The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing waterfront access and education to the public. I’ve been involved with the club as a member, volunteer, board member, and an official representative in other community contexts since 2019. What I love most, though, is bringing the community out onto the water for a variety of cultural activities and performances. Here’s a list of some I’ve helped organize.
A Brief Chronology of Events
These are all events I played a significant role in organizing, but they would not have been possible without the collaboration, leadership and/or support of dozens of other Dredgers and friends, but most especially Brad Vogel, Nicole Vergalla, Gary Francis, Charles Phillip, and AJ McGuire.
In June 2019 — as a trustee with the Awesome Foundation’s NYC chapter and a Gowanus Dredgers member — I organized Pretty/Ugly, a set of short talks by creative New Yorkers who find beauty in “ugly” things, from the Gowanus to Guantanamo.
During the summers of 2019, 2020, and 2021, I co-hosted paddle-in movie nights. We showed a mix of classic monster movies, noir, and cult films, along with an annual screening of Creature from the Black Lagoon, which continues. In 2020, we also partnered with NY Silents to do a special screening of Filibus, a 1915 Italian silent film with live musical accompaniment.
Lost Islands of New York
In October 2019, I worked with Tideland Institute to bring nearly more than 75 canoes, kayaks, and other boaters (plus one lucky goldfish who traveled in a takeout container) out on Newtown Creek for a paddle-in performance as part of the annual HONK! festival.
Bridges of Brass
In September 2020 — the middle of the first COVID summer — we loaded our canoes with the Funkrust brass band and invited the community to join us on the shoreline of the Canal for a socially distanced live musical performance. Hundreds of neighbors came out to celebrate and be joyful together, amid a challenging time.
Gowanus Canal Ribbed Mussel Survey
In October 2020, I organized a citizen science event, in collaboration with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, to survey ribbed mussel populations in the Gowanus Canal, ahead of planned construction activity under the Superfund program that would remove significant habitat. We enumerated more than 4,000 ribbed mussels living along our survey area, providing scientific data to ongoing efforts to preserve and expand wildlife habitat and ecological restoration on the canal.
Boat for the Vote
In October 2020, I volunteered as part of a get-out-the-vote event on the eve of early voting that brought an opera-singing drag queen, a french horn quartet, and live-painting artists to boats on the Gowanus for on-shore watchers.
In March 2021, I led a collaboration with Pioneer Works and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to project artworks by artist-in-residence Erin Johnson in multiple locations along the Gowanus Canal, viewable from the water and on land.
Organized a series of on-water concerts in collaboration with Unheard-of Ensemble featuring original music and artwork examining climate change and other environmental issues. Our first performance was held in September 2021, with subsequent performances in summer 2022.
Gowanus Superfund Community Town Hall
As a member of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, I chaired the June 2022 Town Hall planning committee, a hybrid virtual/in-person event that brought EPA representatives; federal, state and local elected officials; and about 100 community members together in an educational overview and public Q&A about the Superfund program cleanup of the Gowanus Canal.
Community Dock Construction Workshops
Due to the ongoing Superfund cleanup, the Dredgers primary dock and boat launch location has been closed to boaters since early 2021. In August 2022, the Dredgers are partnering with Tideland Institute to construct a floating dock that will establish a new boat launch on the Gowanus Canal. The dock will support expanded public programming and provide new water access for the South Brooklyn community.
Board Member, 2021-Present
EPA Community Advisory Group, 2020-Present
Gowanus POA Committee Rep, 2021-Present