Lap the World’s Most Exciting Island!

Up for adventure?

2019 HarborLAB

Manhattan Circumnavigation!


East River paddling. Photo by Laura Picallo.

Set a course for adventure on Saturday, August 31! It’s time for HarborLAB’s annual Manhattan Circumnavigation! This is our biggest chance to thank volunteers for their hard work (especially given the difficult conditions caused by sailboat squatters at Vernon Blvd and your patience as we work toward relocation of our boats to 2nd Street) and to strengthen relationships with fellow environmental groups and supporters. 

Newer volunteers will be considered. The form linked below gives you the chance to let us know how you’ll be contributing to HarborLAB’s success going forward. 

Apply to join with this form:

Also included in the form are:

  • Scheduling and float plan details.
  • Safety notes and what to wear and bring.
  • .Ways to join without paddling the full length.


Aug 24: Vegan Dim Sum Run!



Come kayak the East River from LIC to the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy a round table discussion about how to prevent some of the damages of climate change by making better food choices. For example, delicious vegan dim sum!

Application to join this trip must be made here:

Seating is limited. Joining us will be a representative from the United Nations Environment Programme’s office in New York. Other special guests will be announced as they are confirmed. All are welcome to join us at the restaurant, even if they don’t paddle. Please make your own arrangements, however, as our reservation is for a dozen.

This event is free. Food and ferry are at one’s own expense, but students and volunteers with a financial hardship will be covered by HarborLAB. Donations are gratefully accepted at:

This brunch voyage is inspired by public information like the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report ( that advocate for a plant-based diet.

Direct links to IPCC reports:



(Please note that we’ve amended our Float Plan to accommodate some bureaucratic issues surrounding the beach on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead we’ll land at the Pier 4 beach at Brooklyn Bridge Park and ride to Manhattan with our sponsor, NYC Ferry/Hornblower Cruises. As a result we will launch earlier in the morning and land later in the afternoon.)

7AM: Gather at HarborLAB
8AM: Launch!
9AM: Land at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 4 Beach. One person will babysit the boats.Group walks walks to River Cafe restaurant (Dumbo) ferry dock. 12 minute walk.
10:05am: Ferry to Pier 11, Wall Street. 3 minute ride.
10:08am: Arrive at Pier 11, Wall Street. 21 minute walk to Vegetarian Dim Sum House: 24 Pell St #1, New York, NY 10013
11am: Brunch!
12:30pm: Brunch concludes.
108pm: NYC Ferry to Dumbo.
2PM: Launch for the return.
3:30PM: Land at HarborLAB and pack up.
4:30PM: Done!

What to bring and wear:

Common sense sun protection for (hat, UV broadband sunglasses, eco-friendly sunblock), sturdy footwear you don’t mind getting wet (not flip flops), dry change of clothing, quick drying paddling clothing, full reusable water bottle (you can refill in Brooklyn, but there’s no water at HarborLAB), snacks with no plastic packaging if possible (oranges are great, or nuts in a reusable bag).

Don’t do what you feel unsafe doing. For example, our shoreline is very rough but entering and exiting the boats at 2nd Street is safer and easier.
Stay close together. Do not stray.
Listen to instructions and directions immediately and precisely. There might be safety concerns about which you’re unaware.
If you don’t feel well, are in pain, or have a condition that could affect you or the group, please inform the trip leader or a volunteer escort immediately.
Stay hydrated. Drink before you feel thirsty.


Sa 24 High 2:43 AM 4.0 6:15 AM Rise 12:06 AM 48
24 Low 9:00 AM 1.1 7:41 PM Set 2:55 PM
24 High 3:00 PM 4.8
24 Low 10:30 PM 1.1

Huge Thanks to Today’s Gardeners!


Left to right, Ira, Mary, Kieren, Zamira. Photo by Luke.

Many thanks to Ira Gershenhorn, Carolin Zayas, Meherunnisa “Mary” Jobaida, Zamira Kamal Khodjaeva, Kieren Rudge, and Luke O’Brien (not pictured in this series because he was the photographer) for coming down to organize our site, weed invasives, tend to our milkweed and other native species, monitor our oyster research station, and other important but often unsung environmental work.

HarborLAB operates from a small strip of waterfront on Newtown Creek, a US EPA Superfund site that needs all the love it can get, but which never be written off for dead. Waterfowl, aquatic mammals, migratory passerines, monarch butterflies, many species of fish, invertebrates, flowers and grasses, and more make their homes here.

Ira, Garden and Habitat Restoration Manager, and Carolin, Administration Manager, work many hours outside the public eye, so it can be difficult to attract volunteers to their projects. When folks do chip in, we are especially grateful. Today’s crew also had the opportunity to paddle and chat over snacks and drinks.

Again, THANKS!


Ira and oysters (and other sea life along for the ride). Photo by Luke.


Flowers and pokeberry. Photo by Luke.


Milkweed seed pods. Photo by Luke.


Zamira and Carolin. Photo by Luke.

Aug 18: Gardening and Paddling!


Come garden and paddle the mouth of the Newtown Creek!

Location: 53-21 Vernon Blvd, LIC, NY 11101
Time: 8/18, 8-11am.

To participate, please email

Shareable event:

HarborLAB Gardening and Habitat Restoration Manager Ira Gershenhorn will teach you about our oyster monitoring station, lush stand of milkweed for monarch butterflies, fruit trees and bushes, sunflowers, seed balls and reef balls, and his vision for the future!

Participants can also paddle the creek from the East River to Pulaski Bridge with Carolin Zayas.

Drop by between 8am and 9am. Snacks and drinks provided. Please bring a reusable bottle. We’ll wrap up before the highest heat of the day.


Milkweed seed harvest.
Biota surveying/photography.