SDR Park Community Coalition Was a Nominee for Golden Trowel Award

We were not selected in the end but very pleased to be nominated! It’s always good to have work noticed. Especially given the stiff ‘competition’! Many thanks to Partnerships for Parks and a big heartfelt congratulations to the winner. Proud to be in the same business.

From: Sabina Saragoussi, Director, Partnerships for Parks

To: Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition.

Each year, Partnerships for Parks honors partners at the It’s My Park Awards Reception who demonstrate exceptional leadership and commitment to their local parks through service, advocacy, and collaboration. We are pleased to inform you that the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition was a nominee for the Golden Trowel Awards due to the group’s outstanding efforts and ongoing dedication to neighborhood parks throughout the 2016 season.

As a nominee, your group is considered to embody the mission and vision of Partnerships for Parks by effectively partnering with local residents and decision makers to transform your neighborhood green space into a dynamic community asset.  You are building long-term investment in public space, and strengthening the social fabric of our communities. For this, we congratulate and sincerely thank you.

While your group was not selected for an award this year, we encourage you to continue your important work, and know that Partnerships for Parks will continue to support you in making a positive impact on our parks and neighborhoods. We appreciate everything you have done and look forward to seeing what this new year brings.  Thank you again.

Partnerships for Parks (PfP) is the public-private program that supports and champions a growing network of leaders caring and advocating for neighborhood parks and green spaces. We equip people, organizations and government with the skills and tools they need to transform these spaces into dynamic community assets.

Senator Daniel Squadron warns of adverse affects of slashing funding for Senior Centers

From Pix11:

“Sen. Daniel Squadron warned the seniors [that] a preliminary state budget proposal could close 65 centers in New York City and cut services.

“To cut it is unacceptable. There’s a simple way to save it, every senior every family should raise their voice so Albany doesn’t ignore it,” Squadron said.

If you would like to sign petition, click here.

Turtle Expert Helped with Turtles in M’Finda Kalunga

Looking Back, 2003: Caring for 1,200 Turtles in a Hudson Street Loft

“Editor’s note: In 2003, the Trib visited Richard Ogust in his loft at 161 Hudson Street, where he was caring for 1,200 turtles. At that time, he hoped to soon find them a home in a yet-to-be created turtle preserve in New Jersey. The story, which appeared in the October 2003 print edition of The Tribeca Trib, is one of an ongoing series from the archives of the Trib.

“..Most of Ogust’s pets were destined for soup pots in China, where …20 million of the creatures are eaten each year. Endangered turtles, it seems, are just as delicious as their more common brethren, and the hunters, who earn just pennies per turtle, don’t discriminate. On their way to the markets, the reptiles are starved to make them easier to ship, then choked full of sand to beef up their selling weight. Most arrive at the market plagued with parasites, fungus and infections. The lucky ones are confiscated by Asian government inspectors in foodmarket raids or by customs officials at JFK airport. And then Ogust gets the call. A state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Ogust quarantines them for months and nurses them back to health in consultation with a team of veterinary specialists….”

Ogust was later reportedly forced out of his apartment, which in 2005 was sold to comedian Jon Stewart and wife Tracey. A 2007 PBS film on Ogust, “The Chance of the World Changing,” traces Ogust’s vain struggle to realize his dream of an institute for turtle conservation. (He is forced to find fellow preservations around the country to care for the turtles in his collection.) Ogust still lives in New York City. Attempts by the Trib to reach him were unsuccessful.

Plastic Bag Protest on Steps of City Hall

And again…

From the NY Daily News

Environmental Advocates & Elected Officials rally against Albany’s efforts to nullify NYC’s Plastic Bag law on the steps of City Hall.




CM Rosie Mendez & NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation: Proposed Tompkins Square Playground Renovation

Weigh in on your thoughts re: the proposed Tompkins Square Park Avenue B Children’s Playground Renovation.

Should the fences in the playground be lowered from 7 feet to 4 feet?

What are the implications? The good/the bad.

February 27th 6:30pm to 8pm Saint Brigid – Saint Emeric Church

119 Avenue B Entrance on East 8th Street

DNAinfo: Weigh In On City Plan to Lower Tompkins Square Park Playground Fences:

“…community representatives say lowering the fences would expose children using the playgrounds to “vagrants” and drug paraphernalia in the park.

… The community board penned a resolution stating local parents believe lowering the fences would create a “serious safety issue” in light of the problems outlined in Mendez’s letter.

The Ninth Precinct’s commanding officer… told DNAinfo New York he also believes the fences should not be lowered while police work with other agencies to address homelessness and substance abuse issues in the park….”The fences help, especially around the playground. …”There are a lot of needles…

…Mendez in December met with Silver to reiterate her concerns and he committed to holding an information session to gather more feedback from community members before moving forward with the plan…

Department representatives…will give a presentation with renderings on the current plan to lower the fences and will allow community members to weigh in on the design… The department has pledged it will not finalize its plan for the park until after it hears from community members at the meeting.

“We’re confident that this design approach will increase accessibility and safety at the park,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal Howard.”

Urban Natural Resources Stewardship: Stew-Map

The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) is a national USDA Forest Service research program designed to answer the questions: Which environmental stewardship groups are working across urban landscapes? Where, why, how, and to what effect?

STEW-MAP studies a city’s or region’s environmental stewardship regime, creating publicly available maps and databases to help support community development. The project adds a social layer of information to biophysical information on ‘green infrastructure’ in metropolitan areas.

STEW-MAP captures environmental stewardship through a combination of methods: an organizational survey to identify organizational characteristics, geographic area of influence (enabling spatial analysis), and relationships with other civic, private, and governmental organizations(social network analysis)

STEW-MAP defines a “stewardship group” as a civic organization or group that works to conserve, manage, monitor, advocate for, and/or educate the public about their local environments.

Where has STEW-MAP been implemented?

[map:] Shows locations of stewardship groups in NYC area.Initially a New York City project, STEW-MAP has grown into a multi-city research program. To date, the project has been replicated in Baltimore, the Chicago region, and Seattle. Studies are underway in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Juan.  Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, DC are also interested in conducting STEW-MAP studies. The original New York City STEW-MAP was developed by a team of Forest Service and university researchers working with dozens of municipal agencies and citywide environmental nonprofits who identified a need to create a common database and map.

Why is STEW-MAP important?
Long-term community-based natural resource stewardship can help support and maintain our investment in green infrastructure and urban restoration projects. STEW-MAP databases and interactive maps enable the public, municipal agencies, and nonprofits to visualize where and how hundreds of civic environmental stewardship groups are working throughout a city or region. Custom downloads of STEW?MAP data have been used by local government and civic organizations in support of policymaking and natural resource management activities. Network analyses of these groups show the connections between civic environmental actors and identify important stewardship nodes within the network. Analysis of where stewardship is or is not taking place highlights opportunities or issues to address in meeting local conservation goals.

Cuomo Undoes 2 Years of Study, Efforts to Protect Wildlife & the Planet and NYC Self-Determination

So…Editorials from 2 NYC and one NY State media outlets (not known to always agree!):

Cuomo [with help from NY State Legislature]!

New York Times:

A lousy bill reached Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk this week. It would block New York City’s attempt to impose a nickel fee on plastic bags, as a way to reduce their use.

Mr. Cuomo could have vetoed it. He could have said: This bill is bad for the environment, because it allows billions of bags to keep choking the city’s waste stream. It’s undemocratic, because it throttles the city’s ability to attack its own pollution problem in its own way…

“…governor…likes to say, “In this state, with all our diversity, there is no one size fits all, so we work region by region”? So why does New York City have to wait while the state government finds some bag plan that applies to Malone and Elmira, too? Why punish New York City but not Suffolk County (population 1.5 million) and the city of Long Beach, which have passed similar bag fees? Does Long Island inhabit some special zone exempt from the logic of Albany?”

The Daily News:

Rather than stand up and reject state legislation killing the City Council’s imposition of a nickel fee on disposable paper and plastic grocery bags, Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday joined the gang infantilizing New York City…. [Gov’s task force to ‘solve’ state wide] a sorry excuse for bigfooting the city and nullifying its exhaustive, good-faith legislative efforts, even as identical bag fees in two other parts of the state remain untouched.

Absurdly, the only idea off the table is the one that the duly elected representatives of New York City arrived at after two years of careful study: A fee on all bags collected by grocers, with exemptions for the poor.

[Instead Cuomo] floats two alternatives… One, an outright ban on the polluting, never-degrading plastic bags. Two, a straight-up tax, with the money going to the government.

..the City Council… [found] that the bans have a hell of a time defining precisely which plastic bags are proscribed. …Chicago had a ban. It didn’t work, so it was changed to a fee of seven cents. California …a dime fee for each allowed bag — thicker plastics and paper. That money goes to the grocers.”


NYC’s forward-thinking plan to slash the tons of disposable bags dumped weekly into its landfill has been derailed by the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Instead, they say, we need a statewide solution. …why make New York City wait?

The city’s Carryout Bag Law would have imposed a 5-cent fee for each single-use bag customers take from local vendors. …Mr. Cuomo acknowledged the stunning statistics that led the NYC Council to pass the law in the first place: The city’s Department of Sanitation estimates it collects 1,700 tons of plastic bags per week and spends $12.5 million annually to dispose of them. This doesn’t include those that get away, blowing like tumbleweed through the streets, clogging storm drains and choking wildlife.

Mr. Cuomo and the many opponents who pushed for a state law to overrule the city’s action argued the 5-cent fee would particularly burden the poor. And because merchants would keep the fee, the governor said, it would be a $100 million annual windfall for them.

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, because if the program was successful, the amount of nickels paid by consumers would begin to drop quickly. As far as corporate windfalls go, just consider the continuing windfall the governor’s and Legislature’s action has guaranteed for the plastic bag industry, whose lobbyists fought hard to kill New York City’s fee.


Rivington House: What’s Next?

Job Training Expo

Thursday February 23, 2017, 6-8pm


NYCHA Rutgers Houses Community Center

200 Madison Street (at Rutgers Street)

NY NY 10002

LES Employment Network

with support from NYCHA REES

CB3, The Door, GOLES, CPC, UniversitySettlement, Ed. Alliance, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement, others.

“The Politics of Personal Destruction”

Something for all of us to think about?

From the Guardian:

“No one in the public eye should expect to avoid scrutiny and criticism. As the UK’s first black female MP, Diane Abbott never had the opportunity to be so naive. She has not only weathered political storms and prejudice but endured years of outright abuse without complaint. Now, as she has revealed in the Guardian, things are getting worse – and it is preventing people from entering the field or speaking out”….:


“Once, the pushback was against the actual arguments for equality and social justice. Now the pushback is the politics of personal destruction,” she wrote.”


That reflects in part a political discourse that is becoming coarser and more vicious. But those who do not fit the traditional mould of a public figure – white, male and straight – are more often subjected to vitriol, and such vitriol will more often focus on their identity, not their opinions. …

It should be extraordinary that high-profile women receive a torrent of hate messages directed at their gender and ethnicity, and rape and death threats. Instead, it is becoming routine. Female MPs say they feel physically unsafe; Jo Cox was targeted online before her murder by a far-right terrorist, and her death is used to threaten them. …Social media has amplified longstanding prejudice, increasing the pressure on its targets through volume and normalising personalised abuse and hatred….

  1. ….leaders need to make it clear that there is no place for misogyny and racism in public life.
  2. Technology firms must get as serious about tackling abuse as they are about, for example, copyright infringement.
  3. Other institutions too must consider how they handle the problem.
  4. Finally, the rest of us should challenge prejudice, resist the normalisation of cruelty and bigotry, and consider how we can build a civil, inclusive and constructive public sphere… “
  5. And maybe agree to post using our actual names [unless there is a real threat of exposure to harm]

“Freedom of speech is precious. But it is not an inalienable right to bully, threaten and belittle others into silence without consequence.”