Friends of Brook Park: World Beneath the Pavement

A living blog and composting archive of updates, fun announcements, crucial reports and other wonderful information for new volunteers, recent participants and stalwart supporters alike!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Support Friends of Brook Park!

Show your Support for Friends of Brook Park

Dear Friend,

Friends of Brook Park needs your help.

As 2009 comes to a wintry end, we reflect on what a great year it has been here. While we are proud to bring you our environmental programs, we need your support to keep us going. Whether you've known us for 2 months or our ten years, now is a great time to help us out with a generous end-of-year donation.

Your contribution is fully tax-deductible and will go directly to offering nature education activities, making New York a greener, healthier place to live.

Donate now and up to $2,500 will be matched! Think about who does more with few resources. Click here to give on-line now.

In the words of a seventh grader:

By doing what you do, you and your team are saving the community and a lot of animals. The tomatoes and the spicy peppers were very good. Also the scented plants smelled really good. It was very interesting because I never thought that plants that don’t have flowers have a nice smell, like the leaves that I ate which was peppermint plant. I also liked the little fire you made for us and all the people that were going in the park. I had so much fun moving the heavy logs around and fixing them so the garden could look prettier. The garden made me feel really relaxed.

Your support has helped us:

* Continue to expand a model of urban farming, with hundreds of youth involved in organic gardening with local and city-wide schools and groups like ASPIRA

* Expand our growing area and move forward on the brook restoration project with Gaia Institute

* Advance a new park on the Harlem River, convening meetings with a Parks Commissioner and two City Council Members

* Restore the shoreline by designing and planting hundreds of native species with NYC Council on the Environment, Sustainable South Bronx and Waste Management

* Jumpstart the Harlem River Working Group, over fifty stakeholders invested in the long-term enhancement of this vital waterway

* Spearheaded challenges to rezoning and inappropriate infrastructures that would block waterfront access and navigation

* Hosting many arts and indigenous cultural gatherings uniting a diverse array of people with groups like Vamos La Pena and United Confederation of Taino People

* Engaging in city and state-wide, regional, national and international efforts about Climate Change

And more!

We know this is a busy time of year, but please take a moment to give right now, knowing that you've done your part to support an organization you care about and a cause you believe in.

Click here to support Friends of Brook Park today.

As the year ends, we at FoBP want to thank those of you who have helped us this year with contributions of much-needed funding, volunteer time, and personal support.

You sustain us.

To more!

Harry J. Bubbins
Executive Director

P.S. Friends of Brook Park is a 501(c)(3) organization - your donation is deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. Please remember to make your contribution by December 31 for a 2009 tax deduction.

P.P.S. Even if you don't feel like you can give a lot, being part of the behind-the-scenes support system helps us more than you'd imagine. One more person can make a big difference. Please contact me if you can volunteer. Gardeners, proposal researchers and writers, designers, educators and artists, and people with other skills are always needed. You can also pass on this appeal to your networks with a personal note.

P.P.P. S. Keep reviewing our updated blog at:

Please give at the bottom of this page here:

Or Donate by Mail:

Friends of Brook Park
PO Box 801
The South Bronx, NY 10454

You can also help by by sharing this appeal with your network of friends and family, on Facebook too. If you have used the garden or the rivers, or just appreciate what we do, please email this letter out with a personal note to your friends and colleagues and families.

Some companies have a matching grant fund, please inquire about that at your place of work.

Thanks again for all you do.

Friends of Brook Park

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lowline in NY Times

Thanks to the work of Wally Nash (see article here) and other local Mott Haven residents, the so-called Bronx Swamp has been addressed, for now.

The issue has been featured in a series of local article, including in today's NY Times.

We have been working for sometime on this abandoned rail spur as a fantastic greenway bike and pedestrian resource. We have been seeking monies from our local elected officials to spark this effort and welcome any and all to collaborate on this issue!

Visionary Cesar Yoc, while engaged in studies at Hunter College with Professor Tom Angiotti, developed a strong vision for this spur called the "Pocahantas Greenway". See selection here.

Click for the NY Times article today here.

Though the NY Times claims no one knows who owns it, our research shows that theNew York Central Lines, LLC (NYC) and CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) are responsible. In 2003 they filed a notice of
exemption pursuant to the National Transportation Board’s regulations of exemption for abandonment and discontinuance of service, respectively, of the "Lowline" of railroad between Melrose and the southernmost edge of the tunnel at Southern Boulevard in Bronx County,
New York, a distance of approximately 1.5 miles.

NYC sought authority to abandon the line. CSXT seeks authority to discontinue service on the line. A map depicting the rail line in relationship to the area served are posted with this blog. The exemption became effective, the railroad worked to to salvage track, ties and other railroad appurtenances, and to dispose of the right-of-way.
This is where community groups come in to create a rails to trails project! Let's do it!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bread and Puppet Theater

We are going with a crew from the community to see this great show, once again. An annual trip.

For the 38th year, Peter Schumann's Bread and Puppet Theater will return to Theater for the New City December 3-13 with two new works, one for adults and one for Families of all ages.

The adults' show will be "Tear Open the Door of Heaven." A pink and blue puppet show about Heaven and its effects on the Underneath, presented by the practitioners of the brand-new paper maché religion. The play features over life size puppets representing God, his daughter and stepdaughter, a US president and his war-waging office, mountaintop removal protesters, money printing artists and stargazers of the North East Kingdom of Vermont. The six acts of the play are supplemented by six dance interventions performed by the Lubberland National Dance Company, whose members are mostly local volunteers.

The Family show is "Dirt Cheap Money Circus." It features the billionaire bonus celebration dance, the logic of the US Healthcare System, the history of humanity and the removal of a mountaintop, interspersed with appearances by Karl Marx, who confronts the 2009 economic situation with his existential thoughts about money and our relationship to it. As always, there is a live band.

Both shows will be performed by the Bread & Puppet Company and a large number of local volunteers, who will also be part of The Brass Band. The theater will be decorated with the unique Bread and Puppet collection of powerful black-line posters, banners, masks, curtains, programs and set-props. Once again, all pieces will be created by Schumann with input from the company. Both plays will be accompanied by a brass band, singing and miscellaneous gongs and horns. Schumann will sculpt and paint all of the major masks and puppets.

Bread and Puppet Theater is an internationally recognized company that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art that filled with music, dance and slapstick. Its shows are political and spectacular, with huge puppets made of paper maché and cardboard; a brass band for accompaniment, and anti-elitist dance. Most are morality plays--about how people act toward each other--whose prototype is "Everyman." There are puppets of all kinds and sizes, masks, sculptural costumes, paintings, buildings and landscapes that seemingly breathe with Schumann's distinctive visual style of dance, expressionism, dark humor and low-culture simplicity.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

South Bronx Food & Film Expo!

South Bronx Food & Film Expo!
DECEMBER 5th, 12 noon
This event is Free!!! Food/clothing donations encouraged

Quick Links

Dear Friends:

Please join us at THE POINT CDC (and Friends of Brook Park and more!) on December 5th for the South Bronx Food & Film Expo (12-5pm). If you are interested in growing your own food, or having better access to healthy food, or getting involved with changing current food policies, this is the event for you! Our expo features groups that can help you do all this and more. Or if you simply want to come sample free local healthy foods, maybe learn a thing or two, and watch a few great films, you are welcome as well!

We have included a flier in this email so you can help the spread the word about this event. Everyone is invited! If you plan on bringing a large group please just let us know, otherwise no RSVP is required.

Here are the details...

sponsored proudly by Urban Farming

Locally-sourced vegan meals will be prepared on site by Bascom Catering. Free lunch!

We will be screening two feature films:
What's on Your Plate? @ 12:15
FRESH! @ 3pm

We will also be showing a few short films made in the Bronx @ 1:30, such as an extended version of this urban farming video

There will be a Q&A discussion at the end of the screenings.

Our interactive expo features groups from the South Bronx and beyond that grow and supply healthy local food, and fight for change in food policy.

Why does local food matter?
What government decisions effect what YOU eat?
Find answers. Meet people. Get involved!

This event is FREE!
Food/clothing donations are encouraged
$10 suggested contribution

This is a child-friendly event.
Childcare will be provided.

For more information, contact:

South Bronx Food & Film Expo!
and donation drive

DATE: Saturday December 5th
TIME: 12 noon



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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Petition to Ban toxic gas drilling across NYS

Join FoBP and add your organization as well as your individualness.

Today an online petition was launched calling for a ban on natural gas drilling across NYS. To sign it, go to:
Not just a petition, we need you to act too!


The following 50 groups have issued statements in support of a state-wide ban, and/or in support the Sierra Club resolution:

Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club
Action Otsego
Advocates for Springfield
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
Bronx Community Board 1
Bronx Community Board 2
Bronx Community Board 5
Bronx Community Board 7
Bronx Community Board 8
Bronx Community Board 9
Bronx Greens
Brooklyn Community Board 3
Brooklyn Community Board 10
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (CCSE)
CDOG (Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group)
Concerned Citizens of Otego
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability
Delaware County Herbal Network Group
Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society
Energy Justice Network
Environmental Working Group of Central New York
Franklin Local Ltd.
FWCanDo (Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance)
Friends of Brook Park
Friends of the Upper Delaware River
Green Party of New York State
Hands Across the Border
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederation)
Manhattan Community Board 2
Manhattan Community Board 3
Manhattan Community Board 4
Manhattan Community Board 6
Manhattan Community Board 9
Manhattan Community Board 10
Manhattan Community Board 11
More Gardens!
National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR)
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON)
New York Climate Action Group (NYCAG)
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Inc.
Queens Community Board 4
Queens Community Board 5
Schoharie Valley Watch, Inc
Shaleshock Citizens Action Alliance
Staten Island Community Board 2
Staten Island Community Board 3
Sustainable Otsego
SWiM (Safe Water Movement)
Tioga Peace and Justice


On Saturday, October 17, 2009, the Executive Committee of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club met in Syracuse and passed a resolution proposed by the SC Gas Drilling Task Force. The resolutions calls on the NYS legislature to enact a ban on unconventional gas drilling in NYS.

„WHEREAS extensive environmental and health damages would be caused by horizontal drilling and high pressure hydrofracturing gas extraction techniques due to the contamination of water, soil and air by the toxic chemicals used in drilling and fracturing, and the naturally occurring toxic chemicals brought to the surface from deep in the ground,

„WHEREAS these environmental and human and animal health damages will have damaging economic consequences on residential property values, and on the state‚s tourism, agriculture, forestry, winery, real estate development and educational businesses,

„WHEREAS the infrastructure costs of building and repairing roads, water treatment facilities, and other public services would far exceed any economic benefit to local communities, and

„WHEREAS it is yet to be proven that the green house effects of the production and use of natural gas produced by horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing are any less than those of the production and use of coal when the life cycle emissions of natural gas production and the higher impact of methane as a green house gas are taken into account.

„Be It Resolved that the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club calls on the New York State Legislature to enact a ban on permitting gas wells that use horizontal drilling and hydro-fracturing to release gas from tight sand and shale formations such as the Marcellus.‰


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meeting at Harlem River

Our many years of advocacy for real waterfront access for our South Bronx communities on the Harlem River received a big boost today. With a site visit arranged by our local Council Members Viverito an Arroyo, NYC Parks Department, NYC City Planning and the Federal National Park Service gathered with local constituents to map out the final plan of action to achieve official park status! Stay tuned and stay involved.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Protecting Water Quality

FoBP has been busy around the region lately, advancing the issues of clean water and access to our waterways in a number of important forums. We attended two invitation only events with profound implications for our water quality.

We represented Bronx Council on Environmental Quality at the Pace University Law School NYS Water Policy Conference where we able to question Kit Kennedy of the NYS Attorney General's Office about the need to ban gas drilling in the State, and the navigability of the Bronx Kill.
On September 30th we testified at the NYS Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation Chaired by Senator Antoine M. Thompson with local Senator Bill Perkins in attendance. We made several recommendations to ease the regulatory process for mollusk and wetlands habitat restoration, the need for budget increases to the NYSDEC EJ grants program and for greater equity in the NYSEPF allocation. Mostly, we pressed for a total ban on the dangerous gas drilling that is proposed in New York State. Learn more here:

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