Author Archives: M. H.

Bridges Made of Boats / Puentes hecho de barcos: Public Paddle with Make the Road New York

North Brooklyn Boat Club’s public paddles are free and open to everyone and are one of the most important things the club does. NBBC is a community organization dedicated to enabling and advocating for access to and preservation of the waters of New York City for the community of North Brooklyn. And it is on these days of public access that we are best able to share what we do with our neighbors.

This summer, we have been inviting other nonprofit North Brooklyn community organizations to join us and relax from the hard work of making the world a little bit better.

On June 10, it was our pride and pleasure to share the public paddle with Make the Road New York. Make the Road New York “builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.” This is a mission that NBBC can fully support.

We think that seeing the world from the water renews our connection to it, renews the impetus to struggle to make the world better. We think that being on the waters of New York, in a boat powered only by the people in it, immerses us in the city’s history, in the ecology of our estuary, in the long struggle for dignity and peace around these waters, and in the power of our local community — immerses us even as we float upon it!

So we welcome our neighbors and our fellow community organizations to the boatyard to see the city the way we love to see it — from the water.

For a collection of images from the June 10 public paddle, please see our Paddle Gallery. And please consider supporting Make the Road New York with your time or money as they continue the struggle to set all New Yorkers free from injustice and discrimination, from poverty and want.

It was our great pleasure to invite Make the Road New York to paddle with us — you should join us, too, as we break tradition by building bridges on the water!

NBBC’s new friends from Make the Road New York, June 10, 2017

Summer Solstice Benefit Party 2017!

NBBC's 6th annual Summer Solstice Party!

NBBC’s 6th annual Summer Solstice Party!


Come and play the paddlin’ way! Celebrate summer at your community boat club with all the best things: good neighbors, good food, bands on the shipping containers, and sitting by the fire to watch the water go by! The horseshoe crabs might even wave at you!

All proceeds will benefit community programming on the waterways of New York City.

$5 before 8 PM, $10 after
21+ to Drink

Featuring music by:
Gotham FX / Vostok / William Table / The Reverse Engineers / Free Advice / A Devil’s Broadcast

Sponsored by Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. and Dandelion Wine.

All hands on deck: Lend our volunteer-run club a hand in putting on the best party of the summer! To volunteer, write us and let us know!

We can’t wait to see you there!

The Next Public Paddle Is June 10!

The next public paddle is June  10!

The next public paddle is June 10!


At these free, informal paddles, North Brooklyn Boat Club welcomes walk-up participants to join trained NBBC guides for short trips on Newtown Creek and often out toward the East River, where we often pause to take in the view of Manhattan. Usually we take out our 25′ big canoes. Everyone on the paddle works together under expert instruction to forge a unique NYC experience, seeing the city in a new way. We might also take out regular tandem canoes or sit-on-top kayaks depending on the weather.

Heading west along the bulkhead

Heading west along the bulkhead

In Dutch Kills

In Dutch Kills

Public paddles are free and open to everyone. We especially hope to welcome our Brooklyn neighbors to the boatyard to see the city the way we love to see it — from the water. In particular, we are proud to welcome other nonprofit community organizations to join us and relax from the hard work of making the world a little bit better.

On June 10, it is our great pleasure to invite our north Brooklyn neighbors from Make the Road New York to paddle with us — you should join us, too, as we break tradition by building bridges on the water!

We will try to get everyone who shows up on the water using our war canoes, but the earlier you arrive the better your chance of going on a paddle. All our voyages are led by certified trip leaders and include some of the best views of the city. This is a great way to check out the boatyard and get a chance to explore the local waterways. Paddling is free! And we serve beverages, veggie dogs, hot dogs, and other snacks. Our public paddles are child and pet friendly.

This year’s schedule (subject to change; please check our Calendar of Events):

  • Saturday, May 20, 12-4 PM — Special Guest: El Puente
  • Saturday, June 10, 12-4 PM — Special Guest: Make the Road New York
  • Saturday, July 8, 12-4 PM
  • — Special Guest: Mayday Space

  • Saturday, July 29, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, August 19, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, September 16, 12-4 PM
The big canoes!

The big canoes!

Meet the Paddlers, Part 5

NBBC exists to enable and advocate for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in particular, and all through the New York Harbor. It is a community organization, and the member-volunteers — trip leaders, trip assistants, and program volunteers — who keep us on the water come from that community and give back to it by making NBBC programming happen.

Here are two more of those amazing volunteers. So if you see Amy, Peter, or any of our trip leaders and volunteers around the club or out on the water, say hi, and thank them for lending their time and skills to keep North Brooklyn boating!

And visit the Trip Leaders and Volunteers page on the NBBC website to learn more about them!

Amy

Canoe trip leader

Public paddle, 2015

Amy in the bow at a public paddle, 2015


Q. Tell us about a favorite route or trip that you like to use for club paddles.
One of my favorite trips is Hallets Cove with a Roosevelt Island circ. It’s a great trip length, and it’s always fun to get some ice cream from Costco and check out what’s going on in the Socrates Sculpture Garden. And coming back via the west channel is really fun. I’m also a huge fan of public paddles; you can find me sterning one of the big canoes at most of them. I love encouraging new people to come out on the water and learn about the Creek and what NBBC is all about.

Q. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a particular club trip.
My first City of Water trip was incredible. It was so fun to see so many other people-powered boats out and about and to know we were all headed to the same place and that everyone else on the water knew it was happening. It was a great sense of community. Crossing Buttermilk Channel for the first time was exciting, and when we got to Governors Island, exploring with other NBBC folks was amazing! When we camped that night (this is the only day you can camp on Governors Island!), after a wonderful dinner, much talking, and stargazing, I slept under the open sky, and it was wonderful. To this day, I’ve only ever been to Governors Island by canoe, and I kind of like it that way — it changes how I think about the place.

Prepping for big canoe rescue training, May 2016.

Prepping for big canoe rescue training, May 2016.

Peter Tiso

Canoe trip leader

Pete gives Public Paddle paddle prep

Pete provides the public Public Paddle paddle prep


Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
Back when NBBC was still meeting at the Brooklyn Rod & Gun, I went to go write about them for Greenpointers. I nervously sat around a table eating peanuts and surrounded by people I didn’t yet know would become my friends, but I knew they were on to something. I held a relevant merit badge from the prestigious Boy Scouts of America, but my canoeing was pretty rusty when I first got to the club. When I brought down my old canoe to donate and Willis took me out in the middle of the river at night for the first time, I was totally hooked.

Q. Tell us about a favorite route or trip that you like to use for club paddles.
I really love the trip from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The feeling of having the whole river pushing you both ways is indescribable, and there are many small, interesting places to explore along the way, and the best view of the Williamsburg Bridge is from the water underneath it. After you do it a few times, the tricks of the current around docks and pilings feels like a playground.

Peter on the Creek

Peter on the Creek


Q. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a particular club trip.
Jeff Stark once put on a performance set on the Gowanus Canal called The Dreary Coast, which placed the audience on a barge moving up and down the canal. One night he opened it to people who arrived in their own craft, so we paddled down in one of the 25-foot war canoes. Aside from the performance itself — one of the best uses of forgotten space I’ve ever seen — the trip down and back was memorable. We surprised a tugboat we were coordinating with over the radio with how fast the canoe could go when full of good paddlers, hit some exciting rough water in the harbor, and went out for sandwiches in face paint and life jackets. I think all of our canoeing should be done while dressed as damned souls and our faces painted to terrible masks.

Pranking the kayakers, September 17, 2015


Learn more about Amy, Peter, and other super-skilled and endlessly enthusiastic NBBCers on the Trip Leaders and Volunteers page!