Archive for the tag 'sailing'


John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was also a watercolor enthusiast, and produced a painting of our beloved Sheepshead Bay waterfront while campaigning for the presidency.

Entitled “Sheepshead Bay, NY,” it and two other canvasses will be sold at auction by John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury, MA,  tomorrow, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

An avid sailor and yachtsman, Kennedy painted the waterfront and one of his favorite subjects – a sailboat – while seeking out votes in New York City in 1960.

If not for the historical importance of its painter, the canvasses themselves probably wouldn’t be worth much. Kennedy was just a hobbyist, after all, and even those behind the sale note that where he excelled in politics, he came up short in artistic talent.

“I don’t think he was necessarily the most talented person in the world” joked Dan Meader, the director of John McInnies. “When you look at the paintings in person, you can actually see how he water colored them and changed them.”

For President Kennedy, painting was not a solitary hobby and often involved his family, friends and close political advisors.

“He usually did it as a group thing with Jackie standing right over his shoulder,” Meader said, adding that the painting was in fact titled and dated by Mrs. Kennedy since the President’s script was notoriously illegible. “That’s actually Jackie’s handwriting,” he pointed out.

Meader said bidding on the painting of Sheepshead Bay will start at about $5,000 to $8,000.

The artwork, along with family photographs and other personal items, was brought to John McInnis by a longtime friend of the Kennedys who asked to remain anonymous.

The three-day auction will kick off at 3:00 pm on November 22, marking the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

– Steven Volynets



When boats in Southern Brooklyn get smashed, a certain captain comes to the rescue. The captain in question is Jack Schachner, and he and his lucrative White Cap Marine and Salvage business is the subject of a fascinating report by the New York Times report.

Captain Jack’s activities mainly revolves around the business of salvaging wrecked boats in the waters off Southern Brooklyn, a difficult and dangerous job as the Times details:

Capt. Jack Schachner strained his eyes as the waves crashed over the rail of his towboat. It was a moonless night in Jamaica Bay and a storm had pitched the black water, making the conditions even more dangerous than usual as he sped along a rocky stretch of shoreline in pursuit of his bounty.

And suddenly there it was, illuminated by the flashing orange lights from his boat: a 53-foot fishing vessel listing perilously and quickly taking water from a large hole torn across its hull. The accident had occurred in the dark, prompting a Fire Department rescue of four passengers thrown into the water and leaving the boat dangerously situated on a rock jetty.

Captain Schachner’s job was to tow the boat somewhere safer, where it could be left until he could orchestrate its removal. For an entire night, he worked alone, his boat groaning angrily as the waves slammed it against the damaged vessel. Despite the peril, the thought of leaving never surfaced in his mind, he said. His reward for this salvage, he estimated, would be at least $30,000.

Schachner, who runs the business with his brother, Captain Bernie Schachner, and their first mate Frank Donnelly, sees a lot of action in the summer months when people hit the waters on jet skis, motorboats and yachts, often times getting into dangerous situations. Listening to his radio for any calls of distress, Schachner described just when to head out for a rescue.

“I can tell when there’s a sense of distress, of panic in someone’s voice, even from sleep, and when I get that sense, I go,” Schachner told the Times.

The Times explained how Schachner brings down big bucks for his actions:

He needs the radios because speed is essential in his business. Maritime salvage laws, created more than a century ago to give mariners incentive to assist a vessel in peril, state that the rescuer is entitled to a salvage reward. The reward, typically paid by insurance companies, is based on a percentage of the vessel’s value and cargo, and on the dangers faced during the salvage. The greater the danger, the higher the reward.

For the brothers, two Navy veterans with a love of adventure and “saltwater running through our veins,” salvaging seemed a natural calling, Jack Schachner said.

The report, which you can read in full by clicking here, is a fascinating portrait of the adventurous stories and humorous anecdotes that Schachner and his crew have faced over the years working as a salvage company. Check it out.

Photo Courtesy of John Landers

Photo Courtesy of John Landers

Reader John Landers sent us a picture of Jamaica Bay that might take you back in time. The image was taken in 1963 and is of the Columbia, part of a ferry/excursion fleet that used to sail from Sheepshead Bay to Breezy Point and the Rockaways. Landers noted that the shot of the Columbia was in front of an open Cross Bay Bridge. I’m guessing that this was before the bridge became ‘fixed in place’ by 1970.

Anyone remember riding this ferry or ones like it? Let us know.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Local mariners have something to be happy about this New Year: the Department of Environmental Protection reversed course on plans to destroy a 78-year-old navigational aid between Manhattan Beach and Breezy Point that mariners say makes them safer and shows them the way home when gizmos can’t.

According to documents released under a Freedom of Information Law request filed by Sheepshead Bites, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection decided to leave a wastewater diffuser pipe that locals affectionately refer to as the “roundhouse” after sailors and other mariners objected to its removal.

“Comments received questioned whether it would be more advantageous to leave the existing outlet chamber in place,” DEP reps wrote to partnering agencies in a September 2012 letter. “If kept, it could serve as an underwater fish habitat and provide opportunity for sea birds to perch.”

It wasn’t just the environmentalists that the DEP sought to please; the agency determined the now defunct roundhouse served a crucial purpose for navigation, and as a marker for underwater infrastructure that could damage vessels.

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According to a release by the New York Times, the city environmental officials lifted an advisory on recreational water activity issued last month after Superstorm Sandy. The environmental advisory applied to the East River, Hudson River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Krull.

The advisory was put into effect after power outages caused wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations to discharge untreated wastewater in New York City waterways.

The recreational advisory urged against activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water.

In related news, the Gateway National Recreational Area announced that it reopened both the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Great Kills Park, however Floyd Bennett Field is still closed.

None of those advisories stopped the local Brighton Beach resident featured above from testing out the cold waters of Brighton Beach by going for a risky swim six days before the advisory was lifted.

Aside from the destruction of Emmons Avenue’s waterfront bungalows, Hurricane Sandy also left disaster and devastation at Sheepshead Bay’s boating clubs.

The worst hit was the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club (3076 Emmons Avenue), where boats, moorings and marinas all swept in from the ocean approximately 80 feet to the yacht clubs’s back porch, as you can see above.

Keep reading, and view more photos.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has issued the following advisory:

Due to flooding and power related shutdowns caused by Hurricane Sandy, wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations have discharged untreated wastewater into New York City waterways. The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene advises that direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water should be avoided until further notice.

The Department of Environmental Protection is responding to the impacts caused by Hurricane Sandy on its waste water treatment facilities and will monitor water quality conditions through testing to verify when these water bodies are safe for recreational uses.

As you flip through the photos in this article, you’ll need to remind yourself: yes, this is still New York City.

It’s an easy fact to forget on the waters of Jamaica Bay and, just outside the Rockaway inlet, the Atlantic Ocean. Homes seem few and far between. Greenery is lush. And, oh, the quiet is so… quiet.

But on a clear, sunny day like June 24, the day of the 26th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, the Freedom Tower and Manhattan skyline loom in the background, an impressive reminder of place.

The Blessing of the Fleet is an annual tradition in which all of Sheepshead Bay’s yacht and boating club members converge in the open waters, sail through the Bay, and past the Emmons Avenue yacht clubs. There, leaders of various faiths dole out wishes of good fortune and safety to more than 100 participating vessels.

Find out more about the event, and view our photos!

Photo by Ned Berke

This is a paid announcement from Miramar Yacht Club (3050 Emmons Avenue), one of Sheepshead Bay’s premier boating communities.

If you’re interested in sailing, then Miramar Yacht Club is the place to learn!

Escape to an area where sailing re-awakens your senses. Feel the southerly breezes that will fill your sails and your day with experiences that make you feel vital and alive. Experience fishing in an ocean filled with snappers, blues, bass, and fluke.

But first, learn the skills you need to get on the water. Miramar offers a one-day course, packed with four hours of sailing instruction, a demonstration on an actual boat and hands-on learning. The class also comes with a colorful booklet to get you started, a guide and lunch.

The best part? By taking this class you also earn a free afternoon of real sailing in our Seek & Sail event in June. All you have to do is sign up for our class this weekend, and one of our captains will take you out on the water and put your skills to the test in June (exact date TBD).

The class is Sunday, May 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m at our 3050 Emmons Avenue location. Cost is $60 per student, or $100 for a couple.

To register email or call Irene at (718) 743-5823.

This is a paid sale announcement from Miramar Yacht Club.  If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.


Click to see the NY Times' video on meeting people in Jamaica Bay

The New York Times posted a feel-good piece this morning about the Southern Brooklyn waterfront, dubbed “New York City Riviera.”

The reporters took a boat tour of the Jamaica Bay waterfront, pulling up alongside barges, boats and marinas to talk to those who live, work or play on the water. And what they found was a diversity consistent with the rest of Southern Brooklyn: a Jamaican family stationed on a houseboat; an Orthodox Jew in mid-prayer, dismissing himself at the end of his interview to deal with a hangover; a Ukrainian fisherman; a contractor from the Alps.

Despite the various backgrounds, those interviewed agreed on one thing at least: the waters of Jamaica Bay – stretching from Sheepshead Bay to the Rockaways and farther into Queens – is New York City’s pristine outback for outdoors-men and mariners.

“It doesn’t come any better than that. You wake up every day to this beauty and the seagulls,” said one of the interviewees.

“They say you have to enjoy the moment — this is the moment,” said the contractor, while preparing to inspect the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.

Those of us in Sheepshead Bay sometimes forget the stunning resources that border our community. Do you get out into Jamaica Bay and the Gateway National Recreation Area often? What do you like to do when you’re there?

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