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Get Your German On with Ronda Wist

Friends of the Upper East Side - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 15:23

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It’s been home to many New York City mayors, boasts one of Manhattan’s most scenic parks, and retains remnants of its past as one of the city’s largest German enclaves. It’s Yorkville, and historic preservation expert Ronda Wist, President of Wist Preservation Associates and Board Member of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side, is hosting a Jane’s Walk through the neighborhood on Saturday. You’ll visit some of Yorkville’s landmarks and worthy historic buildings, and get a sense of the neighborhood’s previous German heritage. Specific attention will be paid to Gracie Mansion, Carl Schurz Park and Henderson Place.

Saturday, May 2nd 1:30 PM Meet at Glaser’s Bake Shop 1670 1st Avenue (at 87th Street)

Ronda Wist, WPA President, is an expert in the field of historic preservation. She served for 10 years as Executive Director of the NYC Landmarks Commission and before that as Director of Land Use at the NYC Department of City Planning. Following government service, she was a Principal at HR&A Advisors, a real estate and economic development consulting firm, where she advised individuals, organizations and government agencies with respect to historic preservation as well as representing owners and developers before the Landmarks and City Planning Commissions. At the Municipal Art Society for five years, she served as Vice President for Preservation and Government Affairs. Ronda has a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is the author of On Fifth Avenue: Then and Now (Birch Lane Press 1992).

For more information about Jane’s Walk click here.

Categories: Blogs, News

Saving Place: Fifty Years of NYC Landmarks

Friends of the Upper East Side - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:55

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Join FRIENDS next Tuesday for a private tour of Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks at the Museum of the City of New York. The tour is free for FRIENDS members. Reserve your space here.

Saving Place: Fifty Years of NYC Landmarks

Many believe New York’s pioneering Landmarks Law was a key factor in the rebirth of the city in the late 20th century. It fostered pride in neighborhoods, ensured that huge swaths of the city remain, and also lead to the creative re-use of countless buildings. The exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York will be accompanied by a series of public programs.

Private Tour for FRIENDS Tuesday, April 28th 6:00 p.m. 1220 Fifth Avenue

Free for members, $10 for non-members. 

To reserve tickets, please click here.

Categories: Blogs, News

Butterfield Spotlight: Quince

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AQuince.jpgQuince is a pear-shaped fruit, native to Western Asia.  It is a relative of both pears and apples, yet unlike it's cousins,it is rather inedible in raw form due to its hard and bitter nature.  It's pale pink blossoms are so beautiful however, the leaves are often used for a pretty display.Quince paste is a thick jam made from this fruit.  It is cooked, pureed and then combined with lemon juice and sugar, turning it into a firm, gelatinous spread, with a rich, deep orange color. Thanks to the tart and sweet combination, it is often a staple in Southern Europe and the Middle East as an alternative to jam.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AYoung_Quince_Fruit.pngButterfield Market carries quince paste.  Most people enjoy it with cheese and crackers, in place of a fig or tart cherry preserve, or alongside an almond or date-nut loaf.  It would also be a tasty spread atop warm banana or zucchini bread.  For a vegan alternative, substitute non-dairy cheese for the usual, or blend it into hot oatmeal in the morning in place of sugar or maple syrup, and add nuts and raisins for a well-balanced complete dish. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria;} Fun fact: Quince fruit used as offerings between lovers in Rome!Written by Guest Blogger: Yonni Wattenmakerwww.thetrendyvegan.comOn Facebook? "Like" The Trendy VeganOn Twitter? Follow @vegandthecity
Categories: Blogs

Wild Tales

Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 18:21
   An Academy Award nominee from Argentina, this dark comedy is an outrageous look at revenge told through six unconnected short stories.    The first story hits a little too close to reality after certain events in the news but the film makers could not have anticipated art imitating life in this particular instance. After that, things get nastier but filled with much dark humor.     The film is in subtitles but visually rich. The cinematography is outstanding and a lot of the camerawork is  shot from unusual angles and beautifully framed.      The film was written and directed by Damon Szifron and while there is some inconsistency in the story telling, overall the film is very entertaining and he definitely leaves the best story for last.
Categories: Blogs

Butterfield Spotlight: Smoothies

Spring is finally here, and that makes cold drinks even more appealing, not to mention our desire to get back in the game if we've slipped this winter, as we ready ourselves for shorts and tees, shedding our heavy, winter coats!Butterfield Market opened their fabulous smoothie bar, at a convenience window no less, to help in any way they can!All of the smoothies are vegan, 16 ounces and $8, but the similarities fade there.  For example, you can have a classic, a recovery or a green. To the offerings they created for you, you can add flax seed, hemp hearts, chia seeds, goji berries, agave, kale, spinach, ginger or protein powder.The four Classic smoothies all have banana as their base, and either almond milk or coconut water.  There are four varieties which include items like strawberry, mint, cinnamon, vanilla, blueberries, orange juice, dates or peanut butter.  The four Recovery smoothies also have banana and almond milk or coconut water, but offer other ingredients like kale, spinach, avocado, pineapple, tumeric and ginger.Of the four Green smoothies, three have banana, but some of these also boast basil, lemon zest, pineapple, cucumber and lime.In terms of benefits, how about antioxidants? Skin rejuvenation? Anti-inflammation? Muscle recovery? Bone health? The list goes on - and the list is on hand for you to read for yourself! Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria;} Stop by Butterfield today and welcome to spring!Written by Guest Blogger: Yonni Wattenmakerwww.thetrendyvegan.comOn Facebook? "Like" The Trendy Vegan On Twitter? Follow @vegandthecity
Categories: Blogs

White God

Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 04/05/2015 - 18:15
            A remarkable Hungarian foreign film featuring a cast of real dogs (no CGI) that will tear at your heart and leave you speechless with an astonishing final frame.              Before I go any further, know that there is a disclaimer right at the start that all the dogs in the film came from animal shelters and after the film was done, they were all adopted out. Furthermore, at the end it states rather boldly that no animals were harmed during the making of the film. All violence is simulated and the local Humane Society monitored all filming very closely.              Lili is a young teenage girl with divorced parents. At the start of the film, she goes to live with her father for three months and brings her dog Hagen with her.  After trying to cope with a dog he really doesn't want, her father leaves Hagen in the street and drives away with Lili crying in the back seat. From this point the film navigates back and forth between Lili  and Hagen, both trying to survive in their own way.                Hagen is played by two brothers, Luke and Body and it's hard to tell them apart. They are beautiful animals, very expressive and incredibly trained.  After of series of heartbreaking adventures, Hagen ends up in an animal shelter with 250 other dogs and the last third of the film takes an unexpected twist unlike anything you have ever seen.                  If you love dogs, be warned that even though it's all simulated, the on screen violence is hard to watch. This is not a Disney film. There is a 16 minute documentary on Youtube about the making of "White God". I recommend it first to prepare yourself for this amazing film.
Categories: Blogs

Furious 7

Upper East Side Theater - Sat, 04/04/2015 - 16:05
      The franchise ups the ante with outrageous stunts, non-stop action and serves as an emotional tribute to star Paul Walker, who died ironically in a car crash before filming ended.       Director James Wan pulls off impossible action sequences with the help of unsung hero stunt men and women and more than a little CGI work. The extended bus chase and rescue is a mini movie in itself. Fans know what to expect by the seventh film in this series and they will not be disappointed. The script piles on the non-stop action so much that by the final sequence, it's become mind numbing, completely over the top, and almost too much.       The original cast is back, led by Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Michele Rodriguez. Tyrese Gibbons and Ludicris are also along for the ride providing comic relief. Actually most of the best one-liners belong to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who also co-stars but only has scenes book ending the film. Kurt Russell joins the franchise as a shadowy government official. The film is so loaded that one villain is not enough. Jason Statham is the main adversary but Djimon Hounsou also plays a key role as the secondary villain.       Possibly the best CGI work in the film is keeping Mr. Walker's memory alive throughout the film. Utilizing his two brothers as stand-ins and movie magic, Mr. Walker truly appears to exist throughout the entire movie. A short video montage of scenes from his past films in the series complete a moving tribute at the end.      Being the "comic book" action film that it is, despite all the fighting, shooting and explosions, people barely bleed or break a sweat, let alone bones but reality is not what this franchise is about. It's about entertainment in the action adventure genre and in that respect, it fully delivers.
Categories: Blogs

Advocacy Update: FRIENDS testifies before City Planning on Zoning Text Amendment

Friends of the Upper East Side - Mon, 03/30/2015 - 13:45

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March 25, 2015

Department of City Planning Scoping Meeting -Draft Environmental Impact Statement Testimony by Tara Kelly

Re:  Zoning for Quality and Affordability Text Amendment (CEQR no. 15DCP104Y)

Dear Chair and Honorable Commissioners:

As any good preservationist would, I will start with a bit of history. In 1985, our founding president, Halina Rosenthal, wrote to our members:

With the passage of the new R8-B zoning… [there] is a guarantee of the survival for the low-rise and small scale of the precious mid blocks which were constantly being endangered by the growing encroachment upon them of tall buildings out of context with their neighbors, dwarfing them and casting longer shadows on the streets where we live.

For FRIENDS, this zoning change is the culmination of nearly three years of active and often ’round-the-clock work which began on January 28, 1982, when we asked the City Planning Commission (CPC) for a zoning change which would replace the 1961 zoning regulations that gave the license, as-of-right, to consume and destroy our mid blocks and to line them with towers. We asked the CPC to give us instead a good and reasonable alternative. This quest resulted in the R8-B zoning just passed…

Once again, over 30 years later, we are calling upon City Planning to give us a good and reasonable alternative.

We need an alternative to the proposed undoing of contextual districts which make up 64% of the Upper East Side.

We need an alternative to the dismantling of the Sliver Law, another hard-fought protection of our neighborhood’s low-rise character.

We need an alternative to the elimination of existing affordable housing. In our contextual zones on the Upper East Side,  36% of parcels include rent regulated units. Can City Planning explain how it has come to the conclusion that demolition of buildings containing affordable units will not be incentivized by this proposal? Has City Planning analyzed the requirement of affordable units to be built on site in these new, taller buildings?

We need an alternative that anticipates future construction methods, and not just the current “standard.” Has City Planning analyzed building types that may perhaps be preferable to what is on offer today? How does modular housing age?

We need an in-depth, citywide survey of historic and cultural resources, along with careful study of each and every neighborhood’s individual character and sense of place. How does City Planning intend to accomplish such a large scale undertaking?

We need thoughtful consideration of each neighborhood’s unique qualities. A block in Yorkville is different from one on the Upper West Side which in turn is distinct from one in Flatbush. Has City Planning looked at the effects this zoning could have on different neighborhoods?

We need worst case scenario evaluations of not just one building prototype on one block, but all the prototypes on all the blocks throughout all of the city. Indeed, the cumulative effect is the worst case scenario. Has City Planning analyzed the consequences, if, for example, an entire block is rebuilt?

This proposal touts the desirability of historic buildings, and seeks to emulate some of their best qualities like variation, design, and “streetscape-improving conditions.” And yet this plan could result in the destruction of those model buildings on a massive scale, effectively eviscerating our neighborhoods.

We need City Planning to give us a good and reasonable alternative to this plan.

Thank you for your time; we will be submitting additional questions.

What can YOU do?

Read more about this issue:

Public comments will be reviewed until April 6th. Write letters in opposition of this plan to:

Hon. Carl Weisbrod, Chair City Planning Commission 22 Reade Street New York, NY 10007 ahousing@planning.nyc.gov Click here to send a message.

Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor New York, NY 10007 (212) 669-4305 info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov 

Hon. Benjamin Kallos, City Council District 5 244 East 93rd Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 860-1950 info@benkallos.com Click here to send a message.

Hon. Daniel Garodnick, City Council District 4 211 East 43rd Street New York, NY 10017 (212) 818-0580 Click here to send a message.

Community Board 8 505 Park Avenue, Suite 620 New York, NY 10022 (212)758-4340 Click here to send a message.

Your actions can make a difference!

Categories: Blogs, News

While We're Young

Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 03/29/2015 - 18:50
         The newest film from writer/director Noah Baumbauch is a smart, biting comedy about the state of our culture today. It's a generational clash of Millennials and Generation X with a few Babyboomers thrown in for good measure.          Ben Stiller (who defined a generation with "Reality Bites") and Naomi Watts are a married childless couple in their 40's who befriend a young "hipster" couple played by Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver.  The new relationship invigorates the older couple and confuses friends of their own age including Mr. Stiller's best friend played by Adam Horovitz. Charles Grodin plays Ms. Watts father, a famous documentarian.          The film is similar in style and structure to the best of Woody Allen's "Smart " comedies. A lot of the humor is observational and there are many stinging one-liners. Mr. Stiller is perfectly cast (he can do this type of character in his sleep) and here has good chemistry with Ms. Watts. Mr. Driver's character is not far off the mark from "Adam", the character he plays on "Girls". While I'm a fan of his work, I'm still waiting to see the full extent of his range. Mr. Grodin still has the wonderful dry sense of humor he's always been famous for.  Of all the leading characters, only Ms. Seyfried seems underwritten with little to do.           As a Babyboomer, I found myself feeling old watching "Young" as it is a true reflection of our times. It's enjoyable enough but in a strange way, also a bit scary.
Categories: Blogs