LowLine: New York’s New Underground Park

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New York City may seem like the last place that you’d expect to see plantlife set amongst the grit and grime of the streets. Think again! Two visionaries named Dan Barasch and Jay Ramsey are taking green life to somewhere even more unique and unusual — under the streets of NYC. Meet their vision for one of the world’s first underground parks, LowLine.

Barasch and Ramsey are at the helm of this brand new project that includes plans to use solar technology to help transform an unused trolley terminal into a lush, green space. Opened in 1908, the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side was used by commuters until 1948 when the transportation services were ended. While the space has been untouched in the six decades since, much of the original architecture stands intact. This includes incredible vaulted ceilings, trolley tracks and cobblestrone streets once walked by the population of Manhattan.

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After first making waves with their Kickstarter efforts in 2012, the Lowline team raised over $150,000 for their project and set about creating a functioning full-scale model in a building above the trolley terminal. The key to the greenery in the park is the solar technology developed by Ramsey himself. With solar collection discs above grounds (think    satellite dishes), light from the sun is brought below the surface of the street and allows plantlife to complete photosynthesis.

With the full model scale functioning aboveground, the team has been working on securing the proper permits and support from elected officials to complete the underground project. In 2014, the Lowline team will continue to work with the transit authority and New York City to transfer ownership to the group. While it may seem far away, Ramsey and Barasch hope to have the Lowline park up and running by 2018.

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The concept of an underground park and the technology used to create such a dream space is something that the crew at the House of Marley can easily relate too. Ever since our company started, we’ve been dreaming up ways to create earth-friendly audio gear and we can’t help but be excited by any others who take on the same commitment to the earth. Cheers to the Lowline crew and hopefully we’ll see you under the Big Apple after your project is completed!

Photo Credit: Lizzy Zevallos/Lowline

 

House Of Marley Joins S.T.E.A.M. For Childrens Event

Teamed together with S.T.E.A.M., which stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math,” the House of Marley spent last weekend educating L.A.-area children and showing off our earth-friendly gear. With the Marley van in tow, we were able to talk about the environment and why it’s important to use technology that supports our planet.

The event, dubbed S.T.E.A.M Nation, was created to offer inspiration to local kids and help them develop a love of the planet earth and new technology. With children ranging in age from first to eighth grade, 2400 participants explored West LA college and learned more about how the worlds of tech, environment and humans all interact with one another.

One place where all three intersect is at the House of Marley. By showing off our sustainable goods, we were able to demonstrate to these young thinkers that products can be both great for the environment and look stylish at the same time. By using recycled metal, leather, cotton, hemp and water bottles, the House of Marley has been able to create powerful audio gear that helps to remove unwanted products from the wastestream.

Have you ever wondered just how many recycled water bottles go into our Bag of Riddim, Lively Up Scout Pack, Marital Watch and Rise Up Over-Ear Headphones? At the House of Marley, we place great value on creating awesome gear and the chart below shows just how we do it.

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HOM Teams With Little Kids Rock For Rockin’ The Bay 2013

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Music, more than any other form of art, is capable of connecting people, no matter the boundaries of their location, native language or religion. Transporting you to a certain place via a few chords, some memorable lyrics and a steady beat, music can easily bring together the masses. With that thought in mind, Little Kids Rock have spent over a decade furthering music education and bringing instruments to children all over the world.

In honor of Little Kids Rock’s latest fundraising effort, the 2013 Rockin’ The Bay Benefit, the House of Marley has commissioned some killer artwork via a few pieces of our audio gear. Taking place on November 9 at Facebook’s headquarters in San Francisco, these limited edition audio systems from the House of Marley will only be available at the event’s silent auction and the profits will be directly donated to Little Kids Rock.

The first piece comes from Team Marley member and pro skater Karl Watson who will be painting his own version of our Bag of Rhythm Bluetooth. Our second piece comes from David Flores, an infamous skateboard illustrator, who was has worked for companies like Real, Stereo, Anti-Hero and Spitfire. He’ll be transforming one of our Get Up Stand Up Bluetooth into a unique piece of art.

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Since its inception in 2002, Little Kids Rock has brought music to over 250,000 children by helping to keep music programs alive in underfunded schools. In addition, the organization has helped launch a series of two-day workshops where children get to learn about their favorite style of music and even record their own CDs and videos of their music. In order to keep funding these worthwhile projects, it’s vital that we help contribute to this great cause.

To make your own voice heard and contribute to the next generation of Bob Marleys, join us at the Rockin’ The Bay Benefit and bid on these amazing one-of-a-kind versions of our portable audio gear. Not only will you receive the fantastic work of Karl Watson and David Flores if you win, but you’ll also be helping to make sure that music stays where it belongs.

 

House Of Marley Approved: Satori ReLife Skateboard Wheels

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Some people get skateboarding all wrong. They think it’s a destructive lifestyle. The truth is that most skateboarders (like the Satori Movement crew), have an alternative way of looking at how the world works. More concerned with creating something beautiful and making a contribution in the process, Satori has been creating low-impact skate products for over a decade.

Just like the earth-friendly gear we create at the House of Marley, Satori combines hemp, bamboo and organic cotton to make killer t-shirts, hoodies and pants. The company’s sickest achievement are some super slick wheels that actually made from recycled wheels dropped off at skate shops around the country.

Dubbed ReLife, these new wheels feature inner cores that are made from old wheels, as opposed to making completely brand new ones from urethane. Forget just trashing your old wheels, let Satori turn them into something new again.

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House Of Marley Approved: Bogobrush

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It’s time to keep brushing locally, but start thinking globally. The House of Marley recently found Bogobrush, a killer company that is focused on creating well-made earth-friendly toothbrushes. Just like our Chant Bluetooth Portable Audio System, these toothbrushes are made using bamboo, which is a material that grows fast and is also completely biodegradable. Once you’re done with your Bogobrush, you can simply throw it in your backyard and the brush will literally dispose of itself.

Why would you want to get rid of an awesome tooth brush? Simple. For every Bogobrush purchased, the company gives away a brush to a person in need, hence the name Bogo (Buy One Get One). With an initial goal of giving away 10,000 brushes, the company has already achieved a hefty sum of 8,000 and they aren’t finished yet. Give the boot to plaque and toothbrushes made from plastic in one fell swoop by helping to protect the environment and your next door neighbor.

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House of Marley Approved: Kite Patch

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There is nothing like getting back to basics and hitting the trail for a hike. However, there is also nothing like the experience of becoming a human pin cushion and getting a million mosquito bites. Kick harmful bug sprays to the curb, and make a unique contribution to society, by picking up a Kite Patch. All it takes is sticking one of these small squares on your clothing and mosquitos will keep on buzzing by.

Wanna know the best part? Kite is working to take their patches to third-world countries. The company will donate a patch to someone who truly needs it every time you buy one for yourself. At the House of Marley, we believe that giving back and helping the world is one of the most important things a person can do. Thankfully, because of companies like Kite, it just became easier to make a difference on a personal level.

House Of Marley Celebrates Playing For Change Day

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You’ve probably heard the statistics about the impact of music on young ears. Forget about the stats though. Remember the first time you heard a Bob Marley song? Think about the feeling it sent through your body. Think about how it shaped your values. Think about where you would be now if you didn’t hear that one song. Music shapes us in a special way rarely seen or heard elsewhere. Hence, the birth of Playing For Change Day.

Created by 1Love and the Playing For Change Foundation, the third annual Playing For Change Day is a holiday that aims to bring together the global community with music. All over the world on September 21, 2013, there will be music events sprouting up to bring about change. From musicians on big stages to buskers on street corners, artists of all levels of will unite with the hope of raising money to give music instruction and instruments to kids who really deserve them.

Do you want to get involved in the action? Playing For Change Day is open to everyone, whether you can play guitar like Bob Marley or not. Find out about the many different ways you can contribute and make your voice heard on September 21 below:

Attend An Event

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There are currently 167 events happening in 42 countries on Playing For Change Day and that means there is most likely a concert near you. Join in on the fun, listen to some new artists and make a contribution that will help kids around the world learn more about the magic of music. A donation as small as $15 can help to fix music equipment while a $1000 gift can fund three music programs in Nepal for a month.

Create Your Own Event

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If you are a musician and would love an opportunity to contribute to the community, put on your own show in your hometown. Playing For Change Day is a grassroots movement that anyone can get involved, no matter your level of musicianship. Grab some buds, come up with a set list, create some tickets and make an impactful donation to Playing For Change that will help kids around the world receive a proper introduction to music. Here are some tips for creating and registering your own event through the PFC organization.

Fundraise Online

playingforchangeday3Maybe you can’t play any instruments, but you still love music. You can still make an impact on September 21. Take to your social network accounts and spread the message of Playing For Change Day by sharing links, informing your friends and bringing new light to the cause of musical education.

Pick Up Some PFCD Swag

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Available through our charity partner 1Love, you can pick up a killer Playing For Change Day action kit and celebrate music in your own special way. You’ll get some awesome buttons, stickers, guitar picks and a PFC t-shirt to show your support on September 21.

At the House of Marley, our focus is primarily on music and making an impact in the world. With that being said, the idea of Playing For Change Day is what we are all about. Just by simply strumming a guitar or making a beat, you can unite the world in song.

IF you take part in Playing For Change Day, you can make an impact here and now. By helping to educate the next generation of new musicians, you’ll guarantee that you have something to listen to on your House of Marley headphones for the rest of your life.

Brush Park BMX Invades Downtown Detroit

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The question of what to do about the city of Detroit may be an endless puzzle for politicians, but for many dedicated community members, the idea is much more simple. Grassroots based projects have always kept many in the city fed, clothed and entertained, all at the same time. Something as small as transforming an underutilized public park could literally change a city block. With that in mind, the Brush Park BMX revival was brought to life.

Led by local BMXer/freelance photographer Joe Gall, a team of dedicated bike riders set about cleaning up Brush Park in early April. Even though the park is located only a few blocks away from the stadiums that are home to the Detroit Lions and Tigers, the location was largely neglected since the early 1970s. Over the course of a few months, the crew packed up bag after bag with 20 to 30 plus years of trash and completely tore apart the overgrown shrubbery.

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While cleaning up the park was the initial goal, once the trash and debris were removed, it was time to start building an epic BMX park. By suggestion of the park’s neighbors, the bikers incorporated the vintage playground equipment that was still standing into the course’s architecture. A 10-foot metal slide acts as a starter ramp for the series of dirt jumps, which flows riders through and around concrete statues, monkey bars and more.

Gaining the confidence of the surroundings of the community was key in the success of building the Brush Park BMX trail. The city of Detroit tends to see its property misused by outsiders, but instead, this crew of riders (many of whom live near the park) went about their project the right way. By cleaning the area and making it safer for all, the park became a site for anyone to hang out, no matter whether they are into bike riding or not.

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Creating something new out of an item that has long been forgotten is what the #LiveMarley movement is all about. Just as we have taken items from society’s waste stream and reused them in our earth friendly headphones, portable audio systems, Lively Up bags and watch line, the BMXers of Detroit have revitalized a park for their community.  We’d like to say “Happy Trails!” to the Brush Park BMX crew and hope that they will continue making a difference.

Photos courtesy of @BrushParkBMX and @BrushPark_MyHood

House of Marley and Shwood Wood Sunglasses Team For Instagram Contest

shwood-marley1 A recycled tree limb might be the last place you’d expect to get a pair of shades from, but a Portland-based company Shwood is creating stylish sunglasses out of all types of materials. Created by Eric Singer and his co-founders in 2009, the brand has made their stamp by creating some dope eyewear with a handcrafted DIY touch.

It’s always exciting to see companies like Shwood creating awesome gear with the same resources that we use to produce our earth-friendly headphones, portable audio systems, Lively Up bags and watches. Recently, we caught up with Singer and talked about how Shwood’s wood sunglasses are made from scratch. Check out the interview below and learn how you can win a pair of Shwood sunglasses and Stir It Up on-ear headphones from The House of Marley:

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What made you decide on sunglasses when you took that first tree limb and made a new product? It could have been anything… why sunglasses?

I guess my logic was “WHY NOT sunglasses?”  It all happened during a stagnant time for me creatively. It was the summer after graduating from high school. I had made so many random things, and my house was full of this junk pile of it all. I always kept a pretty nice collection of vintage sunglasses I would find. The second that these two things (making something/sunglasses) popped into my mind was the exact moment that I started building the first pair.

What’s the process of making each pair of sunglasses? How much time goes into creating one pair? How many hands touch each pair?

Our process has always been pretty intense. One pair of sunglasses will travel through upwards of 25 hands before it leaves our doors. On average, hand time per pair is one hour and 34 minutes, though if you calculate dry times of glues and finishes you’re at about six and a half hours.  The process starts with hand-selecting our various woods to weed out bad lumber.

From there it passes through all the stages of milling that lumber down to workable veneers. These veneers are laser cut to produce our shapes, which are then pressed up and glued together, parts are attached and sanded, re-worked, hand sanded and shaped some more, and hinges are attached and set. These frames are then finished for protection from the elements, and lenses are cut specific to each frame. Once fitted with the right lenses, they are cleaned by hand to ensure a flawless first impression by the consumer and packaged, ready for the always-friendly UPS courier.

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Tell us about the Shwoodshop in Portland. How big is it? How many employees? What is some of the equipment that you use on a daily basis?

Shwood officially launched in 2009, and currently employs 50 people in our Portland, Oregon workshop. With 150 pairs made every day, and our growing awareness around the world, it’s exciting to see how much our sales are constantly outpacing production. Every step from veneering and precision lens cutting, to shaping and finishing, is conducted in house, and Shwood has seen a steady growth in sales every year. Our large equipment arsenal consists of a man-sized band saw, dual drum sander, hydraulic presses, a 60 gallon industrial air compressor, a few massive dust collectors, a tabletop CNC, 5 lasers and a couple of really big shop fans.

At House of Marley, we work with Earth-friendly materials like FSC-certified wood, recycled aluminum and organic cotton. Is using eco-friendly materials important to Shwood?

Yes, using eco-friendly materials is very important to us… The root of our brand is to “Experiment With Nature”, and since 2009 we’ve been producing sunglasses using sustainably harvested wood sourced from local mills in Portland, now stone, and even recycled skateboards and whiskey barrels… The nature around us is translated through each product we develop: the woods we use are all as premium as it gets, and all locally-sourced and sustainably harvested. Each piece we make gathers inspiration from vintage and classic silhouettes, and takes inspiration from the environment where Shwood is located.

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In an era where it’s so easy to get a mold and make a million plastic products cheaply, why did you want to take the time to create something that was so hands-on?

Many products are not made how they used to be – so much is developed from plastic now. In our opinion, the way the world operated before plastics carried a sense of quality that’s hard to find today. At Shwood, we all felt that the sunglasses industry was no exception to this opinion, so we did something about that. We have chosen a classic route for the image of our brand, and this is represented in our styles. It’s a good feeling to be able to look at a piece of nature around us, and recycle it into an amazing pair of sunglasses.

What pair are you wearing at the moment? Do you have a personal favorite?

My favorite is the Dark Walnut Belmont Original outfitted with brown polarized lenses. They look good while keeping things subtle.

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Teaming together with Shwood, we are giving you a chance to win a pair of Canby wood sunglasses and our Stir It Up on-ear headphones. Head to your Instagram, like and regram the contest photo from our account and be sure to follow and tag @houseofmarley and @shwoodshop. Add #MarleyShwood to your post and you will instantly be entered to win the giveaway. Submissions must be regrammed by the contest’s closing date, June 30. This contest is open to United States citizens only.  

Thanks to our friends at Shwood for getting involved with us on our latest Instagram contest and, more importantly, for staying true to their values. Creating unique goods with Earth-friendly materials is what we are all about and we are excited that other companies, like Shwood, are getting in on the action.

 

#LiveMarley Contest Winner: Jeremy Hopwood/Caravan Skate Shop

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As a part of the #LiveMarley contest on our Facebook page, we’ve been asking you to submit stories of how you have personally been inspired by Bob Marley’s values. The first winner of one of our sick new watches is Jeremy Hopwood, a 27-year-old skater from Seattle, who is also the owner of Caravan, a mobile skate shop.

OK. Your first thought was “What’s a mobile skate shop?” Right? Well, Jeremy was tired of the old skate shop model — he wanted to move it out into the streets. Instead of waiting for someone else to do it, Hopwood bought a van, tricked it out with a quarter pipe and stocked it full of decks, wheels and trucks. Forget the ice cream man… Kids are now running to the Caravan Skate Shop van. We spent some time talking to Jeremy about the shop, his charity work with Skate For Change and the future of the van.

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What was the reason that you started Caravan?

Caravan evolved out of boredom and a desire to do something meaningful. The whole idea didn’t come to me at once, but it was a feeling that I had… A burning. After I thought of the mobile skate shop idea, it took me a few months before I actually bought the vehicle. It was Earth Day 2012. My friend and I went out for a day trip here in Issaquah, Washington, starting at 6 or 7 AM. We actually didn’t know it was Earth Day until we got back from the trip.

How did the charitable element come into play?

The charity aspect came out of pure desire to continue what I started. I went to a local skate shop with the idea and the owner and I began converting the van to have a better aesthetic and functionality for skateboarding. I got word of Pam Miller (a skate event organizer) and her work, and was able to go to that first event at Samammish Park and volunteer with set-up/breakdown for the event. I passed out water and had tools and extra bearings/hardware for people skating. It slowly evolved to where I was accepting donations of skateboard equipment and shoes, and then going to events and giving them out to kids who needed them.

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How did you become involved with Skate For Change?

Getting involved with Skate for Change (a non-profit group of skaters who give back to low-income families and the homeless) was another blessing from Pam Miller, and the skate park competition circuit she runs. I took the Caravan out to Woodinville Skatepark with a pack of younger rippers, Jaeden Ovenall, Kyle McQueen and we entered the contest as a team. It was the first contest I had been in since I was 18 or so. So Skate for Change had a booth set up and it was about as natural as it could have been. I was already doing the charity aspect of Caravan and it was a perfect fit.

What kind of projects are you working on with Skate For Change?

Caravan and Skate for Change are starting to come together, but it hasn’t happened just quite yet. Mike Smith [the founder of Skate For Change] travels the country and speaks at high schools, and is gaining a huge following. They just won the State Farm $25,000 grant for the second year in a row, and just recently opened up the Bay in Nebraska, an indoor skate park/youth facility. So as far as my part, I go out with SFC Seattle most Sundays and spread the word about what we are doing in our community. Besides that, I am working to recycle used skateboards by shaping, sanding, and painting them, and by leading by example.

What’s the connection between skateboarding and making changes in society?

I’ve had conversations about the connection between skating and society since I was a lot younger. The first skateboard video I was in was called Wood Relation. To me that title says a lot on its own; skateboards are a vehicle for positivity and growth for individuals. They don’t pollute the environment, at least their carbon footprint is much smaller than most other modes of transportation. Beyond that, skating is an outlet for creativity, in art, in the physical form and with photography/filmmaking. It’s an extremely positive activity, but I believe anything active can be good. A lot of skaters don’t like scooters, rollerbladers, bmx or traditional sports. I think those are great and much better than kids playing Call of Duty any day.

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Some people just don’t understand skaters. They think they are lazy. They think they are destructive. “A skater comes down the street and it’s loud… It shocks people,” Hopwood says of skaters’ reputation. “They think you are reckless and are going to run into them.” Through his work with Caravan and his latest adventure (a summer spent acting as a counselor at a Massachussets sports camp), Jeremy is doing his part to keep the skate community in a positive light. He’s even considering making Caravan a bi-coastal project with a new van on the East Coast.

If Bob Marley’s vision for a better world has inspired you to hit the streets, plant trees, pick up trash or spend time helping others in your community, then we want to hear your story! Visit the #LiveMarley contest page on our Facebook profile and tell us what you are doing locally to improve the planet for a chance to win a new watch.