Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last Rolls & Last Paddle of 2008...

Did a few rolls weekend before last - trying to repeat last year's rolling every month through the winter (in the bay, pools don't count, bay icing over too far & I let myself off that particular hook!)

Monday was too windy, better suited for walking, but yesterday - 30 degrees, almost no wind, fine conditions for a paddle (but I stayed right-side up)!

That's all for today - overnighting halfway to holiday gatherings!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coney Island Boardwalk 12/22/08

Nathan's & Cha Cha's, being put up for lease

Crazy sea gull feeding man, yelled at me for frightening the poor sensitive birds.

We had Coney Island to ourselves.

Tiny snowman on the beach.

We had a couple of quiet days in Brooklyn before we head down to NC. Very windy on Monday, not good kayaking weather but gorgeous out, perfect for a walk on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kid at the Candy Store Window

Teuscher Chocolates, Rockefeller Center, 12/20/08

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lyric Interlude

Four days to Christmas
Four days to Christmas
Just enough time to do your Christmas shopping
These are the people who shop in time, just in time, barely in time
These are the people who calculate with clinical precision
Four days to Christmas
Four days to Christmas
These are the folks who never waste a second
Full of a chilly efficiency
Loaded with gall
Never too early and never late


Cashiers: Thank you, thank you, please call again, do call again, thank you

Customers: Thank you, thank you, we'll call again, we'll call again, thank you

From the musical She Loves Me.

And I'm off to meld with the madding crowds. I'm on vacation but it's going to be way busier than the quiet-2-weeks-at-home that had been the plan up until a week or so ago. Posting will get a bit sparse!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

NYC a few minutes ago...(plus the last garden produce of the year)

Looking at the Hudson from one of the Wired New York webcams

What was it I was saying in comments yesterday? Something about the Midwest kayak bloggers' themes running along the lines of dark, cold, ice and snow?

OK, it's still just BARELY below freezing. I wore a hat today but skipped the gloves. No particular danger of losing extremities & if I wasn't going out of town for the holidays I'd probably be going paddling tomorrow. So, I can't really complain, can I?

Updating later -

Snow on the rooftops of Soho. Brought my camera

Perfect weather for turning my very last produce from the Sebago Diggers' 2008
growing season into soup. I'd decided to skip squash this year after the squash borers k.o.'d my kabocha, but we ended up having a number of volunteer butternuts turning up in people's beds this year & there were enough for the squash lottery winners to share. Nice, huh?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Proxigean Pictures

As promised!

There's an old hulk on the sandbar that extends out to the daymark to the east of Canarsie Pol.

Here's what you see of it near normal low tide:

Here it was at low water on our post-proxigean paddle on Sunday!

TQ ended up having to do that walking-on-the-water impression because yours truly simply had to go see how much of this was there to be seen.

Quite a bit! And by the way, there's usually water over there. Not necessarily enough to float a kayak at normal low, but enough to just cover the sandbar.

I knew perfectly well we were likely to run out of water.

But...check out the pretty green sponges!

There was a lot of stuff that was high & dry that's usually underwater, and the animals seemed to be enjoying the smorgasbord. This guy & a couple of others were busy clamming - one ran away, this one did look up a moment after I took the picture but wasn't in a hurry to leave his shellfish bonanza, nor did I want him to (I'd had a great lunch, why shouldn't he?), so I headed on.

In general, those little long-legged shoreline type birds tend to be a little skittish around kayaks, but like the raccoon, these guys (I think they are Ruddy Turnstones but will check with my birder friends) were so focused on the wonderful feast this low, low water had uncovered, they hardly paid attention to us at all as we passed.

A little more J-Bay wildlife, out on the Rockaway Peninsula.

The herd approaches the watering hole with caution...

(12/18 lunchtime update - A few more photos to come tonight - but I'm just signing in to suggest that the kayak-obsessed among you (you know who you are) might find a visit to the 70.8% blog particularly enjoyable right around now!)

Lunchtime Links - Random Thoughts & Stocking Stuffers

Busy week getting ready for vacation!

I don't twitter, but if I did twitter, last night my tweet would have been "Just ate a chocolate-covered Pringle. Do not think I will make a habit of this". Today I have the candy box song from the musical "She Loves Me" running through my head as I navigate the myriad temptations of the holiday office.

We become indiscreet,
eating sweet after sweet,
though we know all too well where that may lead

'Nuff said?

Said temptations are not QUITE as myriad as last year, but the goodies haven't quite been written off!

Anyways - I hope to get home early enough to put up a couple more pictures from Sunday but I'm just taking a quick lunch break & had wanted to post a couple of shameless plugs for nifty things that friends & business associates of mine are making that might make nice holiday presents!

In the nautical theme - how about a nice tugboat calendar? My friends Brian and Karen have been spending a lot of time out on the good boat Puffin in pursuit of their quest to travel under all of the Moveable Bridges operated by NYC's DOT (as well as lots of non-questy trips). They finished off this year with the Harlem & East River bridges. Brian takes some nice pictures & has got an NYC Tugboat calendar (and lots more items) for sale on CafePress.

And this other one's pretty random but a former co-worker of mine has got a home business making candles & soap; another former co-worker of mine, who has been helping her out with the holiday shipping, had stopped by the office to say hello last week, ended up giving me a sample of her soap 'cause I was asking about it, and, well, it's really nice & it might be that I ordered a few gifts for assorted aunts & uncles...

Fun having talented friends - it's sort of like taking the whole locavore thing & making it personal!

That's all for now!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jamaica Bay Low Water, 2 days after Proxigean.

That's TQ, walking to get to someplace where there's enough water to paddle. That's a channel marker in front of him so he hasn't got much farther to go.

High water mark, probably from Friday. I have seen our ramp floating fairly close to flat but this is ridiculous!

Santa on Sunday!

No Seriously, I was going to Stop on Sunday - a good friend of mine once said "When does alliteration cease to be a literary device & become a mere annoyance?" and I think "After 2 days of alliterative post titles" is a legitimate answer to that rhetorical question.

But hey, Santa was in my neighborhood yesterday courtesy of the folks at the Flatbush Development Corporation, and they are always worth a link!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flamingoes on Friday

Aaah! Quick, before it's no longer Friday & the alliteration is lost!

Proxigean Tides Are Here!

Yup, today's the day! And it's true.

Here's a post about the water levels in Victoria, BC. And here on the other side of the North American continect, the word from South Norwalk, CT this morning is that Water Street is more Water than Street today - the sidewalks are dry but the street is flooded.

Sebago's cold-weather paddling crew is planning a trip to the Wharf Bar & Grill on the Rockaway Peninsula on Sunday (looks awesome, weather in the mid-40's & not much wind) & we're going to make a stop at Ruffle Bar on the way back for some beachcombing.

Going to be very interesting seeing how much of J-Bay ends up high and dry by low water. I remember having such a good laugh my first winter as a Sebago member when Vice-Commodore Pete saying (after a Hudson River trip where things went significantly awry) "We get spoiled here in Jamaica Bay, 80% of the bay, you get in trouble, you just stand up & walk to shore"!

I'm betting that's even more true than usual at low water this weekend.

Subway Zoetrope

Masstransiscope, by Bill Brand.

Graffiti artwork animated by the movement of the subway train. Can be seen just before the Manhattan Bridge on Manhattan-bound N, Q & B trains. Not my art, I just pointed a camera at it while I rode past on the train. I like it 'cause it puts some fun into my morning commute!

I'd put this up on Yahoo Video earlier this week & since I seem to be indulging in a lot of New Yorky posts this week, this one fits right in.

It's funny, this giant zoetrope was actually originally installed in 1980. By the time I started riding this particular line, the animation panels had been completely covered in graffiti. I'd noticed the slits - it had occured to me that they resembled a zoetrope, but I didn't realize, until the sequential frames were restored & all the sudden one day I was looking out the subway car window & seeing bouncing balls & rocketships flying by, that it actually IS one!

For more information (and the tiny bit at the start that I missed), check out!

There's also a blog with a short circa-80's news piece about it from the - shows how he designed it (check it out, no computers, he actually built a big working model) & then he & the reporter actually go into the installation in the Myrtle Avenue subway station (abandoned but still down there, you sometimes hear those called "ghost stations"). You can see that here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Poem with Pictures. By Me.

On A Few Things Observed In Downtown Manhattan On A Cold December Day.

The Squirrels
are Fluffy

The Pigeons
are Puffy

The Cherry
Are Very

The End!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rudder Post

AKA "Possibly the nerdiest post I'll ever post". But ever wonder how a rudder mechanism works? They're usually tucked away inside, but on the Pegasus, you can see exactly what's going on (at least at the non-pointy end of the boat), and I thought that was kind of cool. I understand the principal behind how a wheel controls a rudder, but it was fun seeing it in action!

Basically, the rudder post sticks up through the hull of the boat -

and into this big pie-shaped chunk of metal. That's the rudder quadrant.

There's a cable end attached to either end of arc at the front of the the quadrant. The cables wrap around the arc & then each one crosses over to a housing at the side of the boat (you can see the starboard side one here, the other side mirrors that. From there, it runs to where it's attached to the steering device in the wheelhouse. In the case of the Pegasus, it's a sort of a little joystick affair - not quite sure how that works exactly, I'm afraid - but at least this end's pretty straightforward!

Here it is responding very precisely to the captain's hand on the control as she works through final docking manuevers at Pier 40:

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mary A. Whalen's 70th Birthday & A Pegasus Ride

It was a really good day, and now the gallery's done to prove it! Check it out here!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Brooklyn Mermaids

Coney Island Kitschy -

(taken on Astroland's last day, eartlier this year)

Atlantic Ave Antique-y

Taken en route to the Mary Whalen's birthday party. Any estate owners looking for a little lawn decor? There's your number!

The Mary Whalen's party was great, I saw a lot of friends, even met a couple of people who feel like friends although I've only exchanged emails or blog comments with them, had some delicious birthday cake & hot cider & in the end was lucky enough to be treated to a Pegasus ride! Great afternoon on the waterfront.

Took a lot of pictures, there'll be a gallery soon.

In the meantime, I'm stealing a page from the Never Sea Land playbook!

BTW, one of his recent mermaid post features the most beautiful animation I think I've ever seen, Alexander Petrov's The Mermaid. Worth a look.

Friday, December 05, 2008


God has a Facebook page.

Screenshots here.

(Great find, Chosha!)

ps & speaking of interesting finds...

Is it just me or is Kermit sounding...uh...a bit cynical?

Perhaps it's not good for frogs to live in big cities for too long. What happened to the wistful optimism of "It Ain't Easy Being Green?"

Nice river view though. Thanks, Mr. Sea Level Bikewallah!

updating a few minutes later - oh heck, as long as I am all link-happy - OMG, is this not the freakiest, scariest, most malevolent-looking wave you've ever seen?

later still and speaking of big waves (but not so freaky looking) - wow, very cool, big surf on Oahu's north shore! Looking kinda good for the Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surfing Contest.

I am still SO glad I got to watch the last one. Pure good luck, my dad & I knew we were watching something pretty special, but we had no idea what a lucky break (ha ha) we got until we got home afterwards & turned on the news.

The way the contest works is there is a period of time every winter where all the invitees travel to Hawaii. And then - they wait. If you think surfers are just adrenaline addicts, and couldn't possibly be good at waiting, you'd be wrong -- I took a board surfing lesson one time & the biggest surprise was just how much patience it required - if you didn't wait for the right waves, you just wear yourself out paddling after waves you can't catch. The right waves for these surfers are 20' or over, but not too much over (beyond a certain height it just gets too dangerous). The surfers & the contest organizers watch the swell, and when (and if) everything's just right - it goes.

If they don't have that day where everything's right - they just don't do it. Simple. See you next year.

So anyways - this is how my dad & I just happened to see this the last time everything was just right:

It was the winter of 04/05. My sister & I were visiting for the holidays; we had a beautiful day, I think we'd heard that the surf was pretty awesome, maybe we'd even heard something about a surfing contest on the radio. My mom had piano students in or something, but my sister & my dad & I decided to drive out to the north shore to see what we could see (and what did we see, we saw the sea!).

My sister had some specific thing she wanted to do on the way, and my dad & I were more interested in getting on out there, so we took separate cars. We were going to try to meet up at some point, but a ways out of Haleiwa, heading for Waimea Bay, my dad & I found ourselves in this insane traffic jam, miles long, absolutely crawling (the Kamehameha Highway is a two-lane road ou there). It was really confusing - that's the quiet side of the island. 3 cars at a stoplight is a traffic jam. What the heck was this?

We're a strange family in that none of us carry cell phones. We realized before too long that there was no way we were going to be able to meet up with my sister at the appointed time (it had been a sort of tentative plan anyways).

As Waimea Bay came into view, the cause of the traffic jam became instantly clear. This was not some little fun meet - this was serious. We didn't know just how major an event it was, but we saw the stands & the sound equipment towers. The bay was full of safety & media jet-skis, and waaaay out, there were all the surfers, looking out to sea at the enormous swells that moved towards them, waiting waiting waiting for just the right one - then you'd see a big set moving in, and a few of the surfers would start paddling, and the swells would hit the bottom & start to steepen, then crest, and then they'd catch up to the hard-paddling surfers & then oh MY, you'd see something!

Looked like something seriously worth watching, and since the plan where we met my sister was long since out the window, we didn't need to go meet up with her first. So we were free to give it a shot. Nowhere to park by the bay, but I think we decided to drive on into town, and if we could find a parking place, we'd walk back & join the spectators on the beach. We weren't terribly hopeful - but lo & behold, JUST as we got to the first place in town where there was parking, somebody was pulling out and WE were the ones who were in the perfect place to get it!

And that's how I got to see the last "Eddie". We were so lucky.

(homesick now...)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

We're All Invited to a 70th Birthday Bash!

The Mary Whalen, before she was the Mary Whalen. Picture most egregiously swiped from PortSide New York's history of the guest of honor.

And as long as I'm lifting content, I'll just copy in the invitation here:

Celebrate the 70th birthday
of the tanker MARY WHALEN!

Home of the non-profit PortSide NY

on Pier 11, Atlantic Basin(next to the Red Hook Cruise Terminal)40˚ 40’ 51”N 74˚ 00’ 46”W
Sat 12/6/08 11-5pmRain Date Sun 12/7/08 11-5pm
If it rains, the whole weekend,we try for next Sat 12/13, with rain date of Sun 12/14

Free cake, music and tours of the Whalen!

Open house tours all day long
2pm Heightened Hooplah with Ceremony & Birthday Proclamation, Remarks & Special Thank-You's

Master of Ceremonies Jonathan Atkin, maritime photographer, aka Shipshooter
See visiting tugs and workboats that come to the party!

For more information, visit PortSide New York's Invitation Page.

A note for any paddlers who might be thinking of paddling there, courtesy of Tim (of the Message in a Bottle Project, the Downtown Boathouse, and the Red Hook Boaters (hence his knowledge of the inside scooop here) -

So you know how us kayakers always want to go places in our kayaks? Well, this time it miiiiight be easier to take the bus, here's what Tim had to say:

...a number of people were talking about trying to organize a paddling trip down, or up to the event.

You may NOT paddle to the cruise ship terminal, or into the Atlantic Basin, instead you need to land a few blocks away at Valentino Park. If you look on the map on the invite link the landing spot at Valentino is at the end of Coffey St., where it meets the water. There won't be anyone to watch your boats, but if you bring your paddle with you they should be ok for a little while.

Please don't try and paddle up to the ship because it might cause a problem with the harbor police or Coast Guard and give kayakers bad press.

The PortSide folks are working on allowing kayaking to the ship for future events, but we need to be patient...

Which leads me to mention - one of the neat things about this party is that the Atlantic Basin is generally NOT generally open to the public. In fact, the invitation specifically says: "Come to the first public event in Atlantic Basin!"

So this is a really unique chance, courtesy of PortSide New York, to get a good up-close look at some of New York's real working waterfront - the one most of us don't really get to see a whole lot of.

I never managed to finish Part 2 of the Waterfront Conference report - I actually got more points about things I'd learned into my Part 1 report on the morning boat ride than I expected to, but I haven't quite given up on Part 2. The afternoon involved plenary sessions, with panels of highly qualified people speaking on a number of different topics. I chose 2 that were either diametrically opposed, or perfect complements, or POSSIBLY both - my first was Waterfront Works - Part 1: Growing Maritime Use; my 2nd, Green Harbor - Part 2: Paying for a Healthier Harbor (which actually ended up being mostly Paying for Great Waterfront Parks, which was RIGHT up my alley). Now, I'm not going to do the full writeup now - but this party being the first ever public event in the Atlantic Basin reminded me of one thought that occured to me during the first session, when the panelists were talking about how little public awareness there is that NY's maritime industry IS growing at a healthy rate.

The thing is, I think it's really easy for your average, non water-obsessed New Yorker to completely not realize how much activity there is. Even the water-obsessed sort (like me) may underestimate - for the simple reason that we just don't see a lot of it. Seems like the industrial sections seem to exist in pockets (for fairly straightforward reasons, like it being much more economical to have all your workboat services in one place), and those concentrations, not surprisingly, don't tend to be in the more residential areas (unless the residential areas start flowing towards them & blending in, which is what's happening in Red Hook - and trying to help make that blending work for everyone involved is, I believe, PortSide NY's entire raison d'etre).

Brooklyn Heights residents, for example, may go out for a walk or a jog or to air out their dog on the promenade every day; their entire view of the waterfront is a park at the north end, and a bunch of unused warehouses being turned into park at the south end. They can see the loading cranes of Red Hook, but they may never realize just how much work is going on over there, just a mile or two south!

Me, I'll never forget seeing Staten Island's "Tugboat Alley" for the first time, on a circumnavigation of Staten Island I joined back in my Pier 63 days - I see those tugs and workboats out there all the time, but do you know, it never crossed my mind that there was a place all those tugboats go back to at the end of their work?

I know. Duh. But there you have it. I just never thought about it, and then there it was, the place the tugboats go to sleep (and be fueled & provisioned & manned & maintained).

And it was pretty darned cool seeing it.

I think the Atlantic Basin will be a similarly pretty darned cool, and unusual, and interesting place to visit. And you don't even need a boat to get to this one!

Have camera, will travel!

Remembering Rob Taylor

My friend Pat, of the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club, sent the following after she saw yesterday's post. I asked if I could share it & she said of course. Thank you, Pat.

Bonnie - here is a photo from 2007 Hudson River Ramble with Bruce R.(looking away), Rob Taylor & me)

I'm not sure who actually took the photo.

Rob knew more about eagles than any mortal without a PhD in ornithology should. He'd accompany the Eagle Expert as 'muscle'. Rob would carry equipment & scale up the trees to survey the nests and habitat. He'd tell us stories about the short window they had to tag the eaglets. There was a sweet spot when Mama Eagle would leave the little ones in the nest and the eaglets were not yet big enough to fight back while being tagged. Since Rob was the guy holding the eaglet, this was important. Mom eagles are very protective of their young. Rob told us of eagle justice. Raccoons would scale up vine covered trees to the huge nests for tasty eagle eggs. Rob watched once as Mama Eagle snagged a thieving raccoon and dropped him from well beyond the nest.
The first couple hours of the trip, every time Rob said 'there's an eagle', we'd all pull out our cameras & snap a photo. We quickly realized there were a lot of eagles & we could wait for better photos.

He will be missed.

Pat S

2 additional notes -

1. Seeing this picture - I think I may have met him after all. He just looks very familiar. Not sure where or when but Hudson River paddlers do get around some.

2. When I asked if I could post this, in addition to saying "Of course", Pat also mentioned that she thinks that the picture may have been taken by Don Yackel, the gentleman whose blog I'd linked to in my original post.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What's Up? I'm Up. What's Up With That?

Speaking of people being productive...

Ordinarily, I'm not a morning person. Sometimes I'll get up early. Usually it's for a boating thing (like the NY-to-Albany delivery trips that used to be one of my favorite things about working on the schooner Adirondack), or some long tide-dependent kayak trip. In those cases, it's always this huge struggle getting up, a one-woman battle involving multiple hits on the snooze alarm and great needing of coffee. My ability to actually walk out the door, at a pre-dawn hour, in a state remotely resembling preparation is entirely dependent upon having pre-set everything (including morning's outfit) the night before.

Once I'm out, on the water, watching the sunrise, I'm always thinking "Sunrise. Nice time to be on the water. This is nice. I should do this more often". Never happens, though (except for multi-day camping and/or multi-day boat trips, when I think I get a lot more in sync with the daylight). Getting up early is rough.

So I was surprised to find myself jumping out of bed this morning at 5 a.m.!

I've actually been pretty busy over the last few days. Weeks. OK, years even. If you read this blog at all, you know how I tend to get too many things on my plate, right? I was running around running errands on the Saturday morning before the work day a couple of weeks ago. Errands like taking my NEW watch to a jeweler in Newkirk Plaza to get the band shortened, then going back to pick it up so they could hold it hostage for fifteen minutes while I begged them to just give it back to me as it was so that I could be on time to meet Prof.M, who was giving me a ride to the work day - (they hadn't finished breaking it, see). I was running home after that thinking "I do NOT understand how parent-type people do it, I can barely keep my own life in order and there's only one of me".

This week's been same as usual. Work stuff, a surprise bridal shower my boss had me coordinate (we pulled it off great btw, our colleague's face as I started rolling back the dividers to reveal the 30 co-workers & cake & champagne who'd gathered in the back half of the dividable conference room where she, my boss & some sales folks had gathered for a "meeting" was truly priceless), finishing the switch from the old computer to the new & then wiping the old one's hard disk (I hope I wasn't being too optimistic there, the new one's doing fine but I used a real erase program on the old one & it did the job I bought it for, there is no resuscitation now), usual home & self maintenance, trying to drum up interest among my friends in a really special trip, the usual day-to-day stuff, and then I'd said I'd write an article for the club's newsletter.

The day-to-day stuff was sort of getting short shrift, as usual. The article got done at about 2 am on Tuesday morning. The shower was yesterday. I worked a little late to finish up the work stuff I hadn't been doing while planning the shower (it's quarter-end close, certain stuff had to happen). I came home, had some dinner, looked at the day-to-day stuff (bill paying, cleaning, etc) I hadn't been doing, shook my head, sat down on the Futon of Nap (the most lethally comfortable piece of furniture I own) with some kids' book from work, thinking I'd just unwind a bit before I started in on chores, & promptly crashed. Moved to bed at some point (still fully dressed may I add - I guess I was a pretty pooped pup).

Hence the abnormal 5 am waking.

I would be so scary if I was a morning person. When I get home from work, I'm just too tired. Things don't get done, or if they do, it's in fairly hass-alfed fashion.

This morning...well, I got up. I paid bills. I watered the plants. I put dishes away. I washed dishes. I hung up the drysuit. I put the laundry in the closet. I put the backpacks in the closet. I put the luggage cart I'd used to bring the computer home in the closet. I pulled a hooded wetsuit top I never wear out of the closet to think about whether I wanted to cut off the hood to replace the hood I lost. I pulled more kayak gear out of the closet to confirm I really lost the old hood (I did). I put the kayak gear back in the closet. I pulled a carton out of the closet & packed up the books I've been meaning to send to the Chickens as a thank-you for their hospitality in October. I had a healthy, fat-free breakfast (a banana & some leftover rice with a bit of shoyu). I did a little digital photo filing. Having accomplished enough things that were of actual use to make myself quite disgustingly smug about the morning's accomplishments, I moved on to futzing around online. I looked up some ferrocement construction information (no, not thinking of building my own "yot", just still been checking in on my old Pier 63 acquaintance Reid from time to time & was curious about the construction) and now I've written a blog post.

And the time is now 7:40 a.m., the hour at which I am usually FINALLY hitting the snooze alarm for the last time, turning on NPR & stumbling towards the shower.

Wonder what sort of scary, smug, organized person I'd be if I did this voluntary getting up at 5 am thing more often. At the very least, maybe I wouldn't always have this nagging sense that somehow, somewhere, something I was supposed to have done hadn't gotten done.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another Hudson River loss.

I don't think I knew him, but I'd feel like I was somehow being disrespectful if I didn't at least mention the passing of Rob Taylor.

Scott Keller of the Hudson River Greenway Association posted the following to the NYCKayaker mailing list today:

Those of us in the north have lost a dear friend, as have paddlers in general. Rob Taylor managed five state parks on the Hudson River including, Peebles Island, Schodack Island, Hudson River Islands, Athens Boat Launch and Coxsackie Boat Launch since Schodack Island State Park opened. Rob was a big proponent of paddling in general and the Hudson River Water Trail in particular. All five of his parks were designatedas part of the Water Trail.

Rob was known for his creativity and for how hard he worked. He built Schodack Islands from a patch of dirt to a site with two boat launches(one on the HR and one on Schodack Creek), a pavilion, restrooms and miles of trails. Under his watch the launches at Coxsackie and Athens were completely rebuilt, and HR Islands Park was refurbished to a standard never before seen.

Part of the reason Rob was so committed to his work was he was a paddler and outdoorsman like the rest of us. He was a long-time volunteer in the NYS Parks Search and Rescue Team. For the past five years we organized a 3-day paddle and campout featuring Rob's parks as part of the Hudson River Valley Ramble.

Rob passed away unexpectedly at home last Thursday. His loss is for me, and for those who knew him, very difficult to handle. He will be sorely missed.

Don Yackel has a quick post about Rob as well, and is seeking others' recollections.

The Hudson is a long river. We at the southern end may never meet paddlers from Albany, Troy or beyond - but we're tied together by that river. There are a lot of great people who do a lot of great work to promote & preserve boating on the Hudson - most of them just do it because it's what they love; not seeking any particular fame from their actions, it's easy for people who aren't in their area to know about them - but what they do spills over. Rob worked for the good of NYS Parks on the Hudson River. The Hudson River Watertrail Association benefitted from his commitment. The Hudson River Watertrail Association has been a force in the growth of paddling & rowing on the Hudson; their work has led directly to better and better conditions & acceptance for human-powered boating in the New York City area, as evidenced by the creation of the New York City Watertrail. Clearly, even those of us down here in NYC who never had the good fortune to meet him, have gained something from his efforts.

I'm so sorry that I'm learning about him this way.

Good reminder of how we just never really know how things we do are going to touch other people's lives.

Good reason to keep trying to do good things, even if it sometimes seems like one person just can't make a dent. A lot of us don't ever get to the point of people like Rob, or Mike Davis, where we can know for sure we're making a difference - but we should trust that we do, and keep trying.

Monday, December 01, 2008

When will the Proxigean Tides arrive between 1999-2020?

Find out here!

And if, like myself (at least until I checked in on my email this morning), you haven't got a clue what a Proxigean Tide is, don't worry, you'll find that out there too.

Thanks, DennisG. Here's some more Rockaway Peninsula for you. Starts at the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, over Fort Tilden, out to sea. Just past the tree I pause on Coney Island, you can see the Verranzano Narrows Bridge too. Next brief pause is on the Manhattan skyline - it was very clear on Friday.

Oh, and speaking of learning new things, I learned about "graupel" a couple of weeks ago, during a cozy evening curled up on the futon with Extreme Weather, a fascinating giveaway bin find by H. Michael Mogil. I could tell you about it, but I think it's better to let someone who, being a Michigander, has actually had a little more of a first hand experience with the stuff do the honors.