The Buzz on The Bowery
Years ago around 2000, my friends and I would go out to have impromptu poetry readings. Our belief in such spontaneous action was that poetry could and should be brought to other places for the benefit of all. We would often try this in bars and jazz houses with varying results, but we would mostly be threatened to be kicked out or actually be rejected. Then once, about a year later while I was living in Tacoma, Washington, I had a dream that I was reading in a bar, and there were people smiling all around me – I felt like I was at home. A few months later, on my return to New York City, I went walking around the Lower East Side of Manhattan and found a place I had never seen before: The Bowery Poetry Club. This was the very place I had seen in my dreams, and I went there almost religiously to read poetry and to make my dream a reality.
The proprietor of The Bowery Poetry Club is Bob Holman, a man of diverse qualities that propels his actions toward one goal of cultural support and social optimism. I could write a whole post about Bob’s accomplishments, but there’s only one I want to focus on today.
A few months ago I heard he had acquired some bee hives and I thought it would be cool to go out and see them. The population of bees has been on the decline for many years now and it’s been a mystery as to why such a large dip in numbers has occurred; there have been many reasons and factors cited as to why, but no concrete proof has supported any of the reasons given. What is clear is that without bees, the human race will lose many fruits and plants that we enjoy and need to support our ecosystem. The loss of bees has been so sharp that recently New York State has legalized urban bee hives, allowing hundreds of urban bee keepers to maintain their hives without fear of fines that could go as high as $2,000.
The bees were provided by Sam Comfort and introduced at this year’s Festival of Ideas For A New City, and they have been buzzing around the neighborhood pollinating local gardens and yards. There are three hives dubbed Ahkmatova, Baudelaire and Chaucer - each one houses about 1600 bees. The honey is being sold as a fundraiser product to help the Bowery Poetry Club and its various outlets to aid the community it’s been servicing since 2002.
It isn’t expensive or difficult to have your own bee hive. There are many ways to create a hive, and getting the bees isn’t difficult at all either. The benefits are three-fold as well, because your community would benefit from their presence. Bee knowledge is educational for everyone, and I don’t know if you realize this, but bees make honey. I hope in the coming years every neighborhood in New York will have a hive and a Keeper so we can ensure the survival of bees in our communities.
The Bowery Poetry Club is located at 308 Bowery in New York City
The Bee Source is a great place to start for knowledge about bees
Bee Keepers in New York can check out Borough Bees
http://stephanienikolopoulos.com/2011/06/01/the-buzz-on-flash-mob-bees-bowery-bees-and-greek-bee-myths/ http://www.onearth.org/blog/video-keeping-bees-in-big-apple http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/science/earth/15bees.html