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Image source: hermmermferm on Flickr

Queens has a lot going on in terms of sustainable construction, alternative energy, wildlife conservation, and other environmental initiatives. In fact, many of the finest tourist attractions – and special spots for locals – in the borough have a green streak. Here are our picks for the most environmentally sustainable attractions in Queens.

1. In the upper reaches of Astoria, the Steinway & Sons piano factory (which gives awesome tours) has been using solar energy since 2009. In fact, the factory is home to the world’s largest parabolic solar installation – a setup that involves solar troughs that focus the sun’s energy to heat fluid, which in turn helps provide the cool, dehumidified air that is necessary for the manufacture of pianos. Other sustainable features of the factory include replanting trees to replenish its wood supply; and efficient closed-loop systems to collect dust and scraps for use in other parts of the manufacturing process. And above all, what makes Steinway instruments so sustainable is that they are built to last at least 80 to 100 years.

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A while back we posted about the Mid Winter Nocturnal Hike at the Alley Pond Environmental Center – an event we thought was pretty rad. They posted photos of the hike to their Facebook page but we wanted to highlight some of our favorites. It was a hit for kids, too – here is a summary of the event:

Children gathered together at dusk for a mid winter nocturnal nature hike. Our evening hike began indoors with some fun sensory activities where the young nature enthusiasts learned how nocturnal animals use their senses to get around in the dark. Then we ventured off along the trails. We were greeted by the sound of a huge flock of Canada geese flying over the salt marsh. Along the trail we used flashlights to look for animal tracks and animal hiding places. Back at the nature center the children got to meet Chilly, our Chinchilla and Boots, our rabbit. We wrapped up the hike with some hot chocolate and owl s’mores that everyone really seemed to enjoy. Happy hiking everyone!

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Image source: elidr on Flickr

Last week we wrote about the basic concepts and types of yoga, and here in Part 2 we focus on where to find a yoga class to attend in Queens. This borough has all kinds of yoga venues, and this listing is designed to provide a sampling of studios with different personalities offering different kinds of yoga throughout Queens.

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Image Source: Alley Pond Environmental Center

The list of nocturnal animals is never-ending. Raccoons, foxes, possums, cats and mice are just some of the critters. Add to this list various owls and other little-known birds. On February 20, the Alley Pond Environmental Center will lead a walk through its paths and by its waterways so participants can see nature at night. Just in case there’s no action, APEC will host a live nocturnal animal demonstration on site with hot cocoa and food. An early evening walk for children ages 7 and up, is also offered. Pre-registration is required.

Mid Winter Nocturnal Hike
Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston
Wednesday, February 20
5pm – 6:30pm | $13/$7 for members

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Image source: raganmd on Flickr

Today in 2013, it’s rare to find anyone not familiar with at least the basic idea of yoga. The colorful mats, the sanskrit symbols, that pose, “downward facing dog.”  In an age where you can never be earning enough, losing weight fast enough, or doing a variety of other things perfectly enough, the message of practicing without ego, of being present in the moment, and of cultivating stillness is actually pretty profound, and it’s no wonder yoga has spread like wildfire. Whether you are preparing yourself for a visit to an ashram, need an hour of peace and quiet, or are just looking to get in shape, yoga offers pathways to all of these goals.

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Nothing is more fun than a good costume party and Halloween is the perfect occasion to get creative and let your hair down, blowing off work-related stress and enjoying the good spooky spirit of others. If you want to host a get-together and you’re not exactly a food stylist – you just want great, filling finger food, there are excellent resources right here in Queens to make your party a culinary hit. Queens is like no other borough with its unparalleled global marketplace – you can give your guests hearty, Fall fare that is somewhat unexpected but unquestionably delicious.

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Image source: Strawberry’s Sports Grill

The Queens Courier reports that Strawberry’s Sports Grill (GMAP) suddenly closed its doors last night. The Courier concludes that “poor management ran the popular Douglaston dive to the ground.” The sports bar, started by Mets and Yankees player Darryl Strawberry, opened in 2010 and was run by his brother, Michael Strawberry, though he did not manage the place on a daily basis.

The Strawberry brothers say they are not to blame for the closing.