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Showing posts from February, 2016

Short Stack of Books

On February 18, 2014, I shared the first short stack of books on the blog. The theme was urban animals and featured the following titles: Architecture According to Pigeons by Speck Lee Tailfeather; On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz; and The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. The second installation was more than a year later and featured picture books about dogs . Since then, I have been posting the short stack series on Instagram  (#shortstackofbooks). You can follow the series even if you are not on Instagram by clicking the previous link but I thought it might be nice to share the short stacks here. Please let me know what you've read and your recommendations.

Washington Square Park by the Numbers

Image: Plate 31, 1921-1923. NYPL Digital Collections. Washington Square Park was not always parkland. The land was upland meadow and a marsh supported by the Minetta waterbody. It was farmland, too. The farmers were indentured but free blacks. The land east of Minetta Waters was purchased by the City in 1797 for a potter's field (reportedly 20,000 burials occurred there). The next use for the land was a military parade ground. The 2-tributary, almost 2-mile long Minetta originally flowed west of the current location of the Arch and the fountain. In the late 1820s, the land between the creek and current day MacDougal Street was purchased by the City, and in 1827, the former marsh/farm/potter's field/parade ground became a public park. By 1828, the flow of the "Minetta Waters" was completed culverted from the park to the Hudson River. Read more about the park's timeline here . Image: Washington Square looking north, 1935. NYPL Digital Collect

Children Around the World by Peter Guttman

We are several days into February and Black History Month, and less than three weeks ago we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although Peter Guttman's Children Around the World: A Photographic Treasury of the Next Generation does not deal with African American history, it is a worthwhile book to share with a child this month. The extraordinary diversity of ethnicity, culture, economic class, and really every aspect of how people inhabit the Earth are captured in Guttman's captioned photographs. I bought a copy of this book for our younger child because she enjoys looking at photographs of children, but it is my older child who looked deeply and asked many questions. He was curious about why children his age dressed, lived, and engaged in activities unfamiliar to him. For example, on page 86, he was surprised to see a boy playing with a rubber tire in the road. The boy from St. Lucia was pushing a tire with the aid of two sticks. For other photograp

Researching the Urban Ecologies of Parks in NYC

Image: Screenshot of Figure: Locations: Borough and Park, page 2, Research Permits Report 2015 Annual Report There is a lot of research happening in New York City's parks! I’m putting together a permit application on behalf of WSP Eco Projects and have been reviewing Research Permit Reports [pdf] and NYC Urban Field Station Progress Reports [pdf]. The proposed research project for Washington Square Park is an extension of the one day wildlife data collection pilot we coordinated with SciStarter for the 2015 World Science Festival. Fingers crossed for our application! Now, let me tell you about those other research projects. In a nutshell, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources Division granted 93 research permits in 2015. Of these, 33 were renewals of existing projects. Applicant affiliations spanned the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, with the majority of applications from universities. Also, projects are occurri