Willets Point Development Makes Gain With Highway Administration’s Approval

The Federal Highway Administration has removed a major obstacle to the Bloomberg administration’s plan to turn a waterlogged enclave of crumbling shops and sheds near Citi Field into a major development site.

In a decision long awaited by both supporters and opponents of the project, which is to cost about $3 billion, federal officials found that it would have “no significant effect on the human environment.”

In a March 22 letter to state officials, the highway administration said that a pair of proposed highway ramps would enhance traffic circulation between the development site, known as Willets Point, and the Van Wyck Expressway.

City officials have long sought to transform the 62-acre parcel, whose streets are lined with potholes and are often under water, into a new neighborhood of hotels, office buildings, housing and shops. But it was unclear whether the entire site could be developed without a favorable ruling by the highway authority.

Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, called the determination a “significant milestone” in the redevelopment of Willets Point.

But the decision was a major setback for local residents and business owners who oppose the project, citing environmental grounds and the city’s use of eminent domain to take the land from some 250 businesses.

Critics insisted that the already crowded highways near Willets Point would be brought to a halt by the traffic from the project, which would include up to 5,500 apartments. The highway ramps were designed to offset an estimated 80,000 vehicle trips coming from the development each day.

“This decision flies in the face of the city’s own traffic studies showing that the ramps would allow intolerable traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway,” said Michael B. Gerrard, a Columbia University law professor who is also representing property owners. “We will examine the documentation underlying this action and consider our legal options.”

Jake Bono, the owner of Bono Sawdust Supply at Willets Point, said he was “disheartened.” He wants to hold on to the business his grandfather opened in 1933. Mr. Bono called the entire public review process “a sham” that would end up taking private property from its rightful owners.

The city first approved the Willets Point project in 2008. But progress has been slow, so the city sought to develop the project in phases. It solicited proposals from 29 developers in 2011 for a 12.75-acre parcel closest to Citi Field, home of the Mets. It would entail 680,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel, parking and up to 400 apartments, a portion of which would be set aside for tenants who are poor or earn moderate incomes.

Real estate executives say that the city has narrowed the field to three developers, including Related Companies and its partner Sterling Equities, a real estate company formed by Fred Wilpon and Saul B. Katz, the owners of the Mets. But the executives and some city officials also say it has been difficult to make the project financially viable.

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source

Kindergartners Make Twitter Routine

“What I like about tweeting is that if you run out of room, then you can do, like, an ampersand instead of just writing ‘and’.” So says a kindergartner in Jennifer Aaron’s class at Public School 150 in TriBeCa where, three days a week, the students group-compose a Twitter update that Ms. Aaron sends out to parents and other hand-selected followers. One recent missive: “We added more days in school stickers. We didn’t have any lame reflections. We had snack outside. Ask us about time.” Read more on SchoolBook »

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source

Reasons to Revise or Repeal the Renewable Portfolio Standard

1)      Delaware has to compete for jobs nationally and globally.  Individual state energy policies lead to higher energy costs and leave us at a competitive disadvantage.  Energy policy should be a national initiative.  The separate Delaware RPS should be repealed.

2)      Delaware has one of the most aggressive total RPS requirements and the highest solar carve out east of the Mississippi.  This will lead to Delaware having higher electric rates than other states leaving us with a competitive disadvantage.  Reductions in the standards are a must. (Based on US DOEnergy Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency)

3)      Delaware has limited in-state renewable resources.  An offshore wind farm has already failed because of cost, we have no useful onshore wind capability (according to US DOE wind resource charts), we have poor solar resources compared to sunnier states, and Delaware has very limited geothermal and hydro power prospects.  For the most part we are paying higher electricity prices to fund out-of-state economic development.  We should reduce the RPS requirements to what is already in place.

4)      Most onshore wind used in Delaware is produced from wind farms on mountain ridges in western Maryland and Pennsylvania (based on Delmarva Power 2010 IRP).  Transmission loses from moving power from this distance rival loses for power imported from western Pennsylvania during peak summertime loads but wind power always has this transmission loss.  These transmission losses lower the positive environmental benefits of onshore wind and make power produced in Delaware with fossil fuels more attractive.  Repeal the RPS.

5)      In 2010 70% of solar modules installed in the U.S. were imported and the % is growing (US DOEnergy).  On average, 50% of the installed cost of modules is in the modules themselves.  In Delaware solar installations receive about 50% of the cost back in federal and state grants.  Therefore, we are transferring those grants to foreign companies.  Do we really want our tax dollars moving overseas on a so vast scale?  Restricting or ending the RPS will stop that direct flow of tax dollars overseas.

6)      Our RPS is supposedly supporting a solar manufacturer, Motech, in Delaware.  But Motech imports the solar cells from Taiwan and only assembles here.  Even if all the solar panels used in Delaware were Motech panels we would only represent a few percent of their production accounting for half a dozen jobs.  New solar installation jobs have barely replaced the 350 jobs lost at Motech since 2003 when solar cell manufacturing stopped.  Repeal the solar carve out.  (Based on CRI study)

7)      Our RPS supports solar installation jobs here.  However, those jobs are temporary jobs.  Solar panels require almost no labor after installation.  Solar increases the cost of electricity four to five times and that higher cost negatively impacts jobs throughout the economy.  For example, installation of the Dover Sun Park added the equivalent of 28 jobs for a year according to press releases.  Extrapolating the installation labor to meet the RPS suggests 65 installation jobs can be supported through 2025.  However, the higher cost of electricity will eliminate 600 jobs!  Nine jobs gone for every one created.  Repeal the solar carve out.  (CRI study, $90 million a year premium divided by $147,000 premium results in one lost job)

8)      Typical residential solar projects cost $30,000 to $40,000 in initial investment and payback of the investment takes five to seven years (data from Renewable Energy Task Force).  Only the affluent have the money for that.  Meanwhile, the Delaware grants and payments for energy credits are paid for by every electric customer.  This amounts to a transfer of money from the poor to the rich!  End this “green” war on the poor and middleclass by repealing the RPS.

9)      Renewable power is still just too expensive.  Power from the Dover Sun Park, for example, is three times more expensive than power from three recently completed onshore wind farms supplying power to Delmarva Power Based on Dover Sun Park contract and 2010 Delmarva Power IRP).  Further, that wind power cost is twice as expensive as power from a new clean burning natural gas fired electric generating plant Based on US Energy Information Agency).  We should be building natural gas plants and repealing required use of wind and solar. 

10)  There is evidence government subsidies are keeping the price of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar artificially high.  One CRI estimate is residential solar installations might be 25% less expensive without subsidies ($4.25/watt vs. $5.75/watt).  Remove the decades old subsidies and let these products compete in the market place.

11)  Delaware’s solar carve out is out of line with other states.  Delaware already has the highest solar carve outs of the 26 states plus the District of Columbia east of the Mississippi at 3.5%.  Fifteen of those states have no solar carve out and most of the rest require less than 1% solar.  The solar carve out should be reduced drastically or eliminated.  (Based on CRI summary of US DOEnergy database)

12)  Europe began these programs ten years before us and is now running away from “green” subsidies as fast as possible in the face of minimal positive impact on the environment and a very large negative impact on the economy caused by rapidly rising electricity prices.  For example, Germany spent $130 Billion on solar subsidies, has 40% of the world’s solar installation, and receives 3% of its power from solar.  We are wasting our money on a similar failed approach.  (Based on news reports from Washington Post, Bloomburg News, and elsewhere)

13)  In view of developments around the world a review of energy policy seems timely.  Germany, with nearly 40% of the world’s solar installations, has already reduced subsidies 40% this year.  Italy will stop accepting new solar installations into its subsidy program later this year.  Spain has suspended renewable energy subsidies.  The Netherlands ended renewable energy subsidies last year.  The UK is considering major reductions in subsidies.  We should reduce or eliminate ours.  (Based on news reports from Washington Post, Bloomburg News, and elsewhere)

14)  In view of developments around the United States a review of energy policy seems timely.  Ohio ended its green energy grants fund and is considering repealing its RPS.  Maine’s Governor is recommending major reductions in its RPS.  New Jersey changed its Green Energy Fund equivalent from a grant to a loan.  We should reduce or eliminate ours.

15)  Energy efficiency is the lowest cost way to achieve lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gas.  A bill, HB27, to include energy efficiency as a credit in the RPS was tabled by the House Energy Committee last year.  We should allow credits for energy efficiency and move HB27 to the House floor for a full vote.

16)  The Bluewater Wind project was a direct result of the RPS.  We have wasted 4 years and $4.4 million of electric ratepayer money going through the approval process for a project that was obviously over priced for the benefits from day one (Based on Delmarva Power information).  It would have been better to consider conventional natural gas or nuclear plants for low cost, reliable power, and larger environmental benefits.

17)  The primary resources being used to meet the RPS are wind and solar power.  Wind power is generally produced at night when it is least needed and only when sufficient wind speeds are reached.  Solar power is produced an average of 5 hours a day and only on sunny days.  On partly sunny days solar facilities can go from full power to no power in 8 seconds.  The number one attribute people want is reliability and wind and solar are unreliable.  Repeal the RPS.  (Based on CRI study)

18)  Since wind and solar are unreliable back up power is needed.  Back up is provided by fossil fuel fired power plants and this use diminishes and environmental benefits of wind and solar.  Some back up is from spinning reserve, plants that are always on but not producing power so they have quick response.  Some comes from peaking generators that come on quickly but are one third as efficient as base load power plants.  Some comes from base load plants being run at less than peak capacity which means they are being run inefficiently.  We might as well give up on wind and solar and just use the plants we have in the most efficient way.

19)  Another reliability issue is cost.  Texas has over 10,000 windmills in the state representing a significant portion of the state’s total generating capacity.  Last summer, according to the Wall Street Journal, those windmills produced zero power during a two week heat spell.  Normally the generation portion of power can be purchased for about $.08 to $.10/Kilowatt-hour.  The loss of wind power meant utilities had to pay as much as $10.00/Kilowatt-hour during peak hours.  Similar problems have been seen in Australia and the UK which depend on wind power in a big way.  The UK experience was during a cold snap and lack of power led to brownouts and loss of heat.  Problems seem to occur when wind reaches between 5 and 10% of grid capacity.  Delaware may eventually obtain over 20% of its power from wind with the current RPS schedule.  We need to reduce the target for renewable power in Delaware.

20)  Wind power is not exactly benign.  Alameda County Community Development Agency estimates the California Altamont Pass wind farm kills 10,000 birds a year, most of them from species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty, including 70 Golden Eagles on the Endangered Species list. The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates windmills in the state kill 10,000 bats annually, some of them from endangered species.  An Oregon electric utility had to pay $10.5 million in fines for the death of 232 eagles that had flown into conventional power lines but wind farms have not been fined.  This cost needs to be considered in the cost of renewable energy.  Repeal the RPS.

21)  Federal subsidies for wind power are scheduled to end at the end of 2012.  They may not be extended.  This will lead to higher cost for future wind farms which already cost more than conventional power.  We need to reduce the target for renewable power in Delaware.

22)  We were counting on the Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm to help meet the RPS schedule.  According to the US Energy Information Agency offshore wind is two and half times as expensive as onshore wind because of the higher initial investment cost.  Bluewater died because of the inability to obtain financing.  That situation is unlikely to change.  We need to reduce the target for renewable power in Delaware.

23)  Federally financed “green” energy start ups are failing in large numbers.  Consider Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, Beacon Power, and many others.  We cannot rely on these types of products to bail us out if there is not enough electric generating capacity.  We need to promote conventional power contingencies such as natural gas and nuclear and reduce our future reliance on questionable renewable power sources.

24)  Last year’s addition of natural gas fired fuel cells to the list of acceptable RPS sources begs the question of why not include conventional natural gas fired generating plants.    Without pollution controls, natural gas emits 50% of the greenhouse gas and 10% of the air pollutants of coal.  The rush to support a possible fuel cell manufacturing plant in Delaware led to a $1.1 billion guaranteed payment for electricity from fuel cells that could be as much as $500 million over the cost for conventional power.  Writing the law to guarantee the contract to one company, Bloom Energy, may violate the U.S Constitution Commerce Clause.  We don’t need more projects like this.  End the RPS.  (Based on Fuel Cell Tariff documents)

25)  According to Bluewater Wind their offshore wind project was expected to cost $2 billion to build.  The same investment in an Advanced Natural Gas Combined Cycle electric generating plant would provide electricity at one quarter the price.  The positive economic impact of lower cost electricity would add an additional 3500 jobs.  In addition the natural gas plants would lower air pollution by twelve times more and lower greenhouse gas emission by seven times more than the offshore wind farm.  We need to build more conventional power plants and less wind and solar. (based on US Energy Information Agency data).

26)  A $2 billion investment in an Advanced Natural Gas Combined Cycle electric generating plant would provide electricity at one quarter the price of solar modules.  The positive economic impact of lower cost electricity would add an additional 3500 jobs.  In addition the natural gas plants would lower air pollution by eleven times more and lower greenhouse gas emission by seven times more than solar.  We need to build more conventional power plants and less wind and solar.  (based on US Energy Information Agency data).

27)  A $2 billion investment in an Advanced Natural Gas Combined Cycle electric generating plant would provide electricity at one quarter the price of fuel cells.  The positive economic impact of lower cost electricity would add an additional 3000 jobs.  In addition the natural gas plants would lower air pollution by eight times more and lower greenhouse gas emission by nine times more than fuel cells.  We need to build more conventional power plants and less wind and solar.  (based on US Energy Information Agency data).

28)  A $2 billion investment in an Advanced Natural Gas Combined Cycle electric generating plant would provide electricity at 40% lower price than onshore wind.  The positive economic impact of lower cost electricity would add an additional 2900 jobs.  In addition the natural gas plants would lower air pollution by five times more and lower greenhouse gas emission by three times more than onshore wind.  We need to build more conventional power plants and less wind and solar.  (based on US Energy Information Agency data).

29)  Similarly, nuclear power could lower electric prices compared to any renewable energy source and emits no air pollution or greenhouse gas.  New nuclear power plant designs offer lower initial cost and safer operation combined with shorter construction lead times.  We should be considering nuclear power instead of wind and solar.

30)  Environmental groups want to include the health impacts of lower air pollution when comparing renewable power sources with conventional power sources.  The Delmarva Power 2010 Integrated Resource Plan did just that and found a conventional natural gas plant reduced health costs by more than a wind farm.  The study actually undercounted the natural gas plant positive benefits by nine times but the plant still came out better.  If we want lower pollution and better health we need to use natural gas and nuclear based power.

31)  The RPS Act established the Renewable Energy Task Force and gave it power to create regulations to control the solar market.  The Task Force adopted a Pilot Procurement plan that is keeping the cost of solar installations 25% higher than they would otherwise be.  Fewer people can afford the initial cost, cost is add to state and federal grant programs, and electric ratepayers pay a higher price for electricity.  In addition, the program favored the next customer for solar modules over existing owners.  New customers will receive long term contracts for Solar Renewable Energy Credits of up to $312 each.  Existing solar installations have seen SREC prices drop from $300 to $25 and have seen their revenue from this source drop thousands of dollars a year.  The task force needs different direction and should really be disbanded.

32)  The RPS encourages the use of small roof top solar over large solar farms.  It also encourages electric distributors, such as Delmarva Power, to buy SREC’s rather than self build solar farms.  The Delaware Electric Coop has recently announced plans to build their own solar farm and power will cost about a third as much as much as the Dover Sun Park (including SREC cost).  The DEC solar farm will produce power at one quarter the cost of small roof top installations.  We need to eliminate restrictions and allow the RPS to be met by the most affordable means possible to reduce the burden on electric ratepayers.


33)  A study by the American Traditions Institute estimated Delaware’s RPS could increase the cost of electricity by 18% or $310 million a year in 2026.  Individual homeowners could pay $269 a year more.  The negative economic impact could reduce employment by over 2000 jobs.  We can’t afford the RPS, especially when conventional power sources can provide lower cost, reliable power while providing larger environmental benefits for the same investment.  Repeal the RPS.

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source

A Word From Our Sponsor On Setting Appointments For Insurance

Advertising techniques differ from place to place, but there are several techniques that are useful and available for all types of companies. This is also true for insurance agencies of any type. Finding clients for insurance agencies can be incredibly difficult, especially with the amount of competition on the market. However, those insurance agencies that are able to reach the most amount of people and do not rely solely on billboard or television advertisements are those that see the most results. If insurance agencies can get individuals to set up appointments to meet with them in person, they are far more likely to get that individual covered in some kind of fashion. For this reason, insurance appointment setting is an incredibly important process.

Most of this process is started through telemarketing or other phone contact strategies. Setting up the right kind of telemarketing system or strategy can help to increase the number of times that potential clients are contacted, as well as increase the likelihood that they will make an appointment to learn more about an agency and take advantage of the services they offer. Insurance appointment setting allows both consumers and businesses to benefit. Through providing certain systems and services, insurance agencies can benefit from efficient and effective staff members, customized marketing solutions, and regularly reported work and progress. For these reasons and more, it is easy to see why insurance agencies utilize the benefits of telemarketing.

A Word From Our Sponsor On How Garage Insurance Can Benefit You And Your Business

“Business insurance” is a term often used to apply to any insurance policies related to commercial and business interests. Obviously, it is a very broad term and “business insurance” means different things to different companies. Businesses need insurance coverage because without it they could go under if anything unexpected happens, like a natural disaster or incident involving a client or third party. General liability is the most common type of coverage available to businesses, and it can be incredibly helpful, but it does not provide coverage in a lot of different areas. For example, if you own a garage your auto detailing insurance policies will be completely different from a law firm’s liability and professional insurance policies.

Many businesses find they have to purchase business insurance of some kind in order to protect their business from going under in the event that a third party brings a lawsuit against them for damages they are liable for or for negligent work, etc.. While some businesses can go with limited insurance coverage; garages and auto body shops need adequate coverage due to the fact that they work with expensive vehicles on a regular basis in more hazardous conditions. Additional auto detailing insurance coverage is essential because traditional general liability coverage does not cover: damage done to client’s vehicles, any damage done to the shop itself, or any damage done to automobiles owned by the garage. If your garage needs better insurance coverage, you should look for companies and insurance agencies that specialize in finding insurance policies specifically for garage owners.

Morning Buzz, April 2: Knicks’ Convenient Silence

Good morning. Today will be windy with highs in the upper 50s. 

Here’s what we’re reading this morning, starting with the N.Y./Region section in The Times. 

Charles Lockwood, an architectural historian who chronicled the revival of New York’s brownstones in the early ’70s, has died. In the Dec. 1, 2003, issue of The New Yorker, Judith Thurman called Mr. Lockwood’s book, which traced the history of brownstones back to the 1780s, a “bible for buffs, architects and preservationists.”

A nonprofit microlender is providing loans to entrepreneurs, like the owners of Brooklyn Taco Company, who have not been in business for long.

The United States Census Bureau will not change its 2010 population total for New York City. The city had argued last year that at least 50,000 residents of Brooklyn and Queens had been overlooked.

“Low annoyance” horns, skyline-view roofs, and floor pads that absorb unpleasant odors were among the options on the table as final decisions were made about New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow

For 10 years, a media activist, Lenny Charles Labanco, made television segments and organized left-leaning fund-raisers and panel discussions, surviving in large part because it paid nominal rent at 56 Walker Street in TriBeCa. The building is now facing bankruptcy.

Much to the delight of shoppers, New York State reinstated its sales-tax exemption for clothing and footwear that cost less than $110.

The Knicks’ medical staff knew that Jeremy Lin was suffering from a torn meniscus in his left knee and probably done for the season, but the team held off on announcing the injury until the deadline for season ticket holders to purchase all four rounds of the playoffs had passed. [Daily News]

Former Police Commissioner William Bratton has a permit that lets him park his Lexus SUV anywhere in the city, even though he resigned 16 years ago. [New York Post]

History suggests that New York’s gambling industry attracts corruption and scandal, just as much as it does jobs and development. [City & State]

On Saturday night, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took the stage with reporters at this year’s Inner Circle Show to sing and dance in various numbers from the musical “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.” [Politicker]

The Bloomberg administration is fighting disclosure of a report that shows that emergency response times have slowed despite $2 billion invested in fixing the 911 system. [New York Post]

New York’s recycling rate has dropped significantly over the past five years even as the Bloomberg administration has tried to define the city as a leader in sustainability. [DNA Info]

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget eliminates funding for a major anti-gun-crime program of one of his predecessors, George E. Pataki. [New York Post]

If New Yorkers approve full-scale casino gambling in a public referendum, there will be billions of dollars at stake and many winners and losers. The only sure winners in the debate, regardless of what the referendum determines, are the lobbyists. [City & State]

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source

Ask About Bobby and Rosie, the Red-Tailed Hawks

Hawk Cam 2012

Chronicling the red-tailed hawks of Washington Square Park.

This week, the executive director of NYC Audubon, Glenn Phillips, will be responding to readers’ questions about the red-tail hawks of Washington Square Park. Rosie has been busy warming two eggs underneath her; the first one was first spotted on Tuesday, March 7 and a second appeared early the following week.

Readers who would like to ask Mr. Phillips a question about the nest, eggs and what hawks expect when they’re expecting, should do so in the comments box below. His first set of responses will be published on Wednesday.

Mr. Phillips began working in the environmental field at the tender age of eight, when he started a traveling environmental education program by bringing his collection of reptiles and amphibians to local kindergarten classes for hands-on presentations. At about the same time, he began watching and learning about birds, inspired by the burrowing owls, western meadowlarks, and loggerhead shrikes that inhabited the fields between his home and his school in northern California.

Before joining NYC Audubon, Glenn helped establish the Prospect Park Audubon Center, which was recognized as the premier site in Brooklyn for environmental education from its opening in 2002. As the Prospect Park Alliance’s vice president for education, Glenn was also responsible for coordinating activities with the Lefferts Historic House and the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment, a public high school operated in partnership with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the NYC Department of Education.

Glenn has also worked at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, where he helped develop the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, a hands-on outdoor museum within the Botanical Garden. After his stint at the Garden, Glenn worked at the Columbia University Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, running adult education programs in conservation biology.

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source

A Word From Our Sponsor On The Benefits Of Contractors Insurance

In today’s world, insurance is practically a necessity. Whether you face risks of injury to yourself or others or to property, you need insurance to avoid bankruptcy, or at the very least, you may be forced to hand out a ton of money in repairs, medical costs or some other compensation. Because of the nature of their business, Contractors understand this more than many others. They must often work in dangerous situations. Not only are they risking themselves in these situations, but also anyone else on their work site and their own employees. If you are a contractor, it is very important to find a good contractors insurance NJ company to give you the coverage you need.
Getting contractors insurance over other types of insurance will benefit you because this type of insurance is designed with the contractor in mind. When you get a plan that is not designed for the industry in which it is being used, then you run the risk of paying for premiums that aren’t normally included. Getting a contractors insurance NJ plan will ensure you are paying for you what need and not paying for things you don’t need. Also, if you don’t get a plan that is customized for contractors, you may not get the coverage you need. Then when it becomes necessary to use your insurance plan and your claim is not covered, you may find yourself in the same situation as if you never had insurance at all.

When Mom Makes Lunch, the Food is Secondary

School lunch was never this fun.

Nina Levy is putting mothers everywhere to shame with what she makes for her sons’ lunches: their napkins.

With waterproof art markers and using generic white paper luncheon
napkins as her canvas, Ms. Levy, a Brooklyn sculptor by day, designs a flat fantasy world at night where dragons breathe fire, teddy bears battle knights, Batman and Luke Skywalker make cameos, and popular cartoon animals wish 9-year-old Archer and 5-year-old Ansel a good lunch.

She signs it, always: (Love, Mom.)

“They are sometimes appreciative, although it is rare,” said Ms. Levy, 44, with a dry laugh. “With all things with kids, that’s almost beside the point.”
Ms. Levy began sketching on napkins with a black Sharpie in September 2006 for Archer’s nursery school lunch, three days a week; it was a way, she said, for him to gain attention, and for her to send maternal reassurance.

Now the napkins have evolved into a full Technicolor journal of what the boys are reading in school, the games they play with their friends and a catalog of pop culture references.

Several years ago Archer’s pre-Kindergarten teacher disapproved of any violence or popular cartoons on the napkins so Ms. Levy subtly changed the imagery. She drew knights impaling vegetables, like broccoli stalks.

What do Archer’s friends say about his napkins?

“They think they’re cool,” he said nonchalantly.

Ms. Levy takes imaginative requests from the boys in bed, and then spends one to two hours drawing. She will not start over because she cannot afford to waste time.

She is the Cal Ripken of napkins, never missing a school lunch day in five and a half years (weekends and holidays excepted). By this summer, Ms. Levy estimates she will have made more than 2,000 napkins.

Her husband, Peter Billow, 46, a woodworking artist, said he was “proud, humbled and amazed” at his wife’s determination and artistry.
“She just keeps on going where I would have given up long ago, through thick and thin,” Mr. Billow, 46, said. “She once had a 103-degree fever and was still doing it. When you combine the length and duration with the sheer amount of them, it’s staggering. She’s incredibly talented.”

One day, Ms. Levy nearly enlisted her husband to pinch hit. She takes her sons to and picks them up from Brooklyn Friends School in a Dutch bicycle with a front wooden compartment (that Mr. Billow made) where her sons  sit.

On this particular day, her foot fell into a hole, sending the bike askew. When some pedestrians helped her right the 200-pound bicycle contraption, she sprained her hand. With painkillers that night, she persevered.

Ms. Levy has stockpiled napkins, knowing she would be out of commission for three days: when she gave birth to Ansel.
The family lives on a quiet street in Williamsburg, in a two-story 115-year-old factory that most recently made metal garbage cans and wooden caskets. Nine years ago, the two gutted a dilapidated building and built their spacious studios are on the ground floor.

Mr. Billow made the apartment’s wooden floors, shelving, and installed the appliances. His wife’s drawing surface is the kitchen table, exquisitely made from  pieces of reclaimed wood that Mr. Billow took from the  factory floor.

The used napkins that the boys remember to bring home are in an unglamorous repository: Fresh Direct boxes stacked on the floor. Archer and Ansel enjoy occasionally diving into to the stash to pull out their favorites.

“I once brought up the idea of selling them,” Ms. Levy said.

“Nooooo! They’re mine!” Archer said.

She said she had never asked them to save them for posterity, but with the advent of full color, more napkins seemed to come back home.

In order, at least, to preserve them better than putting them in a cardboard box, Ms. Levy has been posting them on her blog, “Daily Napkins” since last summer.

She has improved her illustration and said she finds the medium more immediately gratifying than her day job of sculpting. Ms. Levy, who often involves her children in her realistic work, is featured on the April cover of Sculptor magazine and has exhibited at the Smithsonian along with local galleries.

She thinks that some day the boys will be embarrassed by their mother making their napkins and she will be able to move on.

Ms. Levy recently discovered another artist who makes napkins, Marty Coleman, from Oklahoma, who calls himself Napkin Dad. Mr. Coleman, 57, started in 1998 when his three daughters were in junior high and high school, focusing on aphorisms. He still created napkins for his children even when they were away in college, but only posted them on his blog.

“I am not planning on drawing while they are in college,” Ms. Levy said.
For now, lunch (chicken nuggets, raw vegetables) in the metal lunch box comes home half-eaten, and the napkin waterlogged from the ice pack and barely used.

What happens if the boys get food on their hands or face?

“That’s easy,” said Ansel, “you go find a paper towel.”

Archer grinned. “I do this,” he said, and wiped his hands on his shirt.

Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Script | Android Forums | WordPress Tutorials
Go to Source