O+ Festival: all abO+ut it

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Fall in the Catskills means cooler temperatures, changing leaves and the return of the O+ Festival of art, music and wellness in Kingston. Now in its seventh year, O+ has become a must-do on the cultural calendars of both loyal fans and those who are just starting to discover all that Kingston has to offer.

The three-day O+ Festival weekend (Oct. 7-9) features more than 60 bands, 30 artists (murals, performance, installation, interactive and exhibition), Literary SALO+N and CO+LLAGE Café, unlimited classes in yoga, sound healing, dance and meditation, Wellness EXPO+ and CO+NFERENCE, and cycling events for all interests and skill levels — including a bicycle tour of the proposed Kingston Greenline and the O+ murals.

A wristband is your all-access ticket to as much art, music and wellness you can handle.

Projectej.com Photography

Projectej.com Photography

Take the time to pore over our digital schedule — you’ll get a beautiful printed version when you pick up you wristband at the MO+THERSHIP (patio at Wall and North Front streets) — and make a plan that suits your interests. But be sure to pace yourself. There’s A LOT to see, hear and experience.

For your inspiration, here’s a peek at my itinerary for festival day No.1 (Friday, Oct. 7):

5:30PM Parade: I’ll kick things off Friday with the New Orleans-style parade, which winds its way through uptown and midtown, passing by O+ murals from years past and 2016 murals in-the-making. I can’t wait to see how Lady Pink, the “first lady of graffiti,” responds to this year’s Mothers of Invention theme at Express Latinos on Broadway.

7PM Kirtan at The Kirkland: Then you can catch me stepping out of my comfort zone and into a kirtan (chanting) concert led by Lee Mirabai Harrington. “Through the recitation of ancient divine names, sacred mantras and sacred syllables, we can align ourselves with divine energies and achieve a state of unity, oneness, transformation and inner peace.” Yes, please.

9PM Uni Ika Ai at BSP: After experiencing the healing vibrations of collective chanting, I’m headed to BSP Kingston for my first of many concerts of the weekend: Uni Ika Ai, a Brooklyn-based dreampop / artpop band.

10PM Drawing Extravaganza at Broadway Arts: Unlike many of my fellow O+ volunteers, I’m no artist, but that won’t stop me from experiencing Anna Hafner’s interactive drawing class. Each of Hafner’s sculptural shrines will house models dressed as different incarnations of the divine feminine for you and me to sketch. LO+VE it!

10:30PM PMS & The Mood Swings at The Anchor: From Broadway Arts, it’s a quick walk to The Anchor for PMS & The Mood Swings, who will “serve up sticky pop candy with a classic Bowery punk beat, Coney Island surf guitars, and that uptown sax sound!”

I would love to know what O+ events are on your must-do list!

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And The Kids performed during the 2015 O+ Festival at Seven21 Media Center — photo by Rachel Brennecke

While attendees are experiencing all that the festival has to offer, volunteer health and wellness providers in a pop-up clinic at Old Dutch Church are treating the underinsured artists and musicians who donate their talent as well as the many volunteers who work the weekend. We call this exchange “the art of medicine for the medicine of art.”

O+ is pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth to make the festival affordable to all while raising much-needed funds for the Kingston-based national nonprofit that powers it.

We have some great thank-you gifts for wristband donations of $50, $75 and $100, including gifts for cycling enthusiasts and a limited-edition Mothers of Invention T-shirt designed by New Yorker cartoonist and O+ alumna Carolita Johnson.

What’s It Worth to YO+U?

Kathleen (Wereszynski) Murray is a Kingston native and chief storyteller at O+ Festival.

Walk Bike NY Symposium: How to Make Communities Safer

“800 bicyclists died nationally in 2015.”

“36 bicyclists were killed in NY in 2015.”

“17 pedestrians die nationally, every day, many of these deaths are preventable.”

These were just a few of the facts learned at the Walk-Bike New York Symposium this September 13 & 14th, held in Syracuse. The Symposium pulled together people from many different areas who are working to create safer communities for pedestrians and bicyclists in the State of New York. People such as Department of Transportation engineers, city planners, health and safety practitioners and pedestrian and bicycle advocates.

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All the presentations at the Symposium were about making New York a safer place to walk and bike. One very special presentation, “Lessons for Bicycle Infrastructure Planners and Advocates from Kingston NY,” was presented by two Bike-Friendly Kingston members, Kristen Wilson, Grants Manager, City of Kingston, and Strategic Liaison to the Live Well Kingston Coalition, and Rose Quinn, Traffic Safety Assistant, SUNY Ulster Mid-Hudson Health and Safety Institute, and Chair of the Live Well Kingston Coalition. The presentation walked viewers through the development of the recent “Building a Better Broadway” project as a way to give perspective and advice to other planners as they craft pedestrian and bicycle improvements in their own communities.

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Another inspiring presentation was from Mark Fenton, National Public Health, Planning and Transportation Consultant. He asked the audience to close their eyes and remember their favorite outside activities as kids. Then he asked: was it organized play? Was an adult involved? Most answers were recollections of what we would now called “free range” play.

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Mr. Fenton showed the astronomical rates of increased diabetes in children in the United States from 1960 – 2000. He then showed the changes in walking and cycling to school from 1969 to 2001. The two inverse lines were so dramatic and clearly linked. He argued that diabetes is a bigger detriment to children than the dangers of walking to school.

He encouraged attendees to build a world where kids can be active again. He made the point that If our communities are built so that children can move through them safely, then older people will be able to as well.

He had 4 main suggestions on how to make our communities more pedestrian and bicycle friendly:

1. Design compact neighborhoods, with open spaces and mixed use development.

2. Create networks of sidewalks, trails, and mass transit. 60% of people polled are interested in biking, but are concerned about safety. Creating separated bicycle infrastructure allows those 60% to feel comfortable enough to use their bikes for everyday trips.

3. Create inviting destinations. Create complete streets (streets that are built for everyone: they are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work.) Build bike parking under overhangs. Put parking in back of buildings and screen them.

4. Create safe and accessible pedestrian streetscapes. Use “road diets” or reclaim space to be used for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping. Create pedestrian walkways that your mother would feel comfortable using.

Mr. Fenton then went on to list many other suggestions and projects that could be done in any community. He encouraged the audience to test out things in a non-permanent way to see how behavior changes and what works, using cheap materials like paint, planters or other temporary measures.

Other presentations during the symposium included: Building Health through Community Design, A Deep Look at Bicycle Commuting and Bicycling as Transportation in Syracuse and Rochester, Erie Canalway Trail – Syracuse Connector Route, and many other presentations. All had great ideas on how to increase and encourage safer walking and biking in New York.

The symposium was very successful and accomplished the goals of networking, sharing ideas, inspiring advocates and spreading information. With this information and tools, attendees have gone back to their communities and will continue to work to reduce some of those preventable injuries and deaths to pedestrians and cyclists.

Emily Flynn is the leader of Bike-Friendly Kingston, NY. She is a bicycle commuter who has become an advocate for all the different reasons people ride on two wheels. Professionally, she is a Sr. Graphic Designer at Gilday Creative, a boutique graphic design company based in Kingston.

My Trip to Amsterdam, Where Bikes Rule the Land

img_4569This summer I was fortunate to have the chance to spend a few days in Amsterdam – the OTHER Amsterdam to us Upstate New Yorkers. I promised myself that I’d take the chance to learn all that the bike capital of the world has to teach about creating a bike-friendly city. What I learned surprised me. In Amsterdam, what makes biking so great isn’t all the cool infrastructure, it’s the unspoken understanding that bikes rule.

Let’s set the stage: Cheryl and I got off the train at Amsterdam’s Central Station and almost immediately got hit by bikes. They were everywhere. Mixing and weaving around cars. And trams. And pedestrians. For the first half-hour of walking, we were in constant fear that we were going to either cause an accident or be the victims of one. I’m a confident cyclist, but I started to wonder if I would survive on two wheels in this mayhem.

img_4445After unpacking at the hotel, we immediately headed off to rent our granny bikes, or Omafiets – the traditional upright, step-through bikes that are ubiquitous in the City. My first challenge was immediate; steering a heavy cruiser isn’t like my normal hybrid trail/road bike. But despite some awkward swerving as I got used to the new ride, we were off.

Back home in Kingston, I’m usually a super-aware, rules-abiding cyclist. In Amsterdam, I was out of place. Stop sign? What stop sign? Forget staying to the right – the cars will just have to wait! I began to realize that all the dedicated bike lanes and bike paths aren’t so much to keep the cyclists safe; they’re the only way to contain them! Otherwise, they’d just take over the whole road!

Slowly over the course of the next two days, as I grew more and more comfortable in the fact that bikes – not cars – are the king of the road, I started to go with the flow. Remember the feeling that first time you rode your bike on your own? That feeling of unfettered mobility? That’s how it felt again. Sort of like putting on an old shoe – so comfortable and natural.img_4511

Now that I’m back in Kingston, I have a new appreciation for the work we have ahead of us. I’m still a zealous advocate for better bike infrastructure. But that’s not enough. Over time we need to work to create a culture that accepts people on bikes, even encourages them. We all should feel safe and comfortable using our public streets, whether on foot, in a car, in a bus, or on a bike. And when that dream comes true, you’ll find me cruising on my Omafiet, sans helmet, with a smile plastered on my face. Until then, though, I’ll be wearing a helmet; it’s a tough world for a cyclist.

instaGREEN

The Kingston Greenline has been greenifying Instagram since early May… And it’s been going FAB! We’re getting tons of new followers daily and people are tagging and hashtagging us constantly – THANK YOU! It’s been a terrific way to show you the existing Greenline trails, the parts that are under construction, the South Pine Street City Farm and other great locations in and around Kingston.

We hope this will encourage you to get out and about in Kingston, on its trails and share your awesome photos. We’d love to see you! Please FOLLOW us… @kingstongreenline

#kltgreenline #kingstongreenline #kingston #kingstonisbeautiful

Kingston Greenline