Community Green

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Growing Up Morrisania: Kids Eat Radishes

radishes

The tenement basement I lived in was midway between Public School 63 and Crotona Park. I walked to P.S. 63 at an early age and, given the distance, my brother and I were allowed to go to the park on our own. Mom would often take us to picnic in the park. She would pack sandwiches, salads and the Sunday paper in a shopping cart and off we’d go. She would spread a blanket on the grass and we’d spend pleasant afternoons napping under a tree. She’d keep an eye on us from the nearest bench because she never sat on the blanket. She dreaded insects but didn’t miss an opportunity to take us to the park. It was “outside” and a stark contrast to living “under the steps” of our apartment building. When, we were older, one of us would carry her folding aluminum lawn chair with the green and white vinyl webbing. The park became my private Sherwood Forest and I pretended to be all manner of people while playing there.

Crotona Park was enormous to us as little kids. I learned years later that it covers 127.5 acres (0.5 square miles). The park is known for its variety of trees and the 3.3-acre lake is home to fish, turtles, and ducks. There are 20 tennis hard courts (clay when I was a kid), five baseball diamonds, eleven playgrounds (up from nine) and a 300-foot pool, the largest pool in the Bronx. The pool was in the next park section over as were the baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and Indian Lake. I would have to cross additional streets to get to those areas on my own and, when small, that wasn’t allowed. That meant I couldn’t go to the pool. Heck, I couldn’t swim anyway.

I had a lot of freedom as a child, but there were some simple rules:
Don’t play in the street.
Never cross more than one street.
Never go around more than one corner.
Come home when the street lights come on.

I had considered breaking the street rule, but I still wouldn’t be able to get into the pool without an adult. Any adult friend of my mother would surely ask if I had my mother’s permission. The idea of asking a stranger to escort me into a public pool was such a moon-like thought I’m not sure it ever occurred to me.

When I was a kid:
Kids spoke when spoken to.
Kids didn’t talk to strangers.
Kids didn’t interrupt adults when they were speaking.
Kids didn’t do things without permission.

The older you got, the more rules you broke.

There was a playground in Crotona Park with a park house where you could borrow balls, bats, and board games when you were no longer swinging, tagging and climbing. Across from the playground, behind a fence, with two wishing wells with weather vanes, was the Farm Garden. My brother and I knew the difference between flowers and vegetables, but we didn’t have any plants at home. We never really thought about growing stuff. We didn’t get much sunlight.

One bright, warm day I spoke to the woman who managed the Farm Garden. Well, she actually spoke to us first. My brother and I, tired of the other things we could do, had peered through the gate at the strange things growing behind the fence. Rob and I watched as the woman went to and fro carrying tools and watering cans or vegetables. Every now and then, she would glance over at us. When she began to walk towards us, we considered running off, but adventurous, we held our ground. She greeted us with, “How are you boys today?” We responded politely, as taught, with, “We’re well Ma’am.” We were brave, but not enough to ask her what she was doing. It looked liked gardening, but there weren’t any flowers.

We knew about flowers, even thought we were “city” kids. Mom, a H.S. graduate, worked in an office in the garment district and the evening she came home with an orchid corsage, I learned several things. Grandmother was a housekeeper for a baby doctor on West End Avenue and brought home just-past-fresh cut flowers sometimes. We were poor kids but wore chinos and striped tee shirts from Woolworth’s on Bathgate Avenue. We never wore denim. We didn’t own a pair of blue jeans. Field and factory folk wore dungarees. We were being raised to be something else. When she asked if we would like to come in, neither of us budged. When she asked if we’d like to know what she was doing, neither of us said a word. I guess we wore her down because finally she just smiled and said, “Come on in.”

She ushered us in and stopped when we were inside the gate almost as if, now that we were in her domain, we couldn’t get away. She said her name was Mrs. Xxyyzz, but we should call her Mrs. O. We were simply Chuck and Rob. Mrs. O, said, “Can you help me?” “You see that bush near the gate?” We half-turned and were surprised we had not noticed the remarkable plants flanking the gate. She took us towards them and, almost gleefully, asked me if I would pick one of the aspirin bottle cotton “flowers.” As I reached for the closest burst bloom, she pointed to a huge blossom well inside the plant and said, “No, that one.” I thrust my hand into the bush only to be scratched on the hand, wrist, and arm. I was genuinely wounded when I withdrew the boll.

Mrs. O reached for me and I thought to move away from this trickster but, before I could, she gently touched my shoulder and said, “Baby, now you know what it’s like to pick cotton.” “Let’s grow some vegetables!” I gave her an 8-year-old’s glare as she pulled a handkerchief from her apron and took off her hat to wipe her forehead. Her hair was white and braided in the same way as my grandmother. Except for the 360 degrees of pigment between them, they could be sisters.

I let her lead me toward the vegetables, Rob following, looking for any sign of trouble. I watched her carefully, after the incident with the cotton, as she pointed out this thing and that. In a blink, I ate vine-ripened, red tomatoes and discovered they were cousin to green peppers and purple things called eggplants. I found out peanuts could be eaten raw and potatoes, beets, and turnips grew underground with fascinating things called radishes.

I had heard of radishes. I knew they were one of the things Mom liked in her salad. Mrs. O pulled some up and washed them off under the faucet inside the wishing well. I recall asking Mrs. O, “Do kids eat radishes?” She said, “They do if they like them.” “There is only one way to find out.” Sitting in the shade, on the edge of the well with my feet dangling under cool running water, surrounded by vegetables, Rob and I enjoyed eating radishes.

Crotona Park Farm Garden Wish Well

Filed under: African-American, Arts & Culture, Bronx Parks, Community Green, Community Greens, , , , ,

BRONX:AFRICA Call to Artists

bca logo

The Bronx Council on the Arts, Longwood Art Gallery@Hostos invites artists across all disciplines to submit work samples or proposals for our upcoming BRONX:AFRICA exhibition opening February 2016.

About BRONX:AFRICA:
(February 3 – May 4, 2016) The BRONX:AFRICA exhibit will feature contemporary art across disciplines along with special events throughout the Bronx. Our borough is home to major and still growing populations from across Africa. This vital presence influences and transforms our city. BRONX:AFRICA is a multidisciplinary and multimodal exploration of the art, expressions and influences of African cultures, and their impact as nationals mix and infuse. BRONX:AFRICA will explore and celebrate the influence of contemporary African cultures in the Bronx and reinforce connections among the many peoples of African descent, mixed heritage and migration-dispersion that call the Bronx home.
LeRonn Brooks, Exhibition Curator; Atim Oton, Curator, Community Engagement

How to Submit:
Please upload a resume and/or bio to your submittable application, along with up to 10 work samples.For installations and performance-based work – a description of the piece, visuals or footage, web links, budget and any special needs must be included in your submission.

Deadline to submit: Monday, September 14, 2015

No phone calls, please. Selected artists will be contacted by the exhibition staff. Please do not submit original art – work will not be returned.

This call is open to artists from all five boroughs. However, priority will be given to artists from the Bronx.

Visit the BCA website for information as it evolves  http://www.bronxarts.org/bronxafrica.asp

Filed under: African Art, African-American, Arts & Culture, BCA, Blacks, Bronx Council on the Arts, Community Green, , , , , , , ,

The Hunts Point Hustle Saturday, October 3, 2015-NEW DATE

hunts point hustle 2015Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, at 10 AM
Race start: Hunts Point Riverside Park
Race end/festival: Barretto Point Park

This 5K run/walk begins at Hunts Point Riverside Park in the South Bronx and travels through Hunts Point to Barretto Point Park

The Hunts Point Hustle is Sustainable South Bronx’s premier fundraising and community event. It’s more than just a race: it connects runners and walkers with the South Bronx Greenway, a network of green streets, bike lanes, and waterfront parks.

This 5K run/walk begins at Hunts Point Riverside Park in the Bronx and travels through the South Bronx to Barretto Point Park. At Barretto Park, there will be a festival with free food, music, fitness activities, kids’ activities, a raffle, and more!

People of all ages are encouraged to attend!

Filed under: Events, Fttness, Hunts Point, , , ,

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

1-Barbara

Barbara and her friends walked, talking and laughing, down Franklin Avenue towards 169th Street. I listened to every word they said, acting like I wasn’t there. My big sister and her friends were on their way to the Delite Record Shop on Boston Road to buy the Ray Charles single, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”. It had shot to the top of the R&B charts and the girls couldn’t wait to get it. Barbara was turning 18 on Saturday and wanted the hottest 45’s for the house party they were having at Sharon’s. Sharon’s mother was a night duty nurse and left for work at 10 pm. She wouldn’t be back until 10 am the next day. The party would be un-chaperoned and the teenage conspirators thought, with careful cleaning, no one would ever know it was anything more than a girl’s sleepover.

Every now and then one of Barbara’s friends would say something an 8-year-old shouldn’t hear and glance over to see if I had been listening. Of course I was, but I would turn my head to watch a car go by or kick a pebble to prove my attention was elsewhere. Barbara never looked at me. She knew I wouldn’t tell. I had learned long ago not keeping her confidence meant no attention and, sandwiched between older and younger brothers, I needed Barbara to look out for me.

Jean mentioned George and Barbara stopped, tipped her head down and looked at her the way mom would glare at us when we were bad. George was 10 years older than Barbara and she had been dating him for 2 years. Mom didn’t like it but, as a single mom, she had her hands full raising 3 younger boys, taking care of an ailing mother and dealing with a teenage girl. Barbara breathed out as though she were about to say something then turned and walked on. The girls hesitated for a moment before they fell back to chattering. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: African-American, Community Green, Community Greens, , , , ,

Transportation Alternatives Bronx Ride to Orchard Beach

bike

TABX Ride to Orchard Beach

From: Arthur Avenue Retail Market in Bronx, New York

Sunday at 11:00 am

Filed under: Community Green

Help NYC Parks Count Street Trees

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Join the Counter Culture! This year, NYC Parks is counting and mapping all the beautiful street trees that grace our city, and we need your help! Sign up to become a voluntreer for TreesCount! 2015 and play a key role in the future of our urban forest!

Help us count our street trees!

Filed under: Environment, Events, Parks, Volunteer, , , ,

Charlotte, North Carolina, Named After a Mulatto Desendant

Queen-Charlotte-of-England

Queen Charlotte of England (1744-1818), wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a Black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. Her contemporaries described her as having “a true mulatto face.” The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, is named after her.

Black Lives Matter!

Filed under: Black History, Blacks, Community Greens, , , , ,

Harlem Week Black College Fair Saturday August 15, 2015

Filed under: African-American, Blacks, Education, Events, , , , ,

BOOGIE ON THE BOULEVARD: SUMMER SUNDAYS

BOOGIE ON THE BOULEVARD: SUMMER SUNDAYS

Sunday, August 2 at 12:00pm

Bronx Museum of the Arts in the Bronx, New York

Celebrate summer in the Bronx on the Grand Concourse between 161st and 167th Streets. On August 2, 9, & 16, the center lanes will be closed to cars and open to a world of fun, with free music, activities and programs hosted by art/cultural, civic, health organizations and artists. For details go to http://www.bronxmuseum.org/events/boogie-on-the-boulevard-summer-sundays_3

Filed under: Community Green

Bronx Forest Trail Work and Forest Clean Up 7/11/15

bxra cleanup 7-11-15

CLICK PHOTO or HERE FOR FLYER

Filed under: Bronx Parks, BxRA, Environment, Events, , , , ,

Community Green

It takes more than a mother, or a village, to raise a child and prepare him or her to live and do well in the world today. The world is more than flat or round or sun, moon and stars. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are seen from different orientations. We all see the world uniquely. Community Green, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to add to the tale.

Community Green Web Site

Community Green Cooks!

CG Cooks!
I have gone to bed fed but not nourished physically or spiritually. These days some folks call that being food insecure. Let's change that on a lot of levels. Lets start with healthy food that makes us happy.

Community Green Photo

Community Green Photo

Morgan Powell Memorial

Bronx River Sankofa

Blacks In Green

There are more of us out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our perspective, concerns and ideas. This could be called a seat at the table, a plot in the garden or a home in this hood!

CG's BIG of the Month:

Ajamu Kitwana

Ajamu Kitwana

Bissel Gardens

Bisselsign Bissel Gardens is a community garden that serves many purposes — It brings people together, beautifies the neighborhood, creates safe outdoor space, offers community gardening, grows food for donation and provides environmental and educational programs.

Find Your Community Garden

Anyone can join a garden. With more than 600 gardens across the five boroughs, potential members and volunteers should choose carefully. To aid in your search, GreenThumb has provided a Garden Finder from GardenMaps.

Tour de Yonkers

Get Your Bike Out!September 27th, 2015
24 days to go.

The Bronx River Alliance

An Upstream SoireeSeptember 29th, 2015
27 days to go.

NYC Century Bike Tour

September 13th, 2015
10 days to go.

Upcoming Events

  • Valerie Capers, Piano/Vocalist September 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Pelham Bay Park (Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue) CLASSIC JAZZ EVERYONE LOVES!
  • 2015 Tour De Yonkers September 27, 2015 Yonkers, NY
  • An Upstream Soiree September 29, 2015 at 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460, United St ates BxRA Annual Fundraiser

Community Green on Facebook

Twitter Updates

Kim Beazer’s Nature’s Nurses

Nature's Nurses
Bronx River Alliance
GaiaSoil
MillionTreesNYC - Make NYC Even Cooler

Subscribe to get Communtiy Green emails.

NYBasketball

NYBasketball

Did You Know. . .

Capacity Fund Grants fund projects to strengthen groups’ outreach, membership, and program-planning capacity. Grants range from $250 to $5,000. Three grant cycles a year, with deadlines on February 1, August 1, and November 1. Projects must take place on NYC Parks property. - See more:

Community Green Grows!

CG Grows!

Tomato Booster
When your tomatoes, eggplants and peppers begin to bloom, mix up a batch of this potion to encourage prolific, healthy fruiting.

2 tablespoons Epsom salts

1 gallon water

The magnesium and sulfur in the Epsom salts are micro-nutrients that foster fruiting.

Vegetables and Fruits

Plant warm-season veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, and peppers.
Mulch sprawling veggies, such as melons and squash, to keep them clean and away from soggy soil.
Thin vegetable seedlings.
Keep your vegetable garden evenly and regularly watered.
Address insect and disease problems as soon as you spot them.
Keep weeds pulled – they compete for nutrients.
Remove fallen fruits or veggies to prevent insects and diseases from spreading.
Install fences or netting to protect your garden from rabbits, birds, and other hungry creatures.
Install trellises, stakes, or cages for vining veggies.
Plant summer herbs such as basil and cilantro. Pinch off flower buds to encourage more tasty leaves.
Harvest cool-season vegetables, such as broccoli, onions, cabbage, and asparagus.
Begin harvesting warm-season veggies as they mature.

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