Neversink Reservoir Permit Supersized!


From keel to kitchen sink, one of NYC’s beautiful water sources.

We’re grateful and happy to announce that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection has issued a five-year permit for HarborLAB’s education and stewardship programs on the Neversink Reservoir. This follows great success with earlier annual and event permits. The longer duration allows us to better plan seasons in advance and to explore enhancements in coordination with NYCDEP.

Our innovative “ReservoirLAB” project introduces city youth to their drinking water through canoeing and kayaking on the highest elevation Catskill Mountain reservoir, the Neversink. Before heading up to paddle and hike the surrounding forest, participants are prepped with classroom talks by our volunteers. We hope to engage Catskills youth, conservation groups, universities, and other partners as we grow, subject to approval by NYCDEP.

This extension is a testament to the wonderful volunteers who’ve made this program a wonderful part of hundreds of kids’ lives. Congratulations to Patricia Menje Erickson and her crew!

HarborLAB volunteers have been trained by the NYCDEP education department as “Watershed Docents” and earn Red Cross adult and pediatric certification in AED, CPR, First Aid, Basic Water Rescue, and Safety Around Water.  Your support pays for that vital training and safety equipment. Thanks!


A short hike to learn how forests protect our water.

Giving Tuesday!

Please support HarborLAB’s growing work for estuary and watershed education and stewardship — and fun boating adventures! — with a tax-deductible donation this “Giving Tuesday” and beyond. It’s easy!

Donate Online:

Please visit our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, the Open Space Institute.

Be sure to specify HarborLAB as illustrated below:


Mail a check:

Make your check out to Open Space Institute with HarborLAB in the memo line.

Open Space Institute
C/O Jessica Watson, Project Manager
1350 Broadway, Suite 201
NY, NY 10018



A Thanksgiving for HarborLAB’s Future Home.


Rendering of Hunters Point South parcels F + G via Gotham Organization.


HarborLAB’s volunteers, students, and community partners are especially thankful this year to Gotham Organization, RiseBoro, NYC Housing Preservation and Development, and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for our inclusion into the rising Hunters Point South neighborhood. The NYC Economic Development Corporation was also very helpful with guidance and information.

The City issued a request for proposals to develop two parcels where the East River and Newtown Creek meet. In their winning bid Gotham Organization and RiseBoro included HarborLAB as the boathouse and community service tenant in a waterfront tower between a coming school to the west and 2nd Street boat launch to the east.

To HarborLAB this up-to-4,000 square foot space is a cornucopia we’ll be responsible for filling with engaging educational, recreational, and environmental stewardship activities as a gift of plenty to all. Our labor, equipment, and activities are dedicated to opening our estuary to both residents and visitors. Together with partners in universities, schools, youth and elder service groups, environmental organizations, neighborhood associations, and public agencies we’ll offer fun and informative programs throughout the year!

We’re thankful that public servants worked so hard to create this community asset. Penny Lee, formerly of the NYC Department of City Planning, heard and acted upon our volunteers’ requests — being waterfront advocates even before we formed HarborLAB — for a boat launch at 2nd Street in 2003. City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Hunters Point, then championed our request that storage be provided by developers near the launch. This was incorporated into the City’s RFP criteria. The bidders hoping to develop Hunters Point South parcels F + G then interviewed community organizations about utilizing the boathouse space, and we’re grateful to each for taking this aspect of the project so seriously. A special note of great gratitude to HarborLAB’s volunteers: It’s your loving, reliable, and excellent service to diverse communities, and the strong relationships you’ve built, that gave Gotham Organization and the City confidence that we’ll put this fantastic space to the best use.

We’re appreciative that Gotham Organization has kept such a warm and friendly ongoing dialogue with us as we shape our vision. One priority for HarborLAB is to create NYC’s most wheelchair accessible boat launch and boathouse.

HarborLAB will continue to provide programming and habitat restoration gardening at our Vernon Boulevard launch, through the generosity of Schuman Properties. We owe our success in great part to this relationship. 

A community dialogue, design work, and essential formalities between ourselves, the development partners, and the City lie ahead. But today we are simply filled with thanks.

A Great Green Drinks Gathering in Flushing!


Newtown Creek Alliance historian and Green Drinks Queens steering committee member Mitch Waxman hams it up while John Choe of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce speaks. 

Green Drinks Queens came to bustling downtown Flushing last night for a fun night of networking, sharing ideas, and gathering support to help make our borough more sustainable. Huge thanks to the Flushing Chamber of Commerce for partnering to organize the event and Leaf Lounge for providing an awesome rooftop venue and drink specials!

Guardians of Flushing Bay, Transportation Alternatives, and Green Earth Urban Gardens spoke of activism needed for clean water and soil and safe bicycling. Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum was a surprise speaker who highlighted threats to street trees and Flushing’s role as home the first colonial tree nurseries in the Americas. Dan Miner of the NYC Chapter of and a Green Drinks Queens steering committee member reminded us of the bigger picture problem of climate change that our local efforts must help resolve.

Participants had a blast playing a local environmental trivia game for material and experiential prizes ranging from special theme tours to bicycle lights and local dumplings.


Sunset over Manhattan as seen from Leaf Lounge.