Dec 28, 2007

Kayak Gang Invades Howard Beach!

Have You Seen These Kayakers?

Last seen pillaging the pasta & pizza of Gino's Pizza in Howard Beach, the paddlers should be considered stuffed and extremely somnolent.

Yes, the hoped-for Pasta Paddle mentioned in the last post went off very very nicely! We had a group of 7, which made it fun. The 10:30 on a nearly full-moon day with a 3:30 low water did mean, as I'd posted in the Yahoo invitation, a good appetite-building workout on the way there; we still had a pretty rockin' ebb for the ride back, which was good since some of us were totally stuffed.

The day started with the sun peeking out in a little blue sky - but that foolishness was shortlived. Still a good day out of the water (and in the restaurant, and around the nice warm woodstove chatting over the pros & cons of canoes & other random topics afterwards).

So nice when it's just us and the brants.

Only sad part of the day was -

I found Nemo...

cross posted at Frogma

Dec 23, 2007

Solstice Paddle, Saturday, 12/23/2007

Friday night, it being the holidays, I had to make a quick trip to this tower in search of a couple of gifts (plus just seeing the tree & all).

Saturday found me in the vicinity of a less imposing tower - but still a nice view -

and the crowds were a lot more manageable!

Stevie & Minh & I celebrated Solstice, the shortest day of the year, with an unusually short (for a weekend paddle) paddle - just a circumnavigation of Ruffle Bar.

And look, we found a tiny Stonehenge. Too bad there was no sun!

No, no, that's not really a small observatory. However Ruffle Bar is an interesting destination for those who enjoy a little amateur archaeology (aka "checking out junk on the beach") -

Back before the Bay became a wildlife preserve, there were squatter's shacks, probably rather nice ones like the ones that still exist in Hempstead Bay, on many of the little islands. According to Stevie and others at the club, Ruffle Bar had also been the site of a tavern for many years. Lots of interesting bits & pieces to find -

although you do want to watch your step.

We didn't beachcomb for too long as the wind was rather biting & it was more comfortable to be buttoned into a boat & paddling. The only "artifact" we collected this time was a large slab of stone that Minh took on as ballast - his boat was weathercocking a bit on the way out. He figured a little weight in the rear would help matters. Off we went. We found a much more recent relic on the way back...

Of course we had to do solstice rolls...there's Stevie...

and there I go..
Brrr! We haven't had any serious cold snaps yet, but the water seems to be cooling a lot faster than it did last year. The Coney Island Polar Bear may be more exciting this year than it was last year - not that it's ever boring, but the water feels a lot winterier than it did this time last year. Stevie backed me up on this, he thought so too.

Rolling silliness done, we hustled back past the daymark - have the cormorants budged?

We made good time getting back. Stevie ran up to light the fire I'd left laid in the stove - we've taken to doing that, setting up the stove so there's no need to mess around doing that if you get back really cold, just throw a match in the fire you built carefully at the start of the day when you were nice & warm. Minh & I stayed down on the dock, unloading our boats. He opened his rear hatch, took out the rock he'd put in as ballast - and started laughing. Turned out that rock had some hitchhikers!

He caught & released as many as he could. They tried to pinch him but when you're a half-inch across, your pinch just doesn't pack a lot of punch!

Wildlife returned to the wild, boats put away, it felt so good to go warm up by the stove.

And when Stevie suggested we round out the day with some good Jamaican food, nobody turned him down. Unfortunately we lost Minh en route & his cellphone was on vibrate so he missed dinner. Stevie & I stood on the corner watching hopefully for a while, then decided to go on in. Boy did the goat curry at Nicky's Jamaican Restaurant taste good. I may vote to add that to the occasional non-meal trip. HIGHLY warming! Nicky's quite a bit bolder with the peppers in her curry than I am when I make mine. Good stuff though.

Weather permitting, I'm hoping to squeeze One Last Paddle into 2007. Howard Beach, Italian food, and TQ gets to come this time - we haven't paddled together in ages, so that'll be a great way to wrap up the paddling year. So far it's looking pretty good for Wednesday boating!

See folks at the Frostbite Regatta!

cross-posted at Frogma

Dec 20, 2007

CT AMC Pool Sessions

Sebago CC members will be joining the AMC for pool paddle fun.

For info: CT AMC Pool Sessions 2008

Dec 16, 2007

Steve Heinzerling's tools

Steve showed us his reworking of Skin On Frame hull. He has a few tools; bending jibs. A cool setup of steaming and bending with old leather belt to apply uniform pressure.

Real cool and ingenious set up...

Dec 10, 2007

Sheepshead Bay Lunch Paddle - 12/08/2007

More photos here. Don't miss Chalu modelling the accessories that came with his sharp new ORANGE drysuit! Lookin' good!

Dec 2, 2007

Kayaker resurfaces after missing for 5 years...

South Gare, looking over Tees Bay to Hartlepool
Police deployed aircraft with heat-seeking equipment in the search
A kayaker who went missing, presumed drowned, more than five years ago, has walked into a London police station.

The shattered remains of John Darwin's red kayak were found washed up on a beach in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, in March 2002.

An extensive search was launched but no trace was ever found of Mr Darwin, who was then aged 51.

"It is not known at this time where he has spent the last five-and-a-half years," said a police spokesman.

Cleveland Police said that Mr Darwin, a married father-of-two, walked into the West End Central Police Station in London at 17.30 GMT last night.

The spokesman added: "Mr Darwin is fit and well and relatives have been informed of his whereabouts."


Mr Darwin's disappearance sparked agony for his family.

John Darwin, 51, was seen entering the sea in the Seaton Carew area with his kayak at 0800 GMT on Thursday 21 March 2002.

At the time Mr Darwin was working as a prison officer, and the alarm was not raised until 21.30 when it was reported he had failed to arrive for a night shift.

Police and coastguard officers searched the coastline from Hartlepool down to Staithes, North Yorkshire, deploying five RNLI lifeboats, two coastguard rescue teams and a police fixed-wing aircraft with heat-seeking equipment - to no avail.

His wife Anne, a doctor's receptionist, said six months after her husband vanished: "People die, have a funeral, they have a headstone, there is something to mark the fact they existed on this earth.

"But without a body, I don't know how we can mark John's life.

"All I want is to bury his body. It would enable me to move on. It's difficult to grieve without bringing things to a close, but as it is I'm in limbo and there's nothing I can do."

Nov 28, 2007

Greeting from the ice sea

These are pictures of my yesterday trip up to a sea of ice; an Argentiere Glacier at 7600 feet. It is next to Chamonix. I was on skinny skis aka cross country skis on skin.

Locals sure dig the fact I am from Brooklyn.

Missing Jamaica Bay.


Nov 26, 2007

The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy

OUR MISSION: to create for the people an unrivaled vehicle to preserve the environment, promote economic development and create on New York Harbor, the finest urban waterfront recreation and educational park system in the world.

Nov 16, 2007

Time To Put the Beds to Bed

Here's pix from last weekend's project. Got going kind of late to paddle on Sunday (it's dark at 5 now, and getting cooler), so this was the perfect project instead.

I knew it was getting to be that time. Xris of Flatbush Gardener had posted a first-frost warning for Brooklyn. The Paddling Chef had sent out a great little writeup of his end-of-season shutdown to the Sebago Diggers, including how happy he was with a lovely 'trellis' he found in the trash during the Fall work-day - "Every bed needs a headboard!" - and how nice it will look covered with cucumbers & morning glories.

Looks nice, indeed. He's already got garlic in. Hmmm, that's one more piece of my pesto that could be homegrown, I guess...

I found myself wavering when I got to the club. The cosmos, though fallen, still had some buds; there were cherry tomatoes ripening; the mystery mesclun was still leafy and green. But I've found that the garden is winding itself down without my help. The flowers were OK from a distance, but close up, looking tired. The cherry tomatoes have these little black spots & the ones I took home to ripen weren't as sweet as they'd been, and seemed to go bad the minute they were ripe. The greens had succumbed to the first bad aphid infestation I'd seen all summer, I had to inspect every leaf to be sure there weren't bugs in my salad.

So...out with almost everything.

Here go the cosmos. What a root ball. That's like one of the bags of dirt I bought in the Spring wrapped up in there! You can't really see well in this picture but there was an IMPRESSIVE crater there. Shook most of it loose but the bed definitely needs replenishing, the plants took dirt with them plus of course there's been an entire season of nutrients sucked out of the good stuff I put in there in Spring.

Discoveries that this neophyte gardener has made -

Root balls can EXPLODE when you go to pull them apart. It is a good idea not to be holding them a foot from the end of your nose when that happens.

Beets are craftier than one might think. This one evaded harvest by cleverly concealing itself beneath the cherry tomatoes.

Next year, the peppers really have to be planted on the other side of the giant towering thicket of cosmos. They were having flowers all season but it wasn't until the cosmos fell over & the peppers started getting more sun that the flowers started turning into peppers! In fact if there are cosmos next year, they will be at the far end of the bed from where they were this year - that'll let the shorter plants (which was EVERYTHING - get much more sun.

I picked that one, it was good. I doubt these ones are going to make it up to a decent size, but I decided to leave the plants in, let 'em try until the bitter frosty end.

End result - peppers & peas & onions & one marigold allowed to keep going. Thyme transferred to a pot on a windowsill at home. Seeds collected from the remnants of the basil, planted in a pot & sharing that windowsill (one's starting already). Everything else in the compost heap (which I turned for the exercise!).

And I hear from a credible source that all I need now is 12 cubic feet of horsesh** & I'm done for the season.

Heeeeeere, horsie horsie horsie!

cross-posted at Frogma.

Nov 15, 2007

Ocean Paddler Magazine

Just wanted to post a quick review of an excellent magazine "Ocean Paddler"

I ride the subway 1 1/2 hours a workday so reading material comes in handy and paddle magazines are a favorite.

After 4 issues, "Ocean Paddler" magazine has turned out to be my favorite.

The thing that makes this magazine so great is the focus on real sea kayaking. Most sea kayak magazines focus on flat water, lakes, bays, ...

"Ocean Paddler" focuses on sea kayaking. Even the ads are different, they are aimed at sea kayakers. No adds for recreation kayaks and gear.

The paper is super quality and there's lots of excellent photography.

The articles focus on expeditions, day trips, gear and book reviews and advanced, rough water, skill, rescue and safety techniques.

Contributers include Justine and other well known celebs. One contributer, Douglas Wilcox, was always a good internet read, but never in magazines until now.

The one bad thing about this mag is that it is printed in the UK, so shipping and exchange makes it expensive, but I'll be renewing my subscription if I have enough money when the time comes.

The web site:

Nov 12, 2007

Saint Tony

Tony turned a saint during the fall foilage trip.... As a certified Buddhist, I can tell you about quality and quantity of his aura. Amazing..

The trip was a slow starter since everyone was trying out cold gears.

A great outing..

Nov 6, 2007

The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan

DEP Report Identifies Strategies to Improve the Ecological Health of Jamaica Bay
More Than Ten Best Management Practices to be Tested for Use in New York City

Partnerships with Government Agencies Key to the Future of Jamaica Bay

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan, which outlines a comprehensive set of strategies to restore and maintain the water quality and ecological integrity of Jamaica Bay. The two volume document, which took just under a year and a half to produce, includes a thorough profile of the Jamaica Bay Watershed and a blueprint for the future management of the Bay. Most notably, the plan builds on the Mayor’s PlaNYC, recommending a series of Best Management Practices for storm water management.

The Jamaica Bay effort anticipates the participation of other city agencies, and will be coordinated with PlaNYC’s efforts to address citywide storm water management issues through the Interagency BMP Taskforce, which is comprised of over 14 city agencies and is coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability as part of PlaNYC.

The Jamaica Bay Plan also includes the proposal by DEP of additional nitrogen control methods at two wastewater treatment plants located on Jamaica Bay. These additional controls will have a beneficial impact on water quality by reducing nutrient loading into the Bay. Water quality improvements will be further enhanced by habitat restoration in selected areas of Jamaica Bay where oyster reefs and eel grass, which were once native habitats, may be reintroduced.

Jamaica Bay is a 39-square-mile water body with a broader watershed of approximately 142 square miles that includes portions of Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County. The Bay is a diverse ecological resource that supports multiple habitats, including open water, salt marshes, grasslands, coastal woodlands, maritime shrublands and brackish and freshwater wetlands. These various habitats support 91 fish species, 325 species of birds and many reptile, amphibian and small mammal species.

“Enhancing our water quality citywide is an important part of PlaNYC. To do it, we have to find ways to preserve natural areas and better manage stormwater, and the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan will help do both,” said Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Director Rohit Aggarwala. “The implementation of Best Management Practices in Jamaica Bay, along with the educational and outreach processes outlined, will provide a model on which the citywide efforts can be based.”

“Jamaica Bay is a crucial environmental resource for New York City that must be preserved and conserved,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan not only provides a tool to achieve that goal, but it also provides the basis for testing promising sustainable storm water management techniques that may be beneficial beyond the boundaries of the Jamaica Bay Watershed. DEP is working as part of the Mayor’s Interagency BMP Taskforce, created through PlaNYC, to share these results as broadly as possible.”

The Jamaica Bay Plan, delivered to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, is the result of extensive research and dialogue with City stakeholders and regular consultation with the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan Advisory Committee, a seven-member committee comprised of three City Council Speaker appointees and four Mayoral appointees. The Jamaica Bay Plan was undertaken pursuant to Local Law 71 (LL 71), sponsored by Council Member James Gennaro and signed by Mayor Bloomberg on July 20, 2005, which requires the DEP to “assess the technical, legal, environmental and economical feasibility” of a variety of protection measures as part of the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan development process.

Volume 1, Jamaica Bay Watershed Regional Profile, a comprehensive reference document for Jamaica Bay, provides information about the diverse landscape of the Bay and its watershed, water quality of the Bay and current status of the ecological system as a whole. It also provides the information needed to identify issues of concern, setting the stage for developing strategies to address these issues in Volume 2.

Volume 2, the Watershed Protection Plan, is intended to serve as a blueprint for the future management of the Bay and its watershed. Specific objectives and pursuant strategies or actions were developed to address each issues identified.

The Jamaica Bay Plan includes six major categories that identify the significant issues to be addressed to restore the ecosystem of the Bay. The categories include water quality, restoration of the ecology, stormwater management, public education and outreach, public use, and implementation and coordination. The Jamaica Bay Plan also includes recommendations for the implementation of hard and soft infrastructure projects, innovative alternatives, pilot studies, regulatory initiatives and public outreach efforts.

Following are some of the specific recommendations included in the plan:

Implement Corrective Action Plan to Reduce Nitrogen Loading to the Tributaries: DEP will propose carbon addition at 26th Ward and Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant as a potential strategy to reduce nitrogen loading. DEP will continue the efforts to minimize trans-shipments of centrate to Jamaica Bay. To reduce nitrogen, improve water quality and increase fish habitat, the Jamaica Bay Plan also recommends harvest of excess algae and sea lettuce, removal of nutrients and contaminants through benthic organisms, bacteria and phytoplankton.

Reduce CSO and other Discharges to Improve Pathogen and Dissolved Oxygen Levels: This recommendation calls for cleaning the sewers programmatically to ensure that the entire sewer system can be cleaned every 7-10 years. In addition, the Jamaica Bay Plan recommends the creation of an inspection program to determine cleaning and maintenance needs throughout the city and identify and resolve sewer system anomalies. It also looks at separating storm sewers from sanitary sewers and reducing wastewater discharges from recreational boats directly into Jamaica Bay.

Increase Dissolved Oxygen Levels to Improve Ecological Productivity: The Jamaica Bay Plan recommends examining the need and efficacy of in-stream aeration for other creeks in Jamaica Bay, adding oxygen to improve dissolved oxygen levels to pursue aerators at Fresh Creek, Bergen Basin and Thurston Basin, and installing permanent shellbank basin aeration, among other things.

Create Robust Scientific Monitoring: Develop an enhanced water quality and ecological monitoring program and coordinate monitoring among various entities.

Develop a Plan for Restoration Ecology: To create a healthy ecosystem, this recommendation looks at the installation of prefabricated attenuators to reduce wetland erosion loss. It also looks at pursuing acquisition and restoration efforts in other periphery areas, and completing the restoration of Penn Avenue Landfill, Fountain Avenue Landfill, Paerdegat Basin and Springfield Lake.

On-Site Best Management Practices for New and Existing Developments: This element of the Jamaica Bay Plan puts forth several ideas for moderating the surge of runoff after precipitation events, such as monitoring the effectiveness of blue roof versus green roof control methodologies; distributing 1,000 rain barrels to homeowners; promoting rooftop detention in new construction; utilizing porous pavement on DEP property; and adding landscape and bioretention components to commercial and community facility parking lots that are greater than 6,000 square feet or 18 spaces.

Off-Site Best Management Practices (streets, sidewalks, vacant land and highways): Looking at open space, the Jamaica Bay Plan recommends installing tree swales on six sites to capture runoff from roadways, implementing stormwater parks on additional publicly owned vacant parcels to capture storm water runoff, planting street trees throughout the Jamaica Bay watershed; and increasing tree stocking level in East New York.

Public Education and Outreach: As part of the community outreach, the Jamaica Bay Plan recommends targeting an education campaign for developers, residents and business owners to protect Jamaica Bay; organizing a “State of the Bay” symposium and enhancing the Jamaica Bay Educational Curriculum, a resource directory.

Public Use and Enjoyment: As part of the implementation strategy, the recommendation asks for establishing an approximately 20-mile continuous greenway loop around the Bay. It also includes establishing a greenway to connect Brooklyn/Queens Greenway system to Jamaica Bay waterfront. The Jamaica Bay Plan’s greenway improvements include landscaping, a multi-use path, a bike rack, pedestrian ramps, and traffic signals among other things.

Implementation and Coordination: The Jamaica Bay Plan calls for the creation of a Jamaica Bay Water Quality and Ecological Restoration Steering Committee and for the use of Best Management Practices that will be implemented as part of PlaNYC and further BMPs that will be identified in a plan to be released in the summer of 2008 by the Mayor’s Interagency BMP Task Force. Lastly, the Jamaica Bay Report calls for the creation of an Education Steering Committee to implement education and outreach strategies.

The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan calls for periodic updates. The issues facing the Bay are expected to evolve and will be identified in regular Jamaica Bay Plan updates. The implementation for many of the recommended strategies will begin immediately and will be an ongoing collaborative effort with other City, State and Federal agencies, as well as other entities. The partnership will share expertise and financial responsibility to support projects.

New York City is implementing the most extensive plan to strengthen its urban environment ever undertaken by an American city. In April 2007, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC, a 127-point plan designed to create the first environmentally sustainable 21st century city. The long-term plan focuses on every facet of New York’s physical environment – its transportation network, housing stock, land and park system, energy and water infrastructure, and water and air quality – and sets the course for a 30% reduction in global warming emissions by 2030. PlaNYC created an Interagency BMP Task Force comprised of over 14 city agencies and coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability. The Interagency BMP Task Force is studying citywide stormwater management strategies and gathering information and ideas from stakeholders in preparation for a report to be released in Summer 2008.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection manages the City’s water supply, providing more than 1.1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents throughout New York State through a complex network of nineteen reservoirs, three controlled lakes and 6,200 miles of water pipes, tunnels and aqueducts. DEP is also responsible for managing storm water throughout the City and treating wastewater at 14 in-City wastewater treatment plants. DEP carries out federal Clean Water Act rules and regulations, handles hazardous materials emergencies and toxic site remediation, oversees asbestos monitoring and removal, enforces the City's air and noise codes, bills and collects on City water and sewer accounts, and manages citywide water conservation programs.

Oct 30, 2007

Greenland paddle making

Hans' article of carving G paddle.

Hand carving paddle is the most relaxing activity I experienced.

Result of 1 day working with wood: 7 new Greenland sticks - picture by Tom van Steenbergen

Here is his article.

Amazing rolling video

I was reading Hans' entry about greenland paddle making and came upon a remarkable video of rolling.

See the video of Dubside and Leon Somme

Oct 21, 2007

Mayor Cup 2007

It was a great race, a fast race but a slow race for me.

I like to congratulate Glen and Orlova of the club being the first and the first of Fast Touring Men and Fast Touring Women. Joe Glickman placed the 7th in Elite Touring.

I finished. I met Margo of the Maine to Miami trip. Here is her late entry of red tide of Ocean City, New Jersey.

Oct 18, 2007

Dig these words from Patagonia

We enjoy silent, human-powered sports done in nature, where the reward involves no audience and no prize other than hard-won grace. These entail risk, require soul and invite reflection. They bring us closer to the natural world and to ourselves.

- Zen Ripped from Patagonia site

Oct 15, 2007

Rx for sick Jamaica Bay wetlands

By Gary Buiso

The city last week released the blueprint it feels will improve the ecological health of Jamaica Bay, where poor water quality and disappearing marshlands have left the waterbody in critical condition.

The two-volume Watershed Protection Plan by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) details the troubling conditions in the bay and offers a guide for its future management.

The plan, delivered to the mayor and City Council, offers recommendations for the implementation of “hard and soft infrastructure projects, pilot studies, regulatory initiatives and public outreach efforts,” according to the DEP, which said some improvements would begin immediately.

Most significantly, the plan calls for specific measures to improve water quality, including limiting the amount of nitrogen that is released in the bay.

Nitrogen release is suspected as a cause of the bay’s diminishing water quality, and the prime culprit in the rapid disappearance of the bay’s saltwater marsh islands.

In the plan, DEP proposes the addition of carbon at the 26th Ward wastewater plant and at the Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant—facilities that deposit cleaned waste in the bay.

Oct 13, 2007

Weiner seeks help to save Jamaica Bay's marshlands

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) examines a map of Jamaica Bay's disappearing salt marshes.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) examines a map of Jamaica Bay's disappearing salt marshes.

Rep. Anthony Weiner challenged the city on Friday to treat Jamaica Bay's vanishing marshlands as an "emergency" - or face the heavy hand of the feds.

Weiner, advocates and a City Council member all slammed the Environmental Protection Department's plan to protect the bay, released earlier last week, saying it was too little, too late.

An alarming new study suggests the fragile saltwater marshlands could disappear by 2012 - or 12 years sooner than previously predicted, said Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens), who proposed an aggressive four-step remedy.

"The city's plan doesn't do enough quickly enough," he said. "What we need to do is to realize that we have to go into kind of a crisis mode here."

Each day, the bay is flushed with 250 million gallons of treated wastewater, which raises the nitrogen content, ultimately killing fragile marsh roots, research has shown. Roughly 33 acres of marshland were lost last year, Weiner said - twice the depletion rate of seven years ago.

Dan Mundy Jr., vice president of the Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, said the city has chosen to tighten its purse strings rather than safeguard the bay.

"The DEP's plan falls short. It's too little, too late. They've basically chosen not to take the necessary steps to save the bay," Mundy said.

Weiner is calling for the bay's nitrogen levels to be reduced 20% by 2010 and 60% by 2017. To prevent untreated sewage and storm water from washing into the bay, he wants the city to double its sewage capacity by 2011.

"It is time to start to treat this as [the] environmental emergency that it is," Weiner said as he unveiled his strategy.

To bankroll his proposals, Weiner said the state could tap into federal dollars through the Clean Water Act, or the city could dip into its "enormous wellspring" of water-tax revenues.

Last week, the DEP released its long-awaited Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan. It includes nitrogen-control measures at two wastewater treatments plants. It also recommends ways to restore habitat.

But Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who authored legislation in 2005 mandating bay-protection measures, criticized the city plan for its lack of specific goals and timelines.

"This is a plan for a plan," he said. "Unfortunately, it is not clear exactly what DEP will do or when and how it will do it."

A DEP spokeswoman disagreed, calling the agency's framework "a very comprehensive plan that represents the diverse interests of Jamaica Bay." But Weiner said the city can no longer drag its feet.

"If they don't solve this problem quickly, the federal government and federal agencies are going to force them to solve it quickly."

Oct 8, 2007

Work Day 10/07/07

Where was everybody? maybe some of us turned up a trifle late! :D

Season closer's the 28th, right?

Oct 7, 2007

Gowanus Canal sick with germs, City Tech professors say

A biology professor whose students found gonorrhea in the Gowanus Canal said the water is so ridden with "aggressive" strains of bacteria she wouldn't live anywhere near it.

The news comes as developers are hungrily eyeing the banks of the long-polluted canal between pricey Carroll Gardens and Park Slope for luxury condos.

"I wouldn't, and I wouldn't eat the fish either," said Niloufar Haque, a biology professor at New York City College of Technology, who has tested the canal's water for three years with her sister, Nasreen, also a professor at City Tech.

"We were just saying we wouldn't want our child growing up around that water," added Haque.

Besides gonorrhea, Haque and her students have found flu viruses and other "disease-causing" bacteria in the canal's fetid waters. But Haque said she is most disturbed by how virulent the strains appear to be.

"These are species of microorganisms that are very aggressive," said Haque. "When you take the samples and analyze them back at the lab it is scary."

The canal - once one of the most industrialized waterways in the country - has seen a resurgence in the last few years since the city first repaired its flushing tunnel in 1999 and helped cut down on its notorious smell.

When the tunnel is functioning, crabs and fish can survive in its waters and kayakers flock to its banks.

But advocates charge the canal is still far from clean, largely because it has never been dredged and raw sewage is still dumped directly into it during heavy rains, as it is in other places.

"When you put that much raw sewage into the system, it's really not surprising that you find a variety of pathogens, toxins and bacteria in the water," said Craig Michaels, an investigator with Riverkeeper, which has sued the city over the sewage issue.

Environmental Protection Department officials said yesterday they are working on several projects that will further clean up the canal, including an upgraded flushing tunnel that will increase flow by 40%, a better pumping station, and new sewer pipes to divert waste from the canal.

In the meantime, the city has begun soliciting bids for what could be the first new housing on a lot on 5th and Smith Sts.

Other big-name developers also have snapped up parcels and are pushing the city to allow luxury condos along its banks.

David Von Spreckelsen, an executive with Toll Brothers, which wants to build condos near 1st St., pointed to the city's planned upgrades for the canal and said he is confident people will want to live there.

"It doesn't worry me," said Von Spreckelsen, who a few weeks back took his young kids canoeing on the canal.

Canal booster Buddy Scotto said he has long battled the city over sewage flowing into the canal, but he said the canal is cleaner than ever and is ready for residences.

"That's the only way we can get it cleaned up," said Scotto.

The jetskis' end is near.

Yesterday, we were on Brighton beach reading a good book. They came driving through swimmers. Without lifeguards, they drove right through beach goers until they let me take these pictures with their number plates. I think I will be going to Brighton beach more often.

I called in 311 and they asked to wait for 911. We let the police know. We were there for two and half hours. I counted about fifteen jetskis getting within the stone throw. You could smell gasoline minutes after they left. There is big open space and they came to the beach showing off and taking pictures.

Number plates read; NY5127 ME, NY7680 FR, NY1700 ME.

We have been having an ongoing discussion over several months about jetskis back in the Jamaica Bay. It seems we lost it as the laws changed.

However it seems jetskiers are not so bright but timid. As lifeguards retreated after the labor day, they are coming out in droves ever so close to the beach and creating hazards.

Oct 3, 2007

Around LI In 5 Years If It Kills Us, Leg 1, Day 2 & 3 gallery DONE!

Racing for the beach!

Bit of a rush job as it's monthly close at work & I've been working some long days, but I've posted pictures from Days 2 & 3 of our trip out along Long Island. They've actually been up for a while, but I just finished off the last few captions on my lunch hour today.

I combine days 2 & 3 as I took half as many pictures those days - there was just a lot more variation in scenery on the first day, out of J-bay, around Breezy Point, along the Atlantic, in through the East Rockaway Inlet and finishing at Paddy's - dramatic changes in environment from urban to open just made for fun picturetaking. And then of course there was that unbelievably gorgeous sunrise...

Anyways, lunchtime's over, time to stop reminiscing - but what a wonderful 3 days. Thanks again, everyone who made it happen.

This should take you to the gallery!.

Cross-posted at Frogma.

Sep 30, 2007

Wastewater plant becomes kayak launch

Shoreline Park By Greenpoint Water Plant To Open This Weekend

A wastewater treatment plant may not be the ideal site for a park, but after decades of being cut off from their waterfront, Greenpoint residents saw an opportunity for a shoreline park and helped make it happen. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez got a preview of the park which opens this weekend.

A water treatment plant usually doesn't look or smell very nice. But a group of Greenpoint residents wanted to change that at the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Plant. This weekend they will get community access to the waterfront with a landscaped walkway, a kayak launch site, and a reduction in the smell.

"We have so much water around us, but we have no access,” said a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Commitee. “I think this is a start."

"We have to fight for every inch of park space in this neighborhood,” said another.

When plans were announced for a $3-billion upgrade to the plant a decade ago, volunteers formed a monitoring committee to work with the city's Department of Environmental Protection and make sure the new facility wouldn't further degrade the quality of life here. Made up mostly of long-time Greenpoint residents, committee members say their neighborhood has more than its fair share of environmental woes.

"We had sanitation here with the incinerator, we have transfer stations all over Greenpoint,” said a third. “There's an oil spill. There are lots of environmental issues here."

Besides helping mitigate the negative impacts of the plant's renovation, which is the largest sewage processing facility in the city, the group also helped design the waterfront.

Designers say the nature walk not only provides access to the waterfront, but also serves as a learning tool. The walls resemble the sides of a ship. Moreover, much of the greenery is tied to the environmental, industrial, and cultural histories of the neighborhood.

Etched in a granite table are the creek's original watershed and its tributaries. The names given to the area by the natives who lived here are etched in stone benches.

"All of the names are kind of angled differently, so when you actually read a name you're actually looking at a Native American place,” said environmental sculpture artist George Trakas.

The 800-foot walkway is just phase one of the project. Completing the walkways around the plant will take about another five years.

"Hopefully there'll be a big esplanade one day, and it'll all be connected, which would be marvelous," said a Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee member.

"I think the more people want to come to the creek and experience it, the more pressure will be put on the folks to keep it clean,” added Jim Pynn, superintendent of the Newtown Creek Plant.

- Jeanine Ramirez

Sep 23, 2007

Kayak And Canoe Launch Ramp Opens In Queens Park

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Kayak And Canoe Launch Ramp Opens In Queens Park
September 22, 2007

It may have been the last day of summer Saturday, but one Queens park gave New Yorkers a reason to stay in the water.

After the official ribbon cutting ceremony, New Yorkers geared up to make a splash in Jamaica Bay, using the new kayak and canoe launch in Idlewild Park Preserve.

The preserve is part of the New York City water trail, which is a network of waterways that connects the city's parks. The Parks Department is thrilled about the launch, but some neighbors say it's just another headache.

"I think it's bad,” said resident Angel Flores. “Bad because we have rollover parking. We have garbage all around and we have to clean it.”

“What we're doing here is creating great value. We've got beautiful plantings of roses. We've cleaned it up; we've made it safe,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “I think this will actually increase neighborhood property values."

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