Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New York Restoration Project Replants Trees in Bushwick Destroyed By September Tornado

The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, announced the planting of 74 new trees in Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick. These trees replace the more than 50 large, caliper trees that were lost as a result of the tornado that devastated parts of New York City on Sept. 16. The Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership donated an additional grant to support supplementary park landscaping and maintenance. 

“New York Restoration Project’s partnership with the New York City Parks Department to replant these 74 new trees in Maria Hernandez Park is a proud example of how our continued collaboration allows us to accomplish great things on behalf of New York City,” said Amy Freitag, Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “As a helping hand to the Parks Department, it’s NYRP’s job to step up to the plate when tragedy, devastation or budget cuts strike and make sure our city’s parks, community gardens and open spaces remain green and accessible and our urban forest continues to grow strong.”   

“Last September, New York City and its parks, and Maria Hernandez Park in particular, were hit by one of the worst storms in modern history,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  “But New Yorkers are known for their resilience, and I am so proud to be here today, only three months later, to celebrate the first effort to rebuild and restore what was lost in that natural disaster.”

The tree planting in Maria Hernandez Park was made possible through MillionTreesNYC lead sponsors BNP Paribas, The Home Depot Foundation and Toyota, as well as funds raised at NYRP’s annual fundraising gala, Hulaween – which raised more than $460,000 to support the organization’s tree-planting activities citywide.

On September 16, 2010, two tornadoes and a macroburst tore through New York City, uprooting trees, damaging cars and peeling roofs from houses. The storm’s tree destruction stretched uninterrupted from Park Slope through Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick in Brooklyn, into Ridgewood, Queens and all the way through Queens to Bayside. More than 3,500 trees were damaged or destroyed during this storm.

Maria Hernandez Park was especially a scene of devastation; endless rows of fallen trees struck by lightning or uprooted by the tumultuous winds that took the sidewalks with them. Trees — 2.5” caliper up to 5.0” caliper or 8’ to 16’ tall — that were planted in the park  include Silver and Little-leaf Lindens, Pin Oaks, Japanese Zelkovas, deciduous Evergreen Dawn Redwoods, Flowering Kwanzan Cherries and Yellow Woods.

Top photo: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, NYRP Executive Director Amy Freitag, President of the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership Dan Biederman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Diana Reyna and Brooklyn Community Board 4 District Manager Nadine Whitted are joined by students from P.S. 123. 

Photos by Malcolm Pinckney from NYC Parks

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Brooklyn Green Team Eco-Challenge

The Brooklyn Green Team has entered month two of its new eco-challenge — the no new clothing challenge. The group is supporting local shops owned by locals that dig out wearable treasures from past and present. Among the stats they list as encouragement: the 12 to 15 percent of people who shopped at consignment and thrift stores in 2006 saved 2.5 billion pounds of clothes from re-entering the waste stream.

Click here for information on how join the challenge and to check out some resources, including a list of local secondhand shops. (I recently scored big-time at the Park Slope Beacon's Closet — there are fabulous secondhand clothes out there!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recycled, Repurposed Film and TV Props at Gowanus Shop

Film Biz Recycling takes props and furniture from New York City’s movie, TV and commercial productions that would normally be thrown out and either sells them or donates them to charities and supply shops.

Tomorrow, Dec. 10, Film Biz Recycling will open on 540 President St. in Gowanus after relocating from Long Island City, Queens. But tonight, from 4 to 8 p.m., the store is opening its doors for a sneak peek of its new location, as well as a look at its stock of loot from holiday commercials and TV specials.

Green Edge NYC has the info about tonight’s event. Also see www.filmbizrecycling.org.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Local, Sustainable Food For St. John's Bread & Life Holiday Drive

St. John’s Bread & Life, the largest soup kitchen in Brooklyn, is currently seeking donations for its 13th annual Sponsor-A-Family holiday drive, which provides toys to more than 5,500 children and a Christmas meal to more than 2,000 families.

This year, the food given to those families will be locally sourced from three farms in upstate New York. Among the items provided to each family will be an antibiotic-free cooked turkey, potatoes, vegetables and cranberries. The baked goods, bread and cookies, will be produced with natural ingredients from local bakeries.

“Our goal is to provide the best and most nutritious food to our guests while contributing to the sustainability movement and to the local economy,” said Executive Director Anthony Butler.  “We started buying food from local farmers more than five years ago [for our soup kitchen] and we have found the process to be a great success. We receive fresh ingredients that are nutritious and taste great. And, we’re able to keep our own costs down while helping farmers who are also in need.”

St. John’s Bread & Life, located in Bed-Stuy, serves more than 2,000 hot meals daily. Its Mobile Soup Kitchen provides an additional 500 hot meals to people in two Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods. To make a donation, please call (718) 574-0058 or visit www.breadandlife.org.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fabulous Fresh Finds: Hanukkah Time

Since it's proven unrealistic to blog every time I visit a greenmarket — or expect to diligently visit the greenmarket every week — I've decided to label these posts according to theme, this one being my family's recent Hanukkah celebration.

My chosen/assigned dishes: potato latkes and applesauce. Our party was Sunday, so a trip to the GAP Greenmarket on Saturday gave me ample time to prepare. I visited a couple of booths in search of russet potatoes and found them at Evolutionary Organics (Ulster County, NY). I acquired apples, cider and shallots from Phillips Farms (Hunterdon County, NJ). All I had left to get was eggs and cinnamon.

So far in my greenmarket excursions, eggs have eluded me. I don't think I'm an early enough riser (anyone who's lived with me knows I'm not a morning person). They're always sold out by the afternoon, or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Either way, I visited the organic market near me and purchased cage-free eggs. Also cinnamon sticks (yes, I feel guilty).

On Saturday night I made the applesauce, using a recipe from my best pal — and devoted blog reader — Hanna. Just like she says, it was so easy! I just cored and chopped the apples, cooked them down in a pot with the cinnamon sticks and voila! Applesauce. I did, however, double her recipe. I bought 14 apples — gala, Fuji, and another kind, the name escapes me — and used 12. 

Sunday morning I rose "early" to make the latkes. I used a Food Network recipe, one that I've used before and know is pretty good. I've made potato pancakes on two previous Hanukkahs, and this was the first time I've had the luxury of a food processor, albeit a mini one (thanks, Mom and Dad). I doubled the recipe and fried up about 33 pancakes.

Needless to say, the latkes and applesauce (especially the applesauce) were a big hit. Fresh ingredients = delicious food.

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. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

Sustainable Flatbush Partners With Community Environmental Center

Sustainable Flatbush has announced a partnership with the not-for-profit Community Environmental Center (CEC) to conduct neighborhood-based outreach for their weatherization and energy efficiency programs. Implementing energy solutions locally is an essential part of Sustainable Flatbush’s mission of creating a sustainable urban community in Brooklyn.

With CEC's support, Sustainable Flatbush will work with local elected officials, community boards, neighborhood and block associations, houses of worship, and other community organizations to increase awareness and use of energy efficiency programs. These include the federal government’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), state programs provided by NYSERDA, and programs available through National Grid and Con Edison. Primary emphasis will be on WAP-eligible 1-4 family owner-occupied homes.

The Community Environmental Center, located in Queens, NY, was founded in 1994 to address the housing and energy efficiency needs of low- and middle-income communities. Partnering with CEC will provide Sustainable Flatbush with resources to inform Brooklynites about subsidized opportunities to weatherize their homes, resulting in lower energy costs, improved housing stock, and a reduced carbon footprint for New York City.

Sustainable Flatbush brings neighbors together to mobilize, educate and advocate for sustainable living.