Archive for Dance

My July Classes; Qigong & Tai Chi Easy™ Trainings with Dr. Roger Jahnke

RECOMMENDING MY QIGONG TEACHER’S WORKSHOPS:

This July, my qigong teacher and Tai Chi Easy™ founder returns to NYC to teach special workshops at The Open Center. Dr. Roger Jahnke created this more simplified version of Tai Chi so that the profound benefits (balance, stress-reduction, self-healing) could be available to everyone no matter the age or condition of the students. Traditional Tai Chi requires years of study, but Dr. Jahnke’s shortened and flowing version will bring you those benefits almost immediately. I know it may sound too good to be true, but it really does work!  I teach Dr. Jahnke’s Tai Chi Easy™ in my Integral  Yoga classes and during my Dorot telephone series (a seated version). 

Here are the links to his NYC Workshops on Saturday, July 13: https://www.opencenter.org/the-healer-within/ and Sunday, July 14 https://www.opencenter.org/qigong-as-gateway-to-inner-peace – choose one day, or both! If you are interested in doing 5-day courses with Dr. Jahnke this Summer, he will be at Kripalu Yoga Center mid-August: https://kripalu.org/search/jahnke  I highly recommend studying with Dr. Jahnke – he is a true spiritual teacher who walks the tai chi walk!

Dr. Roger Jahnke and a few graduates of his programs at our awesome Reunion this year outside of Austin, TX.  

MY SUMMER CLASS SCHEDULE:

This Summer, I am happily teaching many movement classes including yoga, qigong and ballet. In addition to teaching Monday morning Gentle/ Level 1 yoga classes at UWS Yoga & Wellness, there will be two Thursday evening Gentle Yoga & Qigong classes at the beautiful Integral Yoga Institute. I will be back at Dorot on August 19 for a Chair Yoga class, and my telephone Qigong, Tai Chi Easy™ and Guided Meditation series starts again Friday, July 5 (by the way, you can start this 10-week series at any time).

Additionally, I am subbing Sunday adult ballet classes for my ballet teacher, Finis Jhung, at the Alvin Ailey Dance Extension Program. These “Adult Basic Ballet” and “Adult Beginner Ballet” classes are taught in the style of Finis Jhung, as I have completed a teacher training with him, and continue to study with him. We will be using compilations of his beautiful classical music cds, composed specifically for his classes. You can wear yoga clothes if you don’t have dance leotards and tights, but I do suggest you purchase a pair of canvas ballet slippers (at Capezios, Bloch, or elsewhere) for under $ 20. The Alvin Ailey boutique also sells our ballet barre instructional DVDs, so you can practice at home too. If you have any questions about ballet supplies, please email me!

Alvin Ailey Dance Extension 

Adult Ballet at Ailey Extension This Summer

I am teaching four Sunday adult ballet classes for my ballet teacher, Finis Jhung, at the Alvin Ailey Dance Extension Program. See below for the exact dates and times of these “Absolute Beginner Ballet” and “Beginner Ballet” classes.  Both levels are taught in the style of Finis Jhung, as I have completed a teacher training with him, and continue to study with him.  We will be using compilations of his beautiful classical music cds, composed specifically for his classes. You can wear yoga clothes if you don’t have dance leotards and tights, but I do suggest you purchase a pair of canvas ballet slippers (at Capezios, Bloch, or elsewhere) for under $ 20. If you have any questions about ballet supplies, please email me!

Alvin Ailey Dance Extension 
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CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Absolute Beginner Ballet for Adults on Sundays, June 9 and August 4 at noon – 1:30 pm:
This class is open to all, whether you have ballet experience and want to review the basics or you are a brand-new beginner.  Non-dancers will not be intimidated as the instructions are clear and the class moves at a slow pace. We begin standing ballet exercises at a portable barre in front of the mirror. Most exercises are done with both hands on the barre and proceed slowly and methodically, and the second time we practice away from the barre so balance and strength are further developed. In Absolute Beginner Ballet, students learn the basics of correct dance posture, positioning, and balancing on one leg. The centerwork includes stretching on the floor, as well as basic dance movements which travel across the floor.  Ballet helps increase coordination, balance and memory, and movements are coordinated with beautiful classical music.  I enjoy taking the Absolute Beginner class, because I find the slow, mindful dance movements to be like a zen yogic flow — meditative, but also with the added benefits mentioned above.  I am very happy to be teaching this class as I believe in Finis’ movement principles, and see many parallels with the Tai Chi Easy/ Qigong classes I teach (fall prevention, movement quality, strength and grace, etc.).     
 

Melissa Elstein at the barre.

Beginner Ballet for Adults on Sundays, June 9 and August 4 at 2:00 – 3:30 pm: 
The Beginner Ballet class is for people who have had prior dance experience, because the barre moves much faster and the center includes turns and jumps. The combinations are longer and more complex than the Absolute Beginner Ballet, but the underlying technical principles remain the same.   

photo by Stephen Von der  Launitz___________

March Classes; New Gentle Ballet at Dorot for Seniors; Yoga and Qigong Workshops

I hope this email finds you well on this snowy and rainy Sunday evening. Please commute safely tomorrow! 

I am delighted to be returning to the Dorot Center on the Upper West Side to teach a special series – “Gentle Ballet for 60+”.  The full description of this new weekly class (Tuesdays 10-11 am) is below.

Ballet had been an integral part of my life since I was a child. I started taking classes and performing in recitals as a young child in New Jersey, and then auditioned for and was accepted into George Balanchine’s “School of American Ballet” at Lincoln Center.  Performing with the New York City Ballet as a young dancer in classics, such as The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Harlequinade and others was a gift that I will always cherish.  I so appreciate that I was able to dance at The New York State Theater with ballet superstars Suzanne Farrell, Baryshnikov, Helgi Tomasson, Jacques D’Amboise, Patricia McBride, Merrill Ashley (to name a few) as they were coached by Balanchine. It truly was the heyday of ballet in NYC, if not the world, and I soaked it all in. After high school, I joined the Pennsylvania Ballet Company in Philadelphia, dancing professionally for several years.

Growing up, ballet was my deepest passion.  I never imagined my beloved career would be cut short. But various factors (injury, emotional burnout, immaturity) led me to leave the dance world for a decade to pursue academics and a law degree instead. I thought the ballet for me was just a memory. But while studying for the bar exams, I went back to the other “barre” as well and returned to ballet classes. It was like coming home.  Since then, I never stopped dancing; even while practicing law, I would hop on the express train and take class during lunch or after work. When I left the practice of law and became a teacher of yoga, pilates and Qigong, it was only natural that the appeal of ballet teacher trainings would follow, and I subsequently trained with ballet master Finis Jhung (my ballet mentor to this day) and American Ballet Theater’s school. 

While now teaching ballet to children, adults and seniors, I love to bring joy of movement combined with technical skills – modified to students depending on age and ability. One is never too old to start dance classes, as long as the class allows for the student to respect the body’s limitations and work within safe ranges of motion, as are my guiding principles. Ballet is a beautiful art form that also has practical benefits for students: increase of strength and flexibility; improvement of balance and coordination; focus, attention and memory can improve. Plus, it feels wonderful to move to classical movement.  It truly uplifts the spirit!           

Dorot Center – photo by Shannon O’Connor

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

“GENTLE BALLET” AT DOROT FOR SENIORS (60+):

Stretch and strengthen like a ballet dancer, and learn ballet barre technique in a modified gentle ballet class that uses a chair for support.

We start with seated warmups for legs and arms, and gentle core strengthening.  Once the body is warmed up, we will stand holding the chair for the traditional ballet barre exercises.  Ballet class has been shown to improve coordination, balance, flexibility and muscular strength – all while moving to beautiful classical music!

Please rsvp to Shannon O’Connor before class and note the standing movements are best wearing ballet slippers, socks with traction, or flexible sneakers (i.e., allowing the feet to flex and point).  

Melissa Elstein at the barre.

 photo by Stephen Von Der Launitz

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“TAI CHI EASY & CHAIR YOGA”:

Tai Chi Easy™ and Chair Yoga continues at the beautiful Integral Yoga Institute.  This fusion class supports the immune system with gentle movement, energy work, and self-care techniques. Our practice combines all the above, as we warm up, strengthen and stretch the body with Chair Yoga exercises, standing balancing poses (optional use of the chair for support), Tai Chi Easy™ weight shifting and walking for balance and coordination, and Qigong energy cultivation.  Class ends with an extended yoga nidra deep relaxation and guided meditation to refresh the body and spirit. This class, formerly called “Chair Chi & Prana“, is accessible to all ages and levels.  Please wear or bring traction socks (like pilates or Barre socks).  

February 2019 Classes

On this balmy Superbowl Sunday, it feels like Spring may be right around the corner, and I certainly hope so!  This week’s Arctic Blast left my body feeling stiff and tense, as I found myself bracing against the chilly winds on my daily walking commutes. During the Winter months, it is even more important to take time for stretching and relaxation, as our muscles reflexively contract in the cold and it is mentally exhausting dealing with such inhospitable conditions.  This month, I am teaching numerous styles of movement modalities all of which will assist with such gentle stretching with a meditative focus.  See the side bar for the February dates and below for descriptions of Adult Beginner Ballet; Chair Yoga & Tai Chi Easy™; Gentle Hatha Yoga; and a special Gentle Yoga & Qigong for Heart Opening on Valentine’s Day.  Hope to see you in class!  As always, email me any questions you may have about these classes.  

Hudson River Sunset 2/3/19 by Melissa Elstein

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CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Special Valentine’s Day Class:

On this 2019 Valentine’s Day, you are invited to a special Heart-focused Yoga & Qigong class 5:15 – 6:45 pm at Integral Yoga Institute. Qigong and yoga are heart opening practices, opening to our own hearts as well as to others. Yoga and Qigong cultivate acceptance and non-harming (Ahimsa) towards oneself and others. In this special class, welcome to everybody (all genders, singles/ couples), we will collectively and individually create more openness of body and spirit as we practice asana and energy work with a gentle heart-centered intention. 
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Chair Yoga. Qigong & Tai Chi Walking:

This fusion class combines gentle movement, energy work, and self-care techniques. Our practice will include all of the above, as we warm up, strengthen and stretch the body with Chair Yoga exercises, standing balancing poses (optional use of the chair for support), Tai Chi Easy™ weight shifting and walking for balance and coordination, and Qigong energy cultivation.  Class ends with an extended yoga nidra deep relaxation and guided meditation to refresh the body and spirit. This class, formerly called “Chair Chi & Prana“, is accessible to all ages and levels.  Please wear or bring traction socks (like pilates or Barre socks).  

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ADULT BEGINNER BALLET LEVEL 1:

This class is open to all, whether you have ballet experience and want to review the basics or you are a brand-new beginner.  Non-dancers will not be intimidated as the instructions are clear and the class moves at a slow pace. You will begin standing at a portable barre placed in front of the mirror. Most exercises are done with both hands on the barre and proceed slowly and methodically, and the second time you will practice away from the barre so you develop balance and strength. In Ballet Level 1, students learn the basics of correct dance posture, positioning, and balancing on one leg. Your muscles will develop properly so you gain strength and control of your movements. The centerwork includes stretching on the floor, as well as basic dance movements which travel across the floor.  Ballet helps with increasing coordination, balance and memory, and movements are coordinated with beautiful classical music.

Melissa Elstein at the barre.

photo by Stephen Von Der Launitz

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Gentle Hatha Yoga:

Restore your balance in this gentle Hatha yoga class that focuses on proper alignment and inner awareness during each yoga posture, deepening the meditative aspect of the yoga practice. This class is designed as a moving meditation that helps us slow down our thoughts so we can connect to our true essence – our higher self.  We begin with the Integral Yoga chants and eye exercises, before exploring the yoga asanas allowing for modifications for each practitioner if appropriate.  Class includes a guided yoga nidra (deep relaxation technique) and savasana (relaxation pose) leaving us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  We conclude with breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation, as well as the Integral Yoga peace chants – creating a well-rounded and thorough yoga practice suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

September 2017 Classes; Eclipse and Yoga; Adult Ballet; Self-Care Sabbatical

Hi friends and family,

I hope you are enjoying the last couple of weeks of August, whether you are on vacation or back at work. Maybe you had the opportunity to watch the solar eclipse today.  Although those of us in NYC did not have the total eclipse other parts of the country experienced, it was still pretty exciting watching NASA TV, observing the amazing eclipse effects and the excitement of the crowds and scientists. Were you aware that “hatha” yoga actually means sun-moon?  In other words, hatha yoga is the balance of the masculine energies within ourselves with the feminine.  This is an individualized personal assessment for each practitioner to explore. Similarly, tai chi state is the balance of the yang with the yin energies. Achieving that energetic balance in our yoga and tai chi/ qigong practices will be different for everyone, and will likely differ with each personal practice as well. So when we design our practice, or take group classes, we ideally want that balance of effort and ease, stability and mobility, rigor and rest, energetic and relaxation. These principles as well shall be applied both on and off the mat, so that we don’t suffer burnout or physical strain yet we do not become lazy or complacent – in our exercise and in our lives. Seeking balance, or the middle ground, is the heart of so many spiritual practices (even though we often observe how that middle ground is usurped by fundamentalism and extremes).  So it is our own quest to continually seek and find balance, knowing that there is no end result but rather a lifetime practice.  Enjoy the process, keep an open mind, and be non-critical to one’s self (ahimsa).

Speaking of balance, I am also making some yoga class schedule changes starting this month.   As many of you know, this past year has been a challenge for me and my family, as my father has been dealing with various health issues that have necessitated numerous trips to the ER, hospital stays, and doctor visits. He has been rising to each medical challenge with a level of determination that is admirable and I hope he continues to fight to regain his strength and health. However, the number of doctor visits and specialists has grown and it has been challenging for me to coordinate all those appointments around my daytime class teaching schedule. Truth be told, it has also been emotionally and physically exhausting, and I am listening to my inner guidance which is telling me to slow down and take time for myself and my family.

As such, I am taking a 4-month sabbatical (September – December) from my weekly daytime yoga classes.

My dear friend and fellow Integral Yoga teacher, Nobue Jaya, will be teaching the Monday morning Chair Yoga class at Dorot.   Many of you already know and love her classes, as Nobue has been teaching at Dorot’s Memory Tree program for a while. You are in lovely and capable hands with Nobue!

Jessica, who already teaches Core Yoga at UWS Yoga and Wellness, will teach both the Tuesday and Thursday Core Strength Hatha 1 Yogaat noon. I know that many of you already take both my Tuesday class and Jessica’s Thursday class, so again you are in capable and lovely hands with Jessica!

My Chair Chi and Prana class will be held during this sabbatical period on three Monday nights (Sept. 25, Oct. 30, and Nov. 27) instead of weekly during the daytime. It will also now be 1.5 hours so we will have time for a longer savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). I hope that you will appreciate this enhanced version of this fusion class! If this new time slot goes well, we will likely add a December date too.

During my sabbatical, I will continue to be on the sub list (so for example, I will be teaching Core Strength Yoga on Tue. Sept. 12 at noon at UWS Yoga and Wellness).

I trust you will all understand my situation, and my need for a bit more space (“sukkha”) in my life due to changed family circumstances. Since I plan to sub, I will notify you when I sub, and hope to see you in class on those occasions. I also know we will stay in touch via emails, and perhaps by getting together in person.

I hope you know this change is not a reflection of my feelings towards any of you. But rather, a needed self-care adjustment to support my and my father’s well-being.  Please email me any questions, concerns, and thoughts.

Adult ballet classes this month:  Additionally, my ballet mentor Finis Jhung will be having surgery early September, and so I will be helping to sub his adult ballet classes at the Alvin Ailey Extension School. These classes are open to the public and to adult beginners.  If you have had dance experience, you can take either the basic or beginner class, and if you are a brand new beginner, please take the basic class. I hope to see you in ballet class, and please join me in sending ballet master Finis Jhung healing energies for his surgery and a quick and full recovery!

December Yoga Schedule; Post-Election

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday season!  This beautiful white bird landed on my terrace Thanksgiving Day, and this is the first time in 16 years we have had such a bird come visit us.  This month’s Really Simple magazine also caught my eye while waiting for the subway to Integral Yoga, and so I hope these symbols of peace are prophetic for all of us!

I have seen many, but not all of you, since the Presidential election results in the beginning of November.  For those of us who voted for a candidate who did not win the election, it has been an extremely emotional and challenging time.  Many, including myself, observed that NYC felt as depressed, shocked and traumatized after Trump won as it felt on 9/11. NYC was eerily silent after both of these game-changing life events. Just as after September 11, 2001, we will find ways to move forward by processing the events, digesting emotions, gathering with others, sharing feelings and thoughts, creating coping plans, and cycling through the cycles of grief over and over.  Joining others in dialogue as well as in healing circles, movement classes, protests, prayer gatherings, and meditation groups can be very therapeutic and each of us will find the best way to meet our own unique needs during these turbulent times. For me personally, I am finding it uplifting to be with others at this time, and that includes an all-of–the above approach: yoga and dance classes, human and environmental-rights affirming marches and street gatherings, dinner conversation, lectures and town halls, and organizing meetings. For each one of us, it will be individualized – there is no one recipe and there is no time limit. What is feeding your spirit and soothing your soul at this stressful time?  I would love to hear!


(Gathering in Support of the Water Protectors at North Dakota’s Standing Rock just as the Army Corps of Engineers Withdrew the Oil Pipeline Easement Today!)

Last month, NY1 did a profile of my Chair Yoga teaching and volunteer community work on the UWS of Manhattan, and I was very flattered to be profiled by one of my favorite news channels!  The 2-minute clip is linked below.  The final segment was edited down from 5 hours of me being interviewed and filmed by the lovely reporter Michael Scotto (who by the way, does his own filming, interviewing and editing – impressive!).  Let me know what you think:
http://www.ny1.com/nyc/manhattan/news/2016/10/12/manhattan-week–the-mayor-of-the-upper-west-side-uses-her-green-thumb-to-keep-the-neighborhood-serene.html

If you appreciate my community work efforts and would like to contribute, I would be most appreciative! My all-volunteer neighborhood organization is a 501 c3 organization, and so donations are tax-deductible! We rely fully on contributions to continue our work seeking to create a cleaner and greener NY!  Please go to http://www.west80s.org  to make donations, or to see more about community work.  Thanks for your consideration!

August 2016 Schedule

Happy August!  After the recent heat wave (or “dome” as the newscasters labeled it), it feels as if we have already been in the midst of August, and yet, there are likely more hot and humid NYC days still before us.  So please stay hydrated, especially after yoga or dance classes or working out.  To help me remember to drink more water during these Summer days, I have been adding fruit slices, such as oranges, lemon and lime into my reusable water bottle and it is much more refreshing and flavorful than plain water.  Other nice additions are watermelon and cucumber slices – very cooling!  Berries can be added too. Be creative!  But please use a reusable water bottle made from glass or steel, and try to avoid all plastic bottles for your health and the health of the planet! Please see:  https://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/

Some scheduling notes this month: I will be on vacation, the last week of August through Labor Day, so please see the side bar for my August teaching dates.  Also, on Sunday, August 7, I am teaching two ballet classes at Alvin Ailey Extension – subbing for my teacher, Finis Jhung.  For brand new beginners (no experience necessary), the 12 noon class is ideal.  For those of you with ballet experience, you can take the 12 noon class if you want a great refresher on the basics and an opportunity to really feel your muscles work, and/or the 2 pm class as well – which moves faster, includes turns and more center work off the barre. Sometimes, I take both classes in a row, and it a great combo to solidify one’s technique and build strength.  Please email me any questions!

If you are interested in learning Tai Chi Easy™ and Qigong from my first teacher, Roger Jahnke, OMD, he will be teaching at Kripalu in the Berkshires this month!  I highly recommend studying with him, and if you take my classes where I blend in Tai Chi Easy™ with yoga, you will recognize some of the healing movements.  This would be a way to deepen your practice and learn from the tai chi master himself!  See http://www.kripalu.org
August 19 – 21: Public Workshop: Portal to Happiness, Healing and Inner Peace – Awaken Your Healer Within and  August 21 – 26: Certification Training: Healer Within™ Practice Leader Training: Medical Qigong Certification

June Schedule; New Yoga and Ballet Classes this Month and Change to Thursday Core Strength Yoga

Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and took some time to honor all those who have bravely served all over the world in defense of freedom, human rights and liberty.  
Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, Riverside Park, NYC (2016)

Some scheduling announcements:

I am teaching a Yoga & Qigong fusion class at Integral Yoga Thur., night, June 16th – subbing for my friend Nadiya.  Additionally, this Sunday, June 5th, I am teaching two ballet classes at Alvin Ailey Extension – subbing for my teacher, Finis Jhung.  For brand new beginners (no experience necessary), the 12 noon class is ideal.  For those of you with ballet experience, you can take the 12 noon class if you want a great refresher on the basics and an opportunity to really feel your muscles work, and/or the 2 pm class as well – which moves faster, includes turns and more center work off the barre. Sometimes, I take both classes in a row, and it a great combo to solidify one’s technique and build strength.  Please email me any questions!

Also, staring this month, I am taking a leave from teaching the Thursday noon Core Strength Yoga class at UWS Yoga & Wellness in order to work on a friend’s local political campaign through the Fall.  Micah Lasher is running for State Senate in my district (to replace Senator Espaillat who is running to replace Congressman Rangel).  In case you live in my district, here is Micah’s site:  http://www.lasherforsenate.com

Depending on my campaign workload, I will possibly be subbing other classes at UWS Yoga and offering periodic workshops.  I have loved getting to know all of you at UWS Yoga individually and collectively, and being a part of the UWS Yoga and Wellness family!  I hope to remain a part of the teaching group there, and am trying to consolidate all my weekly group yoga classes on Mondays and Tuesdays during this Summer and early Fall (the primary is September 13th).  Currently, I am looking at spaces to potentially rent on Tuesdays for Core Strength Yoga, and I will let you know the details if a studio space is available.

So please, stay in touch, and email me if you want to organize periodic classes or semi-privates, etc., that can work around my campaign hours. I want to remain flexible (no pun intended) with my teaching and will have a better idea of my schedule once I start with the Lasher campaign.  Please email me your thoughts and/or concerns.  I do hope we can still practice yoga together, and can work something out if you are interested!

On another note, my neighborhood association’s Second Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” event went very well on Sunday, May 22, with a large turnout of volunteers who came from the W. 90s down to the W. 30s in Manhattan!  It was a lovely day for cleaning and beautifying tree beds, removing litter, adding compost, mulch, flowers, curb your dog signs, and tabulating the amount and type of litter for our sidewalk trash audit. Here is a short article on the event, and stay tuned for hopefully a longer piece to be published.  http://www.westsidespirit.com/local-news/20160524/uws-trees-get-tlc

                                                                 

May Schedule; New Yoga Barre Class; Plastic Bags; Love Your Tree Day

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy May!  I am back from a fantastic vacation to Sedona. I highly recommend traveling to this beautiful area of our country for amazing hiking, sight-seeing (ancient cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, an artsy old mining ghost town, new age stores and crystal shops), and delicious food (found the best vegan garden restaurant and chocolate bar for lunch, and an incredible gluten-free pizzeria).  If you go, email me for travel suggestions!

A few exciting announcements:

First, I have a new 3-week class at Integral Yoga Institute for the next 3 Monday nights: My “Yoga Barre” at 6:30- 8 pm combines yoga warm-ups, pilates, and ballet barre to strengthen and tone the body, and increase balance and coordination.  Come to any one or all three classes! Go to http://www.iyiny.org  to sign up!

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Second, on May 22, please come join my West 80s Neighborhood Association, our elected officials and community board, environmental organizations, non-profits, students, businesses and city agencies, as we clean and green across the UWS. It will be a fun afternoon as we care for our important NYC street trees by adding mulch and compost, clean up litter, engage in a voluntary trash audit, and join with other New Yorkers who want to see our city be cleaner and greener.  Free goodie bags will be distributed with gardening tools, curb your dog signs, and other free items.  Compost and mulch will be provided in free take-home buckets, and coffee and snacks will be served.  We need volunteers to help that day, as well as volunteers to help market our Second Annual  “Love Your Street Tree Day”.  Please let me know if you are interested! To sign up for May 22, go tohttp://loveyourstreetday/eventbrite.com

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Finally, the most recent The New Yorker magazine has a great article on the plastic bag issue, and I am quoted in the middle of the article as the author shadowed me and my neighborhood group as we trained with Bette Midler’s organization, NY Restoration Project, learning how to remove plastic bags from trees with a tool called a bag snagger.  The article is very thorough regarding plastic pollution issues, laws seeking to curtail plastic bag use, and obstacles to that environmental fight.  I do hope NYC’s carry-out bag law currently pending before the City Council gets signed by Mayor De Blasio this week.  The Speaker just endorsed it, and there are 26 co-sponsors now in the Council!   Please see http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/02/saving-america-from-plastic-bags