Nothing like a Hunter’s Moon setting over Jamaica Bay. Except, perhaps, that same moon setting over the marsh islands of Jamaica Bay, restored to some semblance of their natural, 18th-century beauty.
Verdant with native Spartina grasses, not choked with reedy phragmites (the bellwether of distressed marshes), or buried under a flood of nitrogen-rich wastewater. Well, that’s the dream of some local environmentalists. Occasionally, the “powers that be” cooperate to try and achieve this dream.
On Friday, October 22, Colonel John R.Boulé II, Commander of the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
hosted a Jamaica Bay Restoration Inspection Tour aboard the MV Hayward, for representatives of community organizations from New York and New Jersey.
Rockaway was represented by two local activists: RockViv, a/k/a Vivian Rattay Carter (publicity chair of Sebago Canoe Club of Canarsie and grant-writer for Rockaway’s Gateway Bike & Boathouse),
and Dan Mundy (head of Community Board 14’s Environmental/ Parks/ Uniformed Services and Public Safety Committee, and founder of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers of Broad Channel .
We boarded the ship at the Battery in New York City and cruised through New York Harbor. Past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Under the Verrazano Bridge.
Past Coney Island. Around the tip of Breezy Point.
On into Jamaica Bay.
Once we had arrived in the bay, Len Houston, Environmental Branch Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, presented an overview of the agency’s ongoing efforts at several locations visible from the vessel, including Plumb Beach near Sheepshead Bay, Dead Horse Bay (at the foot of Flatbush Avenue near Floyd Bennett Field), Paerdegat Basin in Canarsie, and the Pennsylvania/Fountain Avenues landfill near Starrett City.
The featured topic for the voyage was the marsh grass restoration projects at Elders Islands East and West (the islands visible toward the west when crossing the Addabbo Bridge into Howard Beach).
as the boat passed Governor’s Island on its return into New York Harbor.
For those interested in the history of Jamaica Bay, Daniel M. Hendrick of the Queens Chronicle edited a fascinating “Images of America” title for Arcadia Books, called “Jamaica Bay,” published in 2006. There are lots of great images from the Queens Public Library’s collection, plus many captured by Jamaica Bay Guardian Don Riepe. Also, don’t miss page 110 of the book, which shows me and my daughter viewing the “Last Flight of the Concorde” in 2003. You can purchase a copy at the Gateway National Recreation Area bookstores at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Broad Channel or at Floyd Bennett Field on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Gateway doesn’t operate a bookstore at Ft. Tilden, so you probably have to leave the Rockaway Peninsula to get it!