Friday, June 16, 2006

Changing your point of view

You never really understand what something is like until you actually do it. Like shaving your head, skydiving, having a puppy, surviving a life threatening situation or having a baby. I can now lay claim to two of them, shaving my head (it looked unlike I could imagine, but it was cute! btw, its quite long now, that was years ago), and now, having a puppy.

You think you know what is coming - cute bundle of playfulness that chews and pees a lot. While that provides a general overview it doesn't really cover all of it. G-pup and I adopted a rescued Australian shepherd mix 3 month old little bundle of sweetness and joy. (Friends of ours adopted her sister.) So, if there's anyone out there thinking of getting a puppy, here's a reality check. We are both (our friends too) so unbelievably exhausted. The pup sleeps during the day, you don't. Therefore she's okay with staying up late and getting up early. She's also not quite figured a) what is okay to chew and what is not b) where exactly to go potty. So you are on all day, watching what she is chewing, taking her for walks alternating with cleaning up pee spots around the house.

Having said that, we are really lucky. She is a really smart dog and does mostly sleep through the night - so much so that we have to get her out of bed in the morning. She mostly goes outside and on the paper. She is really quite good on the leash, and good with kids and people. She is so sweet and filled with pure joy and cheekiness. So it is exhausting (and none of our friends have heard from us) but it is also filled with laughter.

It has also given us a glimpse into dog culture in the city. We had some experience having partnered with a group of dog owners in San Francisco in an effort to save a green space (park) from being developed, so we knew a little of what to expect. We were also made aware of dog advocacy groups (mostly maintaining off leash privileges), FIDO and Fort Greene PUPS. Having a dog is an extremely social exercise, we have met so many new people and are definitely more noticeable in our neighborhood. We have met many wonderful and friendly people on our walks - its been great! We will keep you up to date on her progress and the things we find of interest for dog owners. Certainly if anyone has any recommendations (good cafes that are dog friendly, best dog runs, best pet store or vet?) - I would love to hear about it!

In other CH news, the first distribution of the CSA happened at Lattimer School last night. It was lots of fun. Everyone is super friendly and the veg look awesome! (Apparently it was a little thin, but it seemed like a TON of veg to me!) Here's what we got:
1/2 pound salad mix (that's a lot - but I love salads)
1 bok choy (huge huge huge)
1 bunch Tokyo bekana (a flowering cabbage) (pictured above)
1 bunch tiny scallions (tiny because it is spring & they are organic, however smaller scallions tend to be sweeter and taste really good raw)
1 bunch French breakfast radishes (so yummy) (pictured above)
1 potted thyme

It was so exciting to be a part of this and to see everyone coming together to enjoy vegetables and support local farmers! The fruit people also got a delish looking basket of strawberries. Next time I will see if we can buy some fruit onsite. I also picked up "the Beet" which is the CSA newsletter with information from the farmer (Ted) and recipes. I am all over that radish parmesan salad. (yummy salad pictured above with radishes and scallions from CSA, lettuce, pine nuts, dried cranberries from other sources)

Remember how I was complaining about the poor planning of the Grand Army Plaza? Well it looks like something is being done about it Transit Alternatives has joined forces with Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo). They commissioned Jan Gehl, of Gehl Architects to present a plan of revision. The PDF is here. It is a wonderful visual analysis of the existing mess that is GAP (it is referred to as Eskimos jumping from ice floe to ice floe). The review provides a glimpse into the car heavy (and completely irrational) design that is endemic to NYC. The cars are given priority - they have more access to the park than pedestrians, and the best available traffic flow. Pedestrians are given small and often dangerous refuge from the traffic, the environment is cramped, loud and difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, and is marked by "a sense of danger."

The proposed revision is a beautiful redesign of the area (in the European fashion) which gives increased priority and safety to pedestrians and bikers while still meeting needs of traffic. I have never understood why a city like New York, with its great transit infrastructure, doesn't act more progressively and proactively regarding the design of public space, giving priority to pedestrians and bicycles. It doesn't strike me as a political or classist strategy. People of all ages, races, wealth and political affiliation walk/bike/ride transit. Why not make our city a more livable city...

I would like to grab some images from the pdf because it is really compelling (I can't figure out how) and certainly makes me want to move to Copenhagen where people and bikes are given priority over cars. The killing devices killed 4,598 people (2004) and 21 bikers (2005)) - excuse the language, but are you fucking kidding me? Don't get me wrong, you do sometimes need a car, but mostly you don't. And for when you do, there's ZipCar. (which came through in spades once again when we needed a car at a moment's notice).

Brownstoner launched an extensive new guide to Brooklyn, called "Brooklyn Record" I will try and keep up with what is going on, but for the full scoop make sure you subscribe to their feed (but expect around 10 posts a day - there's a lot happening in Brooklyn!) I don't have any updates on what might be happening this weekend since I have been busy scheduling playdates for the puppy.

Breaking news: Just added to the map, Natural Heights at 688 Washington (in P Heights) a store which will feature natural and organic products for you, your house and your pets. Just like the website says. Coming "May 2006," um, or sometime thereabouts. (Via set-speed, via the forum).

1 comment:

Rich Woods said...

Yup, was very happy w/ the look of the veggies from the CSA... This is our first time ever doing something like this and I couldn't be happier... the salad mix was unbelievable and the radishes were crisp and spicy. Can't wait until Thursday. :)