Obon floating lanterns on the Hudson River in a ceremony produced by Dr. Rev. TK Nakagawa, Erik Baard, NY Kayak Co, and NY de Volunteer. Photo by TK Nakagawa.

Obon floating lanterns on the Hudson River in a ceremony produced by Dr. Rev. TK Nakagaki, Erik Baard, NY Kayak Co, and NY de Volunteer. Photo by TK Nakagaki.


“EcoBon” Brings Environment into Japanese Summer Rite

HarborLAB, Gantry Plaza State Park, Hunters Point South Park, and Fairleigh Dickinson University have partnered to produce the kid-friendly EcoBon Floating Lantern Festival: Reflections on a Peaceful and Healthy Planet. On Sunday, August 16, the public is invited to decorate 100 lanterns made from reused materials with pictures and messages of hopes and concerns for local and global ecologies. Public viewing follows.

This FREE, nondenominational event takes place on the LIC waterfront, facing the United Nations. More details here:

3PM-6PM: Public decorates lanterns in Hunters Point South Park at 50th Avenue. Guided by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Campus Resident Assistants.

7:53PM: Sunset. Lanterns floated from Gantry Plaza State Park dock at 50th Avenue.

8:30PM (approximately): Last lantern placed by Dr. Rev. Toshikazu Kenjitsu “Rev. TK”  Nakagaki, Vice Chair of the Interfaith Center of New York and President of the Buddhist Council of New York. Rev. TK offers remarks for contemplation.

9PM: Lanterns are retrieved.

HarborLAB, based in LIC, produces paddling programs for social and environmental good. The Obon ceremony is an ancient Japanese summer rite of remembrance and reflection. HarborLAB conceived EcoBon based on the 9/11 Hudson River Obon initiated by founder Erik Baard and Rev. TK Nakagaki that was annual from 2002-2011, and is now decadal. Lanterns are made from used CD jewel cases provided by Murfie Music and film reel packing foam provided by Wah, Inc. through NYC WasteMatch.

“We’re excited to reuse plastics to create a beautiful display of environmental messages in view of the United Nations. Since the atomic bombings 70 years ago, Obon lanterns have carried messages of peace. We now know that hopes for peace and a healthy planet are intertwined,” said Erik Baard, founder of HarborLAB.

About HarborLAB:  HarborLAB volunteers serve communities throughout the Hudson River estuary and watershed with free environmental education and other services through fun and exciting kayak and canoe tours, classroom visits, and shoreline habitat restoration. To learn more visit:

About Gantry Plaza State Park: Gantry Plaza State Park is a 12-acre riverside oasis that boasts spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. The park features four piers, manicured gardens, a unique mist fountain, basketball and handball courts, and restored historic working waterfront infrastructure as monuments. To learn more about this park and to link to other New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation sites, please visit:

About Hunters Point South Park: Hunters Point South Park offers fun and relaxation for everyone. This new parks includes a central green, playground, dog run, bikeway, waterside promenade, basketball court, and a 13,000 square foot pavilion that contains comfort stations, concessions, and an elevated café plaza. To learn more about this park and to link to other NYC Department of Parks and Recreation sites, please visit:

About Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Campus: Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus, where over 2,500 undergraduate and 900 graduate students are based, is a Frederick Law Olmsted landscape featuring McKim, Mead, and White architecture. The 50 Resident Assistants participating in the EcoBon Festival engage in fun and meaningful activities as directed by the Office of Campus Life. To learn more please visit:

HarborLAB is grateful to the Waterfront Alliance for coordinating public water access at Gantry Plaza State Park with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. HarborLAB especially thanks Founding Sponsors TF Cornerstone and Con Ed for making Queens eco-educational boating events like EcoBon possible. We seek additional sponsors and volunteers for this and other exciting programs throughout NYC. To join us, please email or


Additional photos here:

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