Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In the News: The Lure of Seeing a Hushed City at Water Level

As summer heats up, so do the activities on our waterways! One means for getting on the water - kayaking - has been increasing by leaps & bounds in recent years (the population of boaters in Manhattan alone grew ten-fold over the past decade). However "despite the risk of large ships, water scooters, changing tides, unpredictable currents and cold water" and no paddling related fatalities the City Department of Parks is considering more stringent regulations. Let's hope they lean towards boater safety & education and not reduced waterfront access...JB

Image: Kayaking Urban Waters, Wikipedia

By Timothy Williams
May 29, 2007

For years, a small, secretive group of people, most of them men, spent their off hours paddling just above the surface of the city’s dirty rivers in kayaks. They rowed to their own music, often alone, and few paid much attention.

Kayakers speak about their sport in spiritual terms: a feeling of freedom, the communing with nature, an enveloping quiet while paddling only a few meters off the Manhattan shoreline in temperatures that are often 15 degrees lower than on shore.

“When that sun is going down on the East River, there is nothing that compares,” said Robert DiMaio, 46, a documentary film producer who proposed to his wife as they were kayaking. “Everything is quiet. The lights of the city are coming on. It is beyond addictive. You want to be able to articulate it, but it is hard. The city becomes a theater of light and distant sound.”

Kayaking has been largely unregulated, but now the city is giving it closer scrutiny. The change has been met with both optimism and alarm by New York’s close-knit community of kayakers, which has grown to perhaps a few hundred serious paddlers since the mid-1980s.

Read more:

Downtown Boathouse

Sebago Canoe Club

Wikipedia Kayak

Monday, May 07, 2007

In the News: Million-Gallon Sewage Spill In N.Y. River

A large spill of raw sewage last week into the Hudson River led health officials to advise recreational users against entering local waters. Officials recommended residents to avoid contact with the river citing potential "gastrointestinal problems" that could develop. The spill shed some light on the state of water quality in the region, and the apparent lack of concern for dumping sewage into our waters. Possibly this is because we already dump "more than 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater discharge out of 460 combined sewage overflows (“CSOs”)" into our waterways annually as a recent Riverkeeper Report found...JB

Yonkers, N.Y., May 5, 2007

A broken 48-inch underground pipe sent up to 2 million gallons of raw sewage spilling into the Hudson River north of New York City as workers scrambled Saturday to repair the damage.

Westchester County health officials warned boaters, water skiers and skin divers to stay out of the river due to potential health problems presented by the sewage. The pipe broke Friday afternoon, apparently ruptured by a tree that came loose during a landslide near the Greystone Train Station in Yonkers, officials said.

Read More:

Riverkeeper Information on CSOs

Sustainable Raindrops Report