Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Visit the Green Exhibit at the Museum of the City of NY

The Museum of the City of New York has an interesting exhibit showing now through Earth Day, April 22. It's called "Growing and Greening New York: PlaNYC and the Future of the City," and if you haven't seen it yet, you should check it out.

The exhibit takes you through a day in the life of a "typical" New Yorker, touching on six different features of the day: water, transportation, energy, open space, land and climate change.

You can sit in a "green" living room, examine a solar panel up close, see a model of the Bronx Zoo Lion House (the first LEED gold retrofitted New York City landmark), and much more.

Everyone who visits the exhibit is guaranteed to learn something; useful facts and information abound. For example, did you know that a leaky faucet wastes 20 gallons of water a day?

It's so importa
nt in these times to learn as much as you can about the environment and what you can do make an impact. The museum geared the exhibition toward individuals, showing them that it's possible to reduce the effects of global warming one step at a time, said Deputy Director Sarah Henry.

Here is a list of upcoming programs associated with the exhibit:

  • Big Apple Brownfield Awards, Monday, April 13, 10 a.m. The Partnership for Brownfield Practitioners celebrates New York City's most successful brownfield clean-up and redevelopment projects. Reservations required, $15 general admission, $10 museum members, seniors and students.
  • PlaNYC: Innovations and Legacy, Wednesday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. A discussion of the relationship of PlaNYC to the history of urban planning. With Dan Doctroff, president of Bloomberg LP, former deputy mayor for Economic Development and the originator of PlaNYC; Hilary Ballon, university professor ans associate vice chancellor for NYU Abu Dhabi; and Thomas Bender, university professor of the humanities, NYU. Registration is required.
  • From Fram to Table: New York City's Local Food Movement, Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. Panel discussion on being a "locavore" in the city. With Dan Barber, executive chef/co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Blue Hill; Michael Hurwitz, director of Greenmarket; and Ian Marvy, director and co-founder with Michael Hurwitz of Added Value and its Red Hook Community Farm. Gabrielle Langholtz, editor of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, will moderate. Reservations required.
To make reservations, order tickets online at or by phone at (212) 534-1672 x 3395. Visit for more information.

Photographs by C. Bay Milin

Questions Surround Closing of Center for the Urban Environment

Though the 30-year-old Center for the Urban Environment (CUE) has been shut down for a week, information on why it closed has been scarce. With the exception of a press release sent out by the staff detailing their reaction, no one is saying much about the abrupt closure. Calls to executive director Patricia Synan and former executive director Sandi Franklin have not been returned.

A source close to the center, however, indicated that lawyers have instructed the staff not to publicly discuss the issue, and that the future plan is to file for bankruptcy. The source explained that since CUE didn’t own its building — it had a 35 year lease on the recently refurbished Gowanus location — the biggest element of value is most likely intellectual property, i.e. the school programs.

Reached by phone, Founder John Muir told the Eagle that he was “dismayed and surprised that the organization has closed,” but added (in Latin), “of the dead, speak nothing but good.

“At the time I retired, CUE was a not-for-profit of astonishingly good health. We were on budget with $3.5 million with a half a million in reserve,” Muir said. “Since that time I have had minimal contact with the organization, but had the impression that they were doing very well. My wife and I attended the 30th anniversary celebration [in November] and everything spoke of prosperity.”

Sources have said that one possible reason CUE went under was the debt generated from renovating the building.

Speculation has also arisen that the current economic climate may have played a factor in CUE’s decline, causing funding to dwindle and fundraising to be difficult. Representatives at the center were either unavailable or unable to comment.

Other sources, however, indicated that funding was not the problem, but would not elaborate.

— With additional reporting by Dennis Holt