Land Use

land_use

Plan, preserve, treat all spaces wisely.

Help create resilient communities, protect biodiversity, conserve open space and natural lanscape.Explore government, education and private partnerships.Improve capacity building, strategy for acquisition (?), code planning and zoning.

What’s the latest on carbon sequestration, geoengineering, clustering, avoiding “heat islands.”

Share best practices…leave a legacy!

 

 

 

 

How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn

Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00     PDFPrintE-mail    Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Delicious Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Digg Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in FaceBook Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Google Bookmarks Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Stumbleupon Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Technorati Submit How to Mulch Your Leaves on the Lawn in Twitter

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he Village of Irvington’s Green Policy Task force and the Greenburgh Nature Center are led the way with the “Love Em and Leave Em” leaf mulching initiative.  Now New Rochelle, Yonkers, Bronxville and Scarsdale are on board. You can spend more time having fun and less time raking leaves. Check out their great short videos to learn how:

Composting 101 Mulching Leaves

Mulch in Place for Your Perenial Beds.

Mulch Leaves on Your Lawn

Mulch in Place on Your Driveway

 

Want to start your own campaign? No need to reinvent the wheel. Most of the Rivertowns are on board, Westchester County is excited about it, and your kid or your landscaper will have a ball running the leaves over with the mower! Irvington is happy to share more wonderful information.

 

 

New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 22:43  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Delicious Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Digg Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in FaceBook Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Google Bookmarks Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Stumbleupon Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Technorati Submit New Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Cente in Twitter

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The Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm is pleased to announce the hiring of Carol Lake as the new Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm. Most recently working as a sustainable agriculture consultant in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, Carol founded and was the executive director of two educational farms in NH. In the environmental education and sustainable agriculture field for over 25 years, she has started and managed several biodynamic and organic grass fed dairies, and has worked extensively with rotationally managed, pastured livestock operations.

 

The Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm is pleased to announce the hiring of Carol Lake as the new Director of Education at Hilltop Hanover Farm. Most recently working as a sustainable agriculture consultant in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, Carol founded and was the executive director of two educational farms in NH. In the environmental education and sustainable agriculture field for over 25 years, she has started and managed several biodynamic and organic grass fed dairies, and has worked extensively with rotationally managed, pastured livestock operations.

Carol brings her enthusiasm and vast farming knowledge to Hilltop and has been working hard over the last couple of weeks on revamping our school educational programs.  Our new school farm field trips will launch this fall with a focus on STEM Education through Sustainable Agriculture.  Our revamped K-12 programs are aligned with NYS Standards for Mathematics, Science and Technology, as included in the core curriculum resource guides and the NYS Common Core Learning Standards for ELA, Math and Literacy. Along with our new field trips, Hilltop Hanover Farm will also be offering an exciting In-School Visit program, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food”.

In addition to our K-12 school programs, Hilltop Hanover Farms offers programs for College Visits, Volunteer Groups, scout tours and professional development courses for educators.  Visit the website to learn more about our new Director of Education and wonderful new classes.  Last year we had over 2,000 children visit the farm to make sure your class is one of them this year  book now!

 

 

New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax!

Sunday, 01 June 2014 13:24   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Delicious Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Digg Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in FaceBook Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Google Bookmarks Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Stumbleupon Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Technorati Submit New York State Camping Discount. Get Out There and Relax! in Twitter

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced details of the Early Summer Camping Special for 112 state campgrounds across New York on Wednesday. The discount helps kick off the summer season for families looking for affordable getaways and coincides with the state’s broader outdoor tourism promotions highlighted earlier this month at the Governor’s Tourism Summit.

“New York has one of the nation’s largest and most beautiful State Parks systems, and with discounted rates at State campgrounds this summer we are making it easier than ever to explore the great outdoors,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we approach the summer camping season I encourage all New Yorkers and our visitors to check out the best that Mother Nature has to offer.”

The special offer includes $5 per night off regular rates through June 26 for campers making reservations using the promo code EARLYCAMP14. The deal covers New York State Parks- and Department of Environmental Conservation-operated campgrounds in nearly every region (excluding Hither Hills State Park, mooring buoys, walk-ins and previous reservations).

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Governor Cuomo has been showcasing all the exceptional natural beauty of New York State and a camping trip is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors. This special pricing may inspire visitors to try camping for an extended weekend or encourage experienced campers to explore new destinations.”

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, “New York has a variety of wonderful state camping sites for people of all ages and abilities, offering unforgettable outdoor experiences. Governor Cuomo has expanded opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in New York, and this special promotion provides an even greater incentive to make camping part of your summer plans.”

This will be the 3rd year of this discount program which drew 4,000 camping nights during the same period last year, a 40% increase over the introductory year.

The camping discount program was highlighted at the Governor’s second Tourism Summit this year as one of the elements to promote the state’s natural assets and popular destinations. Other outdoor initiatives include the launch of a new Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife app, introduction of the state’s new Adventure License and a series of I LOVE NY ads showcasing many state parklands and recreational assets.”

Before booking and taking advantage of the Early Summer Camping Special campers can utilize the new online campground virtual tours to make planning a trip easier. Featured on the State Parks website the 360 degree campground virtual tours provide visitors a firsthand look on selected campgrounds. Additional tours of state parks and many DEC campgrounds will be added to the website this season.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Warnings in the ADKs

Thursday, 22 May 2014 20:19Attention: open in a new window.PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Delicious Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Digg Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in FaceBook Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Google Bookmarks Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Stumbleupon Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Technorati Submit Weekend Warnings in the ADKs in Twitter

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If you are planning to recreate in the Adirondacks this Memorial Day Weekend, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asks you to please remember the following:

FIRE DANGER: Low. Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.

HIGH USAGE LEVELS: Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites will often fill to capacity on Memorial Day weekend. Please plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Trails are wet and muddy. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Walk through, not around, mud and water on trails to avoid further widening and eroding trails.

MUDDY TRAIL ADVISORY: Hikers are advised to avoid trails above 3000 feet to protect the trails and surrounding vegetation which are very vulnerable at this time of year. Hikers can cause severe erosion of trails and significant damage to vegetation. Steep, wet and muddy trails are also very slippery. Hikers are asked use low and mid-elevation trails at this time.

BEAR RESISTANT CANISTERS: Regulation requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30.  All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in the bear resistant canisters at all times. DEC encourages the use of bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.

ROADS: Due to the harsh winter and washouts caused by heavy rains this spring some roads remain closed. Roads that are open may be rough and muddy – use caution. Pickup trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles are recommended – four wheel drive vehicles will serve even better.  Corey’s Road is open and the Elk Lake Road is open beyond the Clear Pond Gate. South Meadow Lane remains closed.

BITING INSECTS: The “Bug Season” has begun in the Adirondack. Back flies are present almost everywhere; mosquitoes & ticks may be found in many locations. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:
• Wear light colored clothing,  long sleeve shirts and long pants;
• Tuck shirts into pants, the bottom of pant legs into socks and button sleeves at the wrist;
• Wear a headnet when insects are thick and use an insect repellant with DEET.

SUMMITS: Conditions on summits are more extreme – cooler temperatures, stronger winds and possibly snow and ice.

WATER LEVELS & TEMPERATURES: Water levels are at or above average spring high levels and water temperatures remain cold. Although Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) are not required at his time, paddlers and boaters are strongly encouraged to wear PFDs at all times while on the water. Children under age 12 are required to wear a PFD at all times while on the water. Strong currents and cold water can quickly cause a person without a PFD to lose their ability to keep their head above water.
Visit the Adirondack Trail Information web page for current weather forecasts, 
regulations, safety tips, trail conditions, and more: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html

 

 

 

 

Eat This Plant.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Eat This Plant. in Delicious Submit Eat This Plant. in Digg Submit Eat This Plant. in FaceBook Submit Eat This Plant. in Google Bookmarks Submit Eat This Plant. in Stumbleupon Submit Eat This Plant. in Technorati Submit Eat This Plant. in Twitter

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Spring in the Catskills beings an incredible array of wildflowers, wildlife and the first trickle of visitors. This year is your opportunity for locals and visitors alike to favor the beauty, and biodiversity of these Mountains by being leaders in “Good for the Woods” foraging.
Hurricane Irene moved thousands of tons of soil and organic material. Roots rhizomes, seeds and other reproductive parts of invasive species are now sprouting in places that have been protected and threatening the beauty, biology and marketability of this unique place.
The long winter and late snow is forcing a condensed blooming season for one of the most easily identifiable and tasty invasive species.  Garlic Mustard. Take this rare opportunity to learn to identify and harvest this non-native, highly successful, invasive and tasty green. Be the first in your neighborhood to learn how to cook the hottest most socially and environmentally conscious vitamin packed vegetable.
Take a pass on ramps. Ramp Fests and Brooklyn Hay Markets destroy acres of public park land by fueling a $25 per pound poaching market. Once the hip rare “Food of Foodies” these seasonal leeks have become poster children for misguided rare food lovers. (You know being on the cutting edge of fine food food is over when you see the ingredient on a menu in Atlantic City.) Try instead this abundantly available, yet little utilized zesty, pungent, over the top guilt free forgeable green.
Here is a simple, time honored recipe for good greens and great habitat management delivered to me by my dear friend, long time Woodstock resident and fine artist Inyo Charbonneau.
Sautéed Garlic Mustard Greens
Pick young garlic mustard – careful to avoid areas near road sides, old homesteads, and gray fields.
Pull young greens, roots and all – along foot trails in the woods. Pull lots! Consider making a huge batch to share with friends.
Rise, chop, (discarding the roots) and sauté the greens lightly with olive oil. Squeeze lime on top and add a dash of salt.
This amazing Spring Green dinner includes the beauty of knowing that your meal protects native plant habitat.
Westchester is a copy book for invasive species taking over tracts of land. Local parks have abundant Garlic Mustard where the Trillium, Solomon Seal, Jack In The Pulpit and Maiden Hair ferns used to grow. Groundwork Hudson Valley and The Saw Mill River Coalition sponsor invasive species removal volunteer days. Thousands of tons of bad plants are pulled and cut each year. Volunteer leaders from The Native Plant Center suggest that to beat back invasive species you’ve got to “hit them early, hit them hard.” Luckily or unluckily we in the Catskills we are on the front line of invasive plant movement and we are blessed with the ability to thwart them with small efforts. We can literally eat our way to better more beautiful mountains.
Why should locals and visitors in the Catskills get this side dish on our radar? Property values, tourism, hunting, and because we love it here!
Most importantly because we can affect change now. These plants reproduce at an alarming rate. Snooze even one season and they will become logarithmically harder to control.
When you hike, bike, stroll, patrol, ride, play or skip in the Hudson Valley keep an eye out for Garlic Mustard.
Take a moment to really see it, how much of it is in your view way this year.  Come back to the same spot and compare how much is there next year. Forage and eat this healthful green and help us keep it in check!
Learn more:
Check out The National Park Service’s great Garlic Mustard Fact Sheet

Mowing? Not In My Backyard

Thursday, 01 May 2014 00:00   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Delicious Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Digg Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in FaceBook Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Google Bookmarks Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Stumbleupon Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Technorati Submit Mowing? Not In My Backyard in Twitter

garden018Mowing your lawn for half an hour puts out more emissions than driving a late model car 1000 miles! Now imagine pushing that late model car from here to say Montréal and back and breathing in 1000 miles worth of fumes! Use of lawn pesticides have quadrupled since Rachel Carlson wrote Silent Spring. Use of pesticides in suburbs like Westchester is triple that used in conventional farming. What to do?

Luckily we live in the land of alternatives so cleaning up the yard is easy..

Try an electric mulching mower, Black and Decker offer corded and no cord models.  Check out Consumer Reports to learn which model suits you best.

Personal Note:  It is good to mow more often when using an electric mower the torque is different and sometimes emowers struggle with heavy grass. Also, mulching mowers turn grass clippings into free fertilizer. See how Grasscycling works here.

If you are wedded to your gas lawn mower, loving the taste of metal and soot mixed with fresh mowed grass, you could reduce the number of times you mow each summer. If you mow every other week instead of every week you reduce your exposure to particulate matter, SO2, and a host of combustion by products by 50 %. 3 weeks reduces your exposure by 67%. The lawn will be longer which creates better habitat and produces more oxygen.

Consider the possibility of a new esthetic. What would it be like if suburbanites furrowed their brows at short cropped lawns?  Upstaters have begun lawn designing leaving selectively areas of grass go to seed. (Think Crop Circles)  (Wait!  Think Crop Circle Contest in Hastings on Hudson!)

Dig up that lawn.  Start small, and plan big.  Consider planting a section at a time. In the space that is now taken up by turf you could be harvesting tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, and herbs.  By creating a plan to systematically rescue your real estate from lawn you can put into place beginner garden plots that become the building blocks of your whole yard garden.

 

 

 

 

DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:55  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Delicious Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Digg Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in FaceBook Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Google Bookmarks Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Stumbleupon Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Technorati Submit DEC to Conduct Controlled Burn in Bog Brook Unique Area in Twitter

NYSDEC logoInvasive Phragmites target of groundbreaking burn campaign.

New York State DEC will conduct a controlled burn at Bog Brook Unique Area, located in the towns of Southeast and Patterson in Putnam County. The prescribed fire will involve 14.5 acres and is tentatively scheduled for April 10 or 11, depending on weather conditions. The burn will continue DEC’s efforts to restore the Area’s unique native wetland communities and wildlife habitat.

When acquired in 1981, Bog Brook contained one of the State’s best examples of a rich graminoid fen, a unique type of wetland. Over the years, its habitat has been gradually degraded by an expanding infestation of common reed (Phragmites australis), an invasive plant species that quickly colonizes wetland communities. When Phragmites takes over a wetland, it displaces native plants, slowly converting the area to a mono culture.  (When you only see one type of plant!). This creates unsustainable habitat for many native wildlife species including marsh birds, turtles and ducks.

The controlled burn will remove dead Phragmites biomass, allowing sunlight to reach the marsh’s surface to promote germination of native plant species seeds now lying dormant. DEC will monitor the recovery of the Area’s vegetation and, if necessary, supplement natural regrowth with native planting.

In addition to habitat benefits, the controlled burn should improve access to the wetland for wildlife-dependent recreationalists, including hunters, trappers, bird watchers and wildlife photographers.

Controlled burns have been used internationaly as a land management tool for over 40 years.

The burn will be supervised by NYS Forest Rangers working closely with meteorologists and other scientists to determine when conditions, including moisture levels and wind, are appropriate. The Bog Brook Unique Area has undergone four controlled burns in the last decade to address the Phragmites infestation.

To receive additional information about the controlled burn or public use of Bog Brook Unique Area, contact DEC’s Region 3 Bureau of Wildlife at 845-256-3047

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today

Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:00  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Delicious Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Digg Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in FaceBook Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Google Bookmarks Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Stumbleupon Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Technorati Submit Make Maple Candy in the Snow Today in Twitter

 

 

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Climate change means weird weather. Thanks to this winter’s snow storms we have a unique culinary opportunity. On the Ides of March we can enjoy a unique Hudson Valley, cold weather, traditional craft-treat, Maple Candy.

At the end of this long cold winter trees have begun to push sap from the roots out to their buds to start new leaves. The sap is slightly sweet and tasty. When you’re in the woods this week notice where the snow melt is more noticeable around the base of trees. Check out the color of the tree tips, they’re turning a muted pink. This means the sap is starting to run. For thousands of years people have captured and celebrated this sweet sap boiling it down to make sugar in early spring.

This year’s season may be short and sweet, late freezing and snow has already melted in Westchester and the Catskills are showing larger patches of brown earth each day.  If you still have snow (or can get to some!) it’s time to make good use of it! Making Maple Candy is easy you’ll need only two locally abundant ingredients.

Today is most likely the first day this year you can enjoy the sweet sticky goodness of home made maple candy. Try this simple recipe:

Maple Candy

1 pint of Hudson Valley maple syrup

1 foot in diameter nice clean snow

Bring the maple syrup to a slow boil in a pot on the stove. Keep a close eye on it because there is only a minute between extra thick syrup that makes great candy and setting off the smoke alarm and another trip to the store. The syrup will thin as it heats and then thicken again. As it thickens stir and keep close. When it’s as thick as cough syrup take the pot off the stove and carefully take it outside to the clean snow. Sprinkle the syrup on the snow and let the snow’s cold harden the maple syrup. The resulting candy should be similar to taffy in consistency. Pick up your candy and enjoy the flavor of Spring in the Hudson Valley!

When choosing your maple syrup please note: Maple sugaring has been a great way for farmers and wood lot owners in the Hudson Valley to supplement their income. You can help support local farmers by checking the label of your maple product and choosing the one made close to home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members

Thursday, 06 February 2014 08:29  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail   Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Delicious Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Digg Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in FaceBook Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Google Bookmarks Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Stumbleupon Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Technorati Submit Stoneledge Organic CSA Share Now Open to New Members in Twitter

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Dreaming of eggplant and signing up for a CSA share now.

Stoneledge Farm’s CSA is now open for new members.

Rye, Hastings on Hudson, White Plains, Wilton, Grab a share while you can.

Here’s the announcement letter from Deborah:

Winter 2014

Good Afternoon

What a winter.  Really cold winter temperatures followed by days of snow.  The last snow fall was beautiful as it covered the farm.

As the winter moves along, our thoughts and plans are looking ahead to the upcoming 2014 season.  Seeds are ordered and have been delivered.  The seed packets line the bench. The potting soil sits high on pallets in the greenhouses and the seeding trays seem to be calling to us.  We will start the first transplants in the greenhouses the last week of February.   We can not wait to get started.

Thank you for your membership and your commitment to eating seasonally and locally. If you have not ordered your 2014 CSA shares, registration is now open.  To order your CSA share log into your CSA Member Account from the farm website home page www.stoneledgefarmny.org.  Click on the CSA Member Login.  If you have friends, neighbors that might be interested in joining, why not pass the farm website along to them.

Looking forward to a great CSA season.

Deborah
for everyone at Stoneledge Farm

Stoneledge Farm LLC
  [email protected]
www.stoneledgefarmny.org
359 Ross Ruland Road
South Cairo, NY  12482

 

 

 

 

Irvington Storefront

Friday, 31 January 2014 00:00  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Irvington Storefront in Delicious Submit Irvington Storefront in Digg Submit Irvington Storefront in FaceBook Submit Irvington Storefront in Google Bookmarks Submit Irvington Storefront in Stumbleupon Submit Irvington Storefront in Technorati Submit Irvington Storefront in Twitter

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We recently Interviewed Ruth Katz and John Duvall two building owners in Irvington, New York about their choice to pass on offers from great businesses to rent their Main Street storefront.   They’re holding out for something more.  More than an immediate income stream they are holding out for a community asset.  They are looking for the triple bottom line for their community in a very personal way.  They want a business to rent their storefront that will bring creative, local, slowed down, practical community driven value to the neighborhood.  Why?  Because they live here. They are investing in the community and want to help shape the future and beauty of their chosen Rivertown.

Ruth and John are passionate sustainability experts, Ruth being the Coordinator for Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Group  and John who’s innovative portable sawmill business, Local Sawyer, is all about utilizing great local trees, building fine furniture with unique and reclaimed woods.  Managing Director, Lea Cullen Boyer, interviewed them about their philosophy in action:

Lea: How long have you lived in Irvington? What drew you here? What do you love about the community?

Ruth and John: We’ve been in Irvington for just over two years. We came here to be closer to our work and each other. John was living in Fairfield, CT, I was living in Brooklyn, and we were both working near Tarrytown in Pocantico Hills. We knew a nice broker who showed us a great rental in Irvington. We love many things about the community here. The small town feel, the people, the proximity to NYC, the parks, the Croton walking trail, the Hudson River, the ever-changing light and river views, the barges, tugboats and trains. More recently: the huge chunks of ice flowing with the tide on the river. And then there’s the history. I love imagining Washington Irving’s characters coming to life, especially since we have a real (bronze) Rip Van Winkle lounging across the street. The library is a wonderful resource and place to hang out, and the restored old Lord & Burnham greenhouse factory buildings are inspiring. The estates provide plenty of inspiration as well: Lyndhurst and Sunnyside, and the old mansion of Madame CJ Walker, the first African American woman millionaire. For such a small town, there are some great restaurants and coffee shops, and the bakery and Eileen Fishers lab to boot. Irvington is so hilly, charming and interesting; it’s like a mini San Francisco.

Lea: Why did you invest in a building in Irvington?

Ruth: I grew up in an apartment building in Chicago that my grandparents owned. Three out of six apartments were family: cousins, grandparents and immediate family. It was a great way to grow up and a smart investment. John and I walked past this building and liked it. The time seemed right.

Lea: You’ve had proposals for non-green businesses to rent your space and turned them down. Why would you choose to offer your storefront in one of Westchester’s most attractive business neighborhoods, for less than market value, to a Green business?

Ruth: We would love to rent to a viable business, a green business and a desired business. This is our building; we want to feel good about what goes in here. We both come from careers and practices in sustainability; I’m in sustainable agriculture and John has worked with trees since he was a kid, and now has a portable sawmill with a green mission. So it’s just natural that we would love to work with a green business, something that the community likes too. We did some unscientific polling and asked people what they’d like to see at our address. There was a universal response of “no more pizza, no more nail salons, no more beauty salons, no more dry cleaners.” We have plenty of those already! While we prefer it, we can’t promise that the new tenants will be green. But we’re trying to make the building itself as efficient as possible, so that whoever rents will be in a green space. We installed super efficient radiant heat with a “tankless, gas condensing boiler for on demand hot water,” and more efficient windows.

We also wanted to bring back the building’s historic storefront style, with a tile entryway. The old entry way had been obliterated in a 1970’s renovation. Now it looks more like it did in 1900, but is much more energy efficient, and ADA compliant. We hope to find a tenant that values these changes.

One sunny weekend day we sat outside the storefront with a piece of flip chart paper titled IMAGINE… What kind of store would you like to see here? And the people of Irvington responded! We received many comments, especially from kids. Here are some of the suggestions, many of which are green and local:

• Organic gardening and landscaping supplies, and quiet tools, including push mowers and rakes

• Green cleaning products

• A local and organic food business, specializing in one or two items that are lacking in the river towns. Like pickles and pickled items.

• A mini “Chelsea Market” with a few vendors, like an indoor, year-round farmers market, or with specialty food or crafts.

• Dairy store filled with Hudson Valley cheeses, milks and yogurts.

• Fresh pasta and pasta making classes

• Ballet studio

• Martial arts studio

• Another good, but different restaurant: Lebanese or Ethiopian

• Crepes (a very young child took the marker, looked up at me and said how do you spell crepe?)

• Arts and Crafts

• Gourmet store like Mint (in Tarrytown)

• Olive oils

• French pastry shop

• Soap Store

• Book store / used book store

• Captain Lawrence beer joint

• Shoe repair

• Shoe store

• Solar panel demo and supply store

• Pharmacy like Greenleaf (in Hastings) or Kiehl’s

• Homemade chocolates

• Organic chocolate shop, with chocolates molded into the shapes of Washington Irving characters, like Rip Van Winkle and the Headless Horseman

The passersby who responded had some very good ideas. We hope to find the right fit. We understand that current market value and long-term value do not always walk hand in hand. A good tenant brings an added value that’s not always measured in dollars.

Lea: How do you envision your choices as a building owner shaping the community?

Ruth and John: We just want to be good neighbors. We’d like to make smart choices as we update the building to make it more energy efficient, while meeting the codes of today. We also appreciate the historic beauty of the whole row of buildings on our block, and wanted to reveal it again in our building. Many beautiful, historic details had been hidden or blocked off, like charming — and energy efficient

— air shaft and transom windows. Other homeowners might be interested to learn about the energy efficiencies and savings involved.

Lea: Have you ever done something like this before? If so, do you have experience you would like to share with other building owners?

Ruth and John: We have not done anything like this before, and we’re learning a great deal. We’d be happy to share our experiences with others. Some of our energy saving choices are working out quite well.

 

 

 

 

 

Compost on Your Way to Work!

Saturday, 12 October 2013 00:00  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail   Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Delicious Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Digg Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in FaceBook Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Google Bookmarks Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Stumbleupon Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Technorati Submit Compost on Your Way to Work! in Twitter

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Composting just got a little easier with the opening of Commuter Composting Sites. BIG!Compost, a program of Build It Green! NYC, has opened 18 composting sites in Brooklyn and Queens. Three sites have convenient morning hours (some open as early as 8am), so folks can easily drop off their food scraps as they start their morning commute. So far, BIG!Compost has diverted 267,230 pounds of food scraps from landfills.

Go to the BIG!Compost page to get more details on the program and find current drop off locations. Additional sites are in the works, so continue to check their page for updated information!