2019 Draft Events Schedule


We have a fun summer ahead! Below is by no means a complete schedule of events and activities, but a running list of likely highlights. Confirmed events are in bold. Senior HarborLAB volunteers and board members will consult to confirm or eliminate those tentative events not in bold. More excitingly, they’ll add new ones!

Of particular interest are our revived gardening group, boat building, our work to launch a West Harlem program, and efforts to move our boats to the 2nd Street launch in LIC.  Stay tuned to see those show up on our calendar!

In the coming days these events will populate our website calendar, Facebook list, and registration forms.

May 4 – LIC Sweep, with Riverkeeper.

May 18 – Red Cross Safety Certifications.

May 25-27 – Memorial Day at Neversink Reservoir. Season opener on pristine Catskill Mountain water!  

May 30 – Henge Paddle! See the sun set through Manhattan’s grid.  


June through October — Neversink Reservoir Paddling. We’ll have a Doodle seeking likely available dates for volunteers and students to staff these key events.


June 1 – Kayak the Bay, with Waterfront Alliance at Little Bay Park

June 2 – Family Earth Fair, with Coastal Preservation Network at MacNeil Park.

June 5 – World Environment Day Evening Community Paddle. Enjoy a splash with a view at Gantry Plaza State Park.

June 8 – Paddle for Puerto Rico. Raise funds and awareness for recovery from Hurricane Maria.

June 15, 16 – Clearwater Festival! Join water ecology heroes and music mavens for a joyous weekend.

June 21 – Solstice Paddle. Celebrate the longest day while paddling in Gantry Plaza State Park.

June 22 – Kayak the Bay! Little Bay Park.

June 23: Clean Air Day circ. Paddle, bike, and run to raise awareness about our need for cleaner air!

June 29 – Kayak the Bay! Little Bay Park.

June 30 – Pride Paddle: Close LGBTQ Pride Month with a Manhattan Circumnavigation to support LGBTQ students in STEM fields.


July and August — Harbor Camp. We’ll have a Doodle seeking likely available dates for volunteers and students to staff these key events.


During the weekdays of July and August we aim to serve even more community centers and youth groups with special paddling programs at Gantry Plaza State Park and Neversink Reservoir. We also seek to serve schools when NYCDOE policies allow.

July 4: Volunteer Reward Fireworks Paddle.

July 11 – Henge Paddle. See the sun set through Manhattan’s grid.  

July 13 –  City of Water Day, with Waterfront Alliance, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, and others. Paddle for our region’s largest annual harbor festival! Brooklyn Bridge Beach and Gantry Plaza State Park shoreline cleanup and paddle, plus paddles linking the locations.

July 14 – City of Water Weekend at Neversink Reservoir. Paddle on the source of your drinking water!

August 17 – Overnight Circ Volunteer Reward Paddle. See our city by kayak at night, with a sharp eye for bioluminescence and crepuscular creatures.

September 10 – Life Affirmation Paddle. Paddle in the morning to support organizations who aid those might otherwise lose their lives or love ones to suicide.

September 21 – Peace Lanterns Festival. Our annual celebration of World Peace Day with paddling, contemplation, and arts.

September 22 – South Brother Island seeding and cleanup.

October 5 – White Island seeding and cleanup with Pratt Institute’s Blue Week crew.

Oct 12-14 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day at Neversink Reservoir. Season closer.

Red Cross AED, CPR, First Aid Training Registration.

redcrossMay 18, 8AM-2PM.
LaGuardia Community College, room TBD.

Registration link: CLICK HERE.

Enrollment: 12.
Proven volunteers and critical programs will be prioritized, but we’ll consider inclusion of committed newer volunteers. If funding permits, we’ll strive for additional training to grow our ranks of qualified volunteer leaders.

Please respond by May 13 at 3PM.
Please, no cancellations after May 16 at 3PM.

HarborLAB’s insurance requires program leadership by volunteers with Red Cross certification in adult and pediatric AED, CPR, and First Aid, along with a water safety class (to be offered this summer). The land-based certifications expire after two years, so if you were certified in 2017, you must renew now.

Note: Completion of a water safety class is good for life. We’ll offer that class to volunteers this summer.
Note: We have a particular need of certified volunteers for our weekday Harbor Camp and Neversink programs.
Note: HarborLAB has a limited ability to reimburse individual training sessions elsewhere, but these are more expensive and require more administrative work.

This safety training is funded by ExxonMobil as part of a community outreach effort associated with cleaning up its Newtown Creek pollution, centered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

How White are Green and Blue?


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a useful day to reflect on how the environmental movement manifests our nation’s civil rights goals. We’ve certainly increased awareness of environmental injustices that disproportionately hurt people of color and women, and serve a wider community with educational programs. But we’ve done so while our own leadership has backslid toward less diversity and inclusion, according to a recently released annual audit by Green 2.0.

Grist further examines the report and the issues it raises.

The assessment relied on voluntary self-reporting, and several notable environmental charities declined to participate. The central thrust, however,  is confirmed by our volunteers’ observations. Because of historic racism that excluded African Americans and others from public swimming pools and beaches (and costs associated with maritime recreation) leadership in waterways groups tends to be white, even in a multicultural hub like New York City. HarborLAB itself was founded with a mission of inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields by a white man who serves as Executive Director, and the majority of our Board is the same. We’re very encouraged that HarborLAB’s rising volunteer leaders include more women and people of color than is typical among on-water programming groups without paid staff.

As HarborLAB explores paths forward toward adding paid professional staff, independently with a larger Board or through affiliation with a higher education institution, we commit to growing our diversity and inclusion. We’ll always seek ways to bring free educational and recreational opportunities to all, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in maritime life and environmental science. Thank you for joining us in these efforts, and sharing the joyful fruits of progress.



Booting things back a bit.

Volunteers reported that this week’s snowstorm played havoc with personal and work schedules, just ahead of Thanksgiving travel and hosting obligations. Respecting those needs, we’re postponing this weekend’s boat building and seed gathering activities to Dec 1 and 2, respectively.
We thank volunteers for their feedback!
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Green Drinks Queens, September 17


Green Drinks at Blissville’s Bantry Bay!

Green Drinks Queens at Blissville’s Bantry Bay!
No cover. Cash bar with green drink specials!

Come welcome autumn and harvest bounty with a shared promise to work through the cold to make each spring a greener start for Queens, NYC, and our world!

Monday, September 17
6PM – 9PM

Bantry Bay Publick House
33-01 Greenpoint Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101


Green Drinks Queens is the official local chapter of Green Drinks (http://www.greendrinks.org/ny/queens), a self-organizing network of people who care about the environment and gather regularly to informally build community around this greatest cause of our lifetime. HarborLAB is a lead partner in Green Drinks Queens.

Our deep gratitude to host Bantry Bay Publick House, known for its authentic Irish New Yorker bar and spacious banquet hall (https://www.bantrybaynyc.com/privateparties).

Green Drinks Specials and Regular drink specials:

If you belong to an environmental organization or work for green company, or do environmental research, please feel free to put your literature on our community table! Please, no partisan or directly political materials.

Schedule and Speakers (tentative):

5PM: Volunteers set up.
6PM: Public gathers, networks.
Opening remarks.
Masters of Ceremonies:
Erik Baard | HarborLAB.
Mitch Waxman | Newtown Creek Alliance and Access Queens
730PM: Blissville ecology trivia game (approx. 20 minutes) conducted by Erik Baard and Gil Lopez of Smiling Hogshead Ranch urban farm and Montauk Cutoff Coalition.
730PM: Closing remarks. Networking continues.

City of Water Day with HarborLAB!


City of Water Day in Lower Manhattan and LIC!

Fun fact: City of Water Day, produced by Waterfront Alliance, was founded as the Five Borough Harbor Ramble by volunteers who went on to found HarborLAB! We’re grateful to Waterfront Alliance for growing the event beyond what we originally imagined! In each year of HarborLAB’s existence we’ve provided a central program to the event, and this year we’re doing it in two locations, thanks to Better Chinatown USA, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, and, of course, Waterfront Alliance.

HarborLAB will provide safety support to the Con Ed Cardboard Kayak Race and then two public paddling sessions. HarborLAB’s Seaport District public paddling with Better Chinatown USA in the Seaport District will run from 1PM-4PM (line closes at 340PM).  HarborLAB’s sunset public paddling with Hunters Point Parks Conservancy at Gantry Plaza State Park will run from 7PM-9PM (line closes at 840PM).

There are no reservations required to be a public participant. Just show up!

If you want to join our volunteer crew in making these community gifts possible, please register by 5PM on Wednesday, here:


Only by registering can you volunteer.

Here are the volunteer roles for the program:

Desk assistants: help people sign waivers and distribute environmental educational materials.
Life vest fitters: help ensure that people are wearing the right size life vest and that straps are pulled tight for a safe, snug fit.
Dock hands: help launch and land kayaks. This is more physically demanding and requires a bit of training.
Water safety: Requires experience with HarborLAB and/or Red Cross and other water safety certifications.

Many thanks to Waterfront Alliance for grants to help purchase safety equipment and cover other expenses, and to our regular sponsors.

June Paddling Events!

Grab a paddle — it’s summertime!

Now is the time to splash into a memorable season of fun and service. Remember to always check our Facebook page’s events list and our website calendar for our updated schedule and for easy sharing via social media. Details for the events listed below are available on those pages. Please note that we host special programs for schools and youth groups that might not be listed on our public calendar. Contact us at edu@harborlab.org to request a program or volunteer@harborlab.org to help out, in each case with the subject “Harbor Camp.”

All events listed below are FREE unless otherwise noted.

June 2
Paddle the Bay!
Little Bay Park in Bayside, Queens.
In partnership with Waterfront Alliance.
Beginners welcome.
All ages.

June 3
Paddle at Family Earth Fair!
MacNeil Park in College Point, Queens.
In partnership with Coastal Preservation Network.
Beginners welcome.
All ages.

June 10
Plastics Pledge Paddle!
LIC, Queens to Dumbo, Brooklyn and back on the East River.
To celebrate World Oceans Day.
Intermediate skills (basic paddle strokes, comfort in water, up to three hours of steady paddling).
Adults and mature teens.

June 10
Canoe Flora Survey of Newtown Creek.
Hunters Point to Maspeth and back while photographing plants and uploading data.
In partnership with Newtown Creek Alliance and Hudsonia.
Intermediate skills (basic paddle strokes, comfort in water, up to three hours of steady paddling).
Adults and mature teens.

June 16 & 17
Paddle at the Clearwater Festival!
Croton Point Park in Westchester.
To support estuary and watershed education.
Beginners welcome.
All ages.
*Public participants must pay a festival fee. HarborLAB volunteers selected to work the event go for free.

June 21
Summer Solstice Sunset Paddle!
Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC, Queens.
Beginners welcome.
All ages.

June 23
Paddle the Bay!
Little Bay Park in Bayside, Queens.
In partnership with Waterfront Alliance.
Beginners welcome.
All ages.

Earth Week Activities!

Earth Week Events with HarborLAB and Friends!

Give a little Earth love to the Newtown Creek and East River in the coming weeks with walking and canoe tours, shoreline cleanups, and planting native saplings and seeds!
April 22, 12PM-4PM

Earth Day Festivities on Kingsland Avenue
(Newtown Creek Alliance)
Plant native flowers and learn about how to make soil healthy! 
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/202336090536415/

April 24, 630PM-830PM

NYC Stormwater Management Plan Release – Manhattan
(NYC Water/NYC Department of Environmental Protection)
Though not Queens, our waterways are directly impacted. 
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/213483172741997/

April 28, 12PM-1PM

Hunters Point South Walk and Celebration
See HarborLAB’s launch, the City’s new launch, and our coming boathouse site!
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1949721868683644/

April 28, 1PM-3PM

Clean the Shore at Hunters Point South Park!
(with Hunters Point Parks Conservancy)
Remove plastic trash from our precious park shores! Participants who are 21+ are welcome to join us after at Skinny’s Cantina for a round of Mother Earth Margaritas sponsored by Sombra Mezcal, a 1% for the Planet brand.

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/197316080867326/

April 29, 8AM-430PM
Canoe (or bike, stroll) for a Botanical Survey of Newtown Creek
Paddle the length of the creek, noting the plants living along its shores! Shore support by bicycle and foot are welcome too!

Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/349076938917241/

March 29: Volunteer Meeting

HarborLAB Annual Volunteer Meeting

If you volunteered in 2017 or by March 27, 2018 inquired about volunteering for the 2018 season, please come to our annual volunteer meeting. We’ll discuss outcomes from our annual Board meeting, what we’ve accomplished as volunteers, and what goals we have for 2018.

Thursday, 03.29.2018, 6-8PM


Open Space Institute
1350 Broadway, Suite 201
New York New York 10018

Agenda here

RSVP ASAP (agenda suggestions welcome) to volunteer@harborlab.org.