The Public Paddles Are Here!

The next public paddle is August 27!

The next public paddle is July 8!

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.

For May 20, we invited El Puente to the Public Paddle, and for June 10, we invited Make the Road New York. It is our great pride and pleasure to invite our North Brooklyn neighbors and partners to paddle with us, and 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
  • (read about the day here)

  • Saturday, July 8, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, July 29, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, August 19, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, September 16, 12-4 PM

The big canoes!

The big canoes!

Opening Day 2017! Sunday May 21!

This Sunday, May 21, 2 PM – 8 PM, we’re ditching the dry suits for a sunny and beautiful 2017 opening day!

So come down to the the Broadway Stages Boatyard and party like only NBBC can!

Join us to celebrate the opening of the 2017 paddling season with live music, grilled goodies, cheap drinks, and fire — and maybe even boating!

Saving the Bay, Cleaning the Creek: Two Events at NBBC

Restoring Our Home Waters

The North Brooklyn Boat Club is dedicated to enabling and advocating for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering Greenpoint/Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our mission is to enable local citizens to be effective stewards of the ecology and so preserve the recreation and freedom that the waterways engender.

And next week brings two opportunities to NBBC members to learn about — and help with — remediation efforts on the waterways of NYC.

Screening: Saving Jamaica Bay

Thursday, May 4
8:00 PM

NBBC is excited to present a screening of Saving Jamaica Bay in our boatyard on the shores of Newtown Creek.

Come and watch what we call the movie about nature in NYC. Critics we didn’t ask rave, “It’s a masterpiece,” ‘It’s a celebration of communities fighting for their waterways,” and “Hey, was that a heron and a Boeing 747 in the same scene?”

$5 suggested donation, soft drinks and beer available for purchase.

Following the screening we’ll have a Q&A with Dan Hendricks, producer of Saving Jamaica Bay.

No registration required. More details on the NBBC calendar.

Riversweep Volunteer Creek Clean-Up

Saturday, May 6
11:00 AM – 4 PM
NBBC Members Only

NBBC members are invited to join Riverkeeper for its sixth annual day of service for the Hudson River Estuary. We’ll be doing our part on Newtown Creek on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

At the 2016 Riverkeeper Sweep, more than 2,200 volunteers, and dozens of community partners worked along hundreds of miles of shoreline from Brooklyn to Troy to remove over 48 tons of debris and plant or maintain 836 trees and native grasses.

Register on the NBBC Calendar to come help out. This is an on-water event, so dress appropriately:

  • No cotton!
  • Wear layers!
  • Bring water! (Nondisposable bottle, of course)

Hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Meet the Paddlers, Part 4

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. These two go all the way back to the beginning of NBBC, a part of our origin story: they put a boat in Newtown Creek and came back to tell the tale! So if you see Dewey, Jens, 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!


Founding member
Kayak trip leader
President of the board

Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
A long time ago, I made a short film about a man and a woman who are paired in a boat at a cheesy singles canoe outing and get swept out the East River. I took one of the prop boats, and my wife Katherine and I started paddling, awed and thrilled by the freedom and adventure of the river.

Years later, I started the boat club because, having launched our kayaks and canoe from the broken concrete street-ends in Greenpoint and being on the Community Board in the wake of the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning, I saw that when developers talked about “waterfront access,” they were talking about walking up to and looking at the water, not getting on it. I also knew that, without an organization, we would have no real voice in advocating for paddlers.

In 2009 I posted a notice for a meeting at the Brooklyn Rod & Gun Club (RIP, sigh), and, from the very first meetings, there was tremendous interest and, moreover, an amazing group of people passionate about getting on and cleaning up the waterways

Dewey, old-school!

Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined, in general and in NYC specifically?
A. I learned to paddle a canoe at a camp on the Kangaroo River in Australia when I was 9. Started kayaking here in New York many many years later.

Q. Tell us about a favorite route or trip that you like to use for club paddles
I think we’re very lucky to have the extraordinary Bushwick Inlet in our reach. A very rare natural embayment off the East River, untouched (legally) by humans for decades after being fenced off from the street and nearby industry, it is a key stopover for migrating birds. Even though Kent Avenue is only a few yards away, it feels like a real sanctuary.


Founding member
Canoe trip leader

Jens, Gertie, and Millie on Newtown Creel

Jens, Gertie, and Millie on Newtown Creek

Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
A. When I moved to Greenpoint in the midnineties I immediately started looking for ways to get on the water. I found the East River Kayak Club, but they were winding down as an organization. I volunteered for a while with Floating the Apple back when they were on 42nd, but I still wasn’t satisfied. When I heard about the North Brooklyn Boat House proposal (which was the genesis for the club), I knew I wanted to be involved, so I started showing up at those first meetings, which were held at the Brooklyn Rod & Gun. I’ve been involved ever since, first as a founding member, then as an instructor, and now as a board member.

Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined, in general and in NYC specifically?
A. I grew up on the water: swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing. As an adult I did a ten-week Maine Guide course that really gave me the skills in boat handling, trip management, and risk assessment that have been so valuable to my work with the club. I was one of the club’s first canoe instructors and trip leaders, and it’s been a real pleasure!

Q. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a particular club trip.
A. I don’t know where to even start. Here’s a few: paddling through bioluminescent jellyfish in Newtown Creek, being checked out by a seal in the East River, paddling back from Gowanus Canal at three a.m. in hard chop and rain, riding the massive standing waves (the ones that have capsized tugboats) in the East River during max ebb. Every trip provides some kind of exhilaration!

Earth Day, 2016

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