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.