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:
Also, exceptional navy-strength gin was drunk.
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:
Brooklyn Rod & Gun Club
Kent Ave. btw. N. 11th and N. 10th
8:30 pm, Tuesday, December 6th.