

SW #2:  If avoiding the crowds is a priority for you, do come out after 11am to shop.

SW #3:  Please leave your little UESiders and furry friends at home.  Our crowded markets aren’t really safe spaces for them right now.

Add these Market Updates:

Update A:  Except for Ballard’s Honey (Mr. Ballard’s spending  the day with his family), all our farmers/fisherman/bakers will be at their 82nd Street tables.

Update B:   At 92nd Street, Sikking Flowers will be taking this week off, but they’ll be returning  next Sunday… Along with American Pride Seafood!!

At last…  Let’s talk food:

No question but summer produce is in full swing at both our great markets!!  So get out all those great salad recipes you’ve been saving all winter!!

Speaking of salad and just in time for your 4th of July picnic or BBQ, Cherry Lane’s got freshly-dug, new potatoes that couldn’t be better for potato salad!!

There’s going to be plenty of fruit, too, including the first peaches of the 2020 season!!

Happpy 4th and see you at the markets,

Margaret

Moving on to this Market-associated note:

As we wait for clothes collection to make a Greenmarket return, Wearable Collections is offering a home pick-up service

Then a bit of activism:

As in if you’re in favor of New York’s first offshore wind project

Improvement on the Census front!!  Substantial chunks of the UES have moved into the 67%- and-above completed slot…  But annoying swaths low-count remain in the 50’s and to the west.  Come on…  You’ll feel like the best citizen…  Participants can win $1K!!   Do it!!

This week’s virtual town hall:

Tuesday, July 7th at 7pm.  AM Seawright hosts “Reopening Our Neighborhood” with Marcus Book, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs from New York City Transit; Brenda Stuart-Luke, from the IRS Tax Payer Advocate; and a representative from the New York State Department of Financial Services.  To register…  Or live stream on Facebook

As ever, some miscellaneous diversions:

Municipal Art Society virtual tours (offered at bargain prices)… The NYC open restaurants map…  A challenge:  Name These Birds!!…  4th of July fireworks pet-calming strategies…  Who knew JFK also commanded PT-59 and that very boat’s now being dredged up from the Harlem River…  The genius Milton Avery’s final project...  The Ribbon Bridge proposed for our East River…  What our NYS Conservation Officers have been up to of late…  An inspired bear rescue…  A history of Cartier Jewelry…  Eight famous cocktail recipes…  NYS DEC jobs in its new Office of Renewable Energy Siting… Real life NYC locations in “Hamilton”

It’s Plastic Free July!!  (Scroll down further for the most environmentally friendly masks!!)

Our best,

UGS

Eco Facts of the Week:   #1 – 8,770,000 New York State residents live in ClimateSmartCommunities!!  (NYC is not one of those communities!!  Not yet!!)
#2 – 241 more acres have just been added to the Catskill Forest Preserve
!!

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Dear UESiders, 

If you haven’t been down on First Avenue in the low 60’s, you won’t have seen the transformation of two restaurants who’ve done impressive jobs on their new outdoor space…  Not quite in the Paris cafe range, to be sure, but we’re talking lots of planters, flowers and charm!!

Let’s have more of it up and down the Ave, yes??!!

And we loved hearing news that the Robbins Plaza Food Box Program’s subscribers have so increased over the last two-three weeks, they can’t accept any more!!  (Of course, newcomers are referred to 82nd  92nd Streets until the Food Box’s can expand!!)

So what does Her Excellency Market Manager Margaret have onher mind this week:

Dear Greenmarketeers, 

 If you’ve been on 82nd the last few days, St. Stephen’s 82nd schoolyard is now enclosed by a  green construction wall!!

BUT NOT TO WORRY

The market will continue to operate inside that wall!!

But, for sure, this construction has further narrowed the sidewalk…  Not only making social distancing even more challenging…   But further heightening the importance of having the parking lane fronting St. Stephen’s available for our farmers/fishermen/beekeepers to use for set-up!!

Which is why and as I mentioned last week, we’re now petitioning the city to close 82nd Street to vehicles on Saturdays during market hours…  An arrangement making for a much safer market for all!!

As usual, the more petition signers the better!!  And a ton of you signed last week…

BUT you Marketeers who live on the block and favor this safer set-up are particularly important signers…   So important it’d ‘be great if you’d email me directly to voice your support: 
mhoffman@grownyc.org!!

Time to talk fruit and vegs!!

No questions summer’s in full swing with farmers’ tables loaded with summer squashes, garlic scapes, peas of all types, beets and their greens and heads of lettuce!!

At 82nd, strawberries are going strong at Samascott and Gajeski!!  Blueberries abound at the Cherry Lane table!!

First Sunday at 92nd was a winner…   And why not with Phillips Farm’s amazing collection of herbs?? Norwich Neadow’s broccoli florets??  Ole Mother Hubbert’s eggs, milk, cheese and chicken??  Meredith’s baked goods (now including some gluten free items)??  Sikking’s gorgeous flowers??

Yes, and American Seafood will return to 92nd on Sunday, July 12th!! 

Stay safe,

Margaret” 

Moving on… 

*As the City Council nears the final days of this year’s deliberations and if you’d like compost collection restored, critical  to sign the petition  making that ask….

*Making progress on the Census score with some UES area’s now in the 67% response rate…  But some’re still orbiting around in the  52-56% doldrums…  We want that $4K a head…  Do it!!

Diversion time: 

A NYS DEC webinar on low carbon (usually jam-packed with carbon) cement…   A ton of virtual events from that great raptor haven Hawk Mountain…    The Folk Art Museum on how to archive our memories…  Consumer Reports’ green/efficient laundry-doing tips…  Central Park’s weekly virtual walk…  The history of watermelon...  A virtual visit with a Wyoming bison herd

Our best,

UGS

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Dear UESiders,

Happy Summer Soltice!!   Happy Father’s Day!!  Happy Phase 2!!

And going hyper-local…  

HAPPY WELCOME BACK TO THE 92nd GREENMARKET THIS COMING SUNDAY, JUNE 21ST,  9am to 3pm!!

And welcome back to 92nd’s wonderful farmers/fisherman/ bakers Phillips Farm, Norwich Meadows, Meredith’s Bakery, American Pride eafood, Sikking Flowers, Ole Mother Hubbert and Halal Pastures!!  

Spread the word, people!!  Spread that word far and wide!!  

Not that we’re forgetting 82nd!!

Magnum Market Manager Margaret shares the latest on both our great markets:

Dear Greenmarketeers, 

Construction continues at St. Stephen’s, forcing us to yet again modify our set-up a bit.

We apologize for the confusion this may cause but, yet again, we’ll have to reconfigure to keep everyone as safe as possible, so please have patience with us…  Especially as reconfiguration inevitably means those parking spaces west of the church/school-to-the 82nd and Firsr corner are that much more essential.  So, please, should you see anyone pulling into those spaces…  Do ask them not to park there just a few hours on Saturday mornings!! 

And all you who left their dogs at home and came out a little later – as in 10 or 11am –  to do their shopping, you have our thanks!!

As for the weeks and months to come, we’re now petitioning the city to close the block to Saturday vehicle traffic during market hours…  This so we can set-up and serve you in a safer, more consistent manner.   Be both vital and appreciated if you’d show your support by stopping by the Market Info Tent and signing the petition!!.

Okay…

How about we talk the fabulous strawberries, peas and  asparagus – and three varieties of each! – now gracing the Gayeski, Samascott Cherry Lane tables??!!  Plus,  rumor has it that Cherry Lane could well have some summer squash this week!!

Last but in no way least, of course there’d be construction happening on the 92nd Street’s territory, too…  Meaning we’ll be doing some to reconfiguring there as well…  But, absolutely, all our great farms/fishermen/bakers and Sikking Flowers will be with us!!

Please stay safe and thank you for supporting local farms,

Margaret

Meanwhile…

Haven’t signed
the compost petition??  (As it nears the 19,000 mark, do it now!!)   CM Kallos and PCM Powers the briefest of calls to thank them for supporting composting return and authoring/ sponsoring the 2 compost bills!!  (Hey, “The Daily News” ran an Op Ed in support this past week!!)  (Thanks to reader Michael Bryant for the tip!!)

Haven’t tackled the very light lifting that is the 2020 Census??  (84th to 86th Streets and 89th to 94th Street’ve broken through to the 62%–68% completed range…  But the rest of the UES?   Still as last week 50%-56%)  More than urge family and friends to get on it, too!!

And, as ever, some activism:  As in driving a final stake in the Williams Pipeline heart…  AM Seawright’s upcoming Virtual Town Hall on Environmental Justice, Tuesday, June 23rd, 7pm…  How to identify and report the bad-bad and invasive Southern Pine Beetle… 

And now for the Diversions of the Week:

The Times on those bookcases behind so many Zoom intervieweesThe Quarantine Cat Film Festival (online and raising funds  for independent movie theaters)…  Catskill Mountainkeeper’s thermal heating/cooling webinar this coming Wednesday…  What we can help to keep oceans clean  Animal pawprints in our subways…  The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House newsletter and great volunteer opportunities…  Civitas’s Small UES Business Directory…  Reducing conflicts with NYS bears  Summer reading for young’uns from the NYPL… Chec and scroll down  the UGS Facebook page to master compost blenderizing!!  A map showing where on earth  human beings aren’t

Deep breath.

Of course, Juneteenth is very much on all minds…

Our best,

UGS

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Dear UESiders, 

It’s a week of good Market news!!

*In just 9 more days, the 92nd Market returns for another great summer/fall season!!  And with us will be wonderful old friends old friends Phillips Farm, Norwich Meadows, Meredith’s Bakery, American Seafood, Sikking Flowers, Ole Mother Hubbert and Halal Pastures!!  Lucky us!!

*The number of drivers ignoring signage and parking in our community market’s official  space – reduced by some 50% last Saturday!!  Giant thanks to all those who did the right thing and parked elsewhere and residents who spoke up and offered friendly encouragement to drivers to move on to one of the many available spaces near at hand!! 

*Same on the stroller and canine scores..  Best to leave at home or outside market boundaries rather than put through the stress of a crowded market…  Be that market at 82nd or (soon) 92nd!!

*And, as ever, 11am remains the ideal time to arrive!!

*Ultra Market Manager Margaret weighs in:

“Dear Greenmarketeers:

Loved last week’s delicious strawberries??  Well, this Saturday there’ll be not one…  Not two… But THREE – 3 –  VARIETIES of the juicy red sweetness on offer!!  And those varieties and the farmers who grow them are:

Samascott – Upstate
 Gajeski – Long Island
 Cherry Lane – South Jersey

Choose your favorite!!

Then clear that palate and choose 82nd’s Top Asparagus!!  Samascott, Gajeski and Cherry Lane all have their own varieties…  And you have your tastebuds!!   

Feels like summer, doesn’t it?!!!

Be safe and well,

Margaret”

*Okay, so,  yes, it’s now asparagus and strawberry season…  But, as of last week, courtesy of Cherry Lane, tomatoes are back with us, too!! 

(We wound up with a 2 1/2 pound behemoth that graced three dinners and couldn’t have been more scrumptious!!   Yummm!!)  

*CENSUS, people.  Check the map detailing NYC’s response rate and the UES’s in particular…  How can it be that we – with our level of impeccable citizenship –  qualify as among the country’s/America’s/United State’s Hardest to Count??  Do we really want Census workers risking going door-to-door??  You’re reading this online…  That’s where the 2-minutes-to-complete Census is, too…  Do it!!

*The Compost Petition…   On the verge of a 19,000 headcount…  Add yours, if you haven’t!!  Your kids can sign…  Your inlaws…  Your exs…   Those people upstairs with the heavy feet…

Last but hardly least, here’s a date and time to save…  Wednesday, une 17th,  6:30pm for JazzOFFtheTerrace…  A virtual concert in support of Health Advocates for Older People via YouTube!!

Our best, 

UGS

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Dear UESiders,

First and foremost news/advice/alert/wisdom of this week comes from one and only Mega Market Manager Margaret:

Dear Greenmarketeers:

Do you enjoy and benefit from shopping at the Greenmarket on East 82nd Street?

Would you like it to be a more open and safer space to shop??

Then here’re a few things you can do to heip achieve those goals:

*1.  If you know someone with a car who often parks on 82nd Street, please ask them to respect the posted signs and not park Friday night/Saturday morning on the south side of  82nd Street from First Avenue to  St. Stephen’s Church.

(Reason why?  If our farmers//fisherman/beekeepers can use that short stretch of the parking lane for market set-up, not only will the sidewalk be less congested, but social distancing will be so much easier!!

(FYI, having scouted the surrounding neighborhood, there really is plenty of available parking very nearby.)

*2. Please leave your furry friends at home. The busy market can be a stressful place for them and managing them can cause you stress, too!!

*3. Whenever possible, please leave strollers outside the market area!!

*4.  No bikes in the market, please!  Of course, we understand that bikes’re a great form of transportation but, with consideration of other shoppers in mind,  please lock them up outside the market!!

And less non-human market congestion’s good because…

*5.  It’s now officially strawberry and asparagus season and we need  hands free to scoup them up!!  Rhubarb and spinach are also looking really good and plentiful this week!! Peas of all varieties are coming next!!   Keep those eyes open for them!!

My thanks and wishes for great health,

Margaret

(We’d add also add that if you’re out on 82nd and spot someone about to park in that market territory, maybe you could consider briefly and in a friendly way enlighten that driver as to why another spot would be better…)

Meanwhile…

*Haven’t tackled the less than 5-minute online 2020 Census yet?  (The UES’s moved up 4 points to 52% completed over the last week!!  Let’s keep the ball rolling!!)

*Takes mere seconds to sign the Restore Compost Petition…  (Nearing 18,000 signatures strong!!)  (Prior to the program’s interuption, 82nd Street was averaging 16 1/2 bins a week!!)

Our best,

UGS

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Dear UESiders, 

Being way way lazy this week.,  Thus and herewith, a mini newslettter edition commencing with this very nice comment on the 82nd Street Greenmarket’s neighborly atmosphere:

*1.  Not only have Lou and Cherry Lane returned with their usual abundance of beautiful produce but, whenfaced with a choice of Saturdays at 82nd Street or Union Square (he’s done both for years, but didn’t want to during Covid), Lou actually chose little, friendly us!!!

*2.  So great to have Javier back and presiding over the Gajeski tent, too!! 

*3.  Moving on to this Saturday’s market lowdown as per Market Manager Ciana:

“100% of our great farmers/bakers/beekeepers will be with us this week with asparagus and rhubarb seasons in full swing!!  (That while strawberries so right around the corner we can almost taste them!!)

Just keep in mind, they open for business right at 9am…  So, no point in arriving before…  Unless you have a crazy, secret craving to stand in lines and wait!!  (My Master Market Shopper Tip:  Best market arrival time is 11am when lines are short and selection is still plentiful!!)

And please…  Do leave strollers and dogs at home!!

Stay safe,

Ciana”

*4.  Brevity, yes, but not forgetting the diversions we all need:  Fabulous art lectures (complete with cocktail recipe) by curator Xavier F. Salomon of the Frick, this week on Barbet’s “Angel”; SS Krueger’s Virtual Town Hall on housing issues, Thursday June 4, 7pm; AM Seawright’s Virtual Town Hall Tuesday on animal welfare and pet care, Tuesday, June 2nd, 7pm;  Virtual NYC hiking with the Natural Areas Conservancy, Thursday, June 4th, 6-7pm Meditation while wildlife watchingAn historic butterfly protection agreement

Breathe deeply…

*5.  Folks, our city’s still in need of blood/plasma…  Please do call and make that appointment!! 

*6.  Census…  Census…  Census!!  (Less than 5 minutes online!!) 

*7.  Check the impressive March pre-lockdown composting numbers for 82nd Street below…  Then sign the petition to bring the program back, if you haven’t!! 

Meanwhile…

Happy Invasive Species Awareness Week, people!!

And don’t forget to stop by our newly-minted Facebook page

Our best,

UGS

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Happy National Emergency Medical Services Week, UESiders!!

And do we ever celebrate those wonderful folks!!

It’s also Buy A Musical Instrument Day…  Why not discover one’s previously unknown Horowitz, Benny Goodman or Jimi Hendrix?? 

Pretty good way to spend a holiday weekend…

Meanwhile…

This week’s Covid updates:

From SS Liz Krueger

And virtual town halls:
 

Tuesday, May 26th, 7pm:  AM Seawright leads  a discussion of Parks  & Recreation in the Covid Age with experts Leslie Wright, NYC Regional Director of NYS Parks, Recreation  Historic Preservation;  William Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner NYC Parks; Patrick McClusky, Carl Schurz Park Conservancy; and Michael Heck, Executive Director, FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.  To register or call 212- 288-4607.  Or watch live on Facebook… 

Thursday, May 28th, 7-8:30pm:  Hosted by SS Liz Krueger and the first of two town halls on the subject of NYC Housing Issues.  Tenant attorney at NYC Legal Aid, Ellen Davidson will offer expertise on the current moratorium on evictions, the temporary closure of Housing Court, what to do if you are struggling to pay your rent, obtaining emergency repairs, leases, and pending legislation to protect renters during the pandemic and will include Q&A.  Registering a must…   And view on Facebook…  

And webinars:

Coming up on June 10th and from the Natural Areas Conservancy, “The Science and Practice of Managing Forests in Cities” featuring the NAC’s Executive Director Sarah Charlop-Powers and Dr. Clara Pregitzer, and Forest Service Research Ecologist Dr. Richard Hallett.   For more and to reserve a place

To get tested:

Find testing sites operated by NYC Health &  Hospitals near you at Get Tested in Your Community.  Sign up for a COVID-19 antibody survey appointment at nyc.bioreference.com/antibodysurvey or call 1-888-279-0967.
CM Kallos provides our activist item of the week: 
Time for some miscellaneous diversions: 

Maybe you’ve been at Met in the late afternoon when some really beautiful string music filled the grand entry hall…  And maybe like us you made you made your way up to the Balcony Bar, settled in a table with cocktail while ETHEL played on…  The Met may be closed, but ETHEL’s still turning out great music, this week with friend Todd Rundgren!!  Oh and  ETHEL founder Ralph Farris’s  not only an UESder but an UES gardener!! 

June virtual concerts by lute, harp and voice from the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
Really NYS DEC and State Parks are second to none…  Case and point:  It’s new  #AdventureAtHome with which, over the next few weeks, DEC will be sharing ways for you to enjoy the outdoors close to home.   Join in on DEC’s website, Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and YouTube!!
Bit of a short window, but  the great UES Hungarian Cultural Center’s offering up an online classical concert by the Budapest Philamonic available Saturday!!  (Think Kodaly, Dohnanyi and Mussorgsky!!)
The (presumed) oldest manhole cover in NYC
Just this one furry item:
But plenty of fish swimming around in the Hudson River Almanac: 

5/9 – Hudson River Fishing: When we walk on a beach with students, what can we tell them about the spot where they stand? Maybe we can offer them the ghosts of ancient seiners? The first of us who entered the Hudson River Valley brought with us, from our trail across the North American continent, a rich culture containing the requisite skills for making a living. Following the Ice Age, remnants of which left the greater Northeast about 13,000 years ago, we were lured here by a diversity and richness of ecological resources. The growth of deciduous forests and the game animals living here, as well as the fish-rich seaward-running Hudson River, promised to provide a year-round living.

There is a romantic image of our ancestors, whom anthropologists have named Paleoindian, as being prolific big-game hunters of five-ton woolly mammoths and mastodons. Much of that is untrue; there is little or no evidence of ancient “elephant hunting” east of the Mississippi.

But there is evidence of fishing. Perishables such as nets made of natural cordage and wooden floats for their seines, have long since biodegraded. However, along the river and in tributaries of the upper Hudson above tidewater, there are remnants of field-stone weirs. These structures guided fish into an enclosure where they could be easily captured.

netsinker

An Ancient Netsinker

Along most of the river and its tributaries reaching halfway across New York State, stone net sinkers fashioned from palm-sized pebbles can be found strewn along beaches and ancient fish processing sites. Archeologists have excavated post-holes of fish-smoking huts along the estuary where migrating fish from the sea, such as sturgeon, shad, and striped bass, were captured, processed and smoked to extend their shelf-life. One of these huts was discovered on the river at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie where sturgeon “scutes” (scales) the size of dinner plates was found. In Greene and Columbia counties, ancestral-Mohicans developed a stone tool industry for large chert knives, called Petalas blades, used to butcher giant Atlantic sturgeon. Harpoons were carved from white-tailed deer antlers and bones.

This is an important aspect of our river’s deep-time legacy. When we gather students on a beach, poised to discover what is home in the river, we like to explain that others, like ourselves with curious minds, stood here long ago. With much skill and patience, they would set their seine and hope for a rewarding haul. They were our first seiners and although they were seining for sustenance, they shared with us a feeling of being connected to the tides and rhythms of the river. – Tom Lake

5/10 – Staten Island, New York City: Something out of the ordinary, a sand dollar, washed up at midday on Oakwood Beach. – Pawel Pieluszynski

sand dollar

That Sand Dollar

[The sand dollar (Echinarachnius parma) is an echinoderm; its name is derived from the Greek echinos (spiny) and dermos (skin). They are found over sandy bottoms of inshore shallows from Labrador to New Jersey with Staten Island being at the southern fringe of their range. Sand dollars are related to sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sea stars. They have an interesting array of colloquial names throughout their range including sea cookie, sea biscuit, and sand cake.

Live sand dollars are rarely found on beaches. The round, flat and disc-like skeletons (tests) of dead sand dollars washed ashore have lost their velvet skin and spines and have been bleached white by the sun. Their size (diameter) ranges from 50-100 millimeters. Sand dollars feed primarily on copepods, algae, diatoms, and larval crustacean. Tom Lake]

No way we’re forgetting the Fish of the Week:

5/12 – Hudson River Watershed: Fishes-of-the-Week for Week 70 are the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae), two of which are found in the Hudson River watershed. They are the foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus), number 192 (of 230), and the spotfin butterflyfish (C. ocellatus), number 193, on our watershed list of fishes. 

FOur Eye BUtterfly FIsh

A Foureye Butterfly Fish

The butterfly fishes are perhaps the most tropical looking, albeit rare, fish found in the estuary. Both are tropical marine strays and are selected this week primarily because of their closely allied range, behavior, and rarity in our area. Foureye butterflyfish are found from New England to the Gulf of Mexico and are the most common butterflyfish in the Caribbean. Spotfin butterflyfish are found from New England to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico.

The foureye butterflyfish is quite small, usually no more than 75 mm long. Its name is derived from a dark “eye spot” just forward of its caudal fin. This spot is surrounded by a brilliant white ring, suggesting another eye. This spot, combined with a vertical black bar through its eye, are adaptations designed to confuse predators. This species was added to our watershed fish list in 1989, from a foureye butterflyfish captured at The River Project’s Pier 26 in Manhattan.

 

Spotfin Butterfly Fish
A Spotfin Butterfly Fish

The spotfin butterflyfish is the larger of the two species getting to near 200 mm long. Its name comes from a small dark angular black spot on the trailing tip of its soft dorsal fin. Males have a second, rather large, dark spot at the base of their soft dorsal fin. These spots, coupled with a dark black vertical bar on their head that runs through their eye, comprise adaptations designed to confuse predators. This species was added to our watershed fish list in 1988, from a spotfin butterflyfish captured at The River Project’s Pier 26 in Manhattan.

Most if not all butterflyfish found in the estuary are young-of-year that were caught up in the northward running Gulf Stream until dispersing shoreward into rivers, bays, and estuaries of the New York Bight. Among the many good references on butterflyfishes, two favorites are Fishes of the Bahamas (Böohkle and Chapman, 1968), and Field Guide to Tropical Fishes (C. Lavett Smith, 1997). – Tom Lake

Nothing greener than health,

UGS

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It’s National Endangered Species Day, UESiders!!

Add that May 15th’s also National Pizza Party and Bike-to-Work Day, too!!

We say NYC’s ahead of the game on all  3 scores (more Monarch butterfly migration route stops and other pollinators flitting about on our NYC turf, right?)…

And they’re saying the weather’s going to be great as we shop the market!! 

We’re ready for the week ahead!!

Covid updates from our UES electeds:

SS Liz Krueger 

AM Seawight (scroll down for the AM’s mask/hand sanitizer  giveaway on Thursday, May 21st!)… 

CMKallos… (Also giving away masks up and down the UES this week…)   

The week’s Virtual Town Hall:

Tuesday May 19th, 7pm – AM Seawright hosts a discussion of mental health during Covid with guests Esther Yang, Executive Director of Super Happy Healthy Kids; Beth Shaw, CEO and founder of YogaFits Training SystemsFeeding New York”;  NY Comissioner of Aging Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez; Associate Comissioner of Direct & Social Services  Jocelyn Gorden;  Executive Director of the Stanley Isaacs Senior Center Gregory J. Morris and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Kate MacKenzie.   Register to attend or 212-288-6407 or watch live on Facebook….

And these webinars:

From the great folks at Solar One.  The first in a series of Solar workshops. Available any time online.  Think an overview of solar technology, its business models and how city folks like us can save bucks at home and/or office with ultra green solar power!!  And, no, solar isn’t just for homeowners anymore!! In 2020, community-shared solar’s welcoming renters to participate in local solar projects, too!!   You need to know, people… 

Tuesday, May 19th, 1-2:30pm:  – A NYS Organics Summit on the subject of “Managing Wasted Food: Lessons Learned Nationally and New York State’s Plan of Action”.  Nora Goldstein of (BioCycle) discusses the national trends of organics recycling, how New York State fits into the national picture, and what she sees as the future of the organics recycling industry. Sally Rowland (DEC) follows with an update on the NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law which will take effect January 2022.   

(One more time… Who knew we had a statewide Food Scrap Recycling Law effective 1/2022!!)

On the activist score:

Just so we’re all aware…   There’s growing concern about inadequate incineration of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances – AKA PFAS –  in upstate Cohoes

As we wage our compost battle, an industry expert weighs on what the future of waste-to-energy should be like… 

Ever more distractingly miscellaneous miscellany: 

colorful virtual stoll across Lower Manhattan with the great Eric Sanderson, author of the brilliant “Mannahatta”…

NYS Drive-In theaters making a come back…  But not near NYC–

Oh, wait!!  Never to be outdone, there’s now a drive-in in our own Astoria!!

Fish stocking to raccoons to screech owls…  What the week’s been like for our NYS Conservation Officers

Forest Rangers have been crazy-busy, too

A perpetual-recycling-of-the-same-plastic process…  With Michelin an investor…

The great fellow who made Chicago safer for birds

A Pet Comedy Photo Contest

A virtual tour of Jefferson’s Monticello

Had to cancel that holiday trip??  The Times instructs on devising an in the  meantime experience…   

Recycling as we spring clean…   (Scroll down…)

For those kids:

Alleviate youthful boredom with some tried-and-true, do–it-yourself classic games

Animals now:

Joel Sartore – who’s sworn to photograph every species living in zoos or sanctuaries – has just past the 10,000 mark!!

Is this one amazing looking (endangered) bird or what?  (Giving eyebrows new meaning!)

Greater Prairie-ChHicken

A Great Prarie-Chicken

A book about eels gets a great review in NYMagazine

More virtual birding from the NY Audubon

As ever, our last great stop, The Hudson River Almanac:

5/3 – Manhattan: For the first time since New York City went on PAUSE (March 22), we felt compelled to check The River Project’s research, sampling and collection gear on the lighthouse tender Lilac moored at Pier 25.

Normally, we empty the traps and pots and record catches at least once a week, up to five times a week in summer. However, after reviewing our last few years of data and noting that we’ve historically caught, at most, one or two fish in April, we decided to prioritize the health of our staff and the public by staying home as long as possible. But as temperatures rose, we felt it was important for the safety of any animals that might be in our gear to empty and take the traps and pots out of the water until The River Project and Hudson River Park staff could resume normal schedules. The last fish we caught prior to today was a young-of-year striped bass on December 18, so we were eager to see what six weeks had brought us.

tautog2

That Tautog

Donning masks and gloves, we (Yossi, my quarantine partner, and I) boarded the Lilac to empty and remove the 20 killifish traps and four crab pots that comprise our Aquatic Animal Survey collection gear. Our catch included an 80 millimeter (mm) juvenile blackfish (tautog), eleven adult blackfish (250-300 mm), and two blackfish (about 350 mm) that fell out of a crab pot before they could be measured. One lined seahorse (80 mm) was hanging onto the potwarp. We also found the usual invertebrates, including shore shrimp, isopods, mud dog whelks, mud crabs, and some small (10-20 mm) blue crabs. We were pleased to see that all of the animals looked healthy and uninjured. – Melissa Rex, Yossi Rex

[We know that fish have escaped from our collection gear before and wondered if animals have been entering and leaving the traps and pots throughout the last few weeks. Blackfish are highly associated with underwater structures and may intentionally use crab pots as habitat. We hope to use a GoPro video camera to monitor our traps in the future to learn if this is true, or just the hopeful musings of a guilty ecologist. Melissa Rex]

Then there’s the Fish of the Week:

5/8 –Fish-of-the-Week for Week 69 is the freckled blenny (Hypsoblennius ionthas) number 204 (of 230) on our watershed list of fishes. 

freckled blenny

A Freckled Blenny

[The freckled blenny is a small, scaleless, yellowish green-to-brown fish with feather-like cirri above their eyes. They have blunt heads, large eyes, and a large continuous dorsal fin. Females have distinct “freckles” on their face. Their lower jaw has a row of small, close-set teeth like those of a comb, thus their family name, combtooth blennies (Blenniidae).

They are benthic (bottom) dwellers where they often burrow in the soft bottom and find refuge in old mollusk shells especially oysters, and can grow to 100 mm. Unlike the feather blenny (a temperate marine resident) the freckled blenny is a tropical marine stray.

The freckled blenny ranges from the Carolinas south into the Gulf of Mexico. It was added to our watershed fish list from a single fish (54 mm) caught at river mile 43 (Indian Point) by Normandeau Associates Inc., an ecological consultant, on November 22-23, 1985. The most northern record, other than ours, appears to be from the mouth of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, suggesting that our freckled blenny may have been a ballast introduction.  – Tom Lake

(Want a copy of the complete Fish List?  Just email: trlake7@aol.com!)

Let’s heap some praise on the generous companies below:

*Americares: 550,000 KN95 masks, 13,150 surgical masks, 960 packages of disinfectant wipes

*China General Chamber of Commerce: 100,000 surgical masks

*Ford and Troy Design Manufacturer: 30,000 non-surgical face shields

*Century 21 Stores: Over 20,000 sq ft of warehouse space for PPE storage and delivery support

*Anheuser-Busch: 23,000 bottles of hand sanitizer

*The Urban Assembly Maker Academy: 24,000 non-surgical masks

*Tivuna: 14,000 coveralls

*American Chinese United Care (ACUC) Alliance: 20,000 disposable masks, 3,000 gloves, 500 KN95 masks

*Public Health Solutions: $14,000 in PPE procurement support services

Abound in good, green health,

UGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New York State Compost Awareness Week, UESiders!!

Yes, and NYS’s sending us all best wishes and a ton of info to mark the occasion

That while our most forward-thinking city’s – thanks so much, Mr. Mayor –  abandoned that green ship.

But temporarily, many say!!

Moving into the positive lane, help may be near at hand for The Great Barrier Reef

And Nancy Drew’s just turned a very youthful 90!!

As for the coming week…

CONVID updates from our electeds:

CM Kallos…  

Rep.Carolyn Maloney

BP Brewer

And the line-up of this week’s Virtual Town Halls:

Tuesday May 5th, 7pm – Discussing “Feeding New York” and hosted by AM Rebecca Seawright with NY Comissioner of Aging Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Associate Comissioner of Direct & Social Services  Jocelyn Gorden, Executive Director of the Stanley Isaacs Senior Center Gregory J. Morris and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Kate MacKenzie.   Register to attend or 212-288-6407 or watch live on Facebook….

hursday, May 7th, 7-8pm – On the subject of COVID’s effect on mental health, hosted by SS Liz Krueger with Lisa Furst, LMSW and MPH, Assistant Vice President, Center for Advocacy, Policy and Education, Vibrant Emotional Health.     To register to attend…  Or watch live on Facebook…  

Tuesday, May 12th, 6-7pm – On the subject of assistance for small business and hosted by CM Kallos, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and NYC Small Business Commissioner Greg Bishop.  RSVP required or 212-860-1850… 

The more diversions the merrier, we say:

Easiest way yet to get to know that UES classic, theMount Vernon Hotel Museum…  Via its virtual exhbition, weekly lectures and kids’ storytime…

Virtual golf lessons

Any number of virtual compost courses from NYState… 

More virtual NYC tours from Untapped New York

Missing sounds of New York by the NYP Library via Spotify

visit to Rachel Carson’s home and a host of great online talks on golden eagles, kestrels and more from the great Hawk Mountain Sanctuary… 

How long’ve we been wishing the great Brooklyn Brainery would establish a Manhattan outpost for their fabulous classes on everything?!!  Now they have, virtually…

Many a virtual spring stroll through the Bronx Botanical Garden

Recycling in ancient Pompeii

An intro course on bird watching from Cornell U

Brief but choice view of Thunderbirds and Blue Angels over 72nd Street

“The Army Nurses of WWI” – all 403 of them as the conflict began – doc on You Tube…

The Virtual Hudson River, courtesy, again, of Cornell…

virtual tour of the Queens Museum show on the NYC’s historic Ridgewood Reservoir

And for the young among us:

Puppet shows from the wonderful Central Park Swedish Cottage…

Never too young to learn about historic preservation…  Witness the GVSHP’s virtual “course” for the 5-7 year-old crowd

Sunday, May 3rd at 3pm:  The American Lyric Theater presents the children’s opera “The Selfish Giant”, streaming live on Facebook

National Geographic’s “Explorer Classroom”

Time for some critters:

Striped bass fishing season is on…

You bet dogs are being trained to sniff out COVID

The world’s most interesting insects

As ever, some great stuff from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/18 – Manhattan:  We live on the 18th floor, a quarter mile east of the Hudson River on the corner of 10th Avenue and 23rd Street (our view is west down 23rd Street). We are so close to Hudson River Park that the flood line for Hurricane Sandy (2012) came right up to our front door.

kestrel

A Kestrel

This morning, on the terrace one floor down, we saw a falcon, an American kestrel. I knew at once that it was a bird of prey because it was busy eating a small bird. I was able to study it with my binoculars. A lot of raptors were visible today at sunset, in the distance over the river, though too far away to identify. Winds were high, making me wonder whether the birds had ridden the gusts up the coast. It seems that the public COVID-19 health shutdown has created a more peaceful environment for birds. – John Herzfeld

4/18 – Hudson River Estuary: While checking our fyke net in a Hudson River tributary for our glass eel project, we found hundreds of herring [alewife] eggs in the net. That alone was awesome. Then we saw a caddisfly casing attached to the net comprised of debris and at least 20 herring eggs!

netting for glass eels

Netting for Glass Eels

This is our thirteenth year of the Hudson River Estuary Program’s American (glass) Eel Project. Due to the COVID-19 virus, there are a limited number of sampling sites being checked by DEC staff and partners following robust safety protocols. We look forward to increased student and volunteer involvement next spring (2021). – Chelsea Moore, Adam Haines

[Glass eels are one of the juvenile life stages of the American eel. They arrive in the estuary by the millions each spring following a six-month to year-long journey from the greater Sargasso Sea area of the North Atlantic where they were born. “Glass eel” is a colloquial name, owing to their lack of pigment and near transparency. These are juvenile American eels “returning” to the estuaries of their ancestors along the east coast of North America. This is a particularly vulnerable time for them, and little is known about this period in their life history. In anywhere from 12-30 years, depending upon their sex, they will leave the Hudson River watershed for the sea where they will spawn once and then die, or so we think. Tom Lake]

4/22 – Manhattan, New York City: Earth Day duties took me to Randall’s Island today. A beautiful great egret with breeding plumage and green eyes was fishing at the Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh. A perfect Earth Day wildlife sighting. –  Jennifer Adams

Great Egret

That Great Egret

[Randall’s Island and Wards Island are conjoined islands, collectively called Randall’s and Wards Islands, in the New York City borough of Manhattan. They are separated from most of Manhattan by the Harlem River, from Queens by the East River and Hell Gate, and from the Bronx by the Bronx Kill. – Tom Lake] (Just in case your were wondering!!)

And the Fish of the Week is:

The American shad (Alosa sapidissima) number 25 (of 230) on our watershed list of fishes. 

American Shad

A Couple of Shad

Many excellent scholarly books have been written on the American shad. However, to best explain their role in Americana, it would take far more than a Fish-of-the-Week in the Hudson River Almanac. Here, we do our best to mention some highlights.

American shad are the largest of the river herrings (Alosa sp.). Their scientific name comes from Latin as Alosa (shad) sapidissima (sapidus = savory). Their native range on the east coast stretches from Labrador south to the Saint John’s River in Florida. Hudson River American shad have been travelers. In addition to their normal migratory range from the estuary south to the Carolinas in winter, their popularity as a food fish prompted their successful transport and stocking by train to California in 1871 where they established a Pacific Coast population.

In the 1990s, the Susquehanna River shad population declined due in part to the construction of the Conowingo Dam (MD). From 1992-1998, The Wyatt Group Environmental Services transported thousands of adult shad, as well as fertilized eggs, from the Hudson and Connecticut rivers to Lancaster (PA) as part of the Susquehanna River American Shad Restoration. The adults would return to the Hudson and Connecticut rivers the next year, but the young-of-year shad would imprint on the Susquehanna as their natal river helping restore that population.

We have been setting and hauling nets in the Hudson River each spring for American shad since we first arrived, perhaps 10,000 years ago. The native shadbush (Amelanchier sp.) has been, at least colloquially on the East Coast, considered a harbinger of their arrival from the sea. Shad are in the Hudson River right now, and spawning will continue through early June. They enter the estuary in waves, each intent on reaching the spawning grounds, a 70-mile reach from Hyde Park to Troy, when the river warms to at least 54 degrees (F). The New York State angling record for shad is 9 pounds, 4 ounces, although larger shad to 12 pounds have been caught by Hudson River commercial shad fishers.

In prehistory, Hudson Valley fishers used weirs and other gear to guide shad into enclosures where they could be netted. The shelf-life for this glut of springtime protein was extended through smoking. Those living near the sea salted their shad. Since Colonial times, American shad have been taken in large numbers with drift, anchor, and stake gill nets, as well as haul seines.

American shad have a well-earned reputation as being a very bony and difficult fish to process–they have 769 bones; humans have 208. Yet, smoked, pickled, and planked (baked) shad have long been springtime favorites in the Hudson Valley. Many commercial shad fishers as well as fish markets use a very intricate and difficult “boning” process, with a thin fillet knife having an edge as keen as a scalpel, to remove many of the floating bones making the fish more palatable. The major attraction with shad, however, has always been its eggs; in historic times shad roe has been a springtime culinary delight.

Amanda Higgs notes that by 1998, DEC had documented the last in the long series of declines of the shad spawning stock. The last over-fishing event drove the stock into recruitment collapse. By 2002, young-of-year indices for American shad (a measure of spawning success, productivity) bottomed out, falling below the allowable threshold set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Mortality had to be drastically reduced or the species could become extirpated in the Hudson River. In March 2010, New York State closed all fisheries affecting shad in the Hudson River and marine waters of the state. Given the long history of over-fishing, restoration of this signature Hudson River species may require many years to recover (Hattala and Kahnle 1998, 2015). – Tom Lake

Here are two works of historical fiction (highly recommended) that closely mirror reality. Those who have worked on the springtime river, watching the tides, enduring the cold, wind, and long hours, then setting, hauling, and picking shad nets, will recognize the intense labor of love. Two excellent works of non-fiction are also noted. These books are available at most public libraries. Tom Lake.

The story takes place on the Hudson River in Phillipsville (a thinly veiled Cold Spring) and the Phillipsville High School (Haldane High School of the story) in post-World War II Putnam County. Two high school students join as apprentices with a couple of rugged river men to drift their shad nets in the shadow of the Hudson Highlands. –  Shad Haul, by Paul Corey (1947)

Set just six years after the American Revolution (1788), this is a story of remembrances. It tells of a time on the Hudson River in the “Town” of Poughkeepsie when spotters went up on Blue Point (elev. 400-feet) in spring as lookouts for British warships that might come up the river. Drifting down the river at the same time were hand-crafted wooden shad boats working the ebb tide every day with a weather eye for lantern-lit warning signals from Blue Point. Back in Poughkeepsie, fishmongers loaded their wagons and walked the streets selling fresh American shad. – Shad Run, by Howard Breslin (1955)

Also recommended:  Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great Fish Migrations, by John Waldman (2013) 

We will be green and brimming with health,

UGS

 

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Happy Two Days After Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, UESiders…

And Congrats to the Hubble Space Telescope on it’s 30th Birthday today…

Celebrations exclusively online, of course, but still a moment to focus on good stuff!! 

Meanwhile, on our home island… 

COVID updates from our Electeds:

CM Kallos…  CM Powers

This week’s Virtual Town Halls: 

Monday, April 27th, 6pm – Hosted by CM Keith Powers and Council Speaker Corey Johnson on needs relative to COVID-19…  The impact on rent and housing, open spaces, resources for seniors and more.  To RSVP (a must)…  (Attendees are eligible to pose a question…)

Tuesday, April 28th, 7pm – Hosted by AM Seawright and on the subject of education  with guests Adrienne Austin, Acting Deputy Comissioner for Community Empowerment, Partnerships and Education and Maud Maron, President of Community Education, District 2.  To sign up (you must)…    And choose an online venue

Some bits of activism:

For those with concerns about the health of the U.S. Post Office

Concerns shared by Rep. Maloney

If you also care about America’s public libraries… 

Or should you think Bank of America – joining Citibank and Morgan Stanley – should back off from Arctic drilling

Or oppose hunting bears in Yellowstone Park

Of course, given NYC archaic waste water “system”, only makes sense there’ll be some COVID swimming about… 

Moving on to the light diversion category:

Ten virtual tours…

Free virtual NYC tours

Two chances to see one great eco webinar from the folks at Solar One…  Subject: How solar can help renters, building owners and businesses in NYC save money on their electricity bills!!  Free!!  To choose your date and sign up

Cleaning routines to keep our homes virus free

The heart of Bryant Park

NY Historical Society’s historic Recipes of the Week… 

Fifty fun, free things to do while hanging out at home

Couldn’t attend this month’s CB8’s Landmarks Committee meeting online?  Then check out the video (and scroll down)… 

And for kids:

Games from the MTA with a transit twist…

The week in the furry, feathered and finned:

Quoting The Patch:  “New York City Council held its first-ever remote meeting using the videoconferencing service Zoom on Wednesday and an unlikely star emerged from the municipal proceeding — Upper East Side Councilmember Ben Kallos’ cat!!”

kallos and cat

Hello, Pandora!!

NYS DEC Seeks Birdwatchers to contribute to 2020 Breeding Bird Atlas!!  Yup,
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos’s just put out the call for citizen-science volunteers to help in the development of this comprehensive, statewide every-two-decades survey  detailing New York’s breeding bird distribution!!
 
To learn more and sign up

Twelve things to know about lemurs…  (One’s only 2 1/2 inches tall!!)

dog dines out…  (Thanks, reader Roger Vitkansas!)

The first wolf seen in northern France in 100 years

And from the Hudson River Almanac:

4/15 – Brooklyn, New York City: An immature bald eagle had been seen a few times in Green-Wood Cemetery (Kings County) in Brooklyn this month. Another birder reported the eagle taking a fish from the cemetery’s Sylvan Water in the northwest area of the cemetery. I saw the bird today in a white pine being scolded by crows. My photo revealed that the eagle was banded with a silver U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US F&WS) band (0709-08255) on its right leg and a black band (R/7) on its left.  – Matthew Wills

Inured Eage 2

That Injured Eagle

[The left-leg band had been manufactured in 2005 as part of a series of black bands delivered to the US F&WS. From there it was sent to New Hampshire and finally to Connecticut where it was applied to a nestling bald eagle by Jenny Dickson on May 11, 2018, at the New Haven Evergreen-Cemetery.

injured eagle

Back on the Wing

Nearly two years later, it was photographed on April 15 by Matthew Wills in Green-Wood Cemetery (note the symmetry), Kings County, Brooklyn, near the Upper Bay of New York Harbor. It is fun to wonder where the eagle had traveled—and they are travelers—for the last 706 days, in an ongoing journey that finally led the bird to a place only 120 miles from where it had been hatched. Tom Lake] 

Not forgetting  the Fish of the Week (Do be ready for a chuckle!):

4/12 – Hudson River Watershed: Fish-of-the-Week for Week 67 is the cutlip minnow (Exoglossum maxillingua) number 41 (of 230) on our watershed list of fishes.

cutlip minnow

A Cutlip Minnow

The cutlip minnow is one of 32 carps and minnows (Cyprinidae) in the watershed, representing nearly fourteen percent of the 230 species. They are small, rarely more the 120 millimeters (mm) long. The cutlip minnow is native to the Northeast United States and are found in small clear-water streams ranging from the Saint Lawrence River watershed south to the Carolinas.

C. Lavett Smith describes them as “drab, with subdued colors, heavy-bodied, nearly terete in cross-section, an all-together ‘somber fish.’” Perhaps their most notable behavior is their predilection for plucking out the eyes of other fishes.

chocolate bunny

Poor Bunny!

The center lobe of the cutlip minnow’s lower jaw is sharply hardened. They use it, not unlike a scalpel, to core out fish eyes. When you come across a one-eyed white sucker, yellow perch, or goldfish, you can be quite certain that there are cutlip minnows in the area. This is a life history that could have been devised by Stephen King.   – Tom Lake

Yours in greenness and wishing all health,

UGS

 

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