Part of why Greenpoint is so special is because of our waterfront location. And while many still make disgusted faces when thinking of getting anywhere near the Newtown Creek or The East River, others are paddling up our local waterways and even fishing off our piers.
We still have a long way to go before we can even safely touch the water, but with more awareness and recreation on our waterways, the faster they will be cleaned up for future generations to enjoy.
City of Water Day, which is taking place this Saturday July 20th is “a celebration of the potential of the waterfront,” and lots of events are going on nearby.
While nothing specifically is organized on Greenpoint’s waterfront, enjoy a picnic in Transmitter Park or at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk or watch the sunset on the India St Pier or the Manhattan Ave Streetend Park. We have lots of waterfront access in Greenpoint.
If you want to travel to the other end of Brooklyn, Greenpointers who brought you the Newtown Creek Armada along with the Gowanus Dredgers & Brooklyn Atlantis are taking on our sister super-fund waterway, The Gowanus Canal with the Gowanus Voyage, an interactive public boat pond on the Gowanus Canal in which you can explore above and below the surface of this historic waterway by piloting miniature remote control boats and aquatic robots equipped with video cameras and environmental sensors. Gowanus Voyage will take place on Saturday, July 20th, from 1pm-6pm at the 2nd Street boat launch near Bond Street in Brooklyn and is presented with the support of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The rain date will be Sunday, July 21st.
This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund from local reader donations!
Things are looking up for the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Even a hurricane couldn’t wipe the polish off their first year in the water, which took the group from mere plans and papers to a modest 20-vessel navy regularly plying the local waters. On April 2nd the group met again to kick off their second season as a fully-operational club, and the message of the night was simple: let’s get more butts in boats.
The key points made at the meeting all supported this theme. Membership fees are effectively reduced by $20 for the year: last year members were asked to contribute $30 to the club and needed a separate $30 membership to the American Canoe Association in order to be covered by that group’s trip insurance. This year the club has a blanket policy with them so a $40 fee paid to the NBBC directly obviates the need for individual ACA membership. Members were also encouraged to start down the safety training path that will result in access to club boats outside of scheduled group excursions, helping to foster a feeling of individual access to the water. Finally, opportunities abound for individuals to get involved in a number of ways: besides the obvious operational groups, subcommittees are working on gardening and green roofs for the space, woodworking and boat-building, and citizen science related to water quality and biology, just to name a few, providing niches for almost any related skill.
If you’re interested, there is still plenty of time this season to join up and get involved. Check out their website, follow the group on the various social media, or just look for smoke coming from the waterfront fire pit and introduce yourself.
On a dark Tuesday night, I walked down Kent and pushed through a doorway obscured with old burlap sacks to reveal a room full of energetic sailors, paddlers, and waterfolk. Over a round of Dark n’ Stormies – a requisite nautical drink of Gosling’s rum, lime, and ginger beer – introductions were made, and it was hard not to feel a lively mood in the attendees at this meeting of the North Brooklyn Boat Club (NBBC).
They had a right to be upbeat – several million dollars have recently been green-lighted for the refurbishment of a bulkhead and 8,000-square-foot boathouse in northern Greenpoint, at the mouth of the Newtown Creek, and the NBBC is heading up the efforts to design the space and programming.
The group is well picked for the task. In attendance was a healthy array of experienced seagoers, including kayak guides, sailors of both the river and the bounding main, and a boat builder. All are excited to be presented with a space to share their love of the water with the community, and anyone living in Greenpoint with a hand to lend to the space should definitely keep an eye on their website and attend the next meeting, the details of which are below. Discussed at the meeting:
-Safety is a major concern for all involved. While these folks are no stranger to a good time, they take their roles as teachers and stewards of the waterfront very seriously, and discussions of the exact certifications to acquire are becoming more important as the hope is to have hulls in the water this coming spring.
-Water quality issues are, of course, a concern. However, the point was raised that the water quality at the mouth of the creek is similar to that of the East River as a whole, and those who decide to ply the inland waters can be educated and suitably protected from associated risks. The question of water aeration (conducted on the Newtown Creek to increase dissolved oxygen, necessary for many types of marine life) possibly causing pollutants to become airborne was raised; however, at this time, there’s no scientific evidence supporting or disproving this concern.
-Other boathouses in NYC that can be used as models.
-The importance of including all members of the community who want to use the waterfront, including fisherwomen/fishermen
-If you’re a landlubber built like a T-rex – tiny arms and giant legs – play bike polo. If, however, you’re built like Popeye and similarly unsinkable, consider kayak polo:
I’m very excited by the prospect of a Greenpoint boat house and plan on lending my hand to the efforts to get this going. If you’re interested in becoming involved, come to the next meeting of the NBBC, to be held at: