Environment

Who Sees the Trees? Greenpoint’s Citizen Pruners!

Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine
Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine

We might live in the concrete jungle, but according to this fantastic interactive tree map made by the New York City Parks department, Greenpoint is blessed with arboreal abundance. Our lovely neighborhood trees benefit from the care of volunteer environmental stewards, known as Citizen Pruners. 

Greenpointer Sarah Balistreri, the fabulous force behind the instagram account @wildgreenpoint, who helped conduct the tree census that informs the map, is a Citizen Pruner. After taking a tree identification course at the Brooklyn Brainery, which sparked a love of urban street trees, Sarah took the Trees New York Citizen Pruner course and became a licensed tree-hugger.

The Citizen Pruner course trains and certifies New Yorkers in “tree care, biology, identification and pruning.” Sarah explains that all of these skills and areas of knowledge are intertwined when it comes to properly caring for New York’s Trees, because knowing about a tree’s species, and the specific challenges that species has with weather or growth, helps inform how you prune it.

Trees New York is the only organization in the city that trains and certifies Citizen Pruners, and only certified Citizen Pruners can legally prune street trees in New York. Trees New York certifies about 200 Citizen Pruners every year, but Greenpoint residents are particularly lucky. Anyone who lives in zip code 11222 is eligible for the Greening Greenpoint Scholarship, and can take the course for just $15, thanks to funding from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund! Continue reading

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BQGreen fights Public Health Emergency with “Park out of Thin Air” over the BQE

BQGreen Rendering via Gothamist
BQGreen Rendering via Gothamist

Williamsburg is full of a lot of fabulous things like delicious food, beautiful art and exciting entertainment, but our neighborhood can’t boast a lot of park space. In fact, when it comes to parkland Williamsburg is ranked 46th out of 51 districts in New York City. And even within the neighborhood, the North Side has 15 times more park space per person than the South Side. The Friends of BQGreen hope to change that.

BQGreen will create a “park out of thin air” by extending a concrete platform over the BQE between South 3rd and South 5th Streets. The Green will incorporate Marcy Green and Rodney Park and include “3.5-acres of open space with a flower garden, a playground, a baseball diamond, barbecues, grassy and wooded areas, an indoor pool and a water play zone.”

Renderings of the proposed park are dynamic and inspiring, and Friends of BQGreen, including Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, Los Sures, El Puente, and Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, see their project as akin to the High Line in terms of innovation, but the initiative could have an even more profound affect on the neighborhood when it comes to fighting air pollution and delivering “environmental justice” to residents who live in the shadow of the BQE. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Natural Greenery Inspires Conservation-Minded Butterfly Perfume

Butterfly Set via Euphorium Brooklyn
Butterfly Set via Euphorium Brooklyn

Greenpoint sports a lot of green. From McCarren Park to the G train, our slice of north Brooklyn is colorful. In fact, Greenpoint’s natural greenery has inspired Euphorium Brooklyn’s newest fragrance, Butterfly. Ten years ago, when olfactory artist and perfumer Stephen Dirkes moved into a loft on Commercial Street, he noticed that the weeds and wild flora growing on the banks of the Newtown Creek supported something stunning: the annual Monarch Butterfly migration between Canada and Mexico. Each year, the butterflies descend on the northern reaches of Greenpoint, heralding summer and bringing a spectacular natural grace to the industrial waterfront.

Stephen notes that while Newtown Creek’s wild plant life might be “a peculiar starting point to develop a fragrance palette, butterflies have done a remarkable job of curating a wide range of fragrant floral, mint, grass, & herbaceous notes for a perfumer to work with.”

And the fine fragrance world is all aflutter over Butterfly. Reviews call it “bright, clear and sparkling…unearthly and ethereal” and mark it as the go-to scent of the summer. But, Butterfly didn’t begin as a fragrance. Instead, it started as a local conservation effort.

When Greenpoint’s zoning laws changed, new development began to spring up on the water’s edge, where plants once grew undisturbed. Suddenly, the Monarch’s migratory path faced peril, and Stephen began researching butterfly gardens as a way to help sustain the natural habitat. Now, Stephen’s made it possible for anyone to be an armchair conservationist! Continue reading

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The Next Greenpoint Clean Up Day is This Weekend (8/12)!

Greenpoint Clean Up Day

Join the Greenpoint Chamber and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth for the third Curb Your Litter: Greenpoint clean-up day of 2017. This time, they’re partnering with the Newtown Creek Alliance to pay special attention to curbing the litter that enters into our waterways.

They will pick up street litter in Northeast Greenpoint (east of McGuinness Boulevard and north of Norman Avenue). As always, all volunteers will get a free lunch as a thank you for their efforts.

Greenpoint Clean Up Day
Saturday, August 12 | 10am-12pm
Meet at Broadway Stages, 203 Diamond Street.
RSVP and more details on Eventbrite

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Learn How To Talk To Trees on Sunday (7/16)!

Greening Greenpoint is hosting a street tree volunteer day on Sunday, July 16th, where Greenpointers will learn street tree care techniques, meet their neighbors, eat lunch & take home some tools to use in their tree beds.
What: Greenpoint Street Tree Volunteer Day 
Learn street tree care techniques, meet your neighbors, & take home a tree care toolkit! Lunch provided & children welcome!
When: Sunday, July 16 1-3pm
Where: American Playground (Corner of Franklin & Noble Street)
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Community Visioning, Newtown Creek History, and Green Roof Tour at Kingsland Wildflowers this Saturday (6/3)

kingsland-wildflowers-greenpoint-visitors-photo-by-mpenmannThis Saturday (June 3rd), you can tour the beautiful rooftop at Kingsland Wildflowers (520 Kingsland Ave), learn about the future of Newtown Creek at a community visioning workshop, and take a look back to its industrial roots with local historian Mitch Waxman. These events are all free and open to the public.

Schedule of Events:

1-4pm   Community Visioning with Riverkeeper and NCA, RSVP

5-7pm   Lecture and Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof Tour with Mitch Waxman, NCA Historian, RSVP

More Deets:

Join Riverkeeper and the Newtown Creek Alliance in creating a cohesive community vision for Newtown Creek. With a Superfund cleanup and long-term plan to control sewage overflows on the horizon, now is an opportune time to engage stakeholders in imagining and designing a future Newtown Creek that provides greater opportunities for restoration, remediation, recreation, and resilience. RSVP

Continue reading

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Tour Newtown Creek By Ferry!

Newtown Creek Boat Tour
via Newtown Creek Alliance

On May 21st, Newtown Creek Alliance sets sail on Newtown Creek in a NY Waterway ferry boat. Historian Mitch Waxman and NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins are hosting the boat ride, and participants are invited to learn about the Creek’s rich industrial history, lasting legacy of contamination and environmental damage and on-going efforts to revitalize and restore this unique waterway in the heart of New York City.

This is a unique and rare way to be able to tour Newtown Creek and learn about our neighborhood’s (tragic) environmental history.

Newtown Creek Boat Tour | India Street Ferry Dock, 10 India Street
Sunday, May 21 | 2pm-4pm

$10 tickets Continue reading

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Kingsland Wildflowers Roof Tour And Earth Day Talk This Saturday!

kingsland-wildflowers-greenpoint-visitors-photo-by-mpenmann

What: NYC Audubon presents “My Yard Is For The Birds: The Things Birds Look For In Urban and Suburban Yards, and Why They Need To Be There”
When: Saturday, April 22, 1pm–3pm
Where: 520 Kingsland Avenue (Kingsland Wildflowers Roof & Community Space)

This Saturday at the Kingsland Wildflowers Roof and Community Space, NYC Audubon is presenting a talk from Joyann Cirigliano, president and Atlantic Flyway projects coordinator at Four Harbors Audubon Society. Learn about the importance of backyard gardens for birds, and the ways in which using native plants in landscape design will attract these feathered friends. The lecture will be followed by a tour of the Kingsland Wildflowers roof. Refreshments will be provided.  This event is FREE and open to the public.

Learn more at Kingsland Wildflowers and RSVP on Facebook

Continue reading

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Daffodil Bulb Planting at Bushwick Inlet Park This Saturday!

Bayside Fuel Oil Depot - part of the future site of the expanded Bushwick Inlet Park. Photo: Megan Penmann
Bayside Fuel Oil Depot – part of the future site of the expanded Bushwick Inlet Park. Photo: Megan Penmann

Bushwick Inlet Park will finally be expanding to its full glory soon enough, now that the final plot of land was purchased by the city.

 

Daffodils

This weekend, on Saturday December 3rd from 10am–1pm, you can help beautify the existing park land with flowers! With generous assistance from Partnerships for Parks (who will be providing bulbs and guidance), Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park together with the community will seed the continued park activation process by planting daffodil bulbs on park grounds. Folks will assemble at the BIP community building located on Kent Ave at N. 9th Street in Williamsburg. Gloves and tools will be provided. Please dress for the weather and encountering dirt.

Bushwick Inlet Park Bulb Planting | Saturday, Dec 3rd | 10am–1pm
Free registration here
Facebook event here

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