New York Shitty Slideshow Du Jour: Newtown Creek Boat Ride

Motorboat Repair NYS

Last weekend, thanks to City of Water Day, I decide to take a (FREE!) boat tour of the creek hosted by the inimitable Mitch Waxman.  As has been the case in times past (this makes my third sojourn up to the creek), it did not disappoint. Not only did I bear witness to a fellow catching a little shut-eye at our very own Nature Walk, but I learned an interesting fact shortly after the above photo (which hails from the Long Island City side of Newtown Creek) was taken. Our fair creek is not just host to Typhus, but also Cholera and Gonorrhea. If this isn’t a trifecta of fun, I honestly do not know what is. I feel compelled to note that this fact was rolled out after a fellow tour goer was observed balancing his child on the rail of the boat so as to take photos with his smart phone. You can’t make this shit up.

In any case, follows are some highlights of my trip to, from and up the creek.* I have even included a photo of a CSO (Concentrated Sewage Overflow) for your late afternoon/early evening entertainment. Enjoy!

*A task which involved going to Governor’s Island. This was rendered more complicated by the fact Greenpoint still remains without ferry service.

Spotted At The North Brooklyn Boat Club: Butt Tossing

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Last night the Mister and I decided to have dinner in Long Island City. Since the weather was (somewhat) amenable we decided to walk home. As we were crossing the Pulaski we spied signs of activity at the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Intrigued— because, as we all, a great deal of “educational outreach” is conducted at 10:13 on  a Tuesday night— we decided to hang around see what gives. Clearly they were wrapping up for the night. And then the Mister saw something interesting. VERY INTERESTING.

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This fellow placed an object to his mouth (a kazoo? cigarette?), pulled a drag and proceeded to walk to the floating dock. There he tossed it into the creek. The Mister was flummoxed:

Did you see that? He just tossed a cigarette into the creek?!?

Me: Yes, I saw that. Did you know the North Brooklyn Boat Club was recently awarded Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund money so as to educate bar patrons about how cigarette butts thrown onto the street enter our sewer system and eventually end up in the creek?

The Mister: Really?

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Really. Perhaps the point they are attempting to make is rather than putting your butt in the street you should simply go directly to the creek a deposit directly? That way you are cutting out the middle man! In all seriousness folks:

  1. With “environmentalists” like this, who needs enemies?
  2. I fail to see why bar owners cannot, will not fund such an initiative out of their own pockets? I mean, it is not like they’re not experiencing a downturn in business or anything. Bars must be doing a nice clip of business. Why else would north Brooklyn have so damned many of them?
  3. I am certain those who were engaged in the lawsuit from whose settlement the North Brooklyn Boat Club received funding for this sterling endeavor are gonna be thrilled to see this.

 

From The York Shitty Inbox: No, Just HELL No….

June 20, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

Laura Hofmann, board member of the Newtown Creek Alliance, writes:

Here’s a few photos I took today at the Nature Walk (on the premises of a sewage treatment plant — ed. note).  didn’t get my camera out in enough time to catch the young man wading. But I did catch the young man throwing a stick out into the water for his dog to catch. People (and pets) aren’t swimming in the creek when they see agency boats around. But it is indeed happening as these photos show. Therefore, USEPA & NYSDOH and other involved agency documents and processes should be reflecting that this activity is happening. And in addition those agencies should raise the bar in terms of water quality expectations.

wheres levin NYSTo wit, T. Ellis Wilkins  (who reputedly maintains the NCA’s website) replies:

I also see a discrepancy in that the EPA survey boats (Anchor QEA) are out on the creek a lot – but almost exclusively M-F 8am to 4pm. But most people interact with the water on the weekends or after 5pm on weekdays – so they are not really seeing the full scope of use. With the boat club, for instance, many people who regularly paddle (right by the Anchor dock no less) may never see the surveyors out on the creek because of this, and vice versa.

So there have you. I can hardly wait to see what the “‘boat club” does at 51 Ash Street The Broadway Stages Boatyard tomorrow. Perhaps they’ll throw a keg or two into the creek to chill? Maybe someone will see Levin and ask him what he has to say about this?

UPDATE, June 22, 2014: For those of you who are wondering, the Nature Walk being being pressed into service as a dog run is not a new problem. I blogged about this phenomenon on May 5th, 2013.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Ado About The Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch

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Or: Ten Days & Counting!

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(Taken June 16, 2014.)

A tipster writes (on June 6th, 2014)

Hi Heather!

Thank you for your post about the Manhattan Ave Boat Launch. I actually attempted to make an online 311 complaint about it a day or two before your post. However, the 311 website did not accept the complaint since the launch is not listed. Today I attempted to make the same complaint via phone and was again unsuccessful. I ended up making an “agency complaint”. I’m sure many people give up long before this point.  I spent about 15 minutes attempting to make the online complaint and 40 minutes making the agency complaint via phone.  My agency complaint number is C1-1-977259887

It lists the following:

  • Parks Dept does not list the site as a park to enable 311 complaints
  • Broken waterfront railing
  • Broken railing surrounding grassy area
  • Wood chips have not been replaced
  • Grass dry and unkempt
  • Boats moored to kayak launch access gate
  • Dead trees
  • Trees with broken branches
  • Excessive weeds

I found the the first bullet point rather fascinating. The following, gentle readers, should clarify why.

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Let’s review:

  1. Permits can be/have been issued for the use of this park.
  2. This would suggest that this piece of public space is in the “Parks” system.
  3. However, when a complaint is to be lodged it cannot be located. Fascinating.

wheres levin NYSI suppose the argument could be made that our local parks conservancy/partnership “arrangement” is more interested in the monetization of our public spaces (via the issuance of permits and hosting events such as the Northside Festival) than enforcement/”upkeep”. I would like to kindly counter that much-needed revenue is being lost by allowing these watercraft to moor for free. I wonder what our City Councilman’s position is on this? Anyone?

In any case I was recently advised to poke around online boating forums regarding free mooring at Newtown Creek. Today I did. It was rather illuminating.

Those of you who, say, struggle to pay rent, property taxes or bemoan the woeful condition of our public spaces— few as they are here— should take a moment, read and re-read the previous. Angry yet?

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You should be.

Trouble No More

“Playing by the rules” is for chumps.

P.S.: It would appear the North Brooklyn Boat Club is now the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse.

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Still no listing on the New York State Charities Database. Hmm.

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Nonetheless it is located on the premises of the “Broadway Stages Boat Yard“, is still “fiscally sponsored” by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and they’re having a party!

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Um, isn’t OSA’s job to help finance public parks?

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Flyer credits: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Dustin Brugmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: And Then There Were Two

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From Huntington to Greenpoint NYS

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As taken today, June 4th.  It would appear now we have two rather large vessels “parked” at the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch. They are neither kayaks nor are they being “launched”. As you can see gentle readers it would appear one watercraft is, how shall we say, “inhabited”?* Isn’t refreshing to see what precious public park space we have in north “Point being pressed into service in such a manner? Of course the “authorities” have their fair share of blame for allowing this to happen (and not repairing the fence for that matter). Straight up: if you can afford a boat such as either of these, you can afford to pay to have it moored legally. It really is that simple.

*Exactly why anyone would want to live where delights such as this

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are the commonplace is a mystery to me. Anyone?

The Word On The Street, Part II: Pulaski Bridge

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Taken June 1, 2014.

New York Shitty Video & Photos Du Jour: On The Waterfront

Today since the weather is amenable, I decided to see what’s happening in far north ‘Point. After revisiting my favorite urban artifact (as seen above, she can be found on Commercial Street not terribly far from the kitty condoplex) I swung over to the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch.

First, I encountered this. I do not know when this happened. But it did.

I was stunned at how many boats were moored, illegally I’ll add, on the Queens side of the creek. I have it on excellent intelligence that yes, some of these boats are being pressed into service as residences. Residences on Newtown Creek. Please take a moment to mull this one over, gentle readers.

I do know when this happened: June 9th, 2013. As you can see it has yet to be repaired. No one seems to know if, much less when, this will come to pass. That seems to be the “Greenpoint Way” nowadays.

I was rather distressed to see this: a tree in a clear state of distress. Onward I walked.

No exploration of the utter absurdity that is the Greenpoint waterfront is complete without a visit to the North Brooklyn Boat Club.

Lest any of you are wondering what this is, it is the “Ed Shed”. The “NBBC” (via Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— remember the latter handles money for the previous) secured a $25,000 grant for this educational facility. Yes, you just read me correctly. This structure will feature a “Sewer In A Suitcase”, material/date about water quality and various art projects for the edification of school groups.

I found this rather large vessel moored to the west curious— but not as curious as…

this one which is affixed to the premises of the Department of Transportation directly under the Pulaski Bridge. Is this legal? No, it probably is not. While we’re on the subject of questionable legality, 51 Ash Street (the premises of the North Brooklyn Boat Club and the new location of the Greenpoint Boathouse) appears to have an al fresco kitchen…

… replete with a barbecue pit…

and “kitchen sink”.

Note that this fixture does appear to be fully functional— and begs a number of questions:

  1. Where is the water coming from? (Educated guess: 49 Ash Street).
  2. Were the proper permits filed to do this? (Educated guess: No.)
  3. How is it that an “educational facility” located on private property (which is under lock and key) can receive a $25,000 grant (and assistance from our local parks conservancy group) and public park whose fence was seriously damaged ten months ago is seemingly not worthy of attention— much less the funding— required to conduct repairs and routine maintenance?

Anyone?

Mark You Calendars: Newtown Creek Environmental Benefits Progress Meeting

April 4, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

I have no doubt there will be many questions asked at this meeting. If I may take the liberty of suggesting one, it is as follows:

Why did I have to find out the Greenpoint Boathouse (“Boatel”) was relocated from a blog?

Tomorrow: Let The Dredging Commence!

March 16, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

That’s right folks: tomorrow, March 17th (also known as St. Paddy’s Day— insert pot of gold quip here) March 24th, the long-anticipated dredging of Newtown Creek begins. If/when you smell or hear noise fellow Greenpointers— and I can assure some of you will— here’s what to do:

Dredging on Whale Creek (off of Newtown Creek near sewage treatment facility) is expected to happen on Monday, 3/17/2014. If you experience odors or noise, please call 311 and make an “odor complaint” and/or “noise complaint”. DEP’s response will depend on the amount of 311 complaints made. Be sure to get a complaint number and forward it to the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee liaison Christine Holowacz at 718-349-0150 or nc.mc@verizon.net. You can also send me the complaint number at bargeparkpals@msn.com…

The Great Outdoors…

Yesterday yours truly received a most amusing piece of mail. Yes: MAIL —of the “snail” variety. Without further ado, here it is:

This comes from my comrade over at Queens Crap. I have to say it gave me a good laugh. For those of you who are not in the know, the following should explain why.

A fellow by the name of Jens Rasmussen was recently featured in both the New York Times and CBS Local. He conducts wilderness survival courses on the premises of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. This is where our “new and improved” Greenpoint Boathouse (whose plans have yet to be made public) is to be located. Follows are a couple screengrabs of solicitations this chap has seen fit to post online.

As you see the latter clearly states these come to pass on the premises of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Something to consider: as a general rule, for profit endeavors are not permissible on the premises on non-profit organizations. I mention this because word on the street is Mr. Rasmussen has stated that the North Brooklyn Boat Club has filed paperwork so as to become a 501(3) c . I feel compelled to note a recent search of the New York State Attorney General’s charities database turned up nothing:

Hmm— but I digress. This afternoon, the weather being downright lovely, I felt the need to explore the wilderness of Long Island City. I decided to grab a few shots of the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s premises (51 Ash Street) en route. Seeing is truly believing.

Um, what is that smoke-stack looking thing? Anyone?

Nowadays Mr. Rasmussen is asking $150.00 a head for his wilderness survival course.

I trust another $50.00 will be forthcoming, Crappy? in any case, follows is my favorite excerpt:

…Head to Greenpoint and meet Jens for an intro and explanation to bushcraft tripping skills, including the most vital things to know and what you can do in a variety of disaster scenarios. Learn valuable tactics like making a signal whistle from an aluminum can…

My advice: save yourself $144.00, purchase a six pack of Budweiser and figure this out on your own. Preferably somewhere that is NOT a Superfund site.

P.S.: I have every intention of creating a “boat club” snow globe. However, in light of recent events methinks this has made it to the top of my list. Cheers!

UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: I appear to be lacking a suitable character for Ms. Nealis. One will have to be ordered, I am guessing. Nonetheless, I played around with my tentatively titled “Stray Cat Strut” snow globe’s contents and one dedicated to the absurdity that is 51 Ash Street/the North Brooklyn Boat Club. The latter I have entitled “Rockin’ the Pulaski!”

The Mister eventually wandered in and inquired as to what I was doing. Usually this disrupts my “creative process” Not this time. He first inquired:

Are those hobos?

Me: No, those are people learning valuable wilderness survival skills!

He looked closer and noted:

Oh, there’s the Commodore! Where’s Spaulding? SPAULDING GET YOUR FOOT OFF THE BOAT!

Here is Spaulding— and as you can see he has his foot on the boat!

Thanks Pookie Mister Heather!

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Crappy notes:

More to the point of the shenanigans at the boat club, it’s a conflict of interest violation for a board member to be personally profiting from the tax exempt status of the organization. Therefore, if Jens is running his business on their property or using his connection with them to draw people to his classes, then that’s a big no no.