We are all pretty much oblivious to the excellent work done by the men and women who work at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). I was once the same way until one day I happened to be in Brooklyn at night traveling along Greenpoint Avenue from Queens in route to meet a friend for dinner in Williamsburgh. Along the way, I spotted several metallic egg-like structures bathed in blue light.
The scene looked more like the set for a sci-fi space adventure. I didn’t realize it then and there, but I was looking at the Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment facility. The largest of New York City’s wastewater treatment plants. It is capable of treating 330 million gallons of the city’s raw sewage before releasing it into the waters of Newton Creek. This one futuristic-looking facility accepts waste from the homes, offices, and other places of business of a million New Yorkers.
In all New York City has 14 sewage treatment plants. Newton Creek, which was built in 1967, has been renovated and expanded several times to keep pace with the city’s growth. In its current configuration, it accepts waste from the East Side, Lower Manhattan, Northern Brooklyn, and Western Queens. The Newton Creek Waste Water treatment plant’s last upgrade cost the city 1 billion Dollars. It is fair to say, based on the volume of sewage the facility can process, that Newton Creek is the jewel in DEP's crown.
The city allows the public to tour the plant three times per year. It is a remarkable tour. During the visit, you’ll receive a close look at what it takes to keep our waterways as clean, as they have become recently. There was once a time where falling into the waters around New York City would be followed up by a trip to the hospital for routine evaluation and maybe a tetanus shot. That’s no longer the case. You can even eat fish caught in the East River nowadays.
This the Newtown Creek tour is so fascinating that I must recommend it as a day trip. The tours are held three days a year. I will link to the DEP website for details. Tours though are February, April, and October. The tours are free, and they fill up quickly, so you will want to register as soon as possible. Oh, one other thing, surprisingly the air inside the plant smells very pleasant. Had I been blindfolded, I might have guessed I was visiting a rose garden. I tip my hat to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for a job well done.
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We all probably know that Italy is the origin of Pizza. The New York pizza, which we all love so much evolved from the Neapolitan style pizza. It was the Italian immigrants during the early 20th century who developed the pizza we are used to eating. The American or New York style came about due to the lack of access to the required ingredients for proper Neapolitan pizza on this side of the Atlantic.
The two styles of pizza are not entirely different, but it is fair to say that they are perhaps as similar as night and afternoon. In the world of gourmet Italian food, the Neapolitan pizza has a special place. Those who have acquired the training and skill to prepare proper Neapolitan pizza are acknowledged by the title pizzaiola.
New York is a town made for foodies, so it should not come as a surprise that one can become a certified Neapolitan pizza chef right here in the Big Apple. Thanks to the father-daughter team of Roberto Caporuscio and Georgia Caporuscio. In addition to being restauranteurs, they also run the Pizza Academy of New York from their fourth location on Fulton Street in FiDi.
At the conclusion of five days of training, you become certified by the Association for Neopolitan Pizza (APN). By then you will know all that goes into creating a tasty desirable Neapolitan pizza. The course covers everything from toppings, crust, sauce, thickness and especially the preparation and handling of the pizza dough.
The Caporuscio’s operate the Pizza Academy of New York from their 5,000 square foot restaurant, Keste Pizza and Vino, on Fulton Street. Since coming to New York City, the Caporuscios, originally from Italy, have taught no less than 150 people to make the Neapolitan style pizzas for which they are well known.
The Caporuscio’s have been recognized for their accomplishments regarding sustaining the tradition of making Neapolitan pizza. The critical factor is that all of the components must be imported from a specific area of Italy. By definition, a Neapolitan pizza must consist of:
Although the classes require five days to complete, I will consider the New York Pizza Academy as a day trip destination. They offer different courses based on different kinds of Pizza. Pick out the one that interests you the most and have fun. If you don’t appreciate a good slice of pizza, you’re the odd man out.
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There is something most people are not aware of regarding Manhattan, which is that a waterfront greenway surrounds it. This recreational space ringing the island is known as the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. 32 miles in length, It consists of three sections:
New York City has become a safer place for a cyclist than it was only ten years ago. Nonetheless, in 2017 27 cyclists were killed, and 4,485 sustained severe injuries in crashes on the streets of the Big Apple. With nearly 1,500,000 adult cyclists in the city, 27 deaths may seem statistically negligible. However, when it comes to life and death, safety in my mind is paramount. Recreational bike riders should stick to the greenways and other parks around the city. With so much space dedicated to safe cycling, there is no need to put yourself in harm's way on the heavily congested city streets.
With bike sharing kiosk all around town, it is easier than ever to jump on a bike in Battery Park and enjoy a three-hour ride up to the George Washington Bridge and Back. You can then feed your appetite at one of the concessions and head home relaxed and exhilarated by the beauty of the Hudson River.
Even if you are not an avid bicyclist, or perhaps it has been years since you’ve touched a bicycle, I recommend that you take a day to experience one of New York City’s greenways. If you don’t want to ride, you can jog, or stroll as far as you like. The choice is yours. I’m sure you will enjoy them as much as I do.
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Through the American Revolutionary War, the conflict which gave birth to our nation, France had been an ally of the United States. However, that was the now dethroned French monarchy. America owed France debts from the war, but President John Adams resisted paying because the new French Government was not the one who had lent money to the U.S.
To make a long story very short. France began seizing American flagged ships at sea to collect its money by force. In response, President Adams initiated a program meant to rapidly deploy a capable naval force to defend America’s merchant ships. Thus, the plan was to build shipyards in Washington, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.
The New York Shipyard later came to be known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Created in 1801, the Brooklyn Navy Yard remained active building ships until 1966. No longer considered essential by the Defense Department under then-President Lyndon Johnson, it was shut down and sold to the City of New York. The city then converted it into an industrial park with limited success.
The Navy Yard coasted along through the next forty years of its existence. Never coming near the levels of employment it had generated at its apex during World War II when it operated around the clock building and repairing naval vessels. During that time the Brooklyn Navy Yard earned the nickname “The Can-Do Shipyard.”
Nowadays there is a whole new ethos and vibe taking hold at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Like much of New York City the Navy Yard has experienced a revival. New tech entrepreneurs have set up shop on the 225-acre grounds. Today the buildings which were once used to build some of the most powerful warships ever devised are now being used to produce television shows and movies, as in the case of Steiner Studios. Then there are companies like Brooklyn Grange which has developed a system of rooftop farming. The current focus of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is shifting to clean, renewable, and sustainable industries.
It is very encouraging, which is why I recommend that you make a day trip out to visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard and participate in a tour. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Building 92 (an address inside the Navy Yard) conducts tours of the historic industrial park on Saturdays and Sundays. The two-hour visit involves a bus ride through the navy yard with frequent stops where you will walk around the grounds for a closer look. The tour guides are very knowledgeable. At the conclusion of the tour, you will know a lot more about the history of the Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York City, and America. It is an excellent experience. I highly recommend it.
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A Sunny blue sky, sea breeze, 1,200 acres of lush trees and green grass all set against the picturesque backdrop of the lower Manhattan skyline. That is what you’ll observe looking east across New York Harbor from Liberty State Park. Who could ask for anything more on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Liberty State Park on the Jersey City waterfront is like a scene out of a dream.
Such was not always the case. Before 1976, this beautiful public park was little more than an abandoned railroad yard. It took the vision of Jersey City’s planners to make it what it is today. Liberty State Park is home to the Liberty Science Center, the Central Rail Road of New Jersey Terminal Building (a National Historic Site), and the Jersey City Promenade. You can also catch a ferry from the park to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which are both only a stones throw away.
In addition, Liberty State Park is a great place to get your nature fix. There are trails through the wooded areas of the park so that you can burn off a few calories following the picnic which I encourage you to plan. During the cooler months of the year riding a bike along the promenade and through the park is another suggestion. It will provide you with an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this open space while getting a little exercise. The air at Liberty is blowing straight off of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, so it's some of the freshest air you’ll breathe in the metropolitan area.
The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry operates Liberty State Park, which is 400 acres larger than New York City’s Central Park. You will find that they do an excellent job of keeping Liberty State Park tidy. For this reason, and all of the others I have mentioned, I encourage you to put Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey on your list of places to visit in the New York City metropolitan area. It’s easy to reach, and you will love it.
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