canoe

Serious Coffee, Happy Anniversary, Man vs. Bus, Transfer Turmoil, Toxic Horror — The Hook-Up (10/28)

Artwork by Tamara Garvey

 

Greenpointers.com contributor, Chérmelle D. Edwards has a very cool site called smdlr and was featured this week on Serious Eats as one of the best 5 coffee blogs!

A couple who got married in Greenpoint in 1950 and were the first to celebrate their nuptials at the Our Lady of Snow Hall on Graham Avenue, just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Congratulations, Kay & Joe! (Greenpoint Gazette)

A 35 year old Greenpoint man lunged in front of a B43 bus this week on Manhattan Avenue and miraculously survived. (NY Post)

In case you thought everyone was happy about less garbage coming to Greenpoint, local trash collectors are upset about the reduction of capacity for transfer stations in such places as North Brooklyn. In all fairness, it doesn’t make sense to make it harder to get rid of trash in neighborhoods that are about to build monster condos filled with more rubbish makers. So, don’t build the towers and we’re good.  (Craine’s NY)

And finally… Of all things Halloween in Greenpoint this year that I find the most intriguing and terrifying, it would be sitting in a canoe at night on a horror-themed Newton Creek, but that’s exactly what our friends at the North Brooklyn Boat Club are doing this October 31st. (NY Daily News)

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We Survived! Birding Canoe Trip on Newtown Creek (Video)

Thanks to Newtown Creek Alliance and North Brooklyn Boat Club for organizing this fun canoe trip on the Newtown Creek. While nature in the way of lush forests and crystal clear running streams is far from the scenery along this industrial waterway, “nature has returned to the creek,” our guides explained, which is a good sign.

Among the many birds we spotted were cormorants, swallows, cardinals, a great egret, an entire flocks of cormorants, a catbird and a few geese who were demonstrating a curious behavior of swimming along the creek’s edge with their necks down low on the water.

We were very excited to also see blue crabs, oysters, small fish and jelly fish!

I won’t say it didn’t smell, in some parts worse than others. Mostly they were industrial gas and crude oil smells. There was a lot of garbage floating, capri sun containers, potato chips bags, tampons, and I won’t say that I didn’t cringe every time even the most minuscule drop splashed on my arm or even worse right near my lips.

When I asked Jens of NBBC what would be the protocol if someone fell in and swallowed a mouthful of water, he said he would recommend getting a Hepatitis test since the biggest pollutant on the creek nowadays is human excrement.

The most striking feature of the tour was when we canoed up to a partition between the creek and a combined sewage overflow, CSO area. That is where rainwater mixed with sewage from the treatment plant overflows after heavy rain. The water on our side of the partition was very clear, protected from – wait for it – “floatables.” On the other side, where an unknowing egret was hunting, was thick putrid sludge leading from the huge overflow pipe.

When we returned to the boat club dock I was never so excited to wash my hands, especially the spot of water that turned brown on my arm.

Canoeing up the creek is something that everyone should experience, at least once. If not for the birds – for the reality check. Modern conveniences like toilets and sanitation make us forget the impact we have on our own environment. While the creek is on its way to becoming a less vile place, it’s still the toilet of NYC, and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to it, especially since it is becoming a viable place for our own native fauna.

Bonus: Laura Hoffman, locally famous environmental hero for Greenpoint, who was a plaintiff in a 2004 lawsuit against ExxonMobil for contamination of Greenpoint and the Newtown Creek that won $19million for an environmental projects fund, was on the same canoe trip! I was honored to finally meet her.

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Canoeing: The Creek to Bushwick Inlet

Last Saturday was a day on which my body cried out for the waterfront.  The weather turned the simplest tasks into moist ordeals, so after my second mechanical failure of the day – the right pedal of my bike followed my sunglasses in simply falling to pieces during normal use – I was more than ready to view Brooklyn from afar for a couple hours.  I headed up to the North Brooklyn Boat Club‘s space up on Ash street, where I met up with the group heading out for what was the club’s very first public paddle. Continue reading

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NB Boat Club’s Spanking New Dock

North Brooklyn Boat Club has come a long way since the first meeting last Fall and the last time we spoke to board member Jens. They have a brand spanking new dock thanks to Urban Swim, an organization “dedicated to providing safe access to local waterways and to supporting the cause of clean water.” You can see the new floating dock from the Pulaski Bridge. Check out NBBC’s facebook page to keep up to date with all their river adventures, like a kayak trip to Governors Island!

© North Brooklyn Boat Club
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These Guys: Shart Attack

These guys: (left to right) Rowland and Joe’s appropriately named canoe “Shart Attack” embarked from the Sewage Treatment Plant Nature Walk yesterday. The canoe was quite a looker on Driggs as they gave it a good scrub down. We couldn’t help but take a step back when they told us it just came out of the Newtown Creek. Rowland assured us it was a great ride and the water doesn’t look dirty. And, there were signs of life, fish, mussels, clams, ducks and cormorants.

Newtown Creek 05.jpg
Nature Walk at Sewage Treatment Plant

 

“Did you wear life jackets?”
“Yes.”

“Did you wash your hands yet?”
“Not yet,” Joe said as he puffed a smoke.

I guess a ride on the Creek is less harmful than nicotene and unlike the Gowanus, it won’t give you gonorrhea. We have something going for us over here in Greenpoint!

But, just because it’s contaminated doesn’t mean we should give up on the Newtown Creek. As my Mom says, “use it or lose it!” The more we get out there and the more awareness we bring to the problems, the better chance we have of revitalizing the creek.

Newtown Creek Alliance
North Brooklyn Boat Club

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North BK Boat Club Updates: Meeting Tonight!

Boating on East River, Labor Day
©Diana Gee from Greenpointers Flickr Pool

If Greenpoint could get any more awesome, there is a boat house in the works at the tip of Manhattan Ave. Greenpointers was at the first meeting and ALOT has happened since then. This crew doesn’t drag it’s feet and already have been taking to the waters. Board member Jens Rasmussen gave us some updates.

If you want to learn more or join the club, attend the meeting tonight, Tuesday April 3rd, 2012, 8pm at the Brooklyn Rod and Gun Club (59 Kent Ave.)

GP: What is the overall goal for the boat club?
Jens: Have fun and make the world a better place.

GP: What is your role in the boat club?

Jens: I’m a board member, steering committee member, and facilitator for the communications group. (I’m also restoring a 1930 wood canvas Old Town Canoe.)

GP: How is planning coming along?
Jens: Amazing! Superb! and many other superlatives. We are thrilled and honored with the support that we’re receiving from local residents, business owners, foundations, and other community organizations. They’ve all provided the foundation for us to be able to build quickly on.

Continue reading

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