Friday, April 30, 2010

Event - PaddleSmart in NY Harbor

Copied from a recent post on NYC Kayaker - this sounds like a really excellent event. I always thought that if I had a lot more free time, I would approach some of our Coast Guard auxiliary friends from the club next door about developing some sort of safety class specifically focused on paddling in our heavily trafficked urban area. Looks like the Power Squadron has done just that - thanks to them, NYC Water Trail Associaation & NYRiverSports for offering this!

Oh, and this reminds me that that city council hearing I couldn't make is going on right now. I hope it's a good meeting.
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The New York City Water Trail Association andNYRiverSports/pier66nyc.orginvite you to join us for:Paddle Smart in the NY Harborpresented by the North River Power Squadron(www.NorthRiversquadron.orghttp://www.northriversquadron.org/)

We won’t be covering any paddling or rowing technique or skills because weknow that excellent sources for that training already exist throughout the area.

Instead we will be focusing on topics that address how we, as human-powered boaters, operate as mariners in a shared harborAs the boating season gets underway, now is the perfect time to learn or refresh your knowledge of:- Aids to Navigation- Rules of the Road- Marine Radio Use- Assessing the weather- Nautical Charts- How to read the Hudson River.

Date: Thursday, May 13
Time: 7:30pm
Locations: Pier 66 Boathouse classroom (for directions seewww.pier66nyc.org/directions.html)

The event is free and open to the public.

Feel free to bring friends and refreshments to share!

For more information contact info@nycwatertrail.org

We look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mystery LighthouseMystery SOLVED


Quick post tonight, just looking for an ID for this lighthouse! A couple of friends at work who know about my non-work life had had some friends visiting. Their were somewhere around Governor's Island (at least that's what I'd thought he said) and asking about a lighthouse that they'd seen. B. described the lighthouse as being visible from the ferry. I assumed that the ferry was the Staten Island one & Governor's Island was some sort of misunderstanding of locations of things in NY Harbor & made a very confident guess of Robbins Reef Light.

I was wrong! They'd taken a picture & this is it. First thing I thought was "That's definitely not Governor's Island" - but beyond that, I have to admit to being stumped.

Anybody know this lighthouse? No prize, just appreciation!


Note slightly later - B. confirmed that this picture was taken from the Staten Island Ferry. I am wondering if the rolling green area could be the Liberty National Golf Course, but in the end, I remain baffled.

Note a few minutes later - AHA! Baffled no more! I was right with my golf course idea - just had the wrong course. 5 minutes on Google Maps, and viiii-ola!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wanna buy a dingy?

You: Bonnie, don't you mean 'dinghy'?
Me: No.

And look! Here's a great sail to go with your dingy.

Thanks for the links, Don!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Full Spectrum in Victorian Flatbush







Ha! I did it!

And adding a note the next day - lifted from comments with a slight addition.

This was the same game as I like to play at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, only with the houses in my neighborhood instead of flowers. The rules were otherwise the same - all pictures have to be taken on the same trip, with a different house for each color (no fair using one of the real painted-lady style ones for 2 or 3).

I found almost all the colors in Ditmas Park. I thought orange was going to be tricky; I had a couple of possibilities, one place with new wood shakes that had a reddish-orange tone, one place where the paint had probably been red when first applied but had faded to close to orange - but of course then I stumbled across the one you see here. I can't believe that house had slipped my mind, it only has to be one of the most-photographed homes in Ditmas Park.

I nearly threw in the towel on purple, had grabbed a couple of cheats involving maroon trim & also a great little mural on the front doors of the local public school, painted by the schoolkids. I was going to just go with one of those, but as I was on my way home, the Mexican bakery on Newkirk turned on the irresistable force field, and thus fortified, I quested on into Midwood, where within a couple of blocks, I spotted a lovely flash of purple through the trees - and wouldn't you know it, there turned out to be 2 purple houses right on the same block. I'm picturing painting decisions involving a dinner party, a little too much wine & a mutual dare!

In lieu of the hoped-for marsh grass planting -

Slow! Photographers At Play!

Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 4/10/2010


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I stayed home today after waking up not feeling too well (note a bit later - and did I ever miss a beautiful day)
. Perfect opportunity to grumble at the City Council, but on a cheerier note I also run through my pictures from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden weekend before last.

I'd played the spectrum game again - the rules are simply to try to get the whole ROYGBV spectrum, in one day, with a different flower for every color. Not too hard on a fine spring day in Brooklyn.

I think I need to play this game with the houses in my neighborhood sometime. Maybe tomorrow if I'm not feeling up to paddling yet, sure can't spend another entire day at home. Bleah!












And I didn't forget the all-important PINK!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another meeting

We're in the budget hell homestretch at work right now, so it was a slightly late night at the office. At one point while I was momentarily idle, waiting for the next round of revisions to appear, I remembered to check on a City Council committee meeting I'd heard about. It was on the calendar so I did up a quick email to all my various mailing lists & a few friends who aren't on any of those:
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This sounds like it should be interesting meeting of the Waterways Committee of the City Council.

Oversight – Rules of the Road, Boating Safety and Cooperation in New York City Waters.

I don't think I can make it (in the homestretch for FY11 budget season so pretty much chained to desk, there now in fact) but I'd heard about it through a friend & I thought I would pass it along - already had to a few people but I think it had been rescheduled right before I first heard about it & the original cancelled date was still on the calendar with a note it was being rescheduled - that's done so here it is.
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It didn't hit me until after I got home that it was a little shortsighted of the committee members to hold a hearing like this at a time when most recreational boaters would presumably be at our desks, working at the jobs that earn us the money that lets us pay for our recreational boating habit. If you were here earlier than around noon today (Saturday), you saw an initial version of my complaint that I'd slapped together last night & set to post today. I'd planned to join one of my sailing friends this morning at the club for an 8am launch, heading over to the north channel bridge - but I woke up this morning feeling lousy in a way that said a quiet day at home would probably be a better idea.

:(

So since I'm home instead of out in the sunshine planting marsh grass, I figured I might as well take that late-night whine & actually do something with it. Here's what I sent:


Dear Councilmembers:

My name is Bonnie K. ...

I am a paddler, sailor, and resident of NYC.

You are having a hearing on Rules of the Road, Boating Safety and Cooperation in New York City Waters. Concerns have apparently expressed about failures among the recreational boating sector to comply with the rules of the road, boat safely, and cooperate. There might be things being said at your hearing that members of the recreational boating sector should be able to hear for ourselves -- so why are you having the meeting at a time when the vast majority of recreational boaters are at work & may find it difficult to attend?

I imagine that this is because for all the other participants, this IS work, and because it's normal practice to have such committee hearings during the work day, and it didn't occur to anyone that this one might be worth changing. I suppose there's no way to make it work for everybody - try to include the recreational set & you'll be asking all the professionals to sacrifice their leisure time; put it during the work day so the professionals can attend as a normal part of their work day, and the recreational set has to sacrifice office hours.

The word is out about the meeting & I am hoping that representatives of local recreational organizations (like the New York City Watertrail Association, copied above) have been invited to participate and & will be able pass the word later on what happened - but I do wish that the cooperation could have extended to finding a time for the meeting when a wider set of waterway users could conceiveably attend, for example, at 4 pm on a workday. Let the recreational set find a way to leave work a little early, and let the professionals get home a little late. Wouldn't that make sense?

Thank you for your consideration - if not for this meeting, then at least in future planning.

Sincerely,

Bonnie K. ...

BTW - A very sincere "Thank you" to PortSideNY for initially passing the word even before the final version appeared on the City Council - once again filling in a communication gap between the different types of waterway users.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scary schedule.

So I managed to make the club's instructor meeting this week, and we planned out the instructional schedule, and I took a look at the rest of the schedule, and then I added in a few other things I've been planning, and started getting the whole picture of how the front half of the season is shaping up for me, and...

oh, yikes.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day at Plumb Beach 2009 091
Yo! Kumbaya, youse guys!

Just wanted to send a quick greeting & post a couple of Earth Day things to do here on my lunch break!

The picture above is one of my pictures (with link to more) from last year's American Littoral Society cleanup. Last year's was at Plumb or Plum Beach (like monk parrots/parakeets, I've seen both spellings); this year it's going to be at a beach which I don't think has an official name, but which I've heard called "Pooja Beach" in reference to the Hindu rituals that are commonly performed there (quite a fascinating thing to see on the shores of Jamaica Bay, but unfortunately although a lot of the offerings are biodegradable -- fruit, flowers, coconuts & such -- I suspect we will be cleaning up a lot of the bright synthetic cloth & styrofoam plates that are also used). Full details on the day available on the ALS Northeast site (click on the Earth Day link & if you need more detailed instructions than are shown there, open the pdf flyer).

And for those who find themselves near or in Grand Central Terminal anytime in the next couple of days, don't miss the fair in Vanderbilt Hall! A lot of representatives from the local paddling groups are likely to be hanging out at the Going Coastal table - stop by to say hello, talk story, and grab your copy of the 2010 NYC Watertrail Guide! There's actually a big improvement this year - the map now features launches over in New Jersey, which had to be left out in previous years simply because the funding was from New York City coffers. That did cause some ruffled feathers, and it was just plain unfortunate that the guide had to ignore the entire western shore of the Hudson River/North River. Much better now!

I know there's at least one other event this weekend (not counting the Gilgo Beach planting I posted about earlier this week, scroll down for details on that one) some type of happening in Red Hook, Brooklyn, but this is supposed to be a quick lunchtime post & the details are buried somewhere & I just haven't got time to ferret them out right now. If you happen to be reading this & have info on that or any other fun earth day stuffs, please feel free to leave 'em in the comments - otherwise, I'll add those on tonight when I get home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank Heavens!

Well, a quick peek at the Times on my lunch break reveals that the calamitous event NYC residents have been fearing was averted at the 11th hour.

Thank heavens we won't be forced to take the drastic contigency measures laid out in yesterday's issue!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Be Kind To Gilgo Day - and A Much More Marvelous Report From That Big Meeting!

This seems worth passing along although slightly outside of my normal area of operations! Via Peconic Puffin.

April 20, 2010
Be Kind to Gilgo Day
Mid-island windsurfer/Surfrider activist Frank Messina forwards this information about a call for volunteers to help fight erosion at Gilgo, which took a pounding from storms earlier this year. If you can make it, be there!

(from the staff of Robert Moses/ Captree State Parks):
We are planning a volunteer effort to plant beach grass in the area at Gilgo where fresh dunes have been constructed. The date of the event is April 25, 2010 at 9 A.M. The meeting place is the Town of Babylon parking field. Through State Parks and Save the Beaches we have approximately 12,000 bare root plants to get in the ground. Volunteers should bring a small spade to facilitate planting. I apologize for the late notice. This date was establish a while ago for another project but as you know this issue came arose and we feel it must be addressed quickly. Any assistance your group can provide will be greatly appreciated. Hope to see you Sunday.
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And as long as I'm signed on for this quick passing of the word, there was another link I wanted to share! Want to see a far more marvelous writeup of that big Vision 2020 meeting than I gave in my longwinded rehash last week? Head on over to Bowsprite!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Future of Sailing...

Tillerman has a new challenge out.

I don't know if I'll be participating myself - but he reminded me of an article I had read in the Times, thought "Too cool, gotta post" and then never did. But I will now, because it just doesn't get much more futuristic than this!

And if all's still on schedule, the future begins in around 7 months!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sebago Season Opener Gallery!



From Sebago Season Opener 2010
Busy weekend, I'm pooped, but here's some pretty pictures from today's Season Opener at the Sebago Canoe Club! Beautiful day (although b-r-r-r-eeeeezy!), good paddle, good food, and even the 3 1/2 hours of meetings (kayak committee followed by general meeting) wasn't too bad - kept moving, a lot of good information was gone over. And the wine didn't hurt (and the last bit of business was the best, four conditional members to be voted on for senior membership, woohoo & congrats to our four newest senior members)!

...O
:D/>
.O

Special occasion today - the inaugural appearance of Steve H's beautiful new cherry-red TaheMarine Greenland-style kayak, just christened today - here's the first roll (and this will also give a hint to the conditions out there):
video

We had hot tamales, and he said something about that maybe being a good name for the new kayak. Don't know if he was serious or not but it is definitely one sweet-looking boat!

Cross posted at the Sebago Canoe Club blog, of course!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ooh Ooh Ooh - Amazing Bronx River Flotilla!

- and when I said just above this waterfall I meant JUST above!
- Finish line of the Amazing Bronx River Flotilla the year I went!


Speaking of great free events, reservations for the 2010 Amazing Bronx River Flotilla open up at 6 a.m. this coming Monday! This is a great paddle & spaces go fast, so if you're a NY area paddler (they do request paddling experience - see picture above!), bookmark this link & set your alarm on Sunday night!

Full details here.

Sorry about the picture discombobulation, I will fix it when I get home but the link should take you to an album (backwards, I'm afraid, but it gives the general idea of how much fun the day is).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Herring fishing, Coney Island Pier


Got a random day off, paddled to the Coney Island Pier & back, not quite 20 miles, would've gone longer but I got a late start. Lovely afternoon & evening. The brants are thinning out, saw my first tern of the season, and at one point there were two or three loons calling back & forth.

Nice to do 2 long trips back to back & find myself less sore from the almost-20-mile trip than I was from the 14 mile trip. Could just be that the wind died down more this time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who's On A Boat?



Got your flippy-floppies? Awesome! You and a friend can be the ones on a boat, if you're a quick enough clicker on Friday, April 16th (info's up now but reservations don't start until then), and if you can make it to Pier 11 in Atlantic Basin on one of the following mornings: Friday, April 30th; Saturday, May 1st; Friday, May 7th; or Saturday, May 8th! Get your free boat ride HERE! Full details at that link. Thanks, PortSideNY & friends!

If you can't make this one, keep an eye on that PortSideNY site for many other fun events. And btw, if you've got the time & feel like helping out, they're always looking for volunteers!

BTW, this wasn't included in the release but I have a special request of my own: I bet these are going to go like hotcakes with real maple syrup. If you get tickets and then can't make it, please take the time to turn 'em back in, I bet you'll make somebody on the waiting list very happy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NY Harbor Seal Census!


Too cool! Thanks NB!

BTW - at 0:15 you will see a glimpse of the distinctive building from Sunday's photos - that's one of the buildings of Kingsborough College, just outside the inlet to Sheepshead Bay.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring!



See also: spring, and/or spring.

3/2/2011 - A quick note: Good grief, I finally figured out why this picture-pun is getting so many hits all the sudden. I'm a little embarrassed since it's not even mine - I usually acknowledge & link when I borrow, but this was just for one silly little joke and I just didn't bother! However, since The Google has apparently decided, by some fluke of algorithmical whimsy, that this is one of the finest "Pictures of the Spring" available on the Inter-tubes today, I suddenly feel like I should at LEAST link back to the site from which I pilfered the photo.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend's Fun - Long Paddle & Cherry Blossoms!


hmmmm...

Not bad.

but...

it needs...

needs what? Something!

OH! Hey! I know!

wait for it

wait for it

There. MUCH better, huh?

I had two weekend fun goals for this beautiful breezy weekend - cherry blossoms and a good long paddle. Good long paddle was today, I launched midafternoon & paddled as far as I felt like paddling, which turned out to be Manhattan Beach. Trip planning? Vos is dass?

This took me right past Plum Beach, where the windsurfers were tearin' it up in a nice frisky breeze. I couldn't supress a whoop as this guy shot past me heading the other way - he zipped by a little closer to throw me a proper Island greeting - eh, shaka right back atcha, brah!


Funny how stodgy a person feels in a sea kayak in a nice breeze with these guys zipping past - but I was after fresh air & exercise & the wind (slog-making, to the sailless) & mileage (somewhere around 14) gave me just that, so it was all good!

And so were the cherry blossoms. Good people of Brooklyn, ADORE the cherry blossoms!

Very Good! And yes, there will be a gallery. And probably another BBG spectrum (although the first one was so nice that I probably shouldn't repeat, but it's a fun game to play). Just not tonight.

Other weekend accomplishments: Taxes done, check. Laundry done, check. Ticket to Hawaii purchased, CHECK AND YIPPEE YIPPEE YIPPEE!

OK, I gotta go un-salt myself & go to sleeeeeeep.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Meeting Notes from Thursday -

Made it to the big Thursday meeting! Late as usual - didn't get out of work until 6 and then I got a little off-course looking for the high school (if you start walking north on Pearl Street just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, and you keep walking straight up what appears to be the same street, it turns into a different street - Pearl Street hangs a pretty big turn to the west & I missed that). I missed the introduction, but I think it was mostly a review of Vision 2020. It was more the 3-minute testimonies I was interested in, though, and I heard a LOT of those.

I think it was a good turnout. Lots of familiar faces, plus a lot that I'd never seen before, and a huge list of speakers - I left a little before 10, I think it was, and it was still going on. I believe that there were speakers from every borough, and the interests represented ran the gamut from Ed Kelly, Executive Director of the NYNJ Maritime Association (he of the tired old horse, such a good speaker otherwise, sigh) to people who would just like to take a nice walk beside the river without risking sprained ankles (doesn't seem like such a crazy thing to ask, does it?).

It was a long & diverse meeting & if you'll forgive me for a longwinded review, I think I'm just going to retype my notes - I was jotting down everything that caught my attention. There were definite recurring themes & if I have another quiet evening soon, I may come back & try to summarize in another post - but this is how I'm going to start.

The first 3 speakers were unfortunately unintelligible due to a bad mic in a bad place. That was doubly unfortunate to me because 2 of them were friends whose testimony I really would've liked to hear - John McGarvey, representing the Long Island City Community Boathouse (I'm sorry, I'm feeling too lazy to link, but LICB & PortSide are both on my blogroll), and Carolina Salguero of PortSideNY. Couldn't make out a blessed word of John's. It was like the teacher on the Charlie Brown specials. Carolina suffered a similar fate although I did make out one very nice point:

- Waterfront design shouldn't just involve landscape architects - you need "waterscape" specialists too.

I liked that...oh, and I think I will try to work this into themes, because that was a good one that came up a couple more times. The president of the North River Historic Ships Society (note to self: get them on the blogroll!!!) said that there just aren't enough piers, and that when maritime elements are chosen for use, they should be real, not just decorative (I think she was the one who mentioned 9/11 emergency work vessels tying off to trees & their crews scrambling over fences because the designers of the waterfront in Battery Park City never imagined that there might be a need to bring in boats...); John Doswell from the Working Harbor Committee took this all one step further, he's sending in a document called "How Piers Should Be Built". At least 2 other people referred to the dearth of facilities in Manhattan as making it difficult enough to run a large maritime event in NY that we get bypassed (a tall ship event that skipped us & went to Boston last year was given as a specific example).

Ed Kirkland from the Chelsea community board touched on the same topic in his 3 minutes about preserving our historic waterfront; he got more into the commercial aspect, referring to the irreplaceability of the Todd Shipyard Graving Dock, which has been famously (or maybe infamously) made into a parking lot for the Ikea in Red Hook.

There were a whole slew of recreational boaters there, particularly the human-powered set but a few larger vessels too - common theme there, as nicely put by Rob Buchanan from the NYC Watertrail Association & the Village Community Boathouse, was that where the phrase "access to the waterfront" would be WAY better if it continued on with "AND THE WATER". That was something you heard quite a bit. People on Roosevelt Island, in particular, would like water access; they'd always been told that the currents around there are too dangerous for small boats, and it's true that they are swift around there, but they've had people who know the water look at the situation & find ways it could be done, and they'd like to see that happen. Rob actually asked in his 3 minutes if the phrase "dangerous currents" could please be dropped in future discussions - we do have powerful currents, but with a little knowledge, they aren't dangerous & in fact allow for some fantastic current-assisted trips (my longest day paddle ever, for example, was about 50 miles - try that without a flood & an ebb helping you out!). A gentleman from the Stuyvesant Cove area talked about the marina there being taken over by party boats & fees being prohibitive for private recreational vessels to even pull in to pick up & drop off. Somebody else talked about a long-established, less expensive, popular marina in Staten Island being shut down completely, a huge loss to his community.

There were a couple of complaints about the condition of the East River Esplanade. Somebody even said that east siders are jealous of west siders - I can see that, I lived on the Upper East Side eons ago & the esplanade was OK, but nowhere near as nice as the parks of the West Side. Funny thing is that it's when I was living over there that I assumed that there was something wrong with the NYC waterways that meant people couldn't go in them - the Upper East Side is really a line of manmade cliffs. There was a nice walkway along there - and it sounds like that walkway isn't all that nice now.

People from the Harlem River also talked about maintenance issues - and the even more frustrating situation they have with organizations like ConEd & the MTA having basically abandoned or barely used facilities sitting on wonderful parcels of waterfront land.

A couple of people from the Rockaways came & talked - the peninsula has wonderful recreational potential (fo'real! They even have SURFING!) but they just feel left out.

There were a few mentions of the difficulties of politics & managing developers. The "Our Waterfront Coalition" (Chinatown & downtown) mentioned that waterfront planning was being done with the input of their local community board, but somehow the CB wasn't communicating with the people they were supposed to be representing & an awful lot of the residents were completely unaware of the efforts. Someone expressed concern with the quasi-private companies that are in charge of more & more new parks. A guy from Greenpoint bewailed the tendency to allow developers to march a row of towers down the waterfront, for which they agree to provide greenspace - the towers get built, but then the greenspace doesn't (or is lousy, or hard to get to, or both). Another person spoke of the desirability of getting near-waterfront property owners to contribute - he talked about Chelsea, where there are blocks & blocks where property values have shot up with all the new park space, and the owners are just reaping the benefits of a lucky location. And then there was Bronx Green Party candidate Carl Lundgren, who pointed out that it's really really, awful, you don't see a lot of politicians at this type of meeting so Bronx people should...uh...vote for him (ok, sorry, I didn't much like that he used this event for a stump speech).

There were a couple of people who talked about concern about rising sea levels & storm surge threats. Suggestions were made that people should be moved out of low-lying areas, and Bob Trentlyon (Chelsea community board member) went so far as to recommend that something like the Thames Barrier be built.

One of the people who suggested moving the residents of low-lying areas also had a good point in that the zones that Vision 2020 seems to want to use (recreational, green, commercial, etc.) should be recognized to overlap. She also had some interesting news, apparently there's a Monitor Museum in the works - did you know that the famous Civil War ironclad was built in Brooklyn? I bet you not that many Brooklynites do, I will definitely want to go see that when it opens!

Pretty close to done here, running out of steam so will try to wrap it up -

The commercial sector was there, although it would've been nice to see more of them speak. A tugboat captain spoke about how maritime transportation helps keep prices affordable in NY - if everything had to be brought in by truck, it would be much more expensive.

Ed Kelly gave a great little shoutout to the money the maritime industry brigns to the area - a $12billion payroll, 2 billion in taxes, 240K well-paying jobs (many blue-collar), spoke of the difficulties in dealing with a patchwork of conflicting regulations (NY, NJ & CT all have different regs & one tug passing through the area has to deal with all of them). He referred to the NYC waterfront as grossly underutilized compared to other great port cities - Hong Kong, Sidney, San Francisco - he said there's room for all - but then he totally wrecked (IMHO) an otherwise fantastic speech by trotting out the friggin' horse again. OK, this time it was a bicycle he said you wouldn't ride on a highway, but he sounded quite vehement - and he objected to Rob's request that people start talking about powerful currents instead of the more alarmist "dangerous currents". Closed with a recommendation that mandatory licensing be put in place for all recreational boaters in NY Harbor...ooooooookay. I wish he would just accept that this particular horse is long since out of the barn & maybe change his focus from this nanny-regulation dream to much more practical educational outreach efforts that the Coast Guard & a number of local organizations have been working on.

Roland from the Metropolitan Waterfront Association was there of course & gave a nice talk about this being an aspirational time, but it being important to actually align all of the various plans that are out there.

The last speaker I listened to was one I specifically waited for - Rachel, from the Coney Island-Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers. She was the only swimmer of the evening (Bowsprite had hoped to speak but she had a friend visiting & finally had to leave) - and she talked about how with the friendly cooperation of the lifeguards out there, Coney Island & Brighton Beach has become the premiere open-water swimming training beach on the East Coast - but again, facilities for people who want to go there to swim, not just lie on the beach, are lacking. SO TRUE - that is EXACTLY why I have NEVER gone swimming at Coney Island. I love swimming, and I'd rather swim in the ocean than in a pool, but logistically, I can't just go out there on my own & go for a long swim. A building where I could rent a locker would make that doable. As it is, well, I really should try to join CIBBOWS for a swim or two this year. Just to see if I really remember how!

I think that's it. Next step in the process will be 6 workshops, one in each borough. I'll post those here as soon as I hear about them. Note on the next day - this was obviously a note-taking error - either it's 5 workshops or there's an extra one for people who can't make the ones scheduled for their boroughs, or a big wrapup one - I'm leaving the error in because I'm not sure which is the correct correction, and I need to go paddling now so it's not a good time to look things up - plus it was a sort of funny/fortuitous error for me to make, see the comments for why!

Thanks for bearing with me on this very long report! Tomorrow, back to normal!

I'm Off to See the Wizard Cherry Blossoms!

2008 Cherry Blossom Time-lapse at Brooklyn Botanic Garden from Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Vimeo.



It's hanami time at the BBG! Grabbed this off their site when I went to check their hours. I'm off for a lovely afternoon!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Flapper!



Peconic Puffin, February 2010: "The topic...'Worst Sailing Innovation Ever'...wasn’t a good topic for me, as 'worst' doesn’t really come to mind when I think of windsurfing innovations. Yeah there have been some short lived and/or goofy developments (flappers, football fins) but nothing really bad.
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Comment Posted by: bonnie | February 16, 2010 at 05:27 PM: I don't know what a flapper is in windsurfing but the mental image I'm getting is one that makes me wish I had Bowsprite-like illustrational skills.

Boop boop be doop, whoosh!
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Posted by: Michael | February 16, 2010 at 06:37 PM Well Bonnie, whenever we've convened a Blogfest you've shown off fine illustrating skills (I included your shark here). Your flapper would have been much nicer to look at than a windsurfing flapper, which is/was sort of a plastic tongue extending above and behind the board's fin, for the purposes of preventing cavitation. Boop boop be doop Sally will like that!
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2 months later - boop boop be done!

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Update - There is now a picture of the actual device known to windsurfers as a "flapper" up on Peconic Puffin. It actually makes a lot more sense than what I'd pictured, both initially (as depicted here) and then even after Michael explained it (when I was picturing something like the weed fin on my surfski, or perhaps a device like a small mudflap turned sideways, hanging underneath the boat).

BTW as I was drawing this, I was thinking it was really too bad that they didn't have windsurfers in the 20's - I bet Art Deco designers would have had a lot of fun with those!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

BIG MEETING TOMORROW! NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan!

Oh, jeeze, I was not going to post today, too busy, but I should have been flogging this one for WEEKS. This is BIG - affects everyone who works or plays (or has any future hopes of working or playing) on or beside New York City's waterways:

From the Department of City Planning website:
"The Department of City Planning is currently preparing a Comprehensive Plan for the over 500 miles of New York City’s waterfront, defined as New York Harbor and its tributaries, creeks and bays. Vision 2020 will build on the original Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, published in 1992, and the city’s experience over the past 18 years in order to set forth a new long range vision for a 21st Century NYC waterfront. Specifically, Vision 2020 will identify key opportunities for improving our waterfront and outline strategies to realize this new vision."

First citywide public meeting is scheduled for -
Date: April 8, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM- 8:30 PM
Location: Murry Bergtraum High School, 411 Pearl Street, Manhattan

Notice via the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (link is to Waterwire article with more details) and the NYC Watertrail Association.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bad Poetry Tuesday!



A pigeon on the grass
Isn't quite as alas
When the parakeet class
On the same grass
amasses.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why I'm Such A Fan of the NY State Lifejacket Law -


Because every spring in the Northeast, like clockwork, the beauty of these first nice weekends ALWAYS end up being marred with stories like this.

In NYS, boaters in pleasure craft less than 21 feet in length are still required to wear their lifejackets while out on the water. That holds true until May 1st. You can't say for sure that things would've ended differently, but the Delaware & Raritan Canal is a pretty placid body of water & I really think it's safe to say that if that young man had been wearing his lifejacket, he would've gone home with nothing worse than a funny story to tell at work today.

Story via the Hudson River Watertrail Association's NYCKayaker.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring, Sprang, Sprung!


Happy Easter from Brooklyn, all a-bloom! Magnolias!


Forsythia, forsooth!


Spring is sprung, der grass is riz,
I wonder where dem boidies iz?


I got my garden all ready to go but held off on seeds when I realized that the water isn't on yet. As you can see, I finished that up with plenty of sunshine left, so...


that meant surfski time! First run of 2010, just around five miles or so. Felt good to be out on the fast boat again.

Friday, April 02, 2010

AAAAAAAAAWWWW!!!!

OK, this has absolutely nothing to do with kayaking, sailing, life in NYC, urban gardening, or any of my usual subject. But it's too darned cute for words. And it's been a bad week for blogging. So here ya go. Enjoy!

(thanks Dan!)

Thursday, April 01, 2010