Sunday Pride Paddle for Brunch!


Photo by Erik Baard

Partner Paddle tour with Queer Scouts NYC ( to enjoy brunch in Dumbo. Pride Paddles for the LGBTQ+ community are part of HarborLAB’s mission of diversity and inclusion in STEM and enjoyment of our public waterways.

HarborLAB and Queer Scouts NYC are family-friendly groups but this open water tour of a busy waterway is for adults. All ages can join the brunch in Brooklyn! Location to be determined.

To join, please apply here:

Clicking “going” on Facebook or emailing organizers does not register you for this tour. You must apply through the above link. 

Float Plan:

930AM: Gather at HarborLAB
Safety talk and orientation, prep boats.
1030AM: All boats in the water.
11AM: Paddlers who chose to board at 2nd Street are in boats.
1230PM: Land at Pier 4 Beach in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
2PM: Launch for the return.
330PM: Return (some dropped off at 2nd Street)
4PM: Done!

Su 8 High 4:39 AM 4.2 6:30 AM Set 1:05 AM 66
8 Low 10:55 AM 0.9 7:17 PM Rise 4:25 PM
8 High 5:05 PM 4.9
8 Low 11:38 PM 0.6

Neversink Reservoir Dates!


ReservoirLAB at Neversink. Photo by Erik Baard

Welcome to the new school year!

To help students learn about their drinking water, HarborLAB maintains a second boat fleet on the Neversink Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains. This FREE program of educational paddling tours on pristine mountain water, called ReservoirLAB, is the result of a unique partnership between HarborLAB, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and is supported by Catskill Watershed Corporation.

The dates we can offer in 2019 are:

Sept 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30

Oct 5, 6, 7, 12, 13

Our educational programs are free but we can’t provide transportation or meals.

If you’d like to visit with your school class, youth group, or community center, please email us at



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.

2019 City of Water Day Report and Gallery



Brooklyn Bridge Beach. Photo by Yan Cheng.

HarborLAB volunteers had a wonderful time partnering with Waterfront Alliance and Hunters Point Parks Conservancy to produce two programs for City of Water Day, one at Brooklyn Bridge Beach and the other at Gantry Plaza State Park. See our photo gallery here:

City of Water Day was a great chance to debut some new materials. We had new t-shirts with sponsor logos and an educational tidal current chart on the back; “mushroom anchors” for our buoys; and a high tech inflatable kayak. The shirts got rave reviews and  the buoys worked well yet were easy to deploy and haul in, even from a kayak. Both volunteers and public paddlers loved the new kayak, which could point to new directions for us. A special thanks to HarborLAB Administrative Manager Carolin Zayas and Captain Margaret “Maggie” Flanagan for helping to keep resources and people organized ahead of event and as it was underway.

Volunteers gathered at 7AM to organize and launch on the ebb to paddle from our home base on the Newtown Creek to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. the beach under the bridge is normally forbidden to the public, from shore or landing from water. HarborLAB Founder Erik Baard was one of the organizers of a fanciful ‘protest luau’ on the beach well over a decade ago to encourage the City to reconsider its policies. Beginning last year Waterfront Alliance has obtained access permits for City of Water Day events from the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which operates the property in the public trust. Waterfront Alliance also provided a small grant to cover HarborLAB’s expenses for the day.

Thanks to HarborLAB’s diversity, a large contingent of our volunteers are speakers of various Chinese dialects, strengthening our ability to serve the public so near Chinatown. A special hat tip to Jeff Lim and Yan Cheng for the outreach that built that part of our volunteer community.

HarborLAB provided free public kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Beach during the first half of the day. Recognizing the stronger currents and ill-defined boundaries of the area, HarborLAB assigned a regular volunteer to the stern of each boat, taking a public paddler at the bow and often a child in between. We placed buoys between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge and paddled between them in an endless loop, swapping out public paddlers at the beach. In the afternoon we were the safety support team for the annual Con Ed Cardboard Kayak Race, which was as zany as ever. Competition was comic yet fierce, resulting in a few thoroughly wet participants. Safe fun for all, shattering outdated myths about our waterways.


East River paddling to Gantry. Photo by Laura Picallo.

The paddle back was smooth and enjoyable, with some great chop as we passed the Williamsburg Bridge. We were grateful for the safety and courtesy of the NYC Ferry and NY Waterway captains, both sponsoring companies, who slowed for our passage and communicated with us by marine radio.

Landing at Gantry Plaza State Park made set up super easy, with boats already in place to serve the public. We’re very grateful to Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, especially Casey Chamberlain, for helping us on the dock, and to TF Cornerstone, which is a primary supporter of programming at Gantry Plaza State Park.


Gantry Plaza State Park. Photo by Casey Chamberlain of Hunters Point Parks Conservancy.

gantry 1

Photo by Erik Baard.

At last volunteers shared a final paddle back to base toward sunset, again on the ebb. One of the volunteers who put in a whole day — aiding all programs — was Yue Chan, who also leads weekly water sampling at Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South Park for quality testing at LaGuardia Community College through a NYC Watertrail Association program, in cooperation with Riverkeeper. Yue Chan is also helping HarborLAB grow its LGBTQ+ programming. Stay tuned for that!


July 13: City of Water Day Paddling!


2018 City of Water Day at Brooklyn Bridge Beach. Photo by Erik Baard.

Come join HarborLAB on City of Water Day for FREE KAYAKING under the Brooklyn Bridge and at Gantry Plaza State Park on the fabulous LIC waterfront! City of Water Day is produced annually by Waterfront Alliance to introduce New Yorkers to the natural and industrial life of their waterways. This citywide festival was begun on a much smaller scale in 2007 as the Five Borough Harbor Ramble by HarborLAB founder Erik Baard.

To volunteer for any aspect of HarborLAB’s programming on City of Water Day, please apply here:

HarborLAB volunteers will paddle from LIC to the Brooklyn Bridge in the early morning to provide public paddling from 10AM to 1PM. Then we’ll serve as the safety crew for the wacky Con Ed Cardboard Kayak Race! After the race heats conclude, we’ll paddle back to Gantry Plaza State Park to provide public paddling from 5PM to 7PM. From there we’ll paddle back to base!

We provide boats, paddles, and life vests to public paddlers. No reservations, but please understand that we close our sign-up list at least 30 minutes before our program ends. We thank our sponsors for the support to make these programs possible, especially TF Cornerstone, NYC Ferry, New York Waterway, the Hudson River Foundation’s Newtown Creek Environmental Fund, and the community outreach effort of the Newtown Creek Group of potentially responsible parties at our local US EPA Superfund site. We also thank Waterfront Alliance for their partnership and re-granting of event funds.

A special thanks to Better Chinatown USA and Hunters Point Parks Conservancy volunteers for working shoulder-to-shoulder with us to provide these programs at Brooklyn Bridge Beach and Gantry Plaza State Park respectively.

Our shareable links with event location and information are here:

Brooklyn Bridge Beach

Gantry Plaza State Park

Please note that Facebook is not a means of volunteer registration.


Gantry Plaza State Park kayaking. Photo by Erik Baard.





New HarborLAB T-Shirt Backs!


Our new volunteer shirts will add educational value to the usual display of gratitude to our sponsors and grant givers. Two hourly panels from the 12 that make up New York Harbor’s tidal current cycle give viewers a snapshot of how water moves through our city. We hope you find it beautiful and informative!