20 August 2008

random brooklyn fireworks and other happenings

I like the outdoors -- and not just your typical wilderness full of tall timbers and woodland creatures. Fun things happen when you go outside, even when you live in Brooklyn.

After dinner, my man and I decide to go for a walk. As we turn the corner away from our block, we start seeing flashes and loud noises. What is that, some stupid kids with fireworks? No, that cop just drove in the opposite direction of the noise.

Turns out, there's a fireworks display going on a block away from our building. It looks like it's launching from the library roof. Where else does that happen? Fireworks for seemingly no reason, not on the 4th of July or New Year's.

After the big flashy show in the sky that rattled and confused the area bats (they were flying around all batty-like), we continued our walk along Prospect Park.

What's that now? It sounds like a band playing. Maybe it's a movie? It sounds like a movie. We decide to check it out. As we get closer to the long meadow, the big screen appears. Yup, it's a movie. At first we're disappointed -- it's Hairspray, the remake. I feel a bit like Andy Rooney by saying this but, Why do they feel the need to remake movies? Isn't the first time around good enough? (Can't you hear his quavery voice?) And there's nothing worse than John Travolta in a fat lady suit and a bad Baltimore accent.

Surprisingly, his performance aside, the 20 minutes or so we watched were pretty entertaining. It's actually an appropriate movie to play in a park where I often have flashbacks to Sesame Street, the epitome of multi-culti integration.

So what's the point of all this? I dunno, maybe I just wanted to let you know that I like spending time outside -- it's gotta be healthier than sitting here, like I am now, on the couch typing away on the computer.

Get outside! Check out the Prospect Park events calendar.

wind power to the people

Bloomie (that's Mayor Michael Bloomberg to you non-NYC folk) is proposing a very progressive wind energy plan for the city. In his plan, the mayor wants to install wind turbines on top of buildings and bridges and in windy waterways. Turbines in coastal areas could produce 10 percent of the city's energy needs within 10 years.

“When it comes to producing clean power, we’re determined to make New York the No. 1 city in the nation,” Mr. Bloomberg said as he outlined his plans in a speech Tuesday night in Las Vegas, where a major conference on alternative energy is under way.

But there are some serious hurdles for the plan, like battling people who are against aesthetic changes to neighborhoods and the fact that Bloomie's only in office for 18 more months to start the ball rolling (or the blades spinning). For the plan to be fully realized it could take years, maybe decades due to government red tape (ie, permits from state and federal agencies).

Read the rest of the story from the New York Times

If you're picturing giant wind turbines spinning atop skyscrapers, that won't be the case. Rooftop wind turbines are much smaller and less invasive (they also generate less electricity) than the larger land- or water-based varieties. There are various designs (see images below) and new ones, like the one featured in the video below, are being introduced all the time.

[Image: © Lucid Dream Productions via MetaEfficient]

[Design: Graeme Attey; Image: ICT via NotCot]

[quietrevolution via Logical Science]

seriously sustainable footwear

I wish these were around when I was shopping for hiking shoes for my Yellowstone/Glacier trip back in June.

Just-launched END, or Environmentally Neutral Design, is not your average outdoor shoe company. I think of them as the Nau of footwear. Sustainability is considered at every step of production. Here's what they have to say:

END was born out of idea that better design through problem solving is the next step in making greener gear for the outdoor athlete. We will not just replace toxic or virgin materials with sustainable ones, our evolutionary design process, Co2ND, will begin at the design table. Here we will question every seam, every stitch, every material and every step in the manufacturing process…we will question everything in our quest to minimize the footprint of our products prior to manufacturing.
Some of the materials they use for their shoes include recycled rubber and bamboo fiber. They're eco-friendly and pretty good lookin' to boot (ha!). Click one of the pictures below to get yourself a pair from REI.com.

END Stumptown 12 oz. Cross-Training Shoes - Women's
Ladies' Stumptown Cross-training Shoes ($80)

END Stumptown LT Light-Hiking Boots - Men's
Men's Stumptown Cross-training Shoes ($80)

How about some amazing socks to go along with those kicks?

I can't say enough great things about Teko socks (and my boyfriend agrees, best socks ever!). They make their socks with sustainable fibers like EcoMarino that isn't chlorine treated like traditional wool; Ingeo that's made from corn; recycled polyester; and organic cotton. They're super comfy and have magical wicking abilities (ie, you're feet don't stay all sweaty). They're totally worth the price (about $15 a pair!). On our aforementioned trip, we brought a couple of pairs each -- they wash up easily and dry pretty quickly.

Get yourself some Tekos by clicking the images below.

Teko EcoMerino Wool Low-Cut Socks - Women's

Ladies' EcoMarino Wool Low-cut Socks ($14.95 at REI.com)

Ladies' Ingeo Ultra-light Crew Socks (On sale $7.97 from Amazon)

Teko EcoMerino Wool Ultralight Crew Hiking Socks
Unisex EcoMarino Wool Light Hiking Socks ($17.95 at REI.com)

Men's Ecopoly Recycled Polyester Quarter Socks (3 Pairs for $33.95 at Amazon)