Friday, September 28, 2018

Good article on the storm surge barrier

Click here for a good article on the flood control project, courtesy of Bob, the Sebago clubmate who was also at the meeting.

Again, here's the project website:

NYC residents and other folks along the Hudson are all considered stakeholders in this; email to join the Stakeholder Mailing List and receive updates on the project.

This is a big thing here in NY Harbor - hope folks will get involved, this is going to have a big effect on the "Sixth Borough", and we should pay attention. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

NY Harbor Flood Control Scoping Meeting

So, as is usual for September, it's mostly been all work and no fun makes Bonnie a dull blogger, but I did cut out of work at 5 one day last week to go to a scoping meeting where representatives from the Army Corp of Engineers presented flood control options that are being considered for NYC. 

I am in no way qualified to comment on the feasibility of any of these but I will say that the presenters all seemed committed, intelligent, very prepared, and open to questions. The turnout for the 6 pm meeting at the Coney Island Aquarium's Education Hall was good, the concepts and presentation were interesting, and I was very glad to have made it. 

The process is a long and slow one - this is the very first phase of a painstaking process. The first stage is studying the options and making recommendations in a report that would be presented to Congress in (if all stays on schedule, ha) 2022. 

I'm paraphrasing a Facebook comment Jozef K., one of my swimmer friends, posted after the meeting, he was there and I did like his take on the evening.

I did take pictures of some of the presentation materials to share.

For more, visit their website (I think they said the full presentation would eventually be available there).

NYC residents and other folks along the Hudson are all considered stakeholders in this; email to join the Stakeholder Mailing List and receive updates on the project. 

Questions and comments can also be sent to that email. They are taking comments through November 5th. 

They said that they are planning at least 2 more meetings in October, these ones in Westchester, hopefully more convenient for a lot of folks for whom a 6 pm meeting at Coney Island on a work night might as well have been on the moon.

Here are photos of parts of the presentation and display materials. Click on the first photo for a slideshow view: 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Competition 2018

Still at work with a few more deadlines before the September rush is over, but I just took a break to caption my VERY EXTENSIVE Flickr album from the 26th running of the Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Competition. As I probably say here way too often (except that it's not really possible to say it too often), Another Great Day On The Water! Yeah, it was so cold and drizzly that I was driven to buy a whole apple pie with absolutely no intention of sharing it afterwards, but still just so much fun.

Order of the album - Setup, Post Parade, Race, Bow-to-Bow Pushing, Line Tossing, and spinach eating. Sorry no pictures of the tattoo contest, there were some nice ones but it and the awards ceremony were both held in the classroom in the boathouse and I was way back at the back and couldn't see.

Thank you Working Harbor Committee!

Click here to visit the album. Enjoy!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Music Also Helps - a rare Subway Series post

There is so much art and music and oddities on the NYC subway that I post about it just enough that at some point I gave it its own tag. 

My job is very calendar-driven, with a heavy concentration of deadlines in September and March. I will end up working strings of late nights just to get the big reports done, and it can be very stressful.

I think it was March of this year that the late nights coincided with subway track work, with the Q train running on two sections, one that ended at Atlantic Avenue and another from there on out to Coney Island.

Trains running strangely late at night can be aggravating, but when Ishmael Levi was there and singing for us late-night commuters, it wasn't as bad. Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was the first song I heard him sing, I think it's a favorite of his because he was singing it more than once when I got to the platform to change to the train to continue into Brooklyn. I love music, but I'm not really a connoisseur and I don't know much about Leonard Cohen's work (although a lot of my friends were crushed at his passing so I know he must be great) - but this song is so beautiful, and when Ishmael sang it late at night as the tired night shift folks waited for the next train, I could just feel my nerves un-frazzling. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pie Helps.

as usual, plugs in this post are unsolicited, I just link because I like these places!

Rough week at work but at least there was PIE, thanks to my west side adventures on Sunday. My first non-sublet apartment was near 34th street and 9th Avenue and a good friend from college lived on 43 Street and had introduced me to The Little Pie Company of the Big Apple. Living in Brooklyn and working in SoHo, I don't get north of Union Square much these days, but volunteering for the tugboat race on Sunday got me back to the old neighborhood. A bunch of us went out for drinks and a bite at the Landmark Tavern (another old favorite from when I lived in the area) and I was toying with the idea of dessert at the pub when I suddenly remembered the Little Pie Company's Manhattan Plaza location.

I asked the folks who live in the area if the bakery was still at that location - locals said "Oh yes!" and Jean, one of the organizers and an old friend from my Pier 63 days, offered me a ride over there (the pub session was breaking up at this point anyways). Jean got me there 15 minutes before closing, I got the last apple pie of the day (there would have been plenty of other choices had I been too late for that, but it was a very autumnal-feeling wet and chilly day, so I was specifically craving a good basic apple pie), and have been enjoying it all week. September is one of my too-many-deadlines months at work as a number of calendar-driven projects coincide in a way that leads to a string of late nights. That's been very true this week, but at least I had pie. Good pie. Nostalgic pie, even. It helped.

I will at least make sure I leave at a decent hour today, I'm finishing the last current deadline thing today. More down the road, September is one of those months for me, but once I finish this one forecast and my daily sales reports the only other must-do today is of course to VOTE. Started my day with apple pie, finishing with voting - can I get much more American than that? 
️  πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 Tribute in Light, and links to stories (mine, plus one about birds and the Tribute)

Photo taken from Liberty State Park in 2012. I had an unexpected deadline thrown at me at work yesterday so won't have time for much reflection - but as usual, my story from the day is available here.

There was an interesting article about the Tribute in Light in the New York Times today. I loved it at first, thought it was a beautiful way to memorialize the World Trade Center and the lives lost there that day, but then I found out that it was trapping migratory birds and my feeling towards the display cooled. I'm glad to hear that they've found a way to keep it from being quite as dangerous to the small travellers. Click here to read.  

Friday, September 07, 2018

A Weekend At The Races - Yonkers Mayor's Cup/3rd Leg Glickman Cup Saturday 9/8/18, TUGS ON SUNDAY 9/9/18!

Miller Tugs, Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Competition 2011

Well, I have quite the weekend coming up here! September's one of my crazy months at work, so naturally I have the first two weekends of the month booked solid and haven't left myself any unwinding time at all - it's all going to be fun, though. This weekend especially.

On Saturday, I'm looking forward to catching up with friends from the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club and the Inwood Canoe Club as the YPRC hosts the 3rd and final stage of this year's Joe Glickman Cup, which, in Yonkers, is run in conjunction with the Yonkers Mayor's Cup. The Glickman Cup is named in honor of much-missed Sebago clubmate, adventure sport author, husband, father, and all-around good guy Joe Glickman, who we lost to pancreatic cancer in 2015. Sebago dominated these races in 2016 and 2017 but this year the point spread is pretty close. I may end up representing Sebago in the women's races, as I did at Inwood. I did get points for Sebago that day by simply putting my butt in a boat and not wandering off the course; Yonkers does have more strong women paddlers who didn't come to Inwood, so on their home turf it might be a different story. We'll see. I had hoped to get in some practice time in the weeks since but then I invited TQ to move in with me and he took me up on it and priorities had to change.

I did just discover that there's a 200 yard swim and there's supposedly one slot left - that would be fun, I'll be DFL in that, too, but the website says "COMPLETING the swim portion of the mayors cup is WINNING", and I have been doing some swimming this year, so hey, I'm game!

So that'll be Saturday, and then on Sunday, it's the 26th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Contest. HOORAY! Folks who've been reading this blog for a while know I love this event, so much that last year I actually started volunteering.  It's usually on Labor Day weekend, so if you're in the metropolitan area and always miss it because you do other things for Labor Day, this is your lucky year! Events will be going on at Pier 84 on the West Side from 10:30 am to 3 pm; first there's a post parade by Pier 84, then the tugs proceed to the starting line at 70th street and then come charging down the river to the finish line at Pier 84.

After the race, the tugs pair off for bow to bow pushing contests, while individual tugs vie for the fastest time in the line-throwing contest (a very tricky throw at a bollard with a fence immediately behind it - hard but can be done!). Eventually all of the tugs tie up to the pier and the crews come ashore for the Popeye spinach-eating contest (children first, then the grown-ups), a tattoo contest, and finally, the awards ceremony. You can get a ticket on a Circle Line boat for a great on-water view of the race and the pushing contests, or you can join us at the pier any time during the day, for free! Click here to buy tickets and/or download a flyer with all the details. Oh, and hey, any fans of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge? Check out this year's raffle! Raffle tickets can be purchased online; need not be present to win.  
Growler crew attempts the line toss, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Project Seize the Space more or less of a success, plus Labor Day at the club

Labor Day at Sebago

Note, the following day - This was sort of a rambley post, I tried not to vent too much but was actually feeling quite frustrated at not finishing my self-imposed cleaning task within what should have been plenty of time. But I have to remind myself I did get some other stuff done - I assisted TQ with a class at Sebago, I got my annual mammogram done, took a bunch of books and clothes to Housing Works, finished the book of Margaret Atwood short stories I'd been reading and binge watched the rest of Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale (ok I don't count watching a lot of TV as "getting something done" but I'd been wanting to watch those - I was suspicious that I wasn't going to like it once they were off the original book that I'd read and loved in the 80's, but I'm still in and ready for Season 3 now), had dinner with friends, and made it to the greenmarket for another round of peaches, tomatoes and corn (season's winding down!) on Sunday. Plus I was dealing with a tummy bug early in the week, and then the heat wave really did slow me down. Adding all that in, I guess I did manage to get a decent amount of stuff into the week. 

Well, that was one of the least relaxing staycations I've ever spent - clearing out space for TQ after 15 years having my place all to my untidy self was a massive project. I'm glad I took a week off for it, I wish I could take one more. At this point I actually have cleared out the smaller of the 2 bedroom closets (that was the easy one, that was genuinely kind of the "extra" closet in the place and I'd never put much in there), plus lots of space in the coat closet, the linen closet, various kitchen storage, and then half the medicine cabinet and some space under the sink. So I would say that that part of Project Seize the Storage is DONE. WHOOP. Cleaning bonus - I've had some recent rodent incursions in the kitchen and I found the mousehole when I pulled out the stove to do some vacuuming behind there, they'd chewed themselves a perfect little mouse-sized doorway where the gas line for the stove comes through the wall. Plugged it with steel wool, hoping that takes care of it. After that, I had to clean behind the fridge too - fortunately the only critters operating back there were dust bunnies. 

Still a bit of clutter around here and there from the point at which I basically everted the contents of every closet and bookshelf onto the floor  - that's where one more week would be faaaabulous, I could wrap this up in one more day and then I could spend the rest of the week unwinding at the beach or on the bay. That would be heavenly. Unfortunately work constraints will not allow. As it is I'll just need to squeeze the wrap-up of the last bits into the evenings after work this week - Saturday is the 3rd of the club races at Yonkers, and then on Sunday I'm signed up to help out with the spinach eating contest at the Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Contest - that's usually on Labor Day but it's the week after this year. Always tons of fun! Will make for a busy weekend but I couldn't resist saying yes to both.

I did give myself Labor Day off. Originally TQ and I had planned an afternoon paddle, but unfortunately it got hot again and they ended up being shorthanded at the pool where he works in the summer, so he got called in. He still gave me a ride to the club, and I decided to take advantage of this surprise solo outing to get out for a spin in my surfski, which hadn't touched the water yet this year. Nice to confirm that it still floats and I can still stay on top of it. I started out with a lap in the basin, starting with going up to the top of the basin. I hadn't planned for it to be a birding paddle but there were a couple of ospreys hanging out at the north end, plus kingfishers and cormorants, and then down in Canarsie Park there was a hawk, maybe a red tailed although it was perched facing the basin, so I couldn't really see the tail. 

I'd originally planned to just do a couple of laps in the basin but I was feeling pretty solid and there was a tempting breeze coming in under the bridge from the bay, so I decided to go on out there. Went to Mill Basin and and then on the way back it hit me that I haven't practiced my surfski remounts in ages (I literally can't remember how long it's been, which isn't really good), and it was really hot, so I decided to pull over to the beach just west of the basin to work on those.  Falling in felt great but turns out I've kind of lost the knack - there was one where I was practically back on and then a big wake came in and whoops over I went again, and then the more I tried the worse they got. I joke about not paddling my ski anywhere I can't swim to shore, because it's really old (brought here for one of the Finlandia Clean Water Challenge races, Chicago to NYC, which were run in the early to mid 90's), but unless I can get the remount back to second nature I'll need to be a little more serious about that. Fortunately that's quite possible in J-bay.

After banging myself up failing remounts, I decided to head on back to the dock - surfski is a much more demanding boat than a sea kayak, I can lounge in my Romany, surfski requires constant engagement. Great to get out on that boat, I'd actually been thinking that might be fun before TQ suggested we go out together, so this was just reverting to Plan A. It was a pretty short paddle, just 4.5 miles, and I did consider going back up to the end of the basin again, but in the end I whussed out and just stopped at the club.

Busy day at the club - besides me, some of the sailors were out doing a little racing practice (the annual Sebago Cup cruising race is on the 15th - unfortunately TQ and I are teaching a class that day, so can't join in on that, and then they'll be doing some fall racing) and a pretty good group of our more experienced paddlers had launched in the morning for a paddle to the Bungalow Bar in Queens. I was also not the only random afternoon paddler, it was a good day to be a member and people were taking full advantage. Great seeing all the activity!

Looking forward to some cooler paddling weather soon.