Lots of news squeaked by us in the final days of December 2022. As we return to work refreshed and rejuvenated (and hopefully not too hungover) here’s what you need to know this week:
Much-loved Harlem park on the Hudson River slated for a refresh
On the penultimate day of 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul revealed that Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in Harlem is set to receive a $26 million makeover. The state plans to resurface the park’s outdoor track and field, locker rooms, and performing arts center.
“The Harlem community deserves access to green space, top-notch sports facilities, and recreational opportunities and today we are delivering just that in the City’s most-visited State Park, Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park,” Governor Hochul said in a press release. “Through this $26 million investment, we will improve and modernize one of the state park system’s most unique places and begin much-needed work to restore the park as a center for sports, recreation and environmental education.”
All improvements to the 28-acre park will be complete by spring 2024.
Finally! Legal weed sales kick off in New York
The last week of 2022 also saw the opening of New York’s first legal recreational marijuana dispensary. The store, near St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan’s East Village, commenced sales on December 29.
Unlike the unregulated smoke shops that mushroomed across the five boroughs after the state legalized weed last year, the East Village dispensary is run by Housing Works, an established New York City nonprofit that serves individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
(For those who know the area, it replaced a Gap store—a solid example of adaptive reuse to close out the year.)
The opening of Housing Works Cannabis Co is a milestone in the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, a program that is intended to guide the creation of a cannabis industry that redresses harm to communities and individuals, particularly BIPOC individuals, who are disproportionately impacted by the prosecution of drug crimes.
Including Housing Works, New York State issued 36 licenses for dispensaries, with an additional 139 licenses yet to be approved by the Office of Cannabis Management.
Tampa International Airport announces the top three finalists in the naming competition for its new flamingo sculpture
FINAL DAY TO VOTE: It’s the last day to select your pick from the three finalists in our Name the Flamingo contest! Voting ends today at 11:59 p.m. 🦩
— Tampa International Airport ✈️ (@FlyTPA) January 2, 2023
We are one step closer to naming the giant flamingo at Tampa International Airport.
As AN previously reported, officials at the Tampa International Airport (TPA) enlisted the public’s help to name the giant flamingo, a larger-than-life sculpture by artist Matthew Mazzotta, in the airport’s Main Terminal.
January 2 was the last day to pick a name from three finalists: Cora, Finn, and Phoebe.
The lucky winner of the Name The Flamingo Contest will score four roundtrip tickets on Silver Airways, VIP passes to Busch Gardens, and be feted at a naming ceremony for the 21-foot-long bird. (Hopefully there will be shrimp cocktails, a nod to the diminutive brine shrimp that give flamingos their characteristic pink feathers.)
A dam good ecosystem hack
Finally, we couldn’t resist the al-lure of this ingenious fish tube that shoots native swimmers over dams:
This system helps native fish pass over dams in seconds rather than days pic.twitter.com/WzzDtyd3D5
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) January 1, 2023