Posts Tagged ‘biking’

stuff for pedal pushers

September 24, 2009


Despite the fact that I “fell off” my bike last Saturday (I was cut off & spilled off) and bruised my back & neck up pretty good, I’m still gung ho about biking in this fair city. It’s a great way to get around, it burns calories instead of fuel, and it’s often faster than driving a car. Luckily for those of the pedal-powered persuasion, new bike paths have been established in the last few years, making it a bit safer for riding amongst the mostly apathetic motorists (even tho’ I was in a bike lane when I had my little accident & the guy did stop thankfully).

Groups like Transportation Alternatives, Streets Blog, and Brooklyn Greenway Initiative are fighting for cyclist rights and the establishment of more continuous bike paths or greenways. Resources for cyclists are ever-improving as well.

Here are some great go-to sites for bikers:

Ride the City
Great tool for finding the safest or most direct route to your destination

NYC Bike Maps
Pretty self explanatory

CityRacks
Find bike parking anywhere in the city

Spokes
The NY Times bicycle news blog

Bike Blog NYC
More bike news

If you like cycling group-style, a la Critical Mass, some events coming up are:

Escape NY
This Saturday the 26th. Get out of town!

Four Corners NYC Bike Tour
Also this Saturday the 26th. Via Hey I’m Walkin’ Here (facebook group)

2009 Tour de Bronx
October 18th

Other cyclist-centric fare:

Biking Rules
It’s a PSA competition run by Transportation Alternatives to improve the public image of city cyclists. Hurray, if you want to enter, the deadline is Monday the 28th! PSA’s will be screened at BAM on Tuesday, November 17th.

Bike Shorts
A cleverly named ongoing short film get-together. Submit a film, you could win $100. Next screening is this Sunday the 27th

Be safe kiddles, where your helmet!

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digital diet digest

August 11, 2009


Aaaah, that felt good. Six straight days of no internet and no email. The best diet I’ve ever been on (well, perhaps the only one).

I get so tangled up in the web these days – emailing, facebooking, tweeting, googling, blogging – it’s easy to forget what life is like without these technological time suckers. I recommend everyone take a week or so away from their computers, turn off the mail function on your Crackberry or iPhone and really just live like we used to – sans digital extensions of our bodies.

Here’s a little rundown of how I spent my week computer-free.

preparation
To prepare I contacted anyone I had set appointments with for the week and made sure they had my phone number. I set up autoresponse on my email to let everyone know where the heck I was all week. I tweeted and posted to facebook (and this blog) my intentions. I cleared out my inbox so as not to completely overwhelm myself upon my return to the ‘puter. I also looked up any addresses I might need for the week so as not to put myself in a spot where I’d have to hop online for any reason.

ditching digital detritus
Apropos to the diet, on Monday I took a friend to an ewaste recycling center in Brooklyn, so that she could recycle her old computers, a VCR, and some other random electronic waste. I had a few batteries, orphaned remote controls, and wires to return as well. Feels good to get that clutter out of the home and into the hands of someone who will use it, rather than just tossing it into the landfill.

reading & writing (not much ‘rithmetic)
Like a step back in time, I reached for my low-tech informational recording implements – books, paper, pens. Oh, old friends, how could I have neglected you for so long? I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing long hand in a journal, letting thoughts flow through ink. It’s such a different thought process than typing, where you could easily edit yourself by just deleting what you’ve typed. There’s more time to stop, reflect, look around. And there’s also something more personal about seeing my own handwriting for pages on end, recording my thoughts as they come, making little starred notations on things I want to remember, and being able to physically page through to see what I had written the day before. No keyboard, no screen, no clicking, no virtual folders to search through, no software applications to open.

I’ve got a big ol’ pile of books collecting on my coffee table – mainly around the subject of permaculture, as I’m studying for my permaculture design certificate. It was great to not be tempted by email & all of its cohorts so that I could focus on reading.

raspberry picking in the park
On Monday afternoon I headed into the park to check in on some raspberry bushes I came across a few weeks ago. Some of the berries were ripe, some rotten, and still others had a ways to go. There wasn’t much of a harvest, but I had fun nonetheless. Listening to bird calls, the trickling of water on the waterfall trail in Prospect Park, observing sunlight filtering through foliage. And observing patterns in nature. I noticed that in many places where the raspberries grow, so does poison ivy. Luckily, so does its antidote, jewelweed (if you know what to look for!)

Leaves of three, let it be!


My meager berry harvest

I was hoping to have enough berries to can, but alas, it wasn’t so. But we did stock up on peaches to can and we did this on Tuesday night. A messy affair, but a fun process. My favorite part was peeling. An easy way to peel peaches is to throw them in boiling water for about 60 seconds then put them in a cold lemon bath (to prevent further cooking and browning). The skins come right off.

more natural observations
I think my less used senses were heightened during this week. While in the park, I heard a hawk before seeing it land in a tree. On Houston Street near 6th Ave I was surprised by a bird call not too common in those parts. I looked up and saw a cardinal. On both occasions, I looked around a few times to see if anyone else noticed these creatures. And on both occasions not one head was tilted up in its direction.

In Prospect Park, I closed my eyes and listened. I did an inventory of every sound. Lawnmower grumbling, children shrieking, cicadas chirping, sneakers hitting the path, a beagle baying, picnickers chatting, tires humming and construction equipment slamming on the road outside of the park, the wind blowing against my ear. I felt the damp earth beneath me. The twigs and grass I was sitting on, the tiny insects crawling on my legs, the warm sun on my feet, the gentle breeze on my skin. I smelled only fresh cut grass. I think I could taste it, too.


On Sunday, we stumbled upon this huge green (squishy) caterpillar


Turns out he’s a polyphemus moth caterpillar, according to these two park rangers


Prospect Park swan & signets, ducks, and migrating geese

enjoying every bite
Another benefit to staying away from the computer, an often attention-deficit-inducing place, I was able to focus on something as simple as mindful eating. Breathing, chewing slowly, noticing flavors, appreciating where the food came from and how it was benefiting my body. All great things I should do whether or not I’ve been typing the day away or not.


First heirloom tomato sandwich of the season!

On Saturday, on lunch break from permaculture class, I went with a friend to this great raw food joint, SproutCraft. We had the most amazing squash blossoms stuffed with almond mozzarella cheese. I didn’t even know you could make mozzarella with almonds (though I make my own almond milk, and that I only figured out a few months ago). I found this recipe for making almond cheese, but not sure if it’ll come out as mozzarella.


Delicious stuffed squash blossoms at SproutCraft

being the sloth
Usually when I’m walking about in the city, it’s to get somewhere. In those cases, I tend to walk quickly, passing people in front of me, getting impatient when someone is blocking the way, etc. But this week, I didn’t care to go fast. I took my time getting places, not really even thinking about getting anywhere, more enjoying the walk itself. I had heard that sloths have highly developed brains because they move so slowly, carefully calculating each movement – not a bad creature to emulate.


He’s real & alive! My friend Amy took this during her class at the Bronx Zoo

up on the roof
On two occasions I found myself up on the roof, overlooking the tetris-like vista that is NYC. The first was at GreenSpaces, a shared office space in downtown Brooklyn. A friend works in the building and told me about the happy hours they have on Fridays. So I tagged along and enjoyed a few glasses up on their roof.

GreenSpaces veggie garden


Living art in background, edible art in foreground

The second time was during class (ssshhh don’t tell the building manager!). We went to the silvery, bare roof to imagine what was possible from a permaculture design perspective. Veggie gardens, rainwater gravity fed showers, noise barriers to block the constant hum of air conditioners. We all had a different vision, creating possibilities on a blank slate. With a multitude of underutilized roofs in the city, so many opportunities to create abundant landscapes exist.


The view from our ‘classroom’ roof

carfree saturday
I rode my bike to class on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised to turn onto Lafayette Street to find no cars (!), only a highway of bicycles and joggers. Imagine if there were streets designated just for pedestrians and bikers? What a healthier, happier, less stressed out city we would have.

Car-free & carefree

now what?
On Sunday, I returned to the technologically driven world to an inbox of over 750 messages. Forcing this deluge of information was partly intentional. I wanted to get a sense of how much information I actually process every week and how I could cut back on it. By having a culmination of a week’s worth of emails, I was able to determine which newsletters I could unsubscribe from, and which information I could actively seek instead of passively receive. I took myself off of all non-essential email lists and instead signed up for RSS feeds in Google Reader. This way I can control my exposure to information more easily. Email is a great communication tool, but it generally takes up too much time. My goal is to strictly limit time spent on email, ultimately getting it down to about 30 minutes a day.

I also laid out a basic structure of how I want to spend my days, giving time to activities like reading (offline), creating (crafts & such), and exploring. I think these are vital to keeping oneself sane, happy, and full of creative energy. Of course I’ll still be blogging, tweeting, and emailing, but I’ll be sure to make time for all of the other great things happening in the world around me.

How do you find balance in this tech-driven world?

farm to table guest post

July 21, 2009

On Sunday, I visited Rooftop Farms, an amazing (as the name suggests) rooftop farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read all about it in this guest post I did on Farm to Table, sustainable food blog and reality show.

a whole lotta stuff going on this weekend

May 28, 2009

Oh man, this is what I live for. Stuff swapping, supporting local arts, enjoying the great outdoors of the urban jungle. Unfortunately I won’t be around for the fun this weekend. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy some of these tasty events…

Saturday May 30

“Score!” Freecycling Event
@ BKLYN Yard
11am – 6pm
FREE!


Start gathering your old Twisted Sister albums, ill-advised sample sale purchases, well-intentioned gifts from grandma, those jeans that just don’t fit anymore, etc, and get ready to exchange them for new treasures.

MeanRed Productions is teaming up with FreeNYC, Newmindspace and RefugeNYC (the same folks who brought you the Wall Street Pillow Fight) to transform the waterfront venue, BKLYN Yard, into an open-air free boutique.

Over hundreds of records, clothes, household items, and regretful “impulse buys” will find new homes. This one-day event celebrates the joys of finding treasure in some one else’s trash.

Also:

  • Enjoy delicious sweets from the Treats Truck
  • All leftover stuff goes to Rock and Wrap It Up – an anti-poverty “think tank” that distributes donations to worth non-profits throughout the city

Full details here.

Sunday May 31

Brooklyn Bike Jumble
@ JJ Byrne Park & Old Stone House
10am – 2pm

On May 31st, JJ Byrne Park and the Old Stone House will host the 1st Brooklyn Bicycle Jumble, New York’s only outdoor bicycle flea market and celebration of New York City bike culture.

At this one-day-only-event, private, non-professional vendors will be on hand to sell bicycles, bicycle components, and clothing to the public. If you’re looking for kid’s bikes, cruisers, BMX, mountain, racers, fixed gears, or any wheeled, pedal-powered machine, or any part for one, come to the Brooklyn Bicycle Jumble.

Click here to send us an email.

[via Brooklyn Based]

All weekend: Friday May 29 to Sunday May 31

Local Produce
You won’t find locally grown veggies here – more like fresh food for the creative spirit. Park Slope’s own creativity and performance art haven, Spoke the Hub, is putting on one heck of a weekend full of dance, music, stilt walking, hula hooping, you name it. Activities for kids and adults. Let the good times roll. Full details here.

And coming soon, every Sunday in June

Summer Streets
Vanderbilt Ave in Prospect Heights
(this is my ‘hood!)


[Not my shot. Image via Brownstoner]

During four consecutive Sundays in June, three blocks of Vanderbilt Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a temporary pedestrian plaza.

Summer Streets on Vanderbilt is designed to encourage the community to come together to shop, stroll and socialize. There will be music, art and gardening, face painting, sun and trees, eating and relaxing, biking and performances, people watching – and whatever else you might like to do. Plus a few surprises.

This temporary, experimental street closure, organized by the Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants District and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council in cooperation with the NYC DOT, is a smaller version of the successful Summer Streets program that ran along Park Avenue in Manhattan last August and is part of the city’s efforts to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable city as envisioned by the PlanNYC initiative.

How can you help?
You can help by: setting up and clean up on any of the days of the event; distributing flyers and postcards; supervising activities in the “kids zone”; arranging musicians and performers; making a donation to help cover expenses and spreading the word to friends and neighbors. See our contact here.

What if you want to perform?
We welcome musicians, acrobats, visual artists, etc. We’d appreciate it if you could contact us in advance – especially if you are interested in using our sound system and stage. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to bring out your acoustic guitar, juggling balls or hula-hoops.

Can you sell merchandise or promote your business?
No. This is different than a street fair; we will not have outside vendors.

[Streetsblog via Brownstoner]

events for memorial day weekend and beyond

May 21, 2009

No plans yet this Memorial Day weekend? Here are a few eco-minded events for the holiday and beyond.

Saturday, May 23

Flatbush Supper Club Compost Potluck
Get your hands dirty digging in compost and enjoy a lovely (vegetarian or vegan) potluck meal with some new friends. The fun begins at 3pm.

The Flatbush Supper Club – an ongoing series of community-led potluck meals and environmental discussions – is sponsored by Sustainable Flatbush, GreenEdge Collaborative NYC, and Educating Tomorrow.

Hosted by collaborators just like you, these small potlucks are intended for neighbors to get to know neighbors while sharing their skills, ideas and interests in urban sustainability.

RSVP and get the full details at GreenEdge NYC.

Saturday, May 23 or Sunday, May 24

Crawfish Boil to benefit the
Make It Right Foundation
@ SolarONE
(2420 FDR Service Road East @ 22nd Street)
Help yourself to some tasty crawfish while helping the Make It Right Foundation rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans using environmentally sound designs and materials. Make It Right is working with the heavy-hitting cradle-to-cradle architecture firm of William McDonough + Partners.

The feast includes 4 crawfish pours (4-5lbs of crawfish per person) along with corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, sausage and spices served with unlimited beer and New Orleans Hurricanes!

The good times roll from 4 to 8pm.

Get tickets here.

Sunday, May 24

What Will it Take to Create a New World?
The Awakening the Dreamer Initiative
@ Park Slope Food Coop
(782 Union St btwn 6th and 7th, Brooklyn)
Upstairs in the Community Room
FREE

This workshop connects the dots between environmental sustainability, social justice and personal fulfillment, and zooms out to ask, How did we get here? Experience a new sense of hope grounded in action, understanding the future of our planet as not inevitable, but creatable through the global movement of many acting on behalf of our world.

Combining reflection, video and dialogue, this is an experience you will remember! Please plan to attend from start to finish.

RSVP here

Monday, May 25

On the Horizon: Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Potential in New York City
@ SolarONE
(2420 FDR Service Road East @ 22nd Street)
7pm
FREE

Anyone who has visited the top of a Manhattan high-rise knows that our city enjoys a wealth of wind power potential. However, it is only recently that technological designs have emerged that can efficiently, cost effectively and silently convert that potential into electrical power for city buildings.

Russell Tencer is the CEO of AeroCity, a Hudson Valley based start-up that manufactures and markets vertical axis wind turbines. In this discussion Mr. Tencer will survey the technology’s potential and readiness in the New York City area, and review case studies of current and upcoming projects.

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL. Space can be limited, RSVP by calling 212.505.6050 or by e-mail to greenrenter@solar1.org.

Tuesday, May 26

Help Build Biking into NYC’s Social Green Map!
@ Open Green Map
(220A East 4th St. in Manhattan’s East Village)
4 to 7pm
FREE

We’re inviting cyclists and ‘non-smoking lane’ advocates citywide to Green Map’s global office to contribute their fav bike sites, routes and resources to the Open Green Map. Open to exploration, comments and contributions anytime at http://OpenGreenMap.org/nyc, you can help build in the bike sites and lanes in person at this special Bike Month event.

my weekend in pictures

May 18, 2009

Saturday


The bluebell hyacinths were in full bloom at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


Chris Roddick, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s chief arborist, teaches us how to plant companions for street trees in the Trees NY Citizen Pruner course. This clematis will climb the trunk – but care needs to be taken to prevent it from encroaching on the canopy (it’ll deprive the leaves of light and hide potential damage to the tree).


Mulching is a group effort.


A fellow student uses the pole saw to prune an oak tree. Don’t try this without your Citizen Pruner certificate!


You may have to squint, but the leader branches (those at the top) are co-dominant stems, which could be a problem for this tree in the future.


These brilliant azaleas were at the end of their bloom.

Sunday


After brunch, I brought some friends to Green Depot to check out their cleaning product refill station.


An edible green wall caught my eye when walking passed Valcucine.


Strawberries ripe for the picking. Hmmm… I want to try this at home.


My friend Jane had to drop off her bike for repairs and this beauty was outside: the electric hybrid Ultramotor A2B bike.


Same friend Jane lives in The Solaire. I asked for a tour of the building’s green roof.


A rooftop oasis awaits…


Green roofs provide habitat for birds and butterflies…


They keep buildings cool in summer and insulated in winter…


They prevent storm water run-off and heat island effect


And there just so darn inviting. If it were a nicer day I don’t think I would’ve wanted to leave.


Another green building, The Verdesian across the way.


And for the green dwelling trifecta, The TriBeCa Green.


The park they all share below. It’s much more intriguing when you’re down there (sorry I missed that photo op).


Back on terra firma, a sign for the latest car-sharing service, Mint, caught my eye. (Move over zipcar, now there’s something fresher…)


NYC is slowly becoming more bike-friendly. Sans bicycle, I rode the subway home.

vote for green edge nyc!

March 16, 2009

Okay, I know just a few days ago I was telling you to vote for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, and here I am telling you to vote for GreenEdge (the NYC-based sustainable-living social networking site). The great thing is, you can vote for both. What does voting for these great organizations mean?

Well, there are 4 grants up for grabs from Green Mountain Coffee at the tune of $200K each (more details). With these funds, I think groups like Brooklyn Greenway and GreenEdge NYC will do amazing things for our community, and inspire similar initiatives to sprout up across the nation.

And now that I think about it, both of these organizations are about connecting people. The Greenway physically connects Brooklynites to communities from Greenpoint to Red Hook and also to Manhattan. GreenEdge connects people looking to get involved in the sustainable living scene – from food-foraging groupies to neighborhood potluck dinners. This grant would provide both groups with a greater opportunity to reach more people and to help more people reach out to others.

So please, take a minute and help these great orgs get a much-deserved grant.

You can vote for both!

Vote for GreenEdge NYC
Vote for Brooklyn Greenway Initiative

You only have until Saturday, March 21 to vote, so hop to it!

more support for the brooklyn greenway – tonight!

March 16, 2009

Just thought I’d alert you all to the latest action regarding the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. There’s a community board meeting tonight if you want to get involved. More about the Greenway here and here.

CB6 Mtg re: Atlantic Basin & Pier 11 – March 16th
New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority of NY & NJ will come to Community Board 6 on Monday, March 16th to discuss plans for Atlantic Basin and the adjacent Pier 11, which is an important link in the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, as well as for Pier 7 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue. You can follow the conversation and possible outcome by attending this meeting.

What: CB6 Economic Dvpt / Waterfront / Community Dvpt / Housing Committees

When: Monday, March 16th, 6:30PM

Where: Public School 15, 71 Sullivan Street (b/t Richards and Van Brunt Streets)

Agenda: Continued dialogue with representatives for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on planning efforts for Pier 7 and the Atlantic Basin at the Red Hook waterfront.

vote for the brooklyn greenway initiative

March 12, 2009


[Image: Josh Haner/The New York Times. Residents have criticized the Kent Avenue bike lanes in Williamsburg, the first step in the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative to create a 14-mile bicycle and pedestrian path.]

In a city where air quality was rated D last year, we desperately need more alternative commuting options. More and more people are turning to their bikes. So we need a lot more safe, practical bike lanes. Enter the ambitious, and much needed, plan of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is pursuing a structural reduction in greenhouse gas generation in NYC’s fastest growing corridor – the Brooklyn waterfront by reallocating the public right of way in favor of cyclists and pedestrians. We are working with developers of tens of thousands of new units and city agencies to gear the new built environment around walking and cycling to de-link auto use from population growth. How? A compelling, inviting and efficient non-motorized corridor connecting 14 miles of waterfront communities and Manhattan via 3 bridges and a built environment where most needs and commutes can be accomplished without a car. The excessive use of taxpayer funds for motorized transportation is an environmental justice issue for most city taxpayers who do not drive but suffer the consequences of climate change. Community Board 1 in Greenpoint/Williamsburg voted 39/2 to remove parking on 3 miles of waterfront streets to create the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

You can help them win a grant from Green Mountain Coffee through their page on Just Means, the social and environmental initiative organization. Vote here!

Related post
brooklyn greenway initiative needs support – tonight!

brooklyn greenway initiative needs support – tonight!

January 13, 2009

UPDATE: Impressive turnout of Kent-Ave-bike-lanes supporters at Community Board Meeting. Read more at Streetsblog.

Live in NYC and care about transportation alternatives, like biking? Now’s your chance to get involved. This just in from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative

Greenway Supporters Needed to Support Kent Avenue Bike Lanes

Opposition to the Kent Avenue bike lanes, which were installed by DOT in anticipation of the Greenway, continues to pressure elected officials (Streetsblog: Speak Up for Safer Biking) and Community Board 1.

We at Brooklyn Greenway Initiative have been sympathetic to the needs for provisions for dropping off and picking up passengers, but now DOT has addressed these issues, particularly south of Broadway on Kent, where most of the opposition has been generated. DOT has replaced “No Stopping” signs with “No Standing” signs and has created 80 new parking spaces on the side streets adjoining Kent. So now it’s time to bring an end to the conflict.

A big turnout tonight at the CB1 full board meeting is needed.

When: Tuesday, January 13th, 6:30PM (sign up before 6:15PM to speak)
Where: 211 Ainslie Street (corner of Manhattan Ave)

Please also reach out the the Council Members and Congresswoman Velazquez, who have been under pressure to remove the bike lanes, by signing on to Transportation Alternatives’ e-fax campaign.