A favorite destination for HarborLAB volunteers is the Graveyard of Ships in the Arthur Kill, a strait slicing Staten Island from New Jersey. This is where vessels from New York Harbor’s past eras were scuttled and slowly stripped, or left to decay. “Junkyard” might be a more accurate term than graveyard, but in the presence of these ghostly hulks we understand the drift toward reverence. One particularly alluring old ferry was rechristened by a graffiti artist as the SS Meow Man.
The SS Meow Man’s most exciting attraction was its rickety crow’s nest, a viewing basket innovated by Arctic explorer William Scoresby Sr. of Great Britain in 1807. Well, that crow’s nest has become an osprey‘s nest! Scott Sternbach, a HarborLAB board member and director of the photography program at CUNY LaGuardia Community College, documented this new home for our region’s indigenous “fish hawk” when he paddled out a few days ago. Apart from bald eagles, you won’t find a more dynamic avian predator on our waters. Osprey, however, are more common and apt to quickly occupy platforms set up in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and other natural conservation areas.
While we’ll miss climbing to the rusting, swaying, guano-covered highpoint of the Arthur Kill, we welcome such exciting new life in the “graveyard!”