Monday, October 25, 2010

Mayor Breaks Ground on Recycling Facility in Sunset Park

Mayor Bloomberg today broke ground on a new Sims Municipal Recycling Facility that will serve as the principal processing facility for all of the City’s metal, glass, and plastic recyclables.

The new, state-of-the-art facility is located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park and will create 100 new jobs when opened, which is expected in December 2011. 

“This recycling facility will reduce the distance that our collection trucks currently travel by more than 260,000 road miles each year by allowing recyclables to be delivered by barge,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This will help advance two of the biggest goals of PlaNYC: cleaning the air we breathe and shrinking our city’s carbon footprint. The Sims recycling facility will also help us revive Brooklyn’s working waterfront.”

Sims Metal Management is investing $44 million to create the new 100,000-square-foot facility, which will include processing and storage buildings, and a Visitor Education Center where school groups and visitors can learn about recycling. The facility will receive collections from Brooklyn by no more than 100 trucks per day, while the remainder of the City’s metal, glass, and plastic recyclables will be delivered to the facility via barge from two existing Sims facilities in the Bronx and Queens.

The facility, designed by Selldorf Architects, will incorporate sustainable elements including green roofs and renewable energy production, on-site stormwater treatment, and landscaping that serves to offset heat and provide a pleasing visual aesthetic for the surrounding community. It will operate 24 hours a day, six days a week.

Currently, New York City spends more than $90 million each year to deliver recyclables collected by the Department of Sanitation to three different facilities in the Bronx, Queens, and Jersey City. The City is investing over $80 million on infrastructure upgrades to support the development of the Sims facility and an adjacent auto processing and cargo handling facility for the Axis Group, currently under construction.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sustainable Flatbush's Fall 2010 Street Tree Walking Tour

On Sunday, Oct. 24, Sustainable Flatbush will host its second annual Fall Street Tree Walking Tour, an opportunity to enjoy beautiful and local fall foliage in Brooklyn's historic Victorian Flatbush. The neighborhood is filled with a variety of street trees, including some that are more than 100 years old. Tour guides this year will be Sam Bishop of Trees NY and neighborhood resident Chris Kreussling, aka Flatbush Gardener.

Throughout the tour, the guide will identify trees and their characteristics, explore local tree history, discuss the beneficial role of street trees in the urban environment and explain the basics of street tree stewardship.

Tours start at Sacred Vibes Apothecary, 376 Argyle Rd. just south of Cortelyou Road. at 11 a.m. and noon, rain or shine. Tours take about two hours to complete and are one mile in length. There is a suggested donation of five dollars.

For additional information, email, call (718) 208-0575 or visit

Green Theater Company in Brooklyn Raises Money For Inaugural Season

Six months ago Windsor Terrace resident and actor Hal Fickett (pictured below) founded the Green Theatre Collective (GTC), combining his “love for theater with an interest in the green movement.”

GTC’s mission is to use minimal resources to perform captivating stories in natural environments, he explained. Each show will be performed during the day, outside in a green space, which eliminates the need for electric lighting. The actors’ costumes will be made from reused or recycled materials, and will be reused from production to production, said Fickett. Any music will be produced by instruments the actors play on stage, and all the marketing and promotion for the Green Theatre Collective is done online, through Facebook, Twitter and a blog.

The first production is slated for summer 2011, Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and Fickett hopes for it to be performed in Prospect Park or a community garden.

The choice of play is significant, said Fickett. “The background is in the Forest of Arden; it’s a green and natural background,” he noted. “The play touches upon city life versus country life and the serenity that can come from living in the natural world.”

After Brooklyn, GTC will go on tour, with a definite stop in Newbury Port, Mass., Fickett’s hometown.

Fickett graduated with a bachelor’s degree in acting from Emerson College in 2006. He has acted in nearly a dozen Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. So far, Fickett has been joined on his GTC venture by Nidia Medina, who signed on as managing director of the collective, and Melanie Closs.

Right now, the group is working on raising funds to acquire and maintain a web site, apply for grant money to assist in production costs and to cover administrative costs leading up to production. They’ve set up a page on fundraising web site and have scheduled a fall benefit for Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Pianos NYC in Manhattan, which will be as green as possible.

“The green movement is very relevant to where we’re at. It’s what the Earth needs for the present and the future,” said Fickett. “I wanted to put in my two cents. I’m really doing everything I can to have a green lifestyle.”

Check out the Green Theatre Collective on the web at and on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @GrnThtrClctive.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Green Courses at City Tech

This fall semester, through its Division of Continuing Education, New York City College of Technology (City Tech) is offering several courses geared toward sustainability:

Intro to Urban Farming: Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., $40
Wind Power Workshop: Thursdays, Oct. 14 through Dec. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m., $375
Urban Energy Seminar: Saturday, Nov. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m., $40
Energy – Savers Toolkit: Thursdays, Oct. 21 through Dec. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m., $50 per session

For more information on courses, visit To register, call (718) 552-1170.

Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 6: Poor Planning

We had this past Saturday all planned out: we were going to walk over to the Botanic Garden for the Chile Pepper Fiesta then hit up the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. A good plan, in theory, but a slow morning led to a late start to the Fiesta. Of course, even though I tack it on the end of every Fresh Finds post, I couldn't remember the hours of the greenmarket. Did it end at 4, or 6? (It ends at 4.)

So, at around 5:30, we wandered over to an almost empty Grand Army Plaza, where only Phillips Farms (Hunterdon County, NJ) and Lynnhaven Farm (Ulster County, NY) were operating stands.

We bought broccoli rabe (more this time!) and green beans from Phillips Farms. Lynnhaven Farm had a selection of cheeses. Since they specializes in goat's milk cheese, we bought an assortment: plain, herbed, and rosemary garlic. All three flavors are delicious! We've been putting the cheeses on everything and have almost finished our container.

The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round. The city's Greenmarkets are a program of GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs. This particular Greenmarket, founded in 1989, is GrowNYC's flagship Brooklyn market and is its second largest market behind Union Square.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Mayor Releases Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mayor Bloomberg this week released the 2010 Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the City’s fourth annual comprehensive carbon inventory. The entire city, including the City government, reduced emissions in 2009 below 2008 levels, putting the City on track to achieve the carbon reduction goals in PlaNYC, the Mayor’s long-term vision for a greener, greater New York.

In 2009, New York City emitted 49.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, a 12.9 percent reduction from 2005 levels and a 4.2 percent reduction from 2008 levels, even though the City’s population grew and the number of buildings increased. The reductions are attributed to less carbon-intensive and more efficient electricity generation, reduced per capita energy consumption, and reduced emissions of sulfur hexafluoride, a potent greenhouse gas. The City is on track to achieve PlaNYC’s goal of a 30 percent reduction in citywide greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.

In fiscal year 2009, municipal government greenhouse gas emissions were 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, 1.1 percent below fiscal year 2006 levels and 3.5 percent below fiscal year 2008 levels. These reductions occurred largely as a result of less carbon-intensive and more efficient electricity generation, City improvements in the efficiency of streetlights, reductions in emissions associated with the transport of solid waste to final destinations outside the city, and reduced City government energy consumption. 

To view the inventory, visit