Author Archives: M. H.

North Brooklyn Community Boathouse Statement on Black Lives Matter

The North Brooklyn Community Boathouse, Inc. (North Brooklyn Boat Club) stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and against systemic racism and police brutality. We support the demands for justice for Black and Indigenous communities and all communities of color.

NBCB is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive paddling community that is also an effective force for the ecological stewardship of our harbor and estuary. We acknowledge that there is much more that our organization can do to attain these goals. We must reflect on our structure, priorities, and programs and ultimately move beyond diversity and inclusion to work that helps bring justice and better lives to the communities we serve. We acknowledge that the historical legacy of segregated outdoor recreational activities persists in the boating community, and we will work to counter it.

We commit to ongoing discussions facilitated by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee about the role of our organization in addressing issues of race, privilege, equity, justice, and the environment. The goal is to develop tangible antiracist actions that we can take as an organization to improve our own practices and positively affect our communities, the neighborhood, and NYC. We invite all interested members and neighborhood residents to join us. We pledge to seek out communities that have been especially cut off from access to and connection with the local waterways and to center Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color in our outreach and programming. Please watch our website and e-mail newsletter or contact info@northbrooklynboatclub.org to get involved.

As a community group dedicated to environmental justice, we join our partners at the Newtown Creek Alliance, the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, and others in demanding a drastic reallocation of the City budget to benefit Black communities and communities of color by providing services such as education, health care, housing, pollution mitigation, and green jobs.

The North Brooklyn Community Boathouse wants to be the community boathouse for all those affected by and connected to our urban waterways. We have always tried to provide celebration and joy as well as historical, cultural, and ecological information. We look forward to working together to create and enjoy more accessible and healthier waterways and a better, fairer world.

A Communal Season: NBBC’s 2019 Public Paddles at MASE Park

In 2019, NBBC furthered our mission by making our Public Paddle series even more public. For the first time, we launched all of our Public Paddles from MASE Park. Going into the season — our first in exile from our boatyard as we await construction of a permanent community boathouse — we were all nervous about what the season would bring and whether we could continue to reach our community and help our neighbors see that the waters of NYC don’t belong only to those who use them for industry or who are wealthy enough to afford their own boats. But thanks to the generous support of the NYC Parks Department, we brought more people than ever before out on Newtown Creek in our fleet of grant-funded Langley canoes!

Public Paddle, May 11, 2019

From MASE Park, the northern end of Greenpoint’s main street, we were able to make our presence known to people who would not have found us in the boatyard. Our Public Paddles became more public than ever, and soon our volunteers had the set-up and breakdown mastered.

Volunteers ready for the Public Paddle, May 25, 2019

Thanks to Parks and GCEF, we created community events throughout the paddling season, providing food, fellowship, and adventure and talking about the living history and ecology of Newtown Creek and the entire estuary. Plus, we were able to provide a little instruction on paddling canoes!

Learning the moves! Public Paddle, June 1, 2019

The waters are cooling now, and the days are growing short. The 2019 paddling season is just about over. But NBBC is looking forward to 2020 and to continuing our mission: bringing the people of North Brooklyn and NYC in general out on their home waters and sharing with them the gift of connecting with those waters and reclaiming them for ourselves and for the future.

Public Paddle, June 1, 2019

Plus, it’s just fun!

NBBC wants to thank GCEF and Parks for all they have done for our mission — and we hope to see you all on the water in 2020!

NBBC at the Lost Islands of New York Concert

On October 19, 2019, NBBC took its fleet of Clipper Canoes and a few other boats and formed a large portion of the audience at the Tideland Institute‘s Lost Islands of New York Concert in Newtown Creek’s Turning Basin, once the site of Mussel Island. From aboard the Shoofly Pie, the Wollesonics played to a crowd in canoes and rowboats on a perfect fall afternoon.

With the canoe crowd around the Shoofly Pie, the Tideland Institute’s Lost Islands of New York concert, October 19, 2019

We paddled in a mix of NBBC members and folks from the North Brooklyn community and beyond, joining others who had paddled from Plank Road and the Newtown Creek Nature Walk and Long Island City Community Boathouse for a concert like none other, an event accessible to those ready to reclaim the public waters and show up to evoke an island that was destroyed to make way for industry.

Atop the Shoofly Pie, the Tideland Institute’s Lost Islands of New York concert, October 19, 2019

Gathering where Mussel Island once broke up the creek, we posited a different history, where the waters of New York were not used by the few for their own benefit but honored and celebrated by everyone as a precious thing that belongs to no one — and so belongs to all of us.

Plus, the band rocked out.

Also see this article from Gothamist about the show, and more great pictures.

NBBC on Jimmy Kimmel Live: A Tour of Newtown Creek with Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Murray

We took Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Murray on a canoe tour of Newtown Creek and told them — and audiences all over the world — about the joys and challenges of our home waters.

Check out the video here, and come join us in spring 2020 for another season on the waters of New York City, waters that belong to all of us. We can’t wait to see you for another year of

COMMUNITY • ADVOCACY • ADVENTURE • PADDLING


(Hate Youtube and Google? In the United States you can watch directly on ABC’s site right here.)

Love those boats? So do we! They were purchased with GCEF grant funds and form the keystone of our public and educational programming. Check out the story of the Clipper Langley Canoes here.

And to see more of the Langleys in action on the creek, check out this article about our attendance at the Tideland Institute‘s Lost Islands of New York concert on Newtown Creek, featuring the Wollesonics. It features some great pictures of our fleet.