Sunday, May 18, 2014

Yes, You CAN Compost in New York City!

Summer is inching closer in New York City, and that means its time to get back to your local Greenmarket. This year, consider going even greener and bringing your indoor food scraps to select Greenmarkets to be composted. Your food scraps and other organic waste can be turned into soil rather than just deposited in a landfill. Currently, 38 Greenmarkets across the five boroughs offer composting. While some markets, like the one at Union Square, are open year round, many are seasonal. Find your local Greenmarket composting schedule here.

You can read more about composting at, and find answers to your questions about composting, such as, "What can I bring to the compost collection sites?": "Accepted materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.), coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, pits, cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil. [Please NO meat, chicken, fish, greasy food scraps, fat, oil, dairy, animal waste, litter or bedding, coal or charcoal, coconuts, diseased and/or insect-infested houseplants/soil or biodegradable/compostable plastics.]" 

You can also set up your own compost bin at home. In Worms in the City, Apartment Composting, Video Journalist Karlyn Michelson* visits the Lower East Side Ecology Center and reports on how New Yorkers with no access to indoor space can compost their food scraps indoors using earth worms, or "red wigglers".

Read more about indoor and outdoor composting in NYC at NYCWasteLess, and find other ideas for home composting here.

*Karlyn Michelson is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, producer and video journalist. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Win Tickets to "The Anthem," A New Sci-Fi Musical Based on Ayn Rand's Novella

You probably remember reading Anthem in high school or college, Ayn Rand's novella that addresses the notions of individuality vs. collectivism in a dystopian futuristic society. Now you can see it come to life as never before, on the stage with music, dancing, a disco ball, glittery costumes, acrobatics, and a protagonist you'll want to root for, fittingly named "Prometheus". The Anthem opens on May 20 at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at 45 Bleecker Street.

From The Anthem's creators: "Hunger Games meets Ayn Rand in a world where individuality is illegal. Prometheus abandons everything to confront the State -- controlled by the overlord of evil efficiency, Tiberius. With a forbidden copy of Ayn Rand's ancient tome in hand, can Prometheus overthrow the system?"

One WGINY reader will win a voucher good for two tickets to The Anthem. Win tickets by coming up with a song title you think could be fitting for the musical score of The Anthem and emailing it to One winner will be selected by 5pm on May 16th.

Even if you don't win, you can still score a great deal by using code ANTRRM when purchasing tickets online, or mentioning ANTRRM by phone call to 866.811.4111, or at the theater's box office, which opens two hours before performances. With this special offer, tickets are just $39 from May 20 to May 28 (regularly $60), and just $45 from May 30 to July 6 (regularly $64). Start this summer off radically!

Follow The Anthem on twitter for show updates and photos. 

CONTEST RESTRICTIONS: Winner will receive a ticket voucher redeemable for two tickets to a performance of his/her choice. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. Winner must not have won any WGINY contest nor contributed any guest articles to WGINY for the previous six months.

DEAL RESTRICTIONS: Subject to availability. Maximum of 12 tickets per order. Not valid on prior purchases. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Additional blackout dates and restrictions may apply. No refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked at any time. Standard service fees apply to all phone and internet orders. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Weekend's New York Polish Film Festival Brings Powerful Polish Cinema to New York City.

This weekend brings to town the 10th Anniversary New York Polish Film Festival, with film screenings of Polish cinema through Sunday evening. Governor Cuomo has rightly recognized that this festival "showcase[s] movies that explore the full depth of human emotion ... [and] introduces new audiences to Polish life and culture through the powerful medium of cinematic storytelling," so I'm not sure why the theater was only half-full when I arrived for tonight's screening of Papusza. This particular film chronicled the sad and shocking life of "Roma," or "Gypsy" poet, Bronislawa Wajs, more commonly known as "Papusza".

Still photo from Papusza.
Used with permission.
When my friend first encouraged me to join her on a Friday night to watch a movie about the life of a poet I had never heard of, I must admit I was slightly reluctant. However, I could not now be more appreciative of having been introduced to Papusza. Written and directed by Joanna and Krzysztof Krauze, Papusza is a powerful, moving film that will break your heart, even as it simultaneously causes you to fall in love. You will learn about a little girl, a "doll," who never got to become a little girl as she grew up in harsh times traveling with her family's caravan around Poland in the early 1900s. Resilient as could be, she learned to read and write in secret, as formal education was not encouraged by Romani culture at the time. The more lighthearted moments of the movie are full of traditional Romani music playing, accompanied by the laughter of innocent children, often around a fire where the caravan had set up camp.

There was always something a little different about Papusza, and, according to the movie, when poet Jerzy Ficowski first encountered her and learned that she could create beautiful, poignant poetry, he encouraged her talent to flourish. Although it eventually earned her notoriety, her connection to Ficowski and the publication of her poems began a spiral downfall for Papusza, and led to her being ostracized by her fellow Gypsies.

This was all set against the backdrop of several tragic events that affected Poland in the 1900s, including World War II and Gypsy pogroms. Papusza passed away in 1987, but her legacy lives on in her work and now also through this touching film. Read more about her life and read some of the poems that changed it here.

There are eleven films in total at the NY Polish Film Festival this year, all feature-length, and it's not too late to buy tickets for the remaining Saturday and Sunday shows. See the full schedule here and follow the event on facebook. The Festival is sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York and Zywiec Polish Beer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Flash Mob America Brings Crowds Together for Surprise Celebrations.

Last month I participated in my very first "flash mob," in one of the most recognizable areas of Central Park, at the sparkling Bethesda Fountain. Thanks to the efforts of Flash Mob America, WGINY (along with several hundred others) was able to share in a very special moment for one young couple, "Anthony" and "Michelle," and help make that moment even more memorable.

It was very simple to sign up for the "Marriage Proposal Flash Mob" event on Flash Mob America's event registration site. From there, I received an email with links to videos on from which I could learn the dance that we would be performing in the park, to a very fitting Jason DeRulo song, "Will You Marry Me". The dance seemed complex at first glance, but with just a couple of views I was able to get down some of the moves (with special thanks to a flash mob friend for explaining "kick-ball-change" incessantly until I caught on). There would also be a three-hour rehearsal on the day of the event, just prior to the proposal scene.

Our dance instructor and one of the co-founders of Flash Mob America, Staci Lawrence, was wonderful to work with, easy to follow, and full of flair and style. She reminded us that the most important thing was to just have fun. We drilled through the dance at rehearsal with Staci, breaking down individual dance moves, and then putting it all back together again, until we really began to find our flow as a group. Our group was then split up into several smaller groups, so that the flash mob we were creating would start small and seemingly grow from nowhere. The location of the marriage proposal was not given to us until the final moments of rehearsal, as the proposal was going to be a complete surprise for the intended bride-to-be, and we also didn't want any passersby to catch on to what we were doing until we had begun dancing.

The final effect was incredible. The Bethesda Fountain area became flooded with dancers, all focused on Michelle, who elatedly and emotionally accepted Anthony's grand gesture with exuberance. Anthony and Michelle were strangers to us all, but it was amazing to be a part of their joy and know that we could all share with them an experience that none of us will ever forget.

Check out the video from Anthony and Michelle's marriage proposal above, and keep up with Flash Mob America on facebook and twitter to learn of future events, or hire them for your next special event. The organization is available for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and just about anything else you can imagine.