Clearwater Festival and City of Water Day!

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Wonderful news! Thanks to our volunteers’ fantastic service last year, the two largest annual water ecology festivals in the metropolitan area have asked HarborLAB back to provide their public programs in 2014! Join us in Croton Point State Park in the Hudson River Valley for the Clearwater Festival on June 21 and June 22 and on Governors Island in the center of our harbor for City of Water Day on July 12!

Pete Seeger, Rest in Peace.

Pete Seeger. Photo via City Atlas. (http://newyork.thecityatlas.org/)

Pete Seeger, who gave so much to peace, rests in peace. Our mourning is exceeded only by our love and gratitude.

Our hearts are with the Seeger family and friends at the Clearwater organization who carry forward his work. We will lovingly serve the Clearwater Festival again this year, on the Hudson River he did so much to clean, with a public paddling program and education table.

Pete Seeger. Photo by Anthony Pepitone via Wikimedia Commons.

Sloop Clearwater. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Gratitude to Toshi Seeger (1922-2013)

We received the sad news of Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger’s passing from NYC Friends of Clearwater. She lived to 91 and we’re so grateful for her long lifetime of contributions. Last month we saw Mrs. Seeger at the Clearwater Festival’s food court after our long day of providing paddling to the Working Waterfront. It was touching to see the tender care Pete and the family gave her — she and Pete would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this month. HarborLAB hopes to honor her with an event this season.

A young Toshi Seeger. Photo by Gene Deitch ©, via Sing Out! magazine. Full article linked below.

Here’s the note from NYC Friends of Clearwater, including an opportunity to honor Mrs. Seeger this weekend:

There are people who touch our lives and we may never know them or of them but they have a profound impact. Toshi Seeger is one of them.
Toshi was a remarkable strong, humble, gentle and selfless, outspoken activist for social and environmental justice She was the rock behind Pete Seeger. Their 70 year love story was the of the highest heart connection.

As one person mentioned she was a giant of the Hudson River ecological restoration. Toshi was recognized in the Clearwater family as the backbone of all the important work cleaning up our river by Pete and the Clearwater organization he founded. She was also the driving force behind the Clearwater revival. When you direct praise at Pete you also are praising Toshi.

Please send your heart energies to Pete Seeger and the whole Seeger family, extended family and all the many who love them.
Toshi will be remembered always in the hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to meet her and anyone who loves the spirit of Clearwater.
http://singout.org/2013/07/10/toshi-seeger-passes/

NYCFC is having a Sunset sail on the Clearwater Sat night and we will dedicate it to Toshi.
There are still spots available. If anyone would like to come, email:

kayaknsail@gmail.com and nycfc.annualsail@gmail.com

Donna Stein
 NYC Friends of Clearwater
 and kayaker

Great Paddle to Governors Island!

Return from Governors Island, UN in background (Thank you sponsor UNFCU!). Photo by Scott Sternbach.

HarborLAB volunteers and guests we hope will become volunteers, donors, or liaisons to sponsors shared a great day on the water Sunday, June 8. We paddled from Astoria to Governors Island and back. We were especially glad to have HarborLAB Board Member Scott Sternbach join the trip as a photographer and one of our guides.

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Passing the LIC waterfront’s iconic Pepsi sign, with new developments in the background. Thank you sponsors TF Cornerstone (http://www.tfcornerstone.com/) and Rockrose Development!

Our destination was the Figment Festival and the Rising Tide show of NY Sculptors Guild. We were heartened that the ocean was a strong trend in the art, especially works by two sculptors with studios in LIC — Harry Spitz and Bernard Klevickas. Harry has long explored waveforms in various media, occasionally included a kayaking figure! Bernard often works in metal, but has shown a consistent fascination with reusing plastic bottles and containers. Both make marvelous art. Other artists also prioritized reusing plastics, but only Bernard had posters informing viewers about the environmental hazards of plastics polluting our oceans.

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Harry Spitz at Figment with wave art. Photo by Erik Baard.

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Plastic bottle cloud at Figment Festival perfectly matching actual clouds in the background. Photo by Erik Baard.

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A kind of Styroberg by Bernard Klevickas. Photo by Erik Baard.

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The closest plastic bottles should come to water — a mobile over sink. Sculpture by Bernard Klevickas. Photo by Erik Baard.

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Plastic bottle cloud at Figment, interior. Photo by Erik Baard.

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Plastic bottle cloud at Figment, exterior. Photo by Erik Baard.

HarborLAB’s boats became part of the show, with kids clambering all over them for the couple of hours we spent on the island. In this case the boats floated on imaginations!

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Our volunteers were amazing, overcoming our growing-phase logistical challenges with aplomb. When our launch site is fully developed and we have a boat trailer, we’ll have stories to tell newer volunteers! Our destination was Governors Island, for the Figment Festival and Rising Tide art shows. Our launch point was Hallets Cove in Astoria, which our volunteers pioneered in earlier engagements as a public paddling access point. Our boats are stored in Sunnyside, thanks to Queens Community Board 2 Environmental Chair Dorothy Morehead, until we can set up our launch site. Many thanks to the volunteers who shuttled the boats back and forth in two van trips (plus one cartop). Now would be the time to sponsor HarborLAB’s boat trailer, please! Email support@harborlab.org to make that happen.

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Volunteer Bob Din and guest paddle home past the skyline. Photo by Scott Sternbach.

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LIC rising. Paddlers in front of the growing LIC waterfront. Sponsor TF Cornerstone (http://www.tfcornerstone.com/) is playing a leading role in development and building community between new and generational residents. Photo by Scott Sternbach.

We had plenty of favorable current both ways, but vastly different conditions. On the way down we had a lively breeze in our faces — shifting but never harshly gusting. On the return the burgeoning flood was absolutely glassy for most of the way. Where water once flowed unnoticed past largely abandoned warehouse and factory waterfront, ferries now buzz about with new tower residents, tourists, and Manhattanites discovering weekend fun beyond their shores. LIC, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg offer art, food, and shopping to rival any city, and any part of NYC. We were grateful for the NY Waterway donation that purchased our marine radios to ensure safe passage along busier reaches. LIC Partnership’s Dana Frankel found us on Governors Island and surprised us with the fact that she’d been aboard the NY Waterway Frank Sinatra, which paralleled our course to the island!

Free Clearwater Admission Through HarborLAB!

Clearwater Festival music stage.

Clearwater Festival music stage.

 

Come kayak, canoe, and volunteer with HarborLAB at the Clearwater Festival this weekend, June 15 and 16! The Clearwater Festival (http://www.clearwaterfestival.org/) is our region’s greatest water ecology and music event. If you help us for four hours, we’ll cover or subsidize your admission for the day! We need volunteers especially for Saturday afternoon, but we appreciate help for all shifts.

Email volunteer@clearwater.org ASAP to sign up for Saturday, Sunday, or both! Please share this with friends and students!

Here’s the Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/113936725470634/

We need volunteers to help us get waivers signed, fit paddlers for life jackets, and shepherd paddlers within a small, beautiful and protected cove. Our volunteers get free or reduced admission, including camping, for just four hours of service for each day of attendance! We have carpooling from Queens and the train is very convenient.

We owe such gratitude to Pete Seeger and his Clearwater organization for their pioneering work for cleaner waters and ecological education, on the Hudson River and nationally. The Festival is the critical fundraiser for that work.

This is a great chance to meaningfully advance the cause of healthy estuary ecology in all corners of our harbor, from gorgeous preserves to currently toxic channels. See something you love and you want to protect on our harbor? See a pollution problem that must be fixed? Come to the Festival and make your case to the many government agencies, environmental nonprofits, and green businesses who’ll be participating!

Come out for relaxing fun, music, learning, and camaraderie on clean waters!