Saturday, June 04, 2011



The time may have come to revive this blog. I'm testing this possibility right now sitting on a park bench at the edge of Inwood Hill Park. I'm dictating this entry using a Posterous app on my Android tablet. After a little experimentation it seems to be working, albeit slowly.

That I am sitting outside and dictating bespeaks an intention to blog differently. I guess we'll see how it all works out...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Northern Manhattan Parks Master Plan

A tip of the hat to Osi Kaminer, who pointed us in the direction of this web page pertaining to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's master plan for parks in northern Manhattan. The page includes an interactive map which allows you to vote on existing proposals or to submit your own:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On Chess: Players were pawns for overzealous cops

Shelby Lyman

Peaceful play can be hazardous - at least at the chess tables of Inwood Hill Park in New York.

Several weeks ago, seven men were levied with $50 tickets for playing chess in a park area restricted to adults accompanied by kids. Nearby was a playground - empty of children at the time.

A police spokesman offered an explanation:

"It's the broken-windows theory: Small things can turn into bigger things."

Aggressive action to protect children from predation is commendable, but residents in the neighborhood remain divided over the logic of the raid. Couldn't kinder, gentler means have been used? The modus operandi of the New York police - they swooped down on their targets wearing bulletproof vests - has provoked at least a few comments.

Perhaps the police had been advised that chess players wield a few weapons of their own.

In 1972, during the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky matches, the public learned of the use of the dreaded "poison pawns."

The officers might have also heard of the fire-breathing dragon variation of the Sicilian opening, not to mention the sometimes lethal hippopotamus defense or the rarely used orangutan.

Shelby Lyman is a Basic Chess Features columnist.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Marijuana Lab Discovered at Inwood Building Torched by Fire

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

INWOOD — A sophisticated marijuana lab was discovered by firefighters investigating a fast-moving blaze that tore through a six-story apartment building Thursday morning.

Homegrown plants amounting to an "aggregate weight of several pounds of marijuana" were recovered in an apartment at 510 West 218th St., according to 34th Precinct Capt. Jose Navarro. The fire broke out Thursday morning, and killed two pets and left dozens of families homeless.

"During the fire rescue operations, an apartment used to grow marijuana plants was discovered," Navarro said in an e-mail. He added that the apartment as unfurnished "with the exception of a sophisticated array of ventilation, automatic room temperature control and power source equipment."

The discovery triggered an investigation by the 34th Precinct and the NYPD Narcotics Division, Navarro said.

Fire officials said the marijuana lab did not conribute to the start of the fire, and that the fire was caused by an accidental electrical malfunction in the building.

Neighbors said they were not surprised to hear about the lab.

"This is a quiet section of Inwood," resident Marianna Suerte said. "It makes it the perfect place to grow drugs and not get too many questions."

A 25-year resident of the neighborhood who did not want to be identified said she was also not surprised to hear about the discovery. Although the neighborhood has drastically changed from its drug and gang heyday during the 80s and early 90s, she said there are still pockets of concern.

"There are a lot of shenanigans going on in this building," she said. "You see some pretty unsavory people coming in and out."

A resident of the building, who also asked that his name be withheld out of safety concerns, agreed.

"Am I surprised there was a marijuana lab here?" he asked. "Of course not. There's weed everywhere in Inwood."

Net Zero Energy Buildings

The New York Academy of Sciences presents a panel discussion on net zero energy buildings on January 25, 2011.

Net Zero Energy Buildings: Moving from Demonstration Projects to the Mainstream

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented by the Green Buildings Discussion Group

Since the completion of the Lewis Center at Oberlin College in 1999, which at 13,000 sf was at that time the largest net zero energy building (nZEB) in the country, the green building community has been conceptualizing and developing strategies to scale up nZEBs and make them more commonplace within the industry. Yet, for years energy neutral buildings have remained rarities and typically have been low-intensity use buildings under 15,000sf.

The recent completion of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF)—a 220,000 sf office and lab building with a data center in Golden, CO—has led to new optimism. The NREL-RSF is a testament to a new level of performance, and to an approach to design and construction that rewards cooperation and respects the expertise of all team members. Dr. Paul Torcellini of NREL will describe the design process, which included an analysis and rethinking of occupant behavior and office interiors and led to an innovative building design with unique features that allow the building to operate as an nZEB. Building on this insight into the inspiring work of the NREL-RSF team, Bert Gregory of Mithun will discuss his firms' involvement in net zero energy buildings and neighborhoods such as the Lloyd Crossing and Project Green planning efforts. He will present inspiring projects that are achieving new levels of sustainability in a challenging marketplace and will provide expert insights into metrics, best practices, trends, and prospects in the realm of low/net zero energy buildings. 

Panel Agenda


Chris Garvin, Terrapin Bright Green
Catherine Pfeiffenberger, Skanska


Chris Garvin, Terrapin Bright Green


Bert Gregory, Mithun
Paul Torcellini, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Networking reception to follow.