Archive | Long Island RSS feed for this section

BEACH PLUM WEEK!

30 Sep

Beach Plum gelato at Manducatis Rustica

Beach plum salad at Communitea. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Beach plum smoothie at Communitea. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Beach plum gelato! Beach plum smoothies and baked goods! Beach plum jam on toast! Beach plum sauces on entrees! Maybe a little Merlot with beach plum notes? There are many ways to enjoy this native New York fruit and to savor a fresh memory of summer!

Beach plums growing at Briermere Farms. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Beach Plum Week is arriving in Long Island City to benefit the Hour Children Food Pantry! From October 1 through October 9, LIC’s select restaurants will be serving beach plum foods and beverages with proceeds helping to feed 919 local households. That’s 658 children and 1374 adults, 462 of whom are seniors. Food pantries throughout NYC are painfully in the recession’s vise: budgets are slashed while the need rises.

To keep up with offers, please visit the Beach Plum Week website.

Three restaurants pioneering Beach Plum Week are Sage General Store, Communitea and Manducatis Rustica.

Long Island City faces the United Nations from across the East River. Getting to its Vernon Boulevard restaurant row and charming Court Square district couldn’t be easier — just a stop or two on the 7 or E trains. Views across the water are amazing and you’ll discover a vibrant cultural scene.

Even if you can’t make it to one of NYC’s most exciting rising neighborhoods, you can still support this great cause. Just make a check, money order or credit card donation to the Hour Children food pantry’s account with Food Bank for NYC:

Food Bank for New York City
Memo: Account Number 81171 (Hour Children).
Food Bank for NYC address:
39 Broadway, 10th floor

New York, NY 10006

After you feast, the learning begins. EscapeMaker, a fantastic regional getaway agency, donated $500 through the Greenest New Yorker program of I LOVE NY for public school students with the Greenhouse Project to germinate beach plum seeds. Those seeds come from fruits picked by Hour Children kids at Briermere Farms and served at restaurants. For more about that harvest outing, visit this earlier post.

The Greenhouse Project at PS 333, the Manhattan School for Children.

Those seedlings will be donated to schools and community gardens throughout NYC.  John Prunier of Petsky Prunier personally donated $300 to purchase buckets more fruit, to keep participating restaurants stocked. Amy Hermann drove a car made available for free by Zipcar to pick up the fruit.

How many chances does one get to support food security, native plantings, local agriculture and have a blast with fine dining in an artistic neighborhood all at once? Please be part of this great event!

Many thanks to all!

Advertisements

FINAL WEEKEND for the Swimming Cities Boatel

8 Sep

I was once asked to tow a huge floating diorama of the Bronx River from the Bronx to Brooklyn on the East River by kayak. The rickety eco-artwork was strung together from several pieces and featured delicate paper items. Square yards of it were covered with deliberately broken glass bottles.

Fortunately, I knew one man with enough humor, adventurous soul and artistic passion to give this “Mission Impossible” a go:  Jean Barberis, artistic director of New York’s innovative culture changer, Flux Factory.

As we expected, we never made it to Brooklyn. But we landed in Queens with hilarious memories and new friends at the secretive-but-hospitable marina that took us in as artistic castaways.

Now you can enjoy an unforgettable weekend  of Flux Factory arts and seaside living in New York City without mishaps and glass shards!

The artist-made Boggsville Boatel is auctioning off rooms for its final weekend! This floating hotel and “boat-in theater” on Jamaica Bay is ecologically sound, made from creatively restored boats from the “Gilligan’s Island” to “Miami Vice” eras that were otherwise destined for landfill.

After a sold out summer, rooms are being auctioned one FINAL WEEKEND to support future art projects and tours.

The installation and boatel received rave reviews from The New York TimesNPR and other major media. Enjoy a photo gallery of this unique summer community here.

Rooms include dinner and access to the artists and an invitation to the GOING AWAY PARTY on Sept 10, 8pm ’til late. There will be cold beers at Marina 59, revelers in beach wear, Cocktail Cruises in Jamaica Bay, Jerk Burgers & Pineapple Hot Dogs by Carnival Queen Lamar Iposa. You can even join in on Sea Shanty Karaoke.

Guests can start the morning with gulls, egrets and herons and spend the day in the company of daring, fun and talented Flux Factory and Swimming Cities artists! Be sure to meet the visionary behind the boatel, Constance Hockaday!

For more information and to bid for a boatel room, please CLICK HERE.

The Little Plum of the Big Apple State

7 Sep

Beach plums growing at Briermere Farm. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Visit the East End of Long Island now and into autumn for a lingering taste of summer! Though the past few days have been rather dismal downstate, the beaches of Long Island have more to offer after Labor Day than you might think. 

Right about now, farmers are harvesting tartly sweet beach plums to render into batches of jams, jellies and sauces and to bake into treats. Go enjoy them and you’ll be helping to carry a splendid natural and culinary heritage forward.

I’m thrilled that as I LOVE NEW YORK’s 2011 “Greenest New Yorker” I might become one of the purplest too. My $500 award from Escapemaker.com will be directed to the Greenhouse Project to grow beach plum seedlings that can be donated to schools, community gardens and other public spaces. This new effort parallels my championing of the Newtown Pippin apple.

Beach plums are indigenous to the east coast of North America. They play an important role in stabilizing dunes and feeding wildlife. Explorers Giovanni da  Verrazzano and Henry Hudson wrote of the beach plums lining what’s now known as New York Harbor. It’s hard to miss these bushes, which are resplendent in white blossoms in late May and thick with green leaves and cherry-sized fruits in late August.

Wild beach plum blossoms. (Photo courtesy of Cornell University)

Today in New York State you’ll find wild beach plums on Long Island, Fishers Island and Shelter Island.  Habitat restorations surrounding Jamaica Bay incorporate beach plums and several New York City waterfront parks feature small plantings. I first learned of beach plums from David Lutz of Friends of Gateway, a volunteer group that grows beach plums and other native plants. They do well at the New York State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs, which lies between the territories of beach plums and another of New York State’s edible wild fruits, the Great Lakes sandcherry.

Briermere Farms owner Clark McComb teaches Hour Children visitors Beach Plums 101. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Cornell University researchers helped spark a beach plum revival by helping farmers to master new growing techniques and markets. I recently brought a group of 20 kids from Hour Children to visit Briermere Farms, a 300-acre rolling expanse of orchards and cropland in Riverhead, NY. Owner Clark McComb introduced the kids to beach plums and to healthy treats like peach slushies made from fruits he grew himself. Landscape designer Gil Lopez, who greatly helped with our trip, was inspired to include beach plums in his palate for sustainable gardens.

Children in the beach plum orchard of Briermere Farms. (Photo by Erik Baard)

Two of Hour Children's happy harvesters. (Photo by Erik Baard)

To see a full gallery of our trip, click here.

Pits made from fruit we picked will be germinated by the Greenhouse Project. In addition to the expertise Cornell University and Friends of Gateway offer, staff at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center have always been very helpful to my green efforts.

Stay tuned for more info about an upcoming Beach Plum Week in Long Island City.  It is in the works for September, with local restaurants selling gelato, smoothies, tarts, martinis and other delectables. Proceeds will benefit the Hour Children food pantry.

Green Travel Resources

8 Mar

“The earth belongs to anyone who stops for a moment, gazes and goes on his way.” ~ Colette (1873-1954), French novelist

To me, every day is Earth Day, which is why it’s important for people to know that helping conserve, preserve and care for Mother Nature serves everyone’s best interests too. So how does this relate to travel exactly?

Well, as we continue to travel to places near and far, we realize it’s a small world after all and how everything and everybody is interconnected. That’s why it’s important for us to be aware of our impact and try to make changes in how as well as where we travel. How would you want visitors to treat your home?

Hmm, I’d like to think of myself as somewhat well traveled, and I promise that New York has something green for everyone, no matter where they come from. Home to accessible natural treasures like the Empire State Building, the Catskills, Adirondack Park, and Niagara Falls, here are some available resources and guides on traveling with green style – nothing that a keyword search for “New York State” and “green” can’t handle!

Green Destinations throughout New York State:

Related Articles:

General Tips on How to Travel Green:

Related Sustainable Tourism Events:

  • Green Getaways, Local Food Travel Expo” at Skylight One Hanson in downtown Brooklyn, NY on April 30, 2011 – hosted by EscapeMaker.com and presented by Amtrak and Zipcar. By the way, we are announcing the next Greenest NYer there too!
  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will feature presentations and discussions to help tourism professionals gain necessary tools to effectively implement sustainability practices. Held from September 19-21, 2011, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA.
  • Find the New York Marketplace at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show held inside the Jacob Javits Center in NYC, November 12-15, 2011.

Quoting John Ur, “From the boats at Ellis Island to the border with Canada, New York takes all comers. It will suck you in” (Cinematic Road Trip: New York – Intelligent Travel Blog).

How to Give the Gift of Green this Holiday Season

16 Dec

It’s mid-December, and you haven’t shopped for gifts yet. What to do!?

Don’t panic. There’s still time to get great deals, plan delicious meals, and sing some holiday jingles!

This season, think about giving money-saving and eco-friendly gifts to show others you care about them as well as the environment. This gives you the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing too.

First, look for the gift you want to give. Second, figure out how you want to gift to be presented. Third, how will you and your gift(s) get there? Make sure your gift is protected from the elements. Because Ezine’s Tips For a Frugal and Environmentally-Friendly Holiday Season article was so organized, I’ve highlighted the basics with some good-natured humor:

Gift Giving

1. Make a gift or re-gift unwanted gifts, as long as you don’t return it to the original giver. You can also organize a gift swap – one person’s trash is another’s treasure, but of course there’s no guarantee.

2. Give used items, such as books from local used book stores, or green gifts. Buy seeds, bulbs, other plants, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs, a thermos, a water bottle, etc. A bike is one of several items on my wish list, hint, hint…

3. Save on wrapping paper using newspaper comics, which you can then recycle sans scotch tape. If this isn’t your cup of tea, consider reusing any gift bags that you received from previous years. Consider “wrapping” some presents in tote bags so the recipient can use fewer plastic bags in the coming year. For a quick gift tag, reuse last year’s holiday cards, or make your own from construction/poster paper.

 

Entertaining

1. Bring a dish or two. Create your best dish so others know what you can do and consume happily. The hosts would definitely appreciate your efforts – less food for them to prepare.

2. Organize carpool trips together and save on gas and parking space. Of course, make sure there is a designated driver, and the riders are people you like or can tolerate, depending on how long the drive is.

3. Cook with a group and make a masterpiece, all with some good fun, music, and cheap booze!

 

Home Life

1. Earn extra cash from a seasonal part-time job. Those gifts can add up.

2. Green Tree. If possible, get a tree that can be planted so you can watch it grow!

3. Make it a game night. Have fun without spending a lot of money, unless of course you’re betting and want to make things more interesting…

The Huffington Post mentions how we can “Give Back Painlessly: 50 Ways To Donate Time And Find Spare Cash For Others” and simply pay it forward, like volunteering. Additional resources are listed here:

–          Planet Green, 9 Ways To Cut Waste This Holiday Season

–          Greenpeace International, Your gift to the environment

–          Eartheasy.com, How to have a Green Christmas

Traveling light and green this winter is another great way to lower your carbon footprint. Some green travel choices can be found here, and aside from carrying your own water bottle, you’ll find more travel tips on Travel Gear’s website. I don’t remember where I got the following message, but it makes a strong case for being a Green Traveler:

Supporting local businesses–keeps money in your neighborhood; you’ll receive better service; helps create and keep jobs; promotes competition and diversity; less sprawl and environmental damage; in return local businesses usually support local organizations; works toward a positive economic impact locally; you’ll invest in your community.

It’s important to reflect on this past year and make some goals for 2011, especially as New Year’s approaches, that include ways to be a greener New Yorker. A lot of us struggle with this prospect, but I hope my blog has given you some helpful and tangible tips on how we can achieve this. One 2011 tip I’ll leave you with is the “How to Save on Winterizing Your Home” article from one of my favorite websites – Real Simple’s Green Living section.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry on green resolutions. Until then, keep warm and Happy Holidays!

%d bloggers like this: