Friday, January 27, 2012

Beautiful Am Thai Bistro opening

Too wet and miserable for our spoiled darling dog to go to the park, but we humans went to Am Thai Bistro, opening today, to see the monks and their service. It was quite wonderful! I'm putting off the pictures of the park pruning I took yesterday until tomorrow, so we can see the new restaurant and the service. They blessed not only the restaurant, but a young couple recently married. One of them works for the restaurant, I believe. "2 for 1" said the monk. The ceremony was quite inspiring, even for a cynical old atheist like myself - what a spirit of community! Flowers, incense, chanting, we all donated rice to the monks' begging bowls, then sat with them as they ate. All parts of the restaurant were sprinkled with bit of water as a blessing - inside and out, including the guests! Then the owners insisted everyone taste - and the food was fantastic! Curried lobster, a kind of tofu dish, hot pork salad, mild and spicy fished, several other things. The lobster will not be on the menu, alas - it was a special dish for the monks, and others. We left notes and good luck wishes. The place is beautiful, the food is fantastic, and the people are friendly and wonderful. I have no doubt they will do well, but still, we wholeheartedly left them with good thoughts and wishes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter, come and gone

Well, we had two lovely days of a snow-filled park, and now spring seems to have returned. A two-day winter, truly a sign of global weirding. I wonder if we'll get any winter this year. Anyway, the first day of the snow had a completely unfrozen lake, but the second day had the frozen lake and felt quite winterish. So here are some pictures of winter in Prospect Park.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Requiem for the dead trees, again

All this ugly destruction is in a spot on the south side of the lake. The former trees were all within a couple of hundred feet of each other. Note the firm trunks and healthy wood in the trunks. Please, Emily Lloyd, stop this destruction. The trees are not on the verge of becoming dangerous attacking creatures. Please check with some tree experts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

swans are safe, some geese spotted today

All 10 swans are safe and sound. There were four by the beach, four under the bridge that we walk under when walking along the Lullwater from the Peninsula to the Nethermead, and two more in the lake. The two in the lake were in a hole in the middle of the thin sheet of ice that was there today. Apparently they had just landed and broken through the ice when landing.

About 20 geese on the lake today. Goose-busting man and dog were also there, having parked his car near the Peninsula. They were walking near the geese, but the dog wasn't barking ot going after them. We have no idea why they might be there in the middle of winter.

So nice to see so many birds. Hopefully, they'll all stay fine and healthy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The good, the bad, and the truly ugly

The really good news was the Christmas tree mulch that has been spread around the trees at the SW part of the park. Beautiful green and white speckled design, delightful scent of pine, two sweet little ornaments decorating the clearing, and, oh yeah. it's good for the trees, the ground etc. Hopefully it will stay beautiful and aromatic for a while, or at least until it snows.

And, we spotted a little art project in the Parade Grounds,

Three little white ducks (Muscovy?) happily wandering around the beach. I think they might be sleeping in a hollow trunk by the lake. But no one was feeding them, and they seemed really at home. Their neighbor is a cormorant.

The bad news: we have only seen 9 of the 10 swans in the last few days. Only 4 of the 5 cygnets seem to be there. B reminded me that one of the cygnets seemed to go off on his own a lot, so maybe he has found his own little spot. I hope so, but we worry about them, especially the park seems to be on the anti-goose kick again. Gooose-buster man, dog and truck have been patrolling the lake lately. No signs of any geese. I miss them.

The really ugly news is about the trees. Yesterday we saw SEVEN tree-cutting trucks along the road. I asked them what was going on, and they said they were trimming and cutting the old trees to make them "safer." I protested, and we had quite a chat about why. the Park is getting constant complaints from a certain two people. One of my anonymous commenters mentioned last October, when I first got upset about cutting down the old trees, "You can blame the glory hound duo for that scaremongering,."

Anonymous was so right. We used to be friends with the glory hound duo. They watched out for the geese and swans and ducks, and were very concerned about the fishing line. But then, everything that they did had a reporter writing about in the paper. Their "concerns" expanded to a false, paranoid level, The duo takes credit for everything that happens in the park. For example, Dog Beach in Long Meadow is closed every winter. The duo claims that it 's closed because of their publicity about the toxic water. The water is NYC tap water (it is NOT a natural water habitat), is tested regularly, and supports a wide variety of healthy wildlife. It is not toxic.

Now, the duo is railing against the trees and the ladders, claiming both are dangerous. What nonsense! Yes many of the trees are 100 years old or more. They are beautiful. When there are bad storms, they lose some branches. People are not in the park during bad storms. Even the homeless go to the rustic shelters, under the bridges, or even to other shelters in the city. The Parks Dept. seems to be spending a ton of money and time on the silly and paranoid complaints of the duo. PLEASE STOP.

The ladders are even sillier. The duo thinks that the ladders are bad, and people will drown. They imagine hordes of Brooklynites rushing into the lake and drowning. Or accidentally falling into the lake when the lake is iced over, and drowning. First, the lake around the edges is quite shallow. People go into the lake on clean-up days (with boots, it is muddy and a little disgusting). Is the Parks Dept. really going to spend thousands of dollars for better ladders?

I could go on and on about how the duo treats all the other park groups as their enemies, and accuses them of all kinds of anti-park activities, but this is enough. The rest of the people who watch the park, save the birds, pick up trash, report park problems, monitor the plants and animals, etc., need to let the Park know that the duo is not the only voice. Please, While there are still some old trees standing.

I have said nice things about Emily Lloyd, who seems to b e doing a great job running Prospect Park. But if she's listening to these two to make decisions about trees, ladders, and who knows what else, we are in trouoble.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter in the park---NOT

Coffee Bark in the Long Meadow today - 1st Saturday, and what a beautiful day it was. Feels like spring, not winter. Compare with last winter - 1/31/11 is my closest blog date. Snow, snow, snow and more snow. Cold days, winter boots, unplowed paths. Unlike today. I think the temperature was in the 50's, and I barely needed my winter coat - unzipped it after about 10 minutes. It was great to see so many happy people and their playful digs,

Sean Casey was there - they're making a movie about animal rescue and were out filming. I ducked out of sight of the camera, but donated a few dollars. Behind the scenes, that's me. Incidentally, that's pretty much why I decided to retire last year. My principal had called me in for a little talk about "teach and screech," a phrase I had never heard before. Apparently, it's not enough just to teach. "Teach and screech" means you have to do some other things to show that it was YOUR teaching that taught the student. I countered with one of my own favorite cliches, that I had always kind of believed in hiding my light beneath a bushel, not bragging or putting my self first. Not a philosophy that is very popular today. IU don't mind being spoken to about improving my teaching skills, but to be spoken to about my lack of bragging and self-importance? No thank you.

Anyway, we had a great long walk to the other side of the park and back, including Lookout Hill and an extra turn around the Nethermead. Here's a picture from last year, when we had snow, and a couple of pretty ones from this year. Tons of seagulls on the lake, but almost no geese. Has someone come in and slaughtered them again? I didn't think so, since they are not molting and are hard to catch, but we did see the anti-goose man and his dog the other day.