“Self-proclaimed stewards of the city’s waterways, the North Brooklyn Boat Club recently took charge of the 200-foot long space at the northern end of McGuinness Boulevard (49 Ashe St.) last year, providing their members and enthusiasts the opportunity to get out on the water in human power boating, canoeing, kayaking and rowing tours along the East River.
Will Elkins, member of the group’s steering committee, as well as trip leader and canoe instructor, said that while they are dedicated to enduring the spirit of the outdoors lifestyle, they are also devoted to learning and preserving Newtown Creek and the adjoining East River.”
“In the last year, the group received startup grants from the Hudson River Foundation, support from the Long Island City Community Boathouse, and also acquired donated steel containers from TNT Scrap Metal and Plackos Scrap Processing to store their equipment.
With the help from the neighboring businesses and community, they were able to offer their fast-growing group, which has already reached nearly 100 members, up to four excursions a week last year.
“Most of New York is surrounded by water, and with the state of the creek (Newtown Creek), a lot of people avoid the water because there is a lack of knowledge of the water around us,” Elkins explained. “My interest is getting people out there who never thought that was possible.”
As they await warmer days for their trips out of their waterfront dock to the East River, either toward Astoria or down to Red Hook, the group spends their winter meets learning about the ecology of the water, brushing up on boating and safety technique, and developing a boat building and repair workshop for the upcoming season.”
“The group is currently working with LaGuardia Community College as they plan on turning one of the donated containers into “The Ed Shed” – a classroom space for teaching members and students from the college about the surrounding ecosystem.
Fung Lim, also a steering committee member, specializes in traditional boat building, and is currently working on rebuilding a 1940s peapod boat he found in Sag Harbor, Long Island.”