Author Archives: M. H.

Double the Public, Double the Paddle

Rains the day before and the attendant CSOs kept North Brooklyn Boat Club from launching sit-on-top kayaks from Manhattan Avenue Street End park on Saturday, August 19, but they could not stop the first Public Paddle to expand to a second location!

Loading the first NBBC boat to launch from MASE! Public paddle, August 19, 2017

NBBC’s mission is to enable and advocate for human-powered boating on the waterways of new York City, especially around our Greenpoint home. We hope to enable local citizens to be effective stewards of the ecology and so preserve the recreation and freedom that the waterways engender. Thanks to special help from the New York City Parks Department, we were able to expand our efforts to fulfill that mission by getting members of the public on the waters of Newtown Creek from the park at the end of Manhattan Avenue as well as our Broadway Stages Boatyard at 51 Ash St.

At MASE: Blue skies, full boats–can’t lose! Public paddle, August 19, 2017

Check out our Paddle Gallery for more pictures from the day and from other NBBC trips. And there’s at least one more Public Paddle to come in 2017: September 16!

One boat launches from MASE while another passes on its way to the mouth of the creek.

Come join us then!

Extra Public Public Paddle This Saturday!


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 can pause to take in the view of Manhattan.

And at this extra-special, extra-public public paddle, we are expanding the programming to a second location! We will launch sit-on-top kayaks from the Manhattan Avenue Street End Park. And one block away at our Broadway Stages Boatyard, we will continue to launch our 25′ canoes.

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.

Whether in our 25′ big canoes or on the sit-on-top kayaks, everyone involved works together under expert instruction to forge a unique NYC experience, seeing the city in a new way.

We will try to get everyone who shows up on the water, 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, meet your neighbors, and explore the local waterways. Paddling is free! And at the boatyard, we serve beverages, veggie dogs, and other snacks.

Our public paddles are child and pet friendly.

The next public paddle is June  10!

That paddle sure looks public!


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
  • (read all about it here!)

  • Saturday, July 8, 12-4 PM — Special Guest: Mayday Space
  • Saturday, July 29, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, August 19, 12-4 PM — Special Guest: Manhattan Avenue Street End Park!
  • Saturday, September 16, 12-4 PM
The big canoes!

The big canoes!

Time and Tide Wait for No One

But at least we know their schedule!

All of NBBC’s East River trips, whether by canoe or kayak, have to take into account the tidal currents of the Hudson River estuary. Indeed, the East River, our home waters, is not really a river at all. It’s a tidal strait where the water of the Atlantic Ocean cycles around Long Island, ebbing and flooding in a complex interplay of forces.

An hour past low water at the Battery, from Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. H/T: New York City Water Trail Association

So the NBBC trip leaders plan each trip carefully, taking advantage of the period of slack currents to ride the ebb tide one direction and the flood tide the other. To help our trip leaders and keep our members and friends informed, NBBC has added a tide widget to the website’s sidebar:

This widget shows the tides, but it does not show the currents. That information is available from NOAA. And on our Paddle page, you can find a slack chart as both a JPEG and a PDF, showing the predicted moments when the tidal current reverses direction at Thirty-First St. in the East River:

Tidal Currents, 2017, off 31st St.

Tide and current shape the estuary now as they have done for centuries and centuries . . .

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me!
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!

–Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
 
 
Bushwick Inlet trip, May 27, 2017
 
 
And, of course, when the currents won’t cooperate, we always have Newtown Creek!

What a Bridge It Was: Farewell to the Kosciuszko

Newtown Creek, April 10, 2017

Newtown Creek, April 2017


After seventy-eight years of service, the Kosciuszko Bridge was dismantled and carried away by barge on July 26, 2017. A few NBBC members gathered to watch it go and bid farewell to Newtown Creek’s highest landmark.

Visit the NBBC Paddle Gallery to see some sights from the day as the Koscisuzko takes one last voyage.

To the Bitter End, Newtown Creek, July 21, 2016

To the Bitter End, Newtown Creek, July 21, 2016