Remembering Sandy, Five Years Later

Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between Beach 113th & 114th Streets, Rockaway Park, Queens, November 4, 2012Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between Beach 113th & 114th Streets, Rockaway Park, Queens, November 2012

The storm surge flooded this block to at least five feet. Fire broke out and was quickly spread by 80-mph winds. These buildings burned down to the water line.

This was the site of a heroic rescue by FDNY Swift Water Team 6 and other firefighters attached to this unit for rescues during the storm. Firefighters Edward A. Morrison and Thomas J. Fee received awards for their actions during these rescues.……

Investigators later determined this fire was caused by downed electrical wires falling onto 113-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. 16 homes were destroyed by the fire.…

There was worse destruction than this on Beach 130th Street, between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Road. That fire started at 239 Beach 129 St. and destroyed 31 buildings.

Related Content


Bring me the head of the Juniper Valley Tree-Killer

Over the weekend, 12 newly planted trees were destroyed at Juniper Valley Park in Queens. This incident marks the fourth case of tree damage this year at the park and a $2,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in this arborcide. It is believed that the trees were cut with an electric saw, either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. They were just planted in the park this past spring. Ten were cherry trees and two were oaks.
Parks Asks the Community’s Assistance in Nabbing Juniper Valley Park Tree Killer, Press Release, 2009-09-16

View Larger Map

Juniper Valley Park has been victim of tree arborcide and vandalism four times this year, with more than 20 trees victimized. In April, low branches were torn off a number of trees overnight. In June, two trees were found damaged in the park and in July, seven trees were damaged, leaving four uprooted, two completely destroyed and one with trunk damage.

If you have any information on this crime, please call the NYPD Crime stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.


Related Content

Urban Trees and Social Marketing, 2008-04-21
Factoid: Street Trees and Property Values, 2007-12-02
Barbara Corcoran Hates the Earth, 2007-11-18
New York Magazine: How Much Is a Street Tree Really Worth?, 2007-04-09
News: $1,100 to plant a tree in NYC, 2007-03-28

All Urban Forestry posts


Parks Asks the Community’s Assistance in Nabbing Juniper Valley Park Tree Killer, NYC Parks, Press Release, 2009-09-16
Vandals Attack Trees Again in Juniper Park, Juniper Park Civic Association, 2009-09-13

Rabies reminder from NYC DOH

Not to fan the annual flames of rabies hysteria we usually get in the Brooklyn blogosphere, but the New York City Department of Health, in response to recent identification of rabid animals in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, issued a press release today to remind New Yorkers to 1) avoid contact with wild animals, and 2) have your pets vaccinated for rabies. Note that NYC law requires rabies vaccinations of pets.

Six rabid animals — all raccoons — have been identified in New York City this year. Four were found in the Bronx, one in Manhattan (near Inwood Hill Park), and one in Queens (Long Island City). Raccoons are the most commonly reported rabid animals in New York City. Rabid raccoons are a relatively common occurrence in Staten Island and the Bronx, but rare in Queens and Manhattan. Bats with rabies have also been found in all five boroughs.

People and unvaccinated animals can get rabies, most often through a bite from an infected animal. Infection leads to a severe brain disease that causes death unless the person is treated promptly after being bitten. To reduce the risk of rabies, New Yorkers should avoid all wild animals, as well as any animal that seems sick, disoriented or unusually placid or aggressive. Report such animals by calling 311. Animals that have attacked or may attack should be reported to 911.

The six reported animals lags far behind the 19 reports for 2008. In recent history, Staten Island has the highest incidence of rabies among wild animals, followed closely by the Bronx. Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn lag far behind. See Rabies in NYC: Facts and Figures for more info.

To protect yourself against rabies

  • Do not touch or feed wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.
  • Keep garbage in tightly sealed containers.
  • Stay away from any animal that is behaving aggressively or a wild animal that appears ill or is acting unusually friendly. Call 311 or your local precinct to report the animal.
  • If you find a bat indoors that may have had contact with someone, do not release it before calling 311 to determine whether it should be tested. For information on how to safely capture a bat, visit

To protect your pet against rabies

  • Make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not leave your pets outdoors unattended.
  • Do not try to separate animals that are fighting.
  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact your veterinarian, and report the incident to 311.
  • Feed pets indoors.

If you are bitten by an animal

  • Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and water.
  • Seek medical care from your health care provider.
  • If you know where the animal is, call 311 to have it captured.
  • If the animal is a pet, get the owner’s name, address and telephone number to give to the Health Department so they can ensure the animal is not rabid.
  • Call the Animal Bite Unit (212-676-2483) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or file a report online at
  • For information about medical follow-up, call 311 or your medical provider.


Related Content

Rabies in NYC: Facts and Figures, 2008-07-08
Meta: Rabies More Popular Than Sex, 2007-03-07
News: Raccoon Tests Positive for Rabies in Manhattan, 2007-02-28


Press Release

Winter Storm Watch

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Brooklyn and the south shore of Long Island for tomorrow, with the possibility of 6 or more inches of snow:



I feel so dirty just reading the headline


That’s how the NY Post – renowned for its lurid, sensationalizing headlines – announced the anticipated emergence of Brood XIV.

The content of the article was considerably more sedate and on-point:

After living six inches underground since 1991, millions are about to come to the surface across the Northeast: The males will sing their distinctive song, the females will swoon, and then they will mate and die.

This particular brood stretches from Georgia to Massachusetts. Locally, they are concentrated on Long Island, although some might remain in Brooklyn and Queens.

There have been strong, localized emergences east of us on Long Island, in Suffolk County. Unfortunately, there’s been no signs of Brood XIV in Brooklyn or Queens. The sole Brooklyn report, from Bay Ridge, has not been substantiated and is likely a false report. I’m afraid Brood XIV may be extirpated – locally extinct – from New York City.

Related Posts

(Magi)Cicada Watch


CITY’S GIANT INSECT ORGY, by Jeremy Olshan, NY Post, June 5, 2008

Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center on AIA Top Ten “Green” List

The Queens Botanical Garden is on my “to visit” list. Last week, their Visitor & Administration Center was named one of the top ten “green” projects of 2008 by the Committee on the Environment (COTE) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA):

In looking to the future, the Garden has propelled itself into the front ranks of its field as the first botanical garden in the country devoted to sustainable environmental stewardship. The goal has been to integrate a beautiful contemporary building into the experience of its varied gardens and landscapes, heightening the visitor experience of the natural environment and conveying the key elements of successful sustainability. A water channel surrounds the building and weaves through the garden, fed by rainwater that cascades off of the sheltering roof canopy.
Press Release, April 22, 2008, AIA/COTE

The 2008 COTE Top Ten Green Projects program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

QBG’s V&A Center, a LEED Platinum building, officially opened in September 2007 as part of a wide ranging plan to improve sustainability across the Garden:

The Garden’s Master Plan of 2001 launched the Sustainable Landscapes and Buildings Project. As the name implies, the project is much more than buildings. It includes new plants, many of which are native species; bioswales to collect storm water and reduce wear-and-tear on New York City’s combined sewer system; water recycling systems; the new Horticulture/Maintenance Building; the revolutionary Visitor & Administration Center; and the transformation of our existing parking lot into a 125-space parking garden beginning on or around June 2008.
Sustainable Landscapes & Buildings Project, Queens Botanical Garden

Reusing graywater for flushing toilets reduces the project’s potable water consumption by 55%. The building also features waterless urinals and composting toilets. Thanks to extensive bioswales and a green roof on the auditorium, the project manages all stormwater on site. A water channel, fed by rainwater that cascades off the roof canopy, weaves around the building and through the gardens.

The reception building’s long, narrow shape is oriented along an east-west axis, allowing daylight to penetrate all interior spaces. An efficient lighting system, daylight dimming, and occupancy sensors reduce energy consumption. Glass doors and windows slide open in temperate weather, providing natural ventilation. The building uses photovoltaic panels and a ground-source heat-pump system to harvest energy on site.

More than 33% of the materials in the building, by cost, were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. The project team also preferred materials with high durability, low maintenance requirements, recycled content, low chemical emissions, and Forest Stewardship Council certification.
Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center, AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects


Sustainable Landscapes & Buildings Project, Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center, AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

News: A Green Center for Refuge Visitors in Jamaica Bay

In the New York Daily News yesterday:

A new $3.3 million visitor center for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge opened last week after more than five years of design and construction. …

Once certified, the building will be the first in the National Park Service’s Northeast Region to meet a stringent standard for green buildings known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, said Carol Whipple, the project manager.

Eco-friendly Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Opens, Rachel Monahan, New York Daily News

The 10,000 acres of the wildlife refuge provides an important stopover for migratory birds. In all, more than 330 species of birds call it home. …

The lighting is 90% natural.

On a warm summer day, the breeze from open windows pulled upward by a wind turbine on the roof keeps the central hall plenty cool without air conditioning.

The building also maximizes the sun’s rays in winter, including windows aligned for the sun’s winter path and its warmth collected in a dark, heat-retaining floor. …

Additionally, all the materials came from within 500 miles, including recycled redwood siding and easily renewable materials such as the bamboo and cork floors and the natural-fiber cabinets.

They also reused the old concrete structure on the site. The urinals are waterless, and the landscaping outside relies on native plants.


Event, Brooklyn & Queens, 5/19 & 5/20: Compost Giveback

[Updated 18:15 EDT: Corrected dates!]

Compost This Way

The Brooklyn-Queens Compost Giveback continues this Saturday and Sunday, May 19&20 at the Spring Creek Composting site [Google Map]. Blog Widow John and I went last Saturday.

I was not allowed to take pictures at the event. Rumor on the ground was that the property is being examined for development. I took the one photo above before I was told photography was not allowed.

Fortunately, there’s Google and satellites. Check out the piles of compost!

Google Map of Spring Creek Composting Site

I armed us with two broad-faced shovels, a pitchfork, a plastic bushel-sized bin, and heavy-duty plastic contractor’s bags. We backed up to a rapidly dwindling yet still impressive long row of compost and had at it. The Queens Botanical Garden was on hand to provide advice and literature.

I also picked up two Garden Gourmet composters at $20 a pop. I put one of them together on Sunday. I’ve used Smith & Hawken BioStacks for many years. I’ll come back with a comparative review of the two designs later.

Garden Gourmet (left) and Biostack (right)
Comparison of Garden Gourmet (left) and Biostack (right)


Related posts:

Event, Brooklyn/Queens: Compost Giveback, May 12, 13, 18 and 19

Compost Demonstration Area at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Compost Demonstration Area

This Spring’s Compost Giveback for Brooklyn and Queens will be held at the Spring Creek Composting Site the second and third weekends of May: May 12 & 13, and May 18 & 19. NYC residents (no businesses) can take away as much compost as they can shovel and transport. They can also purchase compost bins for $20, which is a bargain.

You really need private transportation to take advantage. Bring your own shovels. Heavy-duty puncture-resistant garbage bags, such as contractor’s bags, are ideal. A wagon wouldn’t hurt, either.

The compost bins are high-quality, made from recycled plastic. They come folded flat for transport and snap together for assembly, no tools required. They have a compact footprint, but are big enough to get some heat into the heap. In the photo above, the taller, skinnier black plastic composter in the center of the photo is similar or identical to the discounted model.


Gateway National Park Public Design Competition

There is a Public Competition open for envisioning and designing the future of Gateway National Park, also known as the Gateway National Recreation Area. The deadline for registration is next week, February 28, 2007.

Gateway is huge. It covers 10,374 acres of land and 16,233 acres of water, a total of 26,607 acres. For comparison, the entire island of Manhattan is about 12,800 acres. Gateway consists of three “units”: One in New Jersey, and two in New York City. The Jamaica Bay Unit straddles Brooklyn and Queens. It comprises the majority of Gateway: it covers 19,752 acres, 12,367 of which are water, the remainder of which are 15 different parks, beaches, wildlife refuges, and other sites of interest. Over 330 species of birds have been recorded in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the largest designated area within the Jamaica Bay Unit.

Even if you don’t intend to compete, there are hundreds of pages of documentation, scores of maps, and innumerable photographs of Gateway available in the Site Brief section of the competition Web site. Although some details are available only to registrants, much of the information is available, intentionally, to the public at large, to help inform public discussion:

Gateway was designated the first urban National Recreation Area on October 27, 1972, exactly one century after Yellowstone became the first national park in the United States and the world. Thirty-five years later, Gateway continues to struggle to meet the aspirations of its founders, to negotiate its relationship with the communities that surround it, and to balance the goals of historic preservation, environmental conservation, and active recreation.

Gateway presents a significant regional resource with incredible infrastructural, ecological and cultural value in the New York metropolitan region, hosting endangered birds, fish and shellfish breeding grounds, marinas, playfields, and cultural relics. It is also the site of combined sewer outfalls, treated wastewater effluent, abandoned buildings, degraded habitat, drowned marshes, former landfills and vast asphalt runways.

Both the complexity of Gateway and the scope of this design competition call for an immense amount of background information about the park. The materials provided throughout the Site Brief area of the website are taken from a Research Report prepared by a team of investigators from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The report is comprised of written chapters, extensive mappings, external primary sources and site photographs. It is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the conflicting issues facing Gateway historically and today.

We are pleased to make the majority of this information available to both competitors and the public-at-large. The Research Report can be downloaded in its entirety for the duration of the competition, and selected images and mappings are available for public browsing throughout this section of the website.