Our Sunrise and the Here Comes the Sun Voyage.


Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL in Sunrise colors.

The northern spring. This is a time of beautiful new beginnings for all life in our region. With our fledgling venture, we HarborLAB volunteers renew our happy labors and commitment to creating good, positive gifts for our estuary, and for the communities through which it flows. Emphasizing this spirit of continual rebirth, HarborLAB’s fleet of Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL and Jackson Kayak Riviera boats will be colored with the smooth red-to-yellow transition of a sunrise.

Our fleet colors, which are great for safety, also speak to our commitment to an annual fundraising paddle for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, called the “Here Comes the Sun Voyage.” We’ll also have a shoreline fundraising party and ceremony. Date and destination details to come. This year we’ll raise awareness about depression, while in future years we’ll emphasize communities in particular need: LGTB and urban minority youth, Native Americans, and veterans chief among them.

We’ll launch into the sunset and paddle through the night, returning with the sunrise. Our model is the AFSP tradition of “Out of the Darkness Walks.” Other third party events for the AFSP, on bikes and horses, carry the “Here Comes the Sun” name. We believe in this poignant metaphor of being there for each other through the darkness of depression and loss. We also know that participants will never forget how gorgeous our waterways are at night. But we happily emphasize the sun in naming our voyage, and honor the hopeful song.

As western Queens resident and NYC City Council attorney Deirdre Feerick remarked, the ocean “still has a majestic awe, and it is the best place to remind oneself that the sun will set and will rise, and the world is too big and wonderful for small minded people to conquer.”

If you’d like to help produce the Here Comes the Sun Voyage as a volunteer (for the party or paddle) or sponsor please email baard@harborlab.org.

Green (and Purple) Thumbs Needed!


Steve Sanford and David Halloran enjoy a mulberry break at Randall’s Island Park during a 2010 Manhattan circumnavigation.

We were happy to discover that indigenous red mulberries are salt tolerant and Cornell University recommends them for erosion control! That means we might be able to stabilize and beautify our shoreline with this fruitful friend. Kayakers in New York City and New Jersey have happily noted mulberries thrivinge on shorelines. Three local spots for shoreline mulberries are at Hallets Cove, Dutch Kills (by Borden Ave.) and Randalls Island.

We’d love for green thumbs to volunteer with us to plant these and other indigenous and naturalized plants and trees at our boat launch. We’d also love to plant edibles in raised beds and planter gardens. Vines might be especially great for trellised or gabled shade areas. Please email volunteer@harborlab.org with your interest. We’ll present proposals to our launch’s generous land owner, Schuman Properties, by May.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forester Garrett Koplun gave great feedback earlier, and followed up yesterday:

“Hello Erik,
Below is the full list of native and naturalized species common to Maritime Shrublands listed by the New York Natural Heritage Program draft edition of Ecological Communities of New York State.  I believe maritime shrubland would be the closest ecosystem community related to your particular site:
Maritime shrubland: “a shrubland community that occurs on dry seaside bluffs and headlands that are exposed to offshore winds and salt spray”
Trees and shrubs
– Serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis
– Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica
– Black cherry Prunus serotina
– Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum
– Shining sumac Rhus copallinum
– Beach plum Prunus maritima
– Sand rose Rosa rugosa
– Wild rose Rosa virginiana
– Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana
– American holly Ilex opaca
– Black oak Quercus velutina
– Sassafras Sassafras albidum
– Flat-topped goldenrod Euthamia graminifolia
– Wild indigo Baptisia tinctoria
– White-topped aster Aster paternus
– Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
We hope you join us in this great project!

Ocean Cleaning Array

One signature issue for HarborLAB is the plague of plastics in our oceans. We’re going to conduct shoreline cleanups, and are proudly sponsored by Sims Metal Management, which also recycles plastic. We’re also dedicated to exciting young people about environmental science. Here’s a creative concept from 19-year old Boyan Slat, featured on Inhabitat: an Ocean Cleanup Array.

Here’s Slat’s website.

Green Shores NYC Meeting Tonight!


** We would love for a HarborLAB volunteer to attend. Sorry for the short notice! **


Citylights Building
4-74 48th Avenue
Third Floor Activity Room
Hunters Point, Queens

This month we are again being hosted by member organization Friends of Gantry.
Join us and learn how you can get involved in caring for the Western Queens waterfront.

All are welcome!

Questions? Email: mail@greenshoresnyc.org