• Moonstruck…by a Supermoon!

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    Super Moon over the east River in NYC

    Sunday evening I was lucky enough to go down to the East River promenade in Carl Shurz Park on the upper East Side of Manhattan to witness the rise of the supermoon! This past weekend’s full moon was the closest that the moon will get to the earth’s elliptical orbit for 2013. As I stood on the promenade waiting for the moon to show it’s face I was in the company of other photographers waiting for the same event. A few had fancy SLR cameras on tripods, some like me a point and shoot or an iPhone. I used a Canon G11 point with a tiny tripod so that I could use the night shot settings without getting a blurred picture. It worked out pretty well although I must say that I was a bit envious of the fancier cameras, with long lenses, which could really get a much better perspective. But all in all I don’t think it’s too bad for a point & shoot! Below are a few of my other shots – some with a little added creativity! Enjoy!

    supermoon rising behind Roosevelt Island in NYC

    My first shot as the moon was peeking out from behind Roosevelt Island.

    supermoon rising NYC


    I experimented using a sunset mode and got this colorful photo!


    Dots of light… A minimalist view!





  • Environment, Healthy Lifestyle

    Posted on May 26th, 2013

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    Do we really need a garbage dump on the Upper East Side?

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    Green space instead of a garbage dump at 91st street

    Do we really need a garbage dump on the upper east side in a residential community? I live in the neighborhood that will be directly impacted by the construction of a garbage station: the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (MTS). According to Pledge2Protect, (a coalition of residents, businesses, organizations, educators and parents working to stop the construction of this MTS) “The East 91st St. MTS will directly affect the 22,056 residents who live within a quarter mile of the site, which is 25% more people – and over 30% more children – than all of the other six MTS combined. It is also the only MTS located near a major public housing complex.” In addition, the location for this MTS is in Flood Zone A, putting it in the highest category of risk for flooding which could result in the displacement of both residential and hazardous commercial waste into the neighborhood. Marine Transfer Stations do not belong in residential neighborhoods. They belong in industrial areas. It’s just common sense.

    The photo of the demolition of the existing unused sanitation facility, above, was taken from my yoga class at Asphalt Green, a state of the art fitness facility which is right next to the proposed MTS. It is a facility that caters to young athletes from all over the city (like Lia Neal, who just brought home an Olympic medal from the London Games last summer) as well as members (like me) from the community. Getting rid of that eye-sore is a good thing. Replacing it with an MTS is a bad thing. Why not use the space instead to create a beautiful public space (similar to the 72nd Street pier on the west side)? Just imaging a plaza, overlooking the East River, with an al fresco cafe. Or maybe a couple of public tennis courts – with a bubble could go over them in the winter. A summer stage for concerts, movies under the stars, free yoga classes… the possibilities are endless. The west side has Summer on the Hudson. Why can’t the East side have something similar? Wouldn’t creating a useable public space be a much healthier project? And, I bet it would cost the city and taxpayers far less than the quarter of a billion dollars that the construction of the MTS is going to cost.

    What’s your opinion? Garbage dump or park? Is there really any question?

    Stop the dump next to Asphalt Green




  • Across the Pond: Scuba Diving in the UK

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    Today’s blog installment is a guest post by a new diving friend from across the pond, Iain Sharp. 

    Dive sites around the United Kingdom

    I have been following and tweeting with Sheryl for a little while now and I was delighted when, after learning of my desire to blog a little more, being given the honour to contribute to her pages too.

    To give you some background, I am based in Northern England and a lot closer to the (old) York rather than the New York! I have been scuba diving for many years and given that in England you’re never more than about 80 miles from the sea in any direction, a lot of my diving has been around the waters of this island.

    The way that many people learn to scuba dive here in the UK may be different to the way that many people learn elsewhere in the world. Whilst there are the ‘resort course’ people who learn intensively whilst on vacation at a foreign destination and dive stores who offer a range of courses from the likes of PADI and other organisations, many people learn to scuba dive in the UK through a club environment. Whilst both of the other methods are perfectly legitimate ways to learn to dive, I’d like to tell you a little more about learning with a club as it is probably not something that you’re overly familiar with.

    The club will usually have a (swimming) pool session at local pool one evening a week and there is also a social meeting or gathering in that other great British institution, the pub, on a weekly basis too. Whilst the members all pay a fee in to the club, there is no profit taken from the organisation and in another Corinthian demonstration of commitment, the instructors that teach for the club don’t take payment for their skills either. Since no one is making a profit, many clubs can afford their own sets of equipment, so that you don’t have to go buy lots of expensive kit or invest the monies in to things like their own rigid inflatable boats (remember, not far to tow it to the sea either!)

    Scuba diving in the UK can be a mirror for life in general. The clubs are great sources and exchanges of information. This avoids the making of mistakes yourself and the use of more experienced people for their guidance. Certainly in life, it is very difficult to succeed without the help of others and surprisingly, a lot of this information and guidance is available without huge cost. It is often available for free or certainly inexpensively. Furthermore, with modern communication methods like the internet, message boards and blogs there is no shortage of information or guidance ‘out there’.

    Given that the British are supposed to be a sea-fairing nation, there is also no shortage of nautical advice available for divers, however the seas around the UK are notoriously fickle in places and many dives in the sea need careful planning.

    Perhaps the first piece of planning, especially for those that experience their diving in more tropical climates, is dealing with the cold. The waters around Britain, even in the height of a warm Summer, rarely exceed the low 60s Deg.F and a drysuit is pretty much essential all the year around.

    Tidal movement at some sites can also be quite fierce and knowledge of the tides and charts is also useful. Generally, for scuba, dives are aimed for ‘slack’ water when the tides is not moving and there is a small time window to take advantage of the lack of current. If this is missed, some sites become dangerous / un-diveable at the height of the tidal movement and sweeping an unwary diver several miles away, with the need for the involvement of the rescue services to assist them.

    Again, there are parallels with life in general. Planning for the future is essential and whilst life in general does not have it down physical chart / map, there is certainly a sizeable amount of navigation to be undertaken and storms to be avoided. Much of the diving that is done around the UK is pre-planned and like icebergs, hitting the water safely and successfully is merely the part of the iceberg that shows above the water. The planning and organizational part, including the clear instructions to everyone in the team as to what is expected of them and where they need to be (often this is time-critical, given the tidal movement) is often done some days before the actual dive takes place. There are even times that due to the weather or other circumstances, when the safest way forward is to cancel plans and come back again another time and try them. It wasn’t a case that the plan itself was ‘wrong’ or not up to the task, but merely because of things beyond the control of everyone contrived to stop the successful execution of the plan. Diving in the UK requires a certain amount of pragmatism that should also be transferred to life in general!

    I find scuba diving to be a great way of keeping my own life in balance. It nurtures the human spirit to explore and see what is out there and beyond. It is non-competitive, learning and often cathartic experience. It allows an all too brief observation and entry in to an alien world that is often so close to our very doorsteps. It also provides excellent exercise opportunities and is a great way of getting fitter. I also hope this blog has given you some ideas of how some of the skills used in successful scuba diving can also be used to enhance your wider life in general, bringing your success both above and below the waves.

    Guest Contributer: Iain Sharp is a scuba instructor based in Northern England. Visit his website: www.fivemetrestop.com. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter: @FiveMetreStop.


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