Saturday, November 26, 2011

Starry "Night"

Organic constellation. . .

. . .amid asphalt universe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall Fireworks


I look forward to. . .

. . .the colorful display

. . .of these two trees

 . . .every year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tree-luxe Digs

This has got to be one of the largest. . .

. . .and most elegant treepits I have ever seen!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Down in Front

One of my neighbors is nice enough to take the time to plant flowers in the front of our building. 

They're just a couple of small planters. . .

. . .on either side of the entrance,

but I still enjoy them and that he makes this effort. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of the type of winter we're going to get!

In my lifetime I can't remember ever getting this much snow in NYC in October!

"...Climate change?! How do you do...?"

"Charmed I'm sure!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

GuestPeek: Royal Rest Stop

Each fall, millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada and the U.S, down to central Mexico.

My friend Susan snapped these images last weekend down in Cape May, NJ which happens to be one of the places they stop to rest and refuel, during this amazing 2000 mile journey.

However, human activity (e.g. pesticide use) and encroachment and destruction of their habitat and breeding sites (e.g illegal logging at monarch reserves) pose threats to their survival. You can read more about some of the research being undertaken regarding this annual migration via the Monarch Monitoring Project at BirdCapeMay.Org.

Thanks again Susan!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sisotowbell Lane. . .

". . .Noah is fixing a pump in the rain..." 

This solar water fountain was on display at last week's New New York DIY Block Party.

Unfortunately for the fountain, the sun only made the briefest of appearances and then we got rained out. :-(

Sisotowbell Lane - from Joni Mitchell's 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Bees Knees

Last year I visited the Monti Building in Brooklyn, as part of GreenHomeNYC's Green Building Open House tours.  This is a great example of a building that gives as good as it gets.  For one thing, it is home to a variety of small local businesses and artists, so it is supportive of local economy and culture.  

For another, it utilizes a variety of energy efficient technologies (you can read more about those here), including several which can be found on the roof--  a 9 Kw solar array that provides for most of the buildings day-time electricity needs. . .a 4000 sf, low maintenance green roof. . .

. . .and walkways that make use of permeable pavers, both of which help with storm water management.

But I think the most delightful of the building's features are the roof top beehives!  Urban bee keepers are important members of the local/urban food economy.

Another delightful feature of this building is that it is a Birds of Brooklyn site! This is " audio art project [that] aims to reconnect city dwellers with the natural sounds of the area and raise awareness about declining bird populations in urban environments."

That just sounds like fun to me!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The New New York DIY Green Block Party

Save the Date!

Last year I attended an innovative street fair sponsored by GreenHomeNYC (a great local non-profit, BTW), called the New New York DIY Block Party.

Instead of the typical cookie-cutter event with the usual suspects for vendors, selling pretty much the same ubiquitous, bland merchandise (e.g. tube socks, sunglasses and gyros), the New New York focuses on teaching the public how to

"green their built environment -- while having fun . . .[and is committed] to hands-on presentations by vendors, programming woven into the surrounding neighborhood, and a sustainable approach to event production."

I mean at what other street fair would you expect to see a bus with a green roof!?!


Well, in less than a month, the 2nd Annual New New York DIY Green Block Party will take place:

    When: Saturday, October 1, 2011
    Time: 11am to 5pm
    Where: Williamsburg, Brooklyn - N 11th Street at Wythe, in front of Brooklyn
         Brewery & around the corner from Brooklyn Bowl, 4 blocks from the L 
         train Bedford Street stop      
     Admission: Free!

Some of the fun activities that await:
    * learning how to install and plant a green roof
    * taking an outdoor yoga class with Hosh and Go Yoga instructors
    * learning how to capture and reuse rain water to water plants
    * vendors showcasing exciting new environmental products and technologies, like:
               * Brooklyn-based Vokashi compost system and kits
               * Eco-friendly kitchens presented by NYC's own Pure Kitchen
    * Bring the kids!  They'll learn how to
               * build a solar car
               * make jewelry out of bike parts by Recycle‐A‐Bicycle

But most importantly the New New York will also practice what they preach by
    * trying to minimize water and paper usage as well as other waste
    * including locally based small businesses & non-profits
    * utilizing bio-fueled generators
    * composting food waste
    * being bicycle friendly
    * providing drop-off points
        * for electronic waste (collection courtesy of the Lower East Side Ecology Center)
        * bicycles (collection courtesy of Recycle‐A‐Bicycle)
     * and much more!

You can learn more about their Green Street Festival Guidelines here or contact them newnewyork at greenhomenyc dot org for more info.

Trust me, this is one street fair that gives back as good as it gets to the public, the surrounding community and to the environment.

Don't miss it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Aging in Place

I love that this tree was allowed to "live" on in Madison Square Park, instead of being chopped down.

I think it looks like a piece of modern sculpture.

But in addition to 
beauty. . .

. . .it also continues to provide ecological service like habitat and support for other living things.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life is But a Dream

Row, row, row your boat . . .

 . . . gently down the stream. . .
. . .merrily, merrily. . .

. . .merrily, merrily. . .

   . . .life is but a dream!

Perhaps. . .

. . .but eventually we will need to wake up to the fact that whenever it rains or snows, precious resources, are irreparably lost down the city's sewers, which can lead to other problems, like CSOs (combined sewer overflows).

 You can read more about those here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Tale of Three Tree Pits

I pass these three tree pits (and their trees!) every day on my way to work. 


 I like to think of them (and others around the city) as snippits of non-contiguous forest, literally carved out of concrete.


Many are plain and unassuming. . .


. . .or have accumulated bits of the detritus typically found in an urban setting. . .

. . .but then, there are those that have been made into unexpectedly, delightful, tiny green spaces by neighborhood residents:

I hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy these snippits of nature too!

Check back here for future entries in my "Urban Treepit Series".

Saturday, August 13, 2011

GuestPeek: Where a Tree Once Stood

In permaculture, the "edge" is a dynamic, unique place, often filled with great beauty.

However, where Earth meets Water, it can also be terrifying in it's power to reshape or reclaim.

These images (thanks Paula!) reflect the erosion occurring on the beach at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina. 

For the past three years, my uncle Doug, has been documenting the long, but inexorable slide of the land back into the sea.

You can check out some of his footage here:
  • Where a Tree Once Stood - this tree finally succumbed to the forces of Nature on the evening of September 1, 2010 in the wake of Hurricane Earl.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    Flower Power: A Touch of Gold

    A Touch of Gold (knit) - created by R. Walker (July 2011)

    Sometimes, nature pops up in the most unexpected and 
    delightful ways. . .

    . . .and on this lovely summmer day, it had the power to bring people together for a fun, delightful and whimsical afternoon. . .

    Through Rose Colored Glasses (quilting) - created by I. Felix (July 2011)

    . . .for the the Harlem Needle Arts' 2011 Blossom of Fiber Art Exhibition in St. Nicholas Park (135th Street).

    Various fiber artists & media (July 2011)

    (this park was also home to Ndebele {artist:Jenny Mazer} a pop-up piano!  Visit Song for Hope to learn more about this wonderful public arts program).

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Winged Commuters

     "Hurry up Mabel. . . !

    . . .If we get there too late, everything will be pecked 
    over. .  .

    . . . and all the good worms will be gone !"

    Sometimes I think nature responds more creatively to our changes, rather than the other way around!