It has been almost eight months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area and while political leaders, activists and volunteers are doing everything they can to clear the rubble from the streets, boaters are hoping that more action is taken to clear the area’s waterways and creeks. NY1 is reporting that boaters are requesting more government intervention to clean up the trash, sunken boats and broken docks washed into the seas by Sandy.
In Gerritsen Beach, partially sunken boats and old broken docks are still clogging up the waterways and creating hazards for boaters. Recreational boater Buddy Love explained the less than safe conditions in Brooklyn’s waterways.
“Sunken boats that are turned upside down…debris in the water that is washed up…some of the boats are hazards because they are sticking up out of the water,” Love told NY1.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the city Parks Department has claimed that cleaning up the waterways and creeks is not their responsibility, though officials from the DEP did volunteer in clearing a lot of debris blown in the water by Sandy.
Despite the unsafe obstacles, sailors who take off from Sheepshead Bay are reporting that there are still many clear channels available for passage.
Eight months have passed since Superstorm Sandy crashed to the shores of Sheepshead Bay and the Varuna Boat Club (2806 Emmons Avenue) is finally finishing the repairs needed to get the club back in pristine condition.
News 12 is reporting that the Varuna Boat Club, which has been in existence for 138 years and started off as a rowing club in Bay Ridge, has faced a long road to recovery. Seven boats were lost in the storm and the docks were heavily damaged.
While the work, shared by fathers and sons whose membership can be traced back through the generations, has been long and arduous, all the effort is finally paying off.
“They show you that no matter how old you are, with a little hard work, you can get anything accomplished,” member Michael Siano told News 12.
Way back in November, just a week or so after Sandy, we wrote about and shared photos of the destruction exhibited upon the Emmons Avenue boating clubs. Since then, we’ve been keeping tabs on their progress, and just about all of them are in the same shape as Varuna – close to recovery, but not there yet. They’ve all gotten back on their feet in the sense that their doors are open and are hosting functions once again, but many still have damaged docks, pools and other problems – and repairs are largely being done by volunteers from within the club.
These clubs, mind you, are hardly the hoity-toity yacht clubs of popular imagination. They’re working-class and middle-class sanctuaries, providing resources like pools for their members (many club members do not own boats), and are part of the community fabric. We hope to see them all running at full steam within the next few weeks.
A police sergeant is facing disciplinary charges after his thoughtless actions allegedly led to the sinking of a fully-equipped $500,000 Port Authority patrol in the waters between Breezy Point and Manhattan Beach earlier this month.
According to a New York Post report, the officer ordered the opening of a hatch beneath the water line, causing the vessel to flood and putting 11 lives at risk.
The vessel sank 40 feet to the ocean floor on September 9, forcing eight officers and three civilians to swim approximately 900 feet to shore. Nobody was seriously injuried.
The 37-foot M-2 Moose Boat, equipped with firefighting hoses, nozzles, marine radios, radar, GPS, scuba gear and inflatable rafts, went under during routing rescue exercises after “vibrations” were felt coming from the ship’s engines. A civilian safety consultant from Ocean Rescue Systems, a Maine-based firm hired by the Port Authority to oversee the exercises, suggested the officer open the hatch to take a look.
The hatch, though, was under the water line, and should only have been opened in dry dock.
The boat sank within a half-hour.
The officer faces disciplinary charges and, according to the Post, “will likely lose vacation days for failing to maintain supervisory control and basically abdicating his command to a civilian.”
We’ve covered the trash that has periodically piled up in the water at the various corners of the Bay before. Looks like there’s been even more reported trash sightings over the weekend. A reader submitted a note detailing what she saw and attached some photos of the environmental hazard.
Sulvy P. said:
I have lived around the area for years and it seems that absolutely nothing is done with all the trash that is constantly collected and is always sitting in the corner of the bay by the Holocaust memorial. Today this really went overboard. Someone disposed of about 20 fish that all piled up in that corner and made the whole area smell very bad. All the fish were huge and cut from the stomach. I am not sure with what purpose this was done but it may be coming from the boats on the bay… This will only affect the beautification process of the Sheepshead bay area. Something needs to be done. It is not attractive, it’s right by the Holocaust Memorial, it smells bad and I am sure its not healthy for the animals that live there and for the people that are constantly fishing in the area.
Our photographer Erica Sherman contributed the last two photos of the gunk as well. Note that in her photos there is also a dead fish floating belly-up, with garbage on it.
Reader Andrew Kent is also outraged by the garbage accumulation in the Bay. He wrote on Erica’s Facebook page, where her photo was first posted:
Perhaps people who get caught littering or illegally dumping should be offered a choice of draconian fines or a day of community service cleaning up messes like these. Since the garbage seems to accumulate in easily accessible places, this could be done from the bulkheads with nets on long poles, although an afternoon in a row boat might be more fun. And where are the environmental groups, like the American Littoral Society, that do the beach cleanups? Maybe when the geese, swans, and other wildlife start disappearing the Bay’s sorry condition will get more attention.
Dead fish, nasty litter, and a foul smell near the Holocaust Memorial? If this isn’t a situation that needs some serious remedying, I don’t know what is.
Police and Coast Guard vessels converged on a cruise boat before a late night party on Friday, July 9. The boat was a Stamford, Connecticut, vessel named Annabel Lee, stationed that night on Pier 1, but never before seen in Sheepshead Bay.
NYPD officials on the scene declined to comment, and the party eventually went forward. But we’ve heard that they were likely cited for liquor license violations.
In the above video, you can see party promoters carrying liquor onto the ship just before an NYPD vessel came alongside it. The NYPD boat docked at Pier 2, where a number of officers unloaded and met on the sidewalk. They then entered the Annabel Lee just minutes after 11:00 p.m. and stayed on board for approximately an hour. Plainclothes detectives came on board at around 11:30, and a Coast Guard vessel stayed next to the cruise boat the entire time.
Last week’s removal of a sunken boat near the Ocean Avenue footbridge made me reminisce about the old Coast Guard cutter that was moored nearby for the majority of my life. The Cartigan, as it was called, and pictured above when it was still brand spankin’ new, was built and delivered in 1927. It served our country for 42 years, before being decommissioned in 1969. I was about to write my own history about this fine vessel, but then I found this amazing article in the New York Times that I think did it justice, written when the boat was removed from our waters in 2004.
Here’s an excerpt:
For more than 30 years, the Cartigan, a decommissioned 125-foot cutter that, according to legend, once chased Nazi submarines, squatted and rotted by the quaint footbridge across Sheepshead Bay. Its owner and part-time resident, a retired bridge painter and boat dealer named Nicholas Mitchell, defied all attempts to force its removal, disagreeing vigorously with those who called the Cartigan a symbol of Sheepshead Bay’s long decline and, later, a barrier to its renewal. Opponents of the boat got their big break last year, when the Cartigan keeled over like a sclerotic uncle.
We just received these photos of a small sailboat slamming into the Ocean Avenue footbridge, near the Manhattan Beach side. We’re not sure yet what happened or if there’s any damage. But from the looks of it, the boat somehow became unanchored and drifted with the storm’s choppy waves, eventually hitting the bridge. Please leave any info you have in the comments. We’ll update you as we find out more. (Photos and tips courtesy of nolastname)
UPDATE (6:55 p.m.): I’ve been out of the ‘hood all day, and now I’m getting reports that the wind and rain are incredibly bad and doing a lot of damage. Reportedly, the marina is overflowing and water is splashing onto the sidewalks and the bridge. Gusts are also taking down signs in the area.
Perhaps most importantly, the wind has taken out power, phone, and cable lines in a few spots. Please be careful and stay inside! It goes without saying, but downed power lines can be very dangerous.
Please take photos/video of damage and send it over to us. More importantly, be safe!