Thursday, May 27, 2010

Launching This Weekend: Met Green Markets

A new kind of boutique market will launch in Metropolitan Green — a LEED registered green building designed by architect and designer Mark Helder to house pop-up shops — Met Green Markets.

Starting this weekend and continuing through June, designers, crafters, food-makers and vintage sellers will offer their wares in Metropolitan Green's space, which has 13-foot ceilings, tall display windows and a rear deck and garden. The markets will change weekly and will culminate in Homemade: Brooklyn, a showcase for all locally made products and performers.

Met Green Markets will be held May 28 to 31, June 4 to 6, June 11 to 13 and June 18 to 20. Homemade: Brooklyn will be from June 25 to 27. Metropolitan Green is at 439 Metropolitan Ave., between Meeker and North Fifth streets in Williamsburg.

E-Waste Recycling Days in Brooklyn Heights

The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) is co-sponsoring an e-waste recycling drop-off event on Saturday, June 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, June 6 from noon to 2 p.m.

Residential waste only will be accepted at the First Unitarian Church side chapel, 121 Pierrepont St. (between Clinton Street and Monroe Place).

Many different items will be accepted, including batteries, cell phones, laptops, TVs and VCRs. Click here for a full list of items. Call the BHA for more information at (718) 858-9193 or the church at (718) 624-5466.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Greenest Block in Brooklyn Deadline is June 1

The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest is back for its 16th year, and the deadline for entries is Monday, June 1. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Greenbridge program holds the contest every year in cooperation with Borough President Marty Markowitz and with sponsorship by Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Brooklyn block, civic, homeowoner and other community organizations can enter to win the Greenest Residential Block, Greenest Commercial Block, Greenest Storefront, Best Window Box, Best Street Tree Beds, Best Community Garden Streetscape and Best Greenbridge Window-Box Kit titles. There are three rounds of judging during which blocks are evaluated on criteria including color and total visual effect, citizen participation, variety and suitability of plants, soil condition, use of mulch, street tree and tree bed care and other horticultural practices.

The Greenest Block in Brooklyn promotes screetscape gardening, tree stewardship and community development in the borough. Participation in the contest has increased from 50 blocks in the first year to more than 250 last year.

Last year's Residential First Place winner was Lincoln Road between Rogers and Bedford Avenues in Lefferts Gardens (pictured here). This year's winner will be announced in August.

Photos by Phoebe Neidl 

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Efforts Announced to Expand Recycling in City's Public Spaces

Pictured at Fort Greene Park, from left to right are Councilmember Jessica Lappin, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Councilmember Brad Lander, Eric Gioldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council, William Alatriste of the New York City Council and Solid Waste Management Committee Chair Letitia James. Legislation was announced to expand recycling in the city's public spaces, including expanding plastics recycling (the city only collects numbers 1 and 2 at this point), improving recycling at city schools, and improving outreach and education.

Currently, there are approximately 300 recycling bins at public spaces throughout the city. Providing New Yorkers with more opportunities to deposit glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum recyclables in parks and other highly visited areas, this new legislation would require the Department of Sanitation to greatly expand the number of recycling bins in or near public parks and other highly trafficked areas. Similar to existing containers, the bins would be distinctively colored and placed near existing wastebaskets.

Fort Greene Park is the site of a public spaces pilot program to improve recycling. Solid Waste Management Committee Chair James called it a "perfect example" of "how the City Council has followed through with improvements to make it easier for everyone in New York City to recycle."

Photo courtesy of the City Council

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Take the Cyclone Lounger for a Spin on Coney Island

The Coney Island History Project will host an open house this Saturday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Brooklyn Half Marathon participants and their family and friends. All are invited to view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island’s colorful past.
Try out the “Cyclone Lounger,” designed by Red Hook’s Uhuru Design, made from ipe wood reclaimed from the Coney Boardwalk and inspired by the Cyclone Roller Coaster. The chaise lounge — which was debuted at BKLYN DESIGNS and was awarded “Best In Show” by sustainable design blog — will be on display in the exhibition center under the Cyclone.
Uhuru designers Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf will be there to talk about their “Coney Island Line” of furniture, sustainability and local craftsmanship.
Photo courtesy of Uhuru 

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eating Locally: Easy As Pie

Sure, you’ve considered eating foods from local farms that you purchase at greenmarkets or you get through a CSA share. But for one reason or another, you decide not to. You’re too busy, it’s too expensive, or it’s too inconvenient.

That’s where Leda Meredith comes in. The Park Slope resident decided in August 2007 to eat almost exclusively foods grown or raised within a 250-mile radius of her apartment for one year (“The 250”), an experience she chronicled in her first book, a memoir entitled Botany, Ballet and Dinner from Scratch. Since the year ended, she has continued to eat a mostly local diet.

Last month, Meredith released a new book, The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget. In it, she writes that she had embarked on The 250 because she felt “bombarded by each news story of the latest environmental catastrophe that was being intensified by human activity: climate change accelerating at a much faster rate than predicted by scientists just a few years ago; topsoil in the Midwest’s farm belt so depleted and polluted that within a generation we may no longer be able to produce safe food there.”

The Locavore’s Handbook is a compilation of everything Meredith learned during her 250-mile diet. Included is a useful list of which fruits and vegetables are in season when, advice on how best to shop at greenmarkets, tips and resources on how to start a garden, and how to preserve foods. Plus, there are several recipes to try.

She has a chapter devoted to shopping within a budget and one devoted to convenience. An urban forager, she included a chapter with tips on foraging, and with the typical New York City apartment in mind, she offers a lot of advice on organization and storage.

Lest readers get overwhelmed with the wealth of information Meredith offers, at the end of each chapter, she has included a section titled, “If You Do Just One Thing,” where she condenses the chapter into its one most important feature. For someone who wants to start slowly and work his or her way up to locavore, it’s the perfect resource.

Read an interview with Leda Meredith about her new book here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Face of a Farmer at Borough Hall Greenmarket

Pictured here is Fred Wilklow, owner of Wilklow Orchards upstate in Highland, NY. He has been a staple at the Borough Hall Greenmarket in Columbus Park for 25 years, and offers small fruits, vegetables, cider, baked goods, jams, beef and pork. Visit farmer Fred at the greenmarket every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
New York City's Greenmarket program is operated by GrowNYC, formerly the Council on the Environment of New York City. Learn more about the organization and its many programs here.
Photo by Mario Belluomo 

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sustainable Designs at BKLYN DESIGNS in DUMBO this Weekend

This weekend, BKLYN DESIGNS will return to DUMBO for its eighth year. If it's anything like last year, many exhibitors will feature sustainable designs. A lot of buzz has been generated surrounding Red Hook-based Uhuru Design’s new Coney Island Line, created from wood reclaimed from the demolished Coney boardwalk.
Pieces in the line include the Cyclone Lounger (above), made to mimic the structure of the iconic ride; the Wonder Coffee Table, which also mimics the ride it’s named after; the Drop End Table (right), influenced by the Parachute Jump; and the Drum Lamp, which is inspired by concrete-filled oil cans around the Coney landscape.
Sustainable design blog will award the best green designs at the show with its second annual Editor’s Choice Awards. Will Uhuru get recognition for its innovative ways of saving pieces of Brooklyn’s history? (Last year, “Best in Show” went to Fort Greene-based designers Ecosystems, for the BADA table/chair.)
Photos courtesy of Uhuru Design

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Bette Midler Celebrates Arbor Day in Brooklyn

Last Friday was Arbor Day, and to commemorate the holiday, New York Restoration Project founder Bette Midler (above, center) joined NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and 100 MillionTreesNYC corporate volunteers (sponsors were The Home Depot Foundation, Toyota and BNP Paribas) to plant trees in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Photo by Amanda Schwab / Starpix

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

NYC Wildflower Week

This week, May 1 through May 9, is NYC Wildflower Week, designed to encourage people to engage and connect with the parks and natural areas in all 5 boroughs. There are over 45 events scheduled throughout the week. Click here to see the complete list. 

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Plant Extravaganza!

In 1945, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden started the Daffodil Bridge Party, selling several varieties of plants to bring people to the garden and make some money at the same time. The plant sale grew even as bridge parties went out of style, moving to Magnolia Plaza, the Lily Pool Terrace and to Cherry Esplanade, where it is today.
Now, the Plant Sale at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is in its 57th year and has grown to be the largest of its kind in the Northeast, with over 20,000 plants available. Held Wednesday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to noon, it’s sponsored this year by Monrovia Nurseries.
Volunteers from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Auxiliary — which began admitting men around 1975 — along with garden employees, sell the plants and offer gardening advice to plant purchasers.
Friends and fellow Brooklynites Lois Carswell (who lives in Park Slope) and Lucille Plotz (who resides in Brooklyn Heights) have chaired the sale together for over 35 years.
“People come from all over: Westchester, Long Island, Connecticut,” said Carswell. Some bring vans to take home their loot, she noted. “It’s an extravaganza!”
“We have every kind of plant you can imagine — orchids, calla lilies, ferns, begonias, petunias,” said Plotz, who is so devoted to the sale that she went to school to get a botany degree. “Anything you can think of, we’ve got.”
Many people come to the plant sale to buy plants that they’ve seen and admired in the garden before, said Plotz, like climbing roses, which are very popular, or tree peonies, which are exclusive — “you don’t see those everywhere.”
The plant sale Wednesday will feature special events as well. BBG bonsai curator Julian Velasco will lead a bonsai clinic and demonstration. For a fee, he will prune and repot any pest-free bonsai and offer advice. Sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m.
David Horak, the curator of BBG’s orchid collection will discuss repotting and reblooming orchids at noon and 3 p.m., and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., learn how to use culinary herbs for sale.
Experts will be on hand throughout both days to offer advice, said Carswell. “We try to make gardeners out of people.”
For more information, visit

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