Author Archives: M. H.

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

Public Paddle CANCELED for 7/29

Alas, the weather looks rough for Saturday, with high winds all day and a good chance of rain. So we have decided to cancel this week’s public paddle. But don’t despair! There’s another on the schedule for August 19!

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!

Cormorant off the NBBC dock, 10/31/2016

Sayeth the cormorant.

The Next Public Paddle Is July 29!

The next public paddle is June  10!

The next public paddle is July 29!


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 July 29, it is our great pleasure to invite our north Brooklyn neighbors from St. Nicks Alliance, as well as two community gardens near Dutch Kills: LIC Roots Garden and Smiling Hogshead Ranch, 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, and other snacks. Our public paddles are child and pet friendly.

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

The big canoes!

The big canoes!