Our Town: Notes From the Neighborhood

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Compiled byMegan BungerothandSean Creamer

2nd Ave. Air Quality Study Says "No Problem"

MTA Capital Construction released the results of an air quality study last week that monitored the effects of construction activity between East 69th and East 87th streets along Second Avenue. The study and resulting report, by the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, found that while some pollutants were found at slightly elevated levels, the increases were due more to vehicle traffic and dirty boilers in the neighborhood than the subway construction.

The study was completed by collecting samples over a four-week period in the fall of 2011, and samples were taken at various times to test for levels or particulate matter of different sizes. Specialists also interviewed residents about odor levels and recorded what they reported to compare with blast times.

The study found that the levels of particulate matter equal to or smaller than 10 microns (PM10) were "below the reference level used as the benchmark to indicate no adverse PM10 health effects during the monitoring period." While daily levels of PM2.5 (particles equal to or smaller than 2.5 microns) were found at higher than reference levels on three different days, the study concluded that these spikes were "primarily attributed to local traffic emissions, other local sources such as commercial and residential boilers and regional or background levels, with no significant contribution from blasting activities."

The analysts also determined that the acrid odors some residents have complained about did not emanate from the blasting sites.

Garodnick Makes Bank

Upper East Side City Council Member Dan Garodnick is sitting on a campaign war chest of over $1 million, according to his most recent campaign filings, which show him raising $1,015,455 between 2010 and the most recent Jan. 17 filing. The three-term council member, who was elected in 2005 and has held the seat for the 4th District since, is running for an as-yet-declared citywide office in 2013. He has pulled in $282,895 in the past six months, $274,895 of which came from individuals and partnerships and $8,000 from "other monetary" sources like PACs and government groups. Garodnick's campaign, which is widely rumored to be aiming for the comptroller's race if current Comptroller John Liu runs for mayor, spent $33,930 during the filing period, mostly on consulting and fundraising.

Brooklyn Council Member Domenic Recchia, chairman of the Finance Committee, is another likely contender for the comptroller's seat and reported a $541,559 closing balance in his campaign filings last week.

Fight Back Against Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and Lenox Hill Hospital, in conjunction with the American Heart Association, has created an event to help curb those numbers. Go Red for Women will be held at the hospital's Einhorn Auditorium at 103 E. 76th St. on Friday, Feb. 3 from 10:30 a.m.?2 p.m. The hospital will offer blood pressure and cholesterol screening, nutrition and pharmacological counseling and peripheral vascular disease assessment by a leading cardiologist, all free of charge.

New Bridge to the East

For over 70 years, the 78th Street pedestrian bridge has been allowing residents to safely cross the FDR for a scenic excursion on the East River Esplanade. Last Friday, after a major overhaul by the Department of Transportation, the newly renovated bridge reopened to foot traffic.

Council Member Jessica Lappin, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner Bill Castro and members of the 79th Street Neighborhood Association joined Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at the reconstructed bridge for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"With the reconstruction of the 78th Street pedestrian bridge, New Yorkers can better connect to the East River

Esplanade to get exercise and enjoy its wonderful views of the river and Roosevelt Island," said Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Adrian Benepe.

In July of 2011, the bridge was taken down and a prefabricated metal bridge was constructed in place of its concrete predecessor. The new bridge has been outfitted with improved safety guard rails, wider sidewalks, structurally sound construction and ADA-compliant ramps for added safety and improved access.

The project was funded by the Parks Department and cost $11.9 million to complete.

Healthy Food Drive

The NorthEast Community Bank's Upper East Side branches at 1751 2nd Ave., at 91st St., and 1470 1st Ave., between 76th and 77th streets, will host themed charity drives each month of the year starting in February. The first drive will focus on obtaining the healthy foods that are often in short supply to those with limited incomes.

The bank recommends that donations should fall into the category of nutritious foods such as whole-grain items-dry rice, oatmeal, packaged beans, cereal bars and other similar items. The proceeds will be donated to the Yorkville Common Pantry on East 109th Street. For business hours and more information, visit necommunitybank.com.

Ocean Exploration

The Explorer's Club will host a public lecture with the crew of Tara Oceans, a 118-foot schooner that travels the globe diagnosing the health of the oceans. The French-owned ship, which will be docking in the East River Feb. 5-11, has spent the last several years collecting and categorizing plankton, which is responsible for half the planet's oxygen, in order to study the relationship between climate change and the oceans.

Tara Ocean's chief scientist, Eric Karsenti, and Romain Troublé, French sailor and chairman of Tara Foundation for Marine Research USA, will speak at the event. Explorers Club member Mara G. Haseltine, an artist and environmentalist, will unveil "La Boheme: A Portrait of Today's Ocean's in Peril," her latest sculpture based on her discoveries on board Tara Oceans. The lecture will be held Monday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at 46 E. 70th St. Tickets are $20, $5 for students with ID, and seating is limited. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling 212-628-8383.

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