Shooters Island, Along the Staten Island Circ

Shooters Island in the Arthur Kill, from Bayonne Bridge. Wikimedia Commons.


One highlight of the summer will be HarborLAB’s circumnavigation of Staten Island. This video about Shooters Island illuminates the “secret” historical significance of even one little harbor heron refuge along the way. Drifting past that sleepy island today, it’s hard to imagine that mobs surrounding a Prussian prince, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Edison bent its planks. Many thanks to artist and kayaker Harry Spitz for pointing out this video.

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.


Passing the LIC waterfront’s iconic Pepsi sign, with new developments in the background. Thank you sponsors TF Cornerstone ( 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.


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


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


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


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


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



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 to make that happen.


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


LIC rising. Paddlers in front of the growing LIC waterfront. Sponsor TF Cornerstone ( 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!

June 9: Paddle to Governors Island! Figment Festival and “Rising Tide”

“Head in the Clouds” exhibit of the FIgment Festival ( under construction.

We posted a new trip to our fan page’s “events” calendar:

Paddle down to Governors Island to see the art of waterfront ally Bernard Klevickas and kayaker Harry Spitz and many other artists at two exhibitions. See more about the world-acclaimed Figment Festival below.”Rising Tide” is a sculptural exhibit also on the island with a theme of disruption, inspired by Hurricane Sandy. We attend in honor of the UN World Oceans Day this weekend.

Please join the event on Facebook *and* email us at with the subject line, “Figment.” We will email participants with further safety and coordination details. Please consider how you might support HarborLAB as a volunteer, a donor, or liaison to a sponsor.

We’ll launch from Hunters Point on the ebb and pass under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges before landing at Governors Island. We’ll return on the flood, landing back in Queens in time for dinner.

From Governors Island Alliance:

FIGMENT is a free, inclusive, participatory arts event held in multiple cities and drawing tens of thousands of participants each year. Now in its 7th year on Governors Island, FIGMENT NYC removes the barriers of museum and gallery walls and entrance fees, and blurs the lines between those who create and those who enjoy art. At FIGMENT you will find works in every imaginable medium including sculpture, installation, performance, music, workshops, games, social experiments, and heart-stopping technological innovations that change the way we see the world… and visitors are invited to bring something, too! FIGMENT NYC has been named the Best Art Festival in New York by the Village Voice, and BBC Travel writes, “If FIGMENT were a country, it would be the happiest in the world—and I would apply for citizenship immediately.” See you at FIGMENT! What are you bringing?”

“Rising Tide presented by the Sculptors Guild, 11 am to 5 pm. Almost six months after Hurricane Sandy, artists across the region are still putting the pieces of their lives back together, getting into their (in some cases, devastated) studios, and creating new work. This show will acknowledge rising tides of all stripes (political, social, psychological) in the hope of drawing attention to the new forms that result — to the bright and shiny treasures that have now washed ashore.”