Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rockaway Peninsula - looking out to sea

The Atlantic, looking almost Pacific.

Hope everyone had a peaceful & happy Thanksgiving (or weekend, whichever's more appropriate)!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The garden, too, came to an end...

Yes, there was work to be done other than dinghy destruction at Sebago's last work day of the 2008 season. Time to clean up the grounds & wrap up for the winter.

I'd already knocked off all my work requirement, but owing to a VERY complicated situation (more on that another day) getting set up due to my sending out an enthusiatic "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to paddle to the Gateway Boathouse party?" without bothering to do even the least bit of research on the feasibility of that idea, I ended up deciding to go. I figured I'd split my time between actual club work and my own little bed, which I figured was probably "all pau" at this point.

I was right, too. Weekend before last:

2 weeks of some cooooold cold weather later...

Time to clean out the garden.

I didn't realize chard had roots like this. Makes sense, it is a relative of the beet, but I was surprised!

I'm curious enough to leave a few in, although a little searching indicated that what's going to happen is that if the roots do make it through the winter, they'll have a few leaves & then "bolt" (get all long & stalky & start putting all their energy into flowers, which they don't get until their 2nd season). I also wondered if they might be edible but I think there has got to be a reason for the complete dearth of chard root recipes, as compared to all sorts of ways to prepare the pretty leaves.

Pulling out stalks, I was surprised to see some strange, white, crystalline stuff here and there. At first I was puzzled. Spittlebugs? Salt crystals?

Oh. Wait. That's that ice stuff.

Here's the end point of my less-than-vehement putting the bed to bed; after this, I started helping out with club stuff.

there was plenty of community garden work to be done too. Hoses to coil, furniture to bring inside, cleaning the compost heap of the sticks & trash that inevitably end up in there. Cold day, but no problem staying warm!

A couple of other beds -

Holly had these runaway cherry tomatoes. Mine all gave up ripening back in early October. Hers kept going right up to the last possible minute!

The Paddling Chef is much much much more disciplined than the rest of us about wrapping things up. He's probably planted garlic for next Spring, even. Look how tidy:

Fun surprises lurking here and there! Mine was not the only "inuksuapik" - I found 2 more around the garden as I was working!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Sad Workday

Huh...I don't know what it is about November and the Sebago Canoe Club sacrificing a small sailboat. Some way of propitiating the increasingly neglected Canoe Gods, perhaps?

Yup, here we went again...

Sawzall, even sawzlasers...

Much sadder this time, though. This was actually Holly the Sailing Chair's own boat - the other one was a plastic toy that had been brought to the club & abandoned.

Happier days - from the first dinghy launch of Spring 2008

Two months later was this Laser's last sail.

It's seen good service, though. Holly said that the boat dated back to the 70's, and had already been through a number of repairs in the intervening years. Holly had bought it quite used, and it got plenty of use in the years that she owned it. There's a lot that she & sailing co-chair Jim would be able to fix, but even at their skill levels, that June deck collapse in light air was the end. Holly took all her upgrades & moved them to the best of the club boats, and I arrived at Saturday's workday just in time to record the end.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I guess I was a little past due for an upgrade...


Cynical much?

Buy it here.

UPDATE: Also available as a T-shirt on the Life Is Crap website!

This is a spontaneous, unsponsored plug (but if they sent me a t-shirt I wouldn't turn it down! :D ).

Another Nifty Blog-Rater Thingy!

So I've known for a long time that this blog doesn't take a college degree to read:
blog readability test

Movie Reviews

And that it's not one of your more salacious blogs:
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

Also, my squeaky-clean, easy-to-read blog is apparently worth quite a bit:

My blog is worth $28,227.00.
How much is your blog worth?

Nope, can't seem to resist those magic blog-rating widgets!

Michael the Canadian Ckayaker has a fun one today. I can't figure out how he got that left brain/right brain chart up, but here's my personality profile - really not too far off base. Except for maybe the race-car driver/firefighter thing. I sort of like to keep my thrills recreational, and preferably non-life-threatening!

ISTP - The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Curious about another blog? Try it for yourself here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Murphy's Law Corollary? - and Welcoming Neighbors!

Remember that post I did a little while ago about corollaries to Murphy's Law?

There were actually some good ones offered.

Got hit by another one today. Not quite sure what the wording is, but here's how it played out:

My home computer is an 8-year old Dell. It was still working fine as far as basic functions, but for various reasons, I've been meaning to finally get a new one.

I bought one last night.

It comes home on Monday.

Guess what happened when I turned on the old one this morning?

No prizes for this one!

Signing off from Kinko's in Columbus Circle (where there are bleachers ready for Thursday's big parade)


oh, almost forgot - went to a really nice party out on the Rockaway Peninsula today - had to go meet the new neighbors!

That's going to be fun!

Late night update...had one idea about something that might work. It did. Yay!

Signing off from Brooklyn!

Here's Columbus Circle and the bleachers for the big day:

Friday, November 21, 2008

More On That Spillway!

Kayak Yak John - your go-to guy for all the latest and greatest spillway kayaker news!

Sorry, Capt. JP - I feel so disloyal now. But there's a cyclist, now, too. bikewallah, take note.

Like the poll, too. I may have lied a little - none of the options was quite true, so I just picked the one that I liked the best!


Oh, hey, as long as I'm linking to other blogs, I followed a link left in a comment on the Pier 57 post. Didn't have a whole lot of time for browsing, but from what I did see, I think Soundbounder has to make it in my next blogrolling update, which will hopefully happen sometime in the next couple of months. Neat blog, talks about public access on Long Island Sound.

Meanwhile, back in the Hudson River Park -

Pier 57 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Times may be bad, but the developing waterfront parks can't just quit developing. Particularly when they are supposed to be generating their own income through rent, like the Hudson River Park is.

The pier above is Pier 57, at 15th street, just south of the Chelsea Piers sports complex. The plan for the Hudson River Park always called for this to be developed into...something. Three possibilities for what that something might be were the subject of an article in the NY Times that I read this morning on my way to work (if I eventually leave this city, how I am going to miss reading on the way to work!). Not surprisingly, the Related Company is back - they were the ones behind the big home-on-the-Hudson for the Cirque du Soleil concept for Pier 40 - that didn't go through in the end, but it looks like they've re-tailored their proposal for Pier 57. No Cirque du Soleil this time around, though! Interesting, very interesting. Anyways, you can read about their proposal plus a couple of others here.

In good news, Nancy Brouse, the metropolitan coordinator for the Hudson River Watertrail Association had posted to NYCKayaker about this this morning, and she mentioned that all 3 proposals include access for human-powered boating. Good to hear.

The picture above? That is from the VERY first gallery I ever did - a simple tour from Pier 63 down to the old Downtown Boathouse at Pier 26. It was on Buzznet, which back then was more a Flickr-like photosharing site (it's gotten way buzzier since then, which is sort of why I moved to Flickr & Picasa - I was feeling seriously out of place there among all the pink-haired emo kids!) it was taken with a single-use waterproof camera. With FILM inside. Remember those?

I honestly haven't looked at that gallery in years, but that was the one place where I was pretty sure that I would have a picture.

The picture wasn't so hot. I wasn't expecting it to be. No taking 20 pictures & picking the best one there!

What did surprise me was that I'd written a pretty detailed caption back there in the summer of 2005 - and in the intervening 3 year forgotten at least one of those details entirely! Along with a brief history of the pier & of course some words about the use for which it was most notorious at that time (holding pen for Republican National Convention protesters, I knew people who got sent there) there was a good bit of bubbling about how that pier was almost positively going to be Pier 63's future home, yay! Boy. I had COMPLETELY forgotten about that particular twist in the saga! The final outcome of that particular version of the world is covered, succinctly yet clearly, in the Times article. Sigh. Click on the picture above to read my 2005 writeup.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Elitist Big-City Liberal Food - or Frogma's Fusion Cuisine!

Ooooh no! Well, that's it, DennisG is on to me, in the comments on the last post he identified couscous as elitist yuppy food, so yes, I might as well 'fess up (for anyone who hadn't figured it out already)...

Yes, I have forgotten my Western, small-town, real-American roots & become a Northeast, big-city, couscous-scarfin', Brie-nibblin', Chardonnay-sippin' liberal elitist. The real reason I can't wait for Obama to take office is because when he does, that pipeline opens up (you know the one, where he starts giving all those real Americans' hard-earned bucks to us big-city people). Heck, I may even give up my job so I can freeload properly - that's so hard to do when you're working 9 or 10 hours a day.

See what couscous does to a person?


And in case anybody doubted it -- not ONLY did I voluntarily purchase a couscous salad for lunch today -

but tonight, I am doing Fusion Cuisine.

Yep, I am fusing all my leftovers into one big pot of stew!

The bones and some meat & gravy from a roast pork shoulder (I found this recipe after I decided I had to learn to make my own pernil after my favorite Cuban hole-in-the-wall in Soho closed to make way for Yet Another Gourmet Deli), hominy, rice, red beans, my own swiss chard & green onions from the garden (which I'd sauteed with some chopped up bacon & some garlic cloves that needed to get used), and some herbs & spices all simmered for hours in a big pot of water with a bottle of Negra Modelo and a bottle of Grolsch thrown in.

I don't know if it was the bitter dissappointment of the Lemon Pledge Couscous Salad that drove me to such madness, but I gotta say, it's pretty darned good. And I expect it'll be even better after it sits in the fridge overnight with the flavors all mingling. Yum.

p.s. - DennisG, did you say that white wine was featured in tonight's dinner at Chez Moonstruck? wasn't chardonnay, was it?

p.p.s. - is couscous still elitist yuppy food if it tastes like Lemon Pledge?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Quick Thought on the Business of Lunch

You can never have too many pine nuts.

The same is not true of lemon zest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Was That Spillway Run Safe?

Quick post here 'cause I'm terribly curious about this story, link sent by Capt. J.P.

Low-head dams are frequently called (at least by those in the know) as "drowning machines". A full technical description can be found in reports like this.

When I saw that article, the first thing that sprang to mind was "I wonder if a spillway like that might feature the same sort of hydraulics".

E.B. Klassen at Kayak Yak has now posted some pictures showing the bottom of the spillway and I am seriously wondering if there are any whitewater-savvy people who might be able to look at that & weigh in as to whether that was just silly, or flat-out dangerous.

I'm not usually one to jump on the "What a bunch of idiots" bandwagon, but that looks, to my non-whitewater-trained eye, like that might have been pretty hazardous.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance - 2008 Waterfront Conference Part 1 - New York Harbor Boat Tour

So as I'd mentioned, last week Thursday, I decided to take a vacation day to go volunteer for the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's 2008 Waterfront Conference, Launching the Waterfront Action Agenda. I may have sort of "retired" from even the low level of waterfront political involvement that being a paddler in the Hudson River Park always seemed to entail (and sometimes I feel like this blog has suffered, have basically devolved into chirpy trip reports from the earlier days when it was chirpy trip reports interspersed with reflections on the challenges of water access for NYC residents) , but I've never stopped being interested in the interplay of long-established, but up to a point (don't forget that, up to a point is key!) dwindling commercial uses and the recreational uses (both on-water activities & the waterfront parks that are gaining momentum as modern urban amenities). It's not always an easy balance, but the MWA has done a rather remarkable job of getting all these diverse users of the waterfront to gather to discuss & formulate a plan for responsible use of New York City's waterfront. The resulting Waterfront Action Agenda was the focus of the conference, and I'm very glad I was able to attend.

The morning began with a tour of the Upper Harbor. How better to kick off a conference about the waterfront & the navigable waterways to which it gives access than with a boat ride around some of the very waterfront that we were all there for?

Here are Jennifer Stark-Hernandez & Carter Craft, two of the MWA staff who've worked on this & any number of other MWA events over the years. This was Carter's last hurrah with the MWA - after 10 years with the MWA, he's moving on to work for Miller's Launch, a marine services company in Staten Island. Going to be very strange not getting those MWA announcements from him!

The event volunteers had been asked to arrive at Gangway 4 in Battery Park at 7:30 am. Carter & Jennifer made sure we were well fortified with coffee & doughnuts.

Half an hour later, we all grabbed our clipboards & went to work registering the attendees! I have to say this was one of the easiest volunteer stints I'd ever done - I ran into my friend "DragonSandy" from the Hoboken Boathouse later in the day, and she'd been volunteering during the leadup, when packets and lists and this & that were being organized & compiled - sounds like that was when they really could've used more hands. Signing people in was really the main work I did during the day - beyond that, it seemed like the staff had things pretty well in hand (although President Bush made our lunch late, but what can you do about that?). But that first half-hour was hectic! Fun, though, I saw an awful lot of people who I knew from my kayak & schooner-crew days on the North River. Sebago's great but I did meet some really good people back in those days, too. Nice seeing 'em again. Here you get an idea of how many people came - I think the count was something like 400.

I'd fully expected that the volunteers would get everybody signed in & on the boat, then wave goodbye & head over to the Museum of the American Indian (the venue for the afternoon sessions) to help set up - or at least hang out & wait (and I could easily have spent an hour in the museum). My next official job on the volunteer list was shown as "usher", and it looked like I was supposed to report to begin doing that at 10:15 - the boat ride was shown as going until 10:30 - so I was very surprised (happily so!) when somebody handed me a sticker and said "Get on the boat!" Woohoo! Ran on...realized I'd left my backpack & info packet under a bench, ran back off, Jennifer was running towards me with all my stuff, I grabbed it & jumped back on the boat.

So here are some pictures from the boat ride! It was interesting - just as the Action Agenda focuses on a broad range of topics, the boat tour took us all around the Upper Harbor, which gives you a great view of those varied uses - and our tour guides were an absolute who's who of NYC & NJ waterfront planners & authorities, and one would hand the mic over to the next as we passed from one speaker's area of authority to another. We started by heading north for a view of the Hudson River Park, then crossed the river to Jersey.

Here's the Goldman Sachs headquarters. Might not be much joy inside that building these days - but at least the building is green.
One of the facets of the agenda is working for the ecological health of the harbor, and that's quite directly affected by what happens on land. I think that the increasing push for development of the "wrong" sort (and I think everyone at this conference would agree on one thing - that luxury condos & big-box stores are just maybe not the best way to use our waterfront) was one of the motivating factors for MWA organizing the task force groups that developed the agenda - but it's not like there isn't going to be some development (no development would be a very bad sign) - where it happens, though, there are a lot of ways those buildings can be built to lessen their environmental impact.

Next tour highlights heading South down the Anchorage Channel (the main channel running north up the Upper Harbor & continuing up the section of the Hudson known as North River, along Manhattan's west side) - Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty.

Continuing south down the harbor, the next feature of the tour was the anchorage that runs down to the Verranzano Narrows Bridge. This harbor is still very much a working harbor. Remember how I mentioned that commercial use was dwindling "up to a certain point"? Well, one thing I don't think I was aware of, having been totally out of touch with the commercial folks for some time, was that shipping has actually been growing at a pretty healthy rate in the area. As was mentioned in that article about the Erie Canal I linked to a couple of posts ago, the high cost of gas has actually done much to push shippers to use more fuel-efficient forms of transportation whenever possible. This crowded anchorage shows the results.

Tug & barge units (like this Reinauer pair, identifiable by the distinctive red & tan paint job) are incredibly more efficient than trucks.

So the industry is growing, and one of the challenges faced by that industry is that the support facilities haven't been able to keep pace with that growth. The fact that a site in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that had previously occupied by a working drydock has been replaced by a parking lot for Ikea was not just mentioned in one of the afternoon sessions I attended - it was spoken of with deep concern, and illustrated with before & after slides

The tugs & barges in the anchorage are like planes on the runway - they're all waiting their turn (this one's been cleared for takeoff). Another problem that was mentioned as something the industry has been having to deal with was that the growth has meant needing to use more of the more northern anchorage spots. That puts moored barges & their attendant tugs closer to Hoboken & Jersey City, and apparently the sound of the tugs' generators get complaints from some of the shorefront residents. Reminds me of some of the concerns that the tug operators in Red Hook's Erie Basin were voicing (may still be voicing) as the luxury condos started opening up nearby - I remember a quote about how they were afraid that while their new neighbors might think that living near a tugboat yard was terribly quaint, the quaintness might wear off after a few 3 a.m. tugboat whistles. Again, the balance isn't always easy.

Speaking of Red Hook, following our swing through the anchorage, we headed across the harbor to the Brooklyn shorline. Here's a Saudi Arabian container ship being loaded in the Buttermilk Channel, which runs between Brooklyn & Governor's Island. The area is also home to the aforementioned Erie Basin, and the Brooklyn cruise ship terminal that's the NY base for the QMII. Yes, there's still quite a bit of maritime industrial activity around here.
Over the last few years, the area's also become the Next Hot Place to Live. Gentrification & shipping don't necessarily mix. Interesting thing about our current economic crisis? I think that at least 4 times during the day, I heard the slowdown of the runaway high-end residential development this city's seen in the last few years quoted as being something of a silver lining - the mad stampede to grab that waterfront will stop, and there will be time to consider the consequences of letting these existing industries be pushed out for things like Ikea parking lots.

Heading on north along the Brooklyn shoreline - here's another transitional area - was shipping, now slated for the Brooklyn Bridge park. They've begun tearing down the piersheds in preparation for that. Again, this is a situation where the decision was made to fund the park by including space for luxury condos - another contentious issue of balancing public & private use of this part of the waterfront. I'm not even sure I've taken a side on that one - if, as has been suggested by condo detractors, the condominium owners try to discourage the public, that's bad - but if the result is a really nice park & there isn't any attempt at exclusion - maybe it's not so bad? Although somehow the idea of funding a park with luxury condos seemed like a better idea (if it is a good idea at all) back before this whole economic meltdown. Well, I guess we'll see.

Finally - here, we're heading back for Battery Park; we were going to go have a closer look at the waterfront in there (the next area slated for a major renewal project) - but speaking of waterfront politics - Bush was in town, and as you can see, the security's tight!

That's it for Part I. Part II to come later this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thriving On Neglect

Here in Ditmas Park, 'tis the last rose of summer...

but out in Canarsie, it's a marigold riot!

The ageratum's not quite ready to call it a year, either.

The number of posts I've done about my garden since fairly early in October (i.e., none) is perfectly indicative of the amount of attention I've paid to my poor little plot since then (i.e., none). I just got too busy with one thing and another to bother making the trek out to Canarsie for anything other than kayaking purposes, and anyways, gardening in the dark is a little tricky. Last "harvest" I did before I decided I had to just write off the garden as done for the year was when I took out most of the basil for a last big batch of pesto. Think that was in early October.

While we were in Seattle, I came that close to sending an email out to the Sebago Diggers saying "Hey folks, I think I'm done with my garden for the year - if anybody sees anything in there worth picking, please pick it, 'cause otherwise it'll just go to waste".

I'm actually quite selfishly glad I didn't though - I may have written off the garden as a done deal, but with the warm, wet fall we've had, the garden didn't agree with that assessment in the least!

I'd checked in with a flashlight the weekend we did the Norwalk Islands, and came home with 3 bell peppers and 2 very nice cucumbers (amazing seeing as the vines looked totally dead before I left for Seattle!) and a whole bunch of green onions.

I was going to post a picture of those & call it "Garden's Last Gasp" --

only it wasn't!

The club had a sea kayak committee meeting today; I got a ride with Prof. M, and we got there a bit early, so I decided to run out to my marigold-overrun bed & see what last gleanings could be found by daylight.

The pickings turned out to be pretty good!

More onions, the chard rocks on (amazing vegetable, doesn't seem to care what the temperature is, just grows & grows & grows), turnip greens (they never quite turnipped properly but I'll just chuck the greens in with the chard), and a whole BUNCH of green tomatoes, which one of our newer club members told me to put in a paper bag & they'd ripen up, and Holly the Sailing Chair, being from down South, reminded me that green tomatoes are in & of themselves a fine thing...

Here was today's most entertaining discovery, though -

I have this sort of collage of beachcombing finds worked in around the stones that hold the sides of the raised bed in place. Funny thing is, it's become something of a collaborative collage - a couple of clubmates have added pretty stones, or shells, or pieces of driftwood. When the garden's all overflowing the sides of the bed, and the clover is high and thick, a lot of that gets hidden. It's starting to calm down, though, and today I discovered that somebody left me an inukshuk Inuksuapik*!

*"C" comments for why the word change! Thanks Michael!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Lunchtime Link - Erie Canal shipping revival (NY Times)

Think the Erie Canal's commercial use ended in the time we're singing about when we launch off with "I got an old mule, her name is Sal"?

I can't say whether I thought that or not - certainly knew that NY State's canal system was stilll active, but the Erie Canal specifically? Not sure I would've guessed right if you'd asked me.

But now I'd guess right, thanks to another interesting article in the NY Times.

Thought about posting it after I read it during my morning commute last week, but just didn't have much time for blogging. I was reminded of it after yesterday's MWA conference, which I'm glad I was able to attend - fascinating hearing about the challenges & hopes of both recreational & commercial users of our NYC waterways, all at the same time.

I took a lot of notes & hope to write more about that over the weekend, but this article somehow seemed quite relevant to some of things I was hearing about yesterday & I decided that I'd go find it & toss up a quick link here on my lunch break.

I found the mule team postcard on a page featuring one family's history, 157 Years of Life Along the Erie Canal.

Speaking of mules, here's bit of trivia to close - did you know that ships are moved through the Panama Canal with the guidance of special locomotives? In a nice nod to canal history, those locomotives are nicknamed "mules".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Personal First on the Palisades!

No, no, it wasn't the first time I ever visited the NY-NJ Palisades Interstate Park in an aluminum canoe rigged for sailing and rowing. Although I gotta say it was a pretty neat-looking setup! That's just a guy we saw who said I could take his picture.

My first? Nothing big, pretty silly one, but fun! I've been living in NYC for over 15 years now & have spent many wonderful days in that park. One of the nicest ceilis around happens there every spring & fall, and I've attended many of those; I've also paddled the shoreline more times than I can possibly remember. It was always one of my favorite day trips from NYC, I always loved the launching from that rusty old barge on the urban shore & paddling up to those magnificent cliffs.

But although I've known for years that there are hiking trails that run the full length of the park - somehow, I'd never thought to hike them. It was always either a boating trip, or a day spent dancing on the big WPA pavilion at the Alpine - Closter Boat Basin.

Finally rectified that on Sunday! I'd enjoyed last weekend's kayak and hike combo tremendously. TQ came down for the Sebago 75th Anniversary Splash (we had a great time dressing up & seeing all our paddling friends similarly dressed up - fun change from fleece!) and stuck around for the weekend. We had no plans, and that was absolutely splendid - no trains to catch, no people to meet, none of that - just whatever the heck we felt like doing.

Saturday, naturally, we paddled. Gerritsen Creek and back, 12 miles or so. It was a gray and drizzly day, but warm, and sometimes that's the nicest paddling weather. I'd had some clever idea about going to a book release party at Vox Pop, but that went by the wayside somewhere around the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge - too nice out to hurry back.

Sunday was beautiful. We talked about paddling again but somehow that wasn't grabbing us. I checked in on going to Governor's Island (which I STILL haven't done) - too late, closed until April '09. I liked the idea of doing something on foot, though, and we finally ended up packing up some food, water, headlamps & extra layers & heading up to Alpine - Closter for a rather splendid afternoon's hike.

Fiery foliage...

blue sky, towering cliffs, sun sparkling on the water, sunset & moonrise -- how could there NOT be a Flickr set?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Plate Lunch In The Times!!!!

It's like the cherry on the sundae of my happiness over the election.

Or maybe more like da ume in da musubi, yeah?

Yes, with one of Hawaii's own headed for the White House, the humble Plate Lunch (as extolled more than once here on Frogma) has come to the attention of the food editors of the New York Times! Check out the article here!

Mahalo nui loa to the Bikewallah (fka Mr. Sea Level) for the heads-up!

I just can't believe that they didn't mention that curious New Yorkers can already taste the island-style onoliciousness of the plate lunch right here on the island of Manhattan!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Green Fields of France

I didn't make it to my Irish music session tonight.

But I'm sure that this song was sung in honor of Veteran's Day, and since I have no thoughts of my own worth sharing on the topic, but don't want to just ignore it, I'll just quote Eric Bogle, who said it very well indeed:

Well how do you do, Private William McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side?
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone that you were only 19
when you joined the glorious fallen in 1916.
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, William McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly?
did they sound the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugle sing 'The Last Post' in chorus?
Did the pipes play 'The Flowers o' the Forest'?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart are you always 19.
Or are you just a stranger without even a name
Forever enclosed behind some glass-pane
In an old photograph torn and tattered and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?


Well the sun it shines down on these green fields of France,
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches are vanished now under the plough
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it is still No Man's Land
And the countless white crosses in mute witness stand.
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation that was butchered and downed.


And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end war?
But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
The killing, the dying - it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Did they beat the drum slowly?
did they sound the pipe lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugle sing 'The Last Post' in chorus?
Did the pipes play 'The Flowers o' the Forest'?

If you are interested, Wikipedia has an article with the song's history & links to sites where you can hear the song.

Looking forward to Thursday's Waterfront Conference!

Cleaning out emails - it's a little late to be passing this on but figured I would anyways. I'm looking forward to it. I really will try to gather some impressions & post about it (see prior post for why that's not a given, argh!).

Greetings! Please join us next Thursday, November 13 for the 2008 MWA Waterfront Conference at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan. More than 300 seats are already filled and over 400 participants are expected. The kick-off boat tour leaving Gangway 3 at the Battery, courtesy of Statue Cruises, at 0830 is almost full - we hope your or someone from your organization can participate!

At the conference we will unveil the MWA "Waterfront Action Agenda." This document, to which more than 240 organizations have contributed, captures the spirit of what a great waterfront should be. More importantly, it lays out a dozen specific steps we must take to get there. As you will see on the cover, we humbly call it "A Starting Point for Discussion," and that's what we'll do in the afternoon panel discussions. Please come join in the conversation!The up-to-date list of the more than 100 confirmed participating elected officials, groups, businesses, and agencies is below and the most up-to-date schedule and venue info is on our website.

ALSO, there are a handful of display spaces available in the Harbor Exhibit for the afternoon. If you would like to reserve a space please reach out to Jen Stark-Hernandez at

Thanks - hope to see you there! Carter Craft

BTW - on the off chance anyone DOES stumble across this & decides to go - you can take advantage of the not-for-profit price if you happen to be a member of a not-for-profit organization.


Still here!

Just really busy.

There must be some sort of blogging truism about, oh, the number of things you have been doing, reading, or thinking about that you'd like to blog about are in inverse proportion to the amount of time you have in which to blog about them.

I did slap up a trip report for the Norwalk Islands trip I helped out with weekend before last. That was a good one. The trip, I mean, the report was pretty rushed. But the pictures were pretty. That's over on the Sebago blog.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Pioneer Passes

As I mentioned in my earlier post - in the midst of all the election happiness, there's sadness at the loss of Mike Davis, the founder of Floating the Apple.

Rob Buchanan, who I've mentioned here from time to time (usually linking to his New York Harbor Beaches site, which I love), is another tireless campaigner (pardon the election rhetoric) for recreational access in the New York City area. He posted the following yesterday after Erik of the Long Island City Boathouse saw the news on another online forum, posted it to NYCKayaker & asked Rob for more information. This response, coming as it did from an active Whitehall rower who knew Mike well, was far better than anything I could've come up with. I asked if I could post it here & he was happy to let me do so. Thank you, Rob.
I'm sorry that I don't have much news to report at this point. Mike had a stroke last week and died yesterday in the hospital. I don't think anyone but immediate family--his mother, brother and neice--were able to visit him there. I have not yet heard what the plans are, if any, for a memorial service.

For those of you who don't know Mike's story, he was an archeologist who spent a lot of time in Turkey, was impressed by the amount of human-powered boating on the Bosporus, and came up with the idea of building boats and community boathouses here as a means of reestablishing 'universal public access' (one of his favorite phrases) to our urban waterways. The boat he developed, along with an engineer/naval architect named Mike Mcevoy and a master boatbuilder named Don Betts, was a 27-foot plywood-and-epoxy replica of a 19th-century Whitehall gig, a classic New York Harbor design perfectly suited for fast, safe rowing and sailing in these waters. About 30 of them have been built so far, the vast majority by high school and college

Mike had a kind of Johnny Appleseed vision in which Floating the Apple would spawn a series of spinoff boathouses, and in fact that is pretty much what has happened. While the FTA 'mother ship' resides in one of the new Hudson River Park boathouses (on pier 84), three other groups are rowing the same boats: the Village Community Boathouse on Pier 40, East River Crew on East 96th Street, and WeeRow in Weehawken, New Jersey. It's also worth noting that Adam Green, who started a similar program called Rocking the Boat in the South Bronx, was a Mike Davis protégé for a while.

One of the greatest--and, occasionally, most maddening--things about Mike was how stubbornly he pursued his agenda. His belief that there could be no compromise when it came to the right of the public to the waterways and the foreshore was a huge inspiration to many of us, and key to the development of recreational boating in the harbor. It also sometimes made him difficult to work with, to put it mildly. But the fact remains that without his clear vision and unwavering advocacy, there's just no way we'd be where we are today.

Among Floating the Apple's oldest traditions is an annual youth regatta called the American Star, after the sleek rowing gig that defeated a British counterpart in a famous match race off the Battery in 1832. Before his death, Mike laid plans to hold this year's American Star at Pier 84 on December 6, and barring some hideous bureaucratic snafu, that's when it will happen. If you want to get a firsthand appreciation for what Mike Davis brought into being and what he was all about, please join us there.

Rob Buchanan
Village Community Boathouse


Today, for once, I AM Happy Bonnie. Cranky Bonnie/Worried Bonnie/Stressed Bonnie/Homesick Bonnie/Tired Bonnie and all the other normal human variations in the key of B. are all still out there somewhere --

In fact there was some very sad news broken to NY's human-powered boating community yesterday - Mike Davis, the founder of Floating the Apple and one of the true pioneers of NYC's recreational boating renaissance has passed away, Rob B. has given me permission to post his own tribute to Mike, which he sent out to NYC Kayaker - I'll put that later today.

But despite, mostly HAPPY. I suspect Mike would be, too.

My little piece of Brooklyn sounded like somehow the Giants had won the Super Bowl and the Yankees had won the World Series all on the same night last night. Quite amazing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008 - At The Polls in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, NY

7:30 AM, corner of Cortelyou & Marlborough Roads, Brooklyn, NY. Vote here? Don't mind if I do, thanks!

Actually I left about 45 minutes early this morning so that I could stop to vote on the way to work. I was glad I left early! The line stretches halfway down the block on Cortelyou. I have never seen a line like this for any of the elections I've voted in.

There goes the line, around the corner.

Moved pretty well, though, and everybody was quite good-natured, and it was all just fine. Think I made it around the corner in 15 minutes or so. Look at that poor patient dog, there, waiting for his voter!

Dog gets tired.

Many many people in here!

Worth the wait...