Corina Bartra is back with the New Trends Orchestra after drawing a big crowd with the Peruvian Jazz Sextet. A singer, composer, orchestra leader and recording artist, she is widely known in jazz circles as an acclaimed pioneer of Afro-Peruvian jazz with infusions of Latin trends. Rain date: Aug. 20th.
The staged reading presented by Teri Black, Break A Productions, will take place on Friday, 6 PM, at Pink Moose Cafe. Hopefully, the showers will run their course, leading to clear skies as we move into the weekend.
Arrive early on Friday to purchase “Grab & Go” sandwich/salad combo and take your seat. It’s gonna be a fun show with lively staged readings of Dog Park and Home.
DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA REMAINS OPEN with social distancing enforced. Visit the Wednesday Greenmarket and enjoy the spring parade of flowers.
For all updates on park service changes and closures, refer to the NYC Parks website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/health-and-safety-guide/coronavirus.
For more information and guidance about COVID-19, refer to the DOHMH website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page.
STUCK INDOORS? Explore the NYC’s diversity of parks with park rangers and tour guides, while sheltering from home. VIRTUAL TOURS AND INDOOR FITNESS AND ACTIVIIES: Get more information here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/parks-at-home.
DOG RUNS CLOSED: As part of the city’s ongoing effort to maintain social distancing in public spaces, as of 4/6/20, NYC Parks will be closing dog runs to the public until further notice.
ATHLETIC COURTS CLOSED. Additionally, the Mayor has directed NYC Parks to begin implementing closures of all Tennis Courts, Handball Courts, and Basketball Courts located outside of Playgrounds (which were previously closed to the public), until further notice. Any existing fences or gates around these park features will be locked, elements such as tennis nets and basketball rims will be removed, and advisory signage will be posted.
Soccer fields will continue to remain open, but will be carefully monitored.
Earth Day, April 22, 2020, is more than a “feel good” celebration; the interconnections of all living things has come home to roost. Remember the Bee Exhibit in the park’s entrance dome and its theme of colony collapse? Now global pandemics pose a threat to human survival. WE ARE THE HIVE!
Enjoy Earth Day with activities that raise awareness, stimulate dialogue and celebrate nature. Think global, act local. We are ALL stewards of Planet Earth.
“Many sculpture exhibits in Hammarskjold Plaza draw on environmental themes,” notes FDHP President Sherrill Kazan, who has sourced more than 20 sculpture artists. Working in collaboration with NYC Parks Art & Antiquities/Art in the Parks, she taps her global connections through World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN).“I want to personally invite you to tune in at 11 am on YouTube to Art in the Time of Coronavirus for a panel discussion featuring NY Magazine Art Critic Jerry Salt, Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternack and other experts, moderated by the cultural representative for World Health Organization (WHO.) This Earth Day program is the first in a series to engage the arts and culture sector in UN global policy discussions and implementation efforts to address an ecological emergency. The one-hour discussion will be followed by a public Q&A and conclude with an invitation to join a global reading of Letters to the Earth.”
FOR FULL STORY AND PANEL INFO: Click here.
FOR DIRECT LINK TO PROGRAM: Click here
Gorilla sculpture: Dag Plaza will have its own 800 pound gorilla to hug. Cast in bronze by Nora Bornstein, the artist and NYC Parks Department will coordinate installation. Meanwhile, tune into National Geographic’s Earth Day with the premiere of Jane Goodall: The Hope, a two-hour documentary that covers the vast legacy of Dr. Goodall’s decades of research and advocacy work for chimpanzees.
NYC PARKS OFFERS EARTHDAY PROGRAMS AND MORE…
Enjoy fun activities and virtual tours at home brought to you by Partnerships for Parks. https://www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/parks-at-home.
NYC Parks reports that all events in parks are cancelled through June 30 and no permit applications are being reviewed until further notice.
ARE YOU SAFE OUTDOORS? The latest research reveals that the Cover-19 virus can be infectious for several days before producing symptoms and some infected people never experience symptoms. So to protect yourself and others, practice social distancing of at least 6 ft. and wear a face mask. Covid-19 can spread between two people who are just talking in close proximity. Outdoors, the viral load dilutes and disburses so it becomes LESS contagious than in enclosed spaces like elevators and lobbies, BUT group sports and games or co-mingling are prohibited for good reason. Steer clear of joggers and anyone who is creating an airstream by huffing and puffing.
SHOP THE GREENMARKET: Health precautions are being enforced, and six vendors continue to offer fresh, locally sourced produce and seafood on Wednesdays in Dag Plaza. HELP keep Dag Plaza’s market open by observing all health guidelines. Support regional farmers and fishermen!
DOG OWNERS ALERT: NYC Parks Department has closed dog runs because people were co-mingling. We expect more dog walkers in Dag Plaza. Please do your part to avoid spreading secondary bacterial infections. Scoop the poop. NO excuses!
We all have a role to play in public health and hygiene.
Special thanks to our volunteer gardeners who plant thousands of flower bulbs in autumn which bloom in spring and warm our hearts on Earth Day. ENJOY! Gazing at flowers is guaranteed to relieve stress.
THIS MESSAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
FRIENDS OF DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA
When we first learned of the Covid 19 pandemic, we delayed this year’s annual appeal for membership. Now City Council grant funding for 2020 is suspended, and we must rely on private funding to sustain our work to keep Hammarskjold Plaza clean, green and healthy. Please do what you can to support our park and its Katharine Hepburn Garden. You may choose to honor and/or remember a loved one by entering text in the box provided during the online process.
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @friendsofdagplaza
WITH PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA CARVER
We celebrate the summer garden when the hydrangeas bloom. Take a garden tour and learn about the 5 diffferent varieties in our collection and how to use these popular shrubs and vines in stunning arrangements, patio plantings and shade gardens.
On Thursday, July 25th, 6 PM to & PM, violinist Susan Kessler will play from her extensive repertoire. Sample the new cafe menu with a picnic plate for purchase from the Peace Garden Cafe. Free ice tea for all!
On Friday, July 26, the tours continue and a giant inflatable unicorn that sprays water from its horn will keep the kids cool and happy.
SEE THE PARK BULLETIN BOARDS AND CHECK WEBSITE FREQUENTLY FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SCHEDULES.
CITY COUNCIL PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: $1MILLION TO BE SPENT
Starting March 30 through Sunday, April 7, all NYC residents age 11 up, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are eligible to vote online or at polling sites in support of community improvement projects totaling $1million in discretionary funding for each council district. The projects winning the most votes will be funded.
Just click on the link pbnyc.org/vote and you will be directed to your Council District and a list of proposed projects. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is located in Council District 4 under the jurisdiction of Councilman Keith Powers. You can preview the entire list at Councilman Powers’ website. https://council.nyc.gov/keith-powers/pb/8/ Click on each item to see a short description and the associated cost. as well as physical polling sites.
You may vote for 5 of the 13 items proposed by Councilman Powers office. Three items on the ballot directly benefit DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA for a total of $270,000. We need upwards of 700 votes to tip the scales in our favor.
ITEM: New tree plantings to replace missing trees and tree guards.
Throughout Council District 4, $150,000. Dag Plaza is missing 9 trees! Our neighborhood lost many street trees during the November snow storm. Trees are essential to health, providing beauty and shade as they breathe out oxygen and absorb toxic gases.
ITEM: Security Cameras in Turtle Bay, $80,000. This item is designated for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. NYPD and Councilman Powers office will determine the best location(s) to provide surveillance of the woodland landscape known as the Katharine Hepburn Garden.
ITEM: Floor Repair at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. $40K. These funds would augment a shortfall in the projected budget for repairing sunken, uneven areas of the plaza “floor” (asphalt hex pavers) in the 2019/2020 park renovation under City Council /NYC Parks Capital Funding Project. We have witnessed several accidents and serious injuries caused by uneven pavers.
VOTE NOW BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK: pbnyc.org/vote
Enjoy the peaceful serenity of Hammarskjold Plaza in winter with twinkling lights and fir trees in the 6 fountains. Walk among the silver birch trees in the woodland garden. Be careful of slippery conditions.
P.S. If you walk your dog in the park, wash paws exposed to salt that has been applied to melt snow on pavement.
This is NOT the week for a leisurely stroll through the Plaza. From Sept. 20 to Sept. 30, Hammarskjold Plaza is on high-security or lockdown when state officials visit the United Nations during the General Assembly. Expect marches and protest groups from around the globe, some with amplified sound. Tudor City Place and East 41st through East 47th streets from First Avenue to Second Avenue will be closed while the Assembly is in session.
The garden is closed and barricaded. Trash bins have been sequestered behind barricades.
The NYPD will completely close First Avenue between East 34th and East 49th streets to traffic because of the security required when world leaders congregate by the dozens at U.N. Headquarters. Police will also restrict the use of the eastern parking lane of Second Avenue to law enforcement and emergency personnel only.
HOT BREAD KITCHEN IS NOW AT GREEN MARKET YEAR-ROUND.
By Joan Jubela
It is lunchtime on a Wednesday in late May and Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is bustling with activity as people browse the farm stands, a cornucopia of culinary possibility. At Hot Bread Kitchen Jessica Dragonetti is helping customers navigate their many offerings. A well- dressed man, who looks to be of Middle Eastern descent with a lanyard bearing a UN ID card across his chest, steps up. “I’m looking for bread,” he says.
“You’ve come to the right place. What kind of bread?” she asks.
“Regular white bread,” he responds. By the time Dragonetti is finished, he has selected two very crusty chapati; two healthy slices of focaccia wafting with the buttery fragrance of olive oil, and a French baguette.
“Would you like a bag with a handle?” she asks. With bag in hand, he walks toward First Avenue, another satisfied customer.
From Indian nan to Iranian nan-e-barbari; Polish bialys to challah; and New York rye to sour dough with olives, the women bakers of Hot Bread Kitchen produce a wide variety of international multi-grain breads to intrigue and entice any dough-loving palette. Their baked goods are a mini-United Nations of authentic traditional and ethnic breads. Depending on availability, ingredients for all bakery products are grown locally and are organic whenever possible.
Hot Bread Kitchen has rolls galore. Mexican conchas come with either chocolate or vanilla icing. Armenian crackers, called lavash, are available by the box. A paper thin Moroccan m’smen might serve as a wrap for any creative filling, or can be eaten in the traditional way, heated in a dry skillet, then drizzled with honey and enjoyed with a cup of Moroccan mint tea. A New York version of the m’smen, with kale, onion and New York cheddar, is also available.
The nixtamal has been a landmark staple of Hot Bread Kitchen since the bakery first opened in 2008. There are three varieties, yellow, white and blue. All corn is organic and non-gmo. The yellow corn is grown in New York State, while the white and blue corns are from the mid-west. To make the nixtamal, the corn sits for hours in a bath of water and lime mineral called calcium oxide until it breaks down into masa, then it is formed by hand before being smashed into its flat tortilla state.
The mission of Hot Bread Kitchen is about more than selling bread; it is a social enterprise that helps low-income immigrant and minority women learn to be professional bakers. In 2008, CEO, Jesamyn Rodriguez, a former United Nations policy expert, began the organization to address workforce inequity and create jobs. At their bakery in East Harlem, they train approximately 30 women each year. After the completion of a nine-month course, Hot Bread Kitchen helps their graduates find employment. Recent graduates are working in restaurants like Danielle’s and bakeries like Bien Cuit and Amy’s Bread. The women selected to be trainees have a passion for cooking and baking and are ready to take their talents to a new level. Often trainees bring their recipes with them, hence one reason for the wide variety of breads at Hot Bread Kitchen.
For more than thirteen years, Dan and Nate King of Rexcroft Farms have been a staple of the park’s Wednesday greenmarket. Seventh generation farmers, their ancestors named the farm Rexcroft, meaning “King farm” in Dutch. In spring, pansies and other bedding plants signal the start of the growing season; followed by a cornucopia of fresh vegetables that continues until autumn’s gourds and pumpkins. Then in December, holiday garlands and wreaths end the year with a glorious finale.
Whatever is in season, Rexcroft Farms is likely to have it, hand-picked and farm-fresh: a summer fest of vegetables, lettuces and greens – from bok choi to arugula–peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, cauliflowers, zucchini and zucchini flowers in abundance. If they don’t offer it, just ask—it might be added to next year’s crops.
“We consider requests from people, and if I’m going to grow it, I’ll grow a lot,” says Dan. Each item is grown based on market demand. If their stand at Hammarskjold Plaza is a measure, the demands of multi-cultural consumers run the gambit from kale to callaloo, “A wonderful summer spinach” says Dan, available from July to early September, and then again in late fall. Popular in the Caribbean, callaloo refers to the dish and its main ingredient, a leafy green vegetable, in this case, amaranth
Herbs also abound: the scent of basil, Tuscan, sweet, Thai, cinnamon and lemon varieties, wafts through the market, suggesting both traditional and exotic versions of pesto. More than 20 others herbs, including sage, dill, thyme and mint are available. Epazote, an herb popular in Mexican and Spanish dishes, possesses a minty lemon flavor. Papalo, also prevalent in Central and South American cooking, has a piquant flavor that hints of cilantro and citrus. It often accompanies fresh papaya and is included in fish dishes, salsas and guacamole, but with a stronger bouquet than true cilantro, chefs add only about a one-third as much.
As summer ripens, so do the tomatoes, harvested from Rexcroft’s 8,000 plants. Bushels of freshly picked corn make the plaza feel like country.
I peer at the purslane, a semi-succulent green used in salads. With small leaves and tender stems, purslane can also be sautéed, just don’t overcook it. One shopper, picking up a bunch, says she gently parboils it in salt water.
“It’s a weed to some people,” says Dan. “Purslane was growing in our cornfields, and it would get tangled in the equipment, but I noticed that some of the workers helping me pick, were eating it. They convinced me to try some; it was delicious.” These days, Rexcroft Farm cultivates purslane and routinely brings it to market.
The King family is committed to sustainable farming. “We follow organic pest control practices as much as possible. We use beneficial insects and OMRI (organic materials research institute) approved products,” Dan says.
The Kings’ ancestors began as small produce farmers on fertile land along the Hudson River in Greene County near Athens, New York. Their grandfather started the dairy operation back when New York State was a major dairy producer. Dan and Nate turned to vegetable farming after a doctor advised their father to take better care of his heart. “Dairy is the roughest agri-business there is… and I grew up milking cows so I knew I didn’t want to do that,” says Dan. He started growing hydroponic tomatoes after attending an informational session at SUNY-Delhi about NYC farmers’ markets. Today, the family farm consists of 300 acres with fields of vegetables, greenhouses, beef pastures, hay fields and woodlots.
CAPTION: Alfredo Martinez has worked at Rexcroft Farms for more than a decade. He, and his two sons, Mike and Joseph, set out from Greene County in upstate New York at 3 am to arrive at Dag Hammarskjold by 6 to set-up for the market on this Wednesday in late July.