Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Plug for NYCKayaker

I'd posted this to my old listserve after exchanging some emails with the folks from the Hudson River Paddler's Guild (no real website at that link as I post, been that way for a couple of months now, but now that they're done with the proposal, maybe it actually will be "coming soon") about the boathouse design group meeting and the importance of participating in the local paddler's grapevine this week - the trunk, if you will, of that grapevine being the long-established NYCKayaker list (yes, the very list that I used to regularly clog with my ramblings until I created this blog as a diversion - I still participate, and I do still ramble sometimes, but on the whole Frogma lets me keep my list posting to things with an actual point, or things that are too cool not to share).

I'm so happy to be out of the stupid musical-kayak-storage game, but I just can't seem to leave well enough alone. Guess I'm feeling a little antsy about hoping to get the people who aren't really in that grapevine INTO that grapevine now, because with 3 major storage facilities in play, this is really a time when I think that if all of the Hudson River Park paddlers could just pull together, it would be incredibly useful. Unfortunately I've managed to make enough of a pain of myself that I'm not in a great position to rally people to do that, but I couldn't not at least try. Posted it to the Rustbucket group yesterday, and figured I'd post it here too since the week's turned busy I don't see having much time to post anything here until Friday or so (work's busy, and there other non-work things that are mostly but not quite finished - no major blog writing until those are all the way finished). Anyways, here was yesterday's Rustbucket rally:

For anyone who's interested in what's going on in the New York City kayak & waterfront communities beyond the barge, the Hudson River Watertrail Association's NYCKayaker list has been pretty interesting this winter. There've been meeting announcements posted (most recently, Jim W. of the Downtown Boathouse organization had posted about the Tribeca boathouse design committee meeting that happened last Wednesday), there have been some extremely interesting discussions about the types of access people want (more than I realized); activist Harry J. Bubbins has been looking for emails to help stop the Randall's Island water park, Dragonsandy very happily announced this morning that the Jersey City Resevoir is being saved & turned into a park; Rob B. occasionally weighs in with beach & natural access news. On a purely fun note, the beaver story had some excellent stories being swapped -- beavers love to flood access roads by blocking culverts - they look at the road & say "What a lovely dam, but look, some silly person has left a big hole in it - let us finish this sloppy job!", and Ralph Diaz, Mr. Complete Folding Kayaker himself, shared a very funny tale of crafting & maintaining a "beaver deceiver" which allowed him and the beavers to co-exist for a long time (the sad ending, though, is that he had less patient & creative neighbors who called in the trapper - not a catch & release operation either, sad to say).

That's just a recent sampling of the topics. Lots going on out there beyond the barge. The NYCKayaker list is a great way to keep up with that, and a great place to bounce ideas around. In the end, it's still important to communicate the ideas that you think bounce in a promising way on out to the outside world (the Trust, government people, newspaper, community boards, wherever), but NYCKayaker has, in the past, been the incubator of some of the more effective actions of the paddling community as a whole.

That doesn't happen all the time of course, mostly just in response to major events or changes (like the Hudson River Park Trusts announcing Kayak Rules that basically said "No winter paddling, and no getting wet" - those got turned into "guidelines" PDQ when the NYCKayaker gang got hold of them & went to town). NYC paddlers are an awfully disparate crew, but every now & the differences just drops & everybody starts working together. When that happens, the outcome can be pretty neat

Some of the stuff that's been posted there has been making it over here, but not all. It can get a little nutso sometimes when somebody strikes a nerve & a debate breaks out & people start taking sides - but joining it is a good way to get a sense of the larger community of which all the groups at the barge are a part.

If you're interested, you can find a full description of the purpose of the list (and the guidelines which keep it all civil - well, usually ;D) here on the HRWA's website.

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