Red Hook  has a big role in the Gowanus Canal Superfund clean up, and two opportunities to get involved this week:
  • Site visit Tues 3/20/12 5:30pm and 
  • Public meeting Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:00 PM.  download meeting PDF here

Details on both below.

Some background on the process up until now at  http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/gowanus/cag.html

Site visit Tues 3/20/12, 5:30pm

There will be a site visit Tuesday March 20th at 5:30pm of a location that looks like to play a key role in the superfund dredging.

The the property known informally in Red Hook as the Gowanus Industrial Park or the Columbia Street Grain Terminal. It is accessed from a gate opposite IKEA's entrance on Columbia Street.

The site has been discussed as a barge staging area, site where the dredge remediation plant could be installed, and a place where remediated dredged would be used as landfill (which could fill out to where Columbia Street makes the right angle turn to the SW for it's final stretch by the NYPD evidence lot).

Info on the site visit is below

From: Phaedra Thomas [mailto:phaedra_thomas@earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 2:37 PM
To: Phaedra Thomas
Subject: Meeting Thursday, Site visit tomorrow

Hello Again, 

The EPA meeting is this Thursday March 22nd at 7:00pm at the MICCIO.  Sorry for any confusions.  

If possible John would like to have as many folks over to his property tomorrow, Tuesday March 20th at 5:30pm for a brief onsite review of where EPA activities could take place.  We were hoping to have EPA join us at the visit but they are otherwise busy.  We still wanted an opportunity to provide a visual perspective of what could happen, prior to Thursday's discussion.

Please let me know if you can make it tomorrow.  Very sorry about short notice.

Best -Phaedra (917) 859-2949

download PDF about meeting below here

[EPA logo here]

Meeting about Superfund plans for Gowanus
and how they may affect Red Hook
(we are a potential processing site for the toxic dredge material)
and opportunities for Red Hook to get involved

EPA invites you to a public information meeting on the GOWANUS CANAL SUPERFUND SITE
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites you to attend a public information meeting to discuss the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal and its potential impact on the residents of Red Hook. Representatives from EPA will be on hand to talk about possible clean up options to address the contamination in the Gowanus, followed by a question and answer session. The meeting will be held on:

Thursday, March 22, 2012
7:00 PM

Red Hook-Miccio Community Center
110 West 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Site related documents are available online at:
If you have any questions regarding the meeting or any other site related issues you can contact Natalie Loney, Community Involvement Coordinator at loney.natalie@epa.gov, (212) 637-3639 or toll-free at1-800-346-5009.

Boom! meets Pizza!

Pier 9B, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Posted by Carolina Salguero
Photos by Carolina Salguero unless otherwise indicated.

The first volunteer day of 2012, Saturday, was blessed with GLORIOUS weather with temps hovering around 50 degrees and the sun mostly out all day.  Project Boom! is in its final stages. Mike I-love-rigging Abegg tweaked the cable running through the boom's refurbished blocks, attached a block to the end of the boom, running its line through the fair leads used during the MARY WHALEN's days of carrying fuel hose.  We'll use that block instead of  the boom chainfall (so key for gangway tending) to do things like lift pallet loads of hard coal. We'll be getting 2 tons of coal once the boom is back up. Time to play Break Bulk! Better that than Break Back from carrying eighty 50-pound bags of coal up the gangway...

Today's goals:  get shipwork work done, have fun (as always) and learn to make pizza to feed the crew.  It's cold enough to want something warm at the end of the day, and deep inside the container terminal TWIC zone as we are, no take-out deliveries are possible.  Today, we received a donated pizza stone from by A Cook's Companion - thank you! - picked up by John Weaver and Karen Dyrland who popped by to deliver my new used Leica digital camera (photos here may improve) and put in an hour of work.  Before the volunteers arrived Smitty, a wizard musician on the steel guitar, came and donated to the firewood pile, walnut offcuts from his cabinetry work.
Today's work list was aspirationally long; but hey, Mike Abegg says to make a bigger list than we can do!

First thing I did before shipwork was make the sauce for the pizza. Time for a shout out here to thank Scott Pfaffman and Molly Blieden for donating a stack of saucepans after their tenant restaurant O'Barone closed. This is one of the big ones. So great!
Sauce is being cooked on our Webb Perfection diesel pot-burner stove, a design patented in 1918.
Diesel simply piddles down the pipe, turns right and then heads towards the back and into the "pot," aka a Valjean Burner. The holes allow oxygen to enter.  The overflow safety cutoff is the little chain dangling to the right of the down-sticking overflow pipe. If the pot floods, the extra diesel spills down that pipe and into a cup. Once that cup get heavy (you have to calibrate that), it pulls down on the chain and cuts off the intake. Originally there was a round-bottomed brass cup. Now, we have a bean can with a dead padlock to give it heft. If someone knows where to get such a Webb brass cup, we'd love to know.
First volunteer in, Peter Rothenberg, nets the day's Best Dressed Award.  Pete is painting the boom mast fully and his shirt not very much.
Mike Abegg where he likes to go, up the ladder and into what little rigging an oil tanker has to offer. Photo by Karen Dyrland.

Though the South Street Seaport is rising like a phoenix and has reactivated their volunteer program, our Save Our Seaport friends are still around.  After spending the morning volunteering on the Seaport fleet, Mike Cohen, Nelson Chin and Linda Beal spend their afternoon at PortSide. Here they're pitching in on final stages of Mike Abegg's boom project.

Somehow Linda Beal seems to get involved in projects stretching things out on the pier. This time she handles it without Chiclet's assistance. Chiclet punked out this work day and did not supervise.

Me, setting off to cut firewood on the pier. Photo by Nelson Chin.

Linda Beal and Mike Cohen wire brushing the boom guy wires. Heckuva job! I wrote the guy wires off as badly rusted; but after Linda and Mike's diligent brushing, the wire rope looked really good!
Me, cutting wood offcuts donated by Ralph Gorham of Brooklyn Farm Table and Red Hook Lobster Pound. That's so Red Hook... that kind of range out of one person. I'm sorry to burn such wonderful old timbers and set aside a few for Mike Abegg who is also a cabinetmaker (what was I saying about people with diverse skill sets...). The axe here is a wanna be. I swung it twice and concluded that my shoulder is NOT healed after being hit by a truck on 1/14/11, so it's a good thing that I'm switching the fidley stove from wood burning to coal burning... I'll need much less wood this winter, just enough to start the coal fires...
Speaking of fuel. Here, passing us is the kind of 2nd generation equipment that replaced the MARY A. WHALEN. The first generation after coastal oil tankers was fuel barges pushed by harbor tugs. Now there are these huge "pin boats," ATB (articulated tug and barge units) whose tugs are pinned to double hulled fuel barges.  The MARY is an old single hull. She carried 8,019 barrels.  That's Reinauer equipment passing us, and their bigger barges carry 100,000 barrels and more, all of which constitutes a heads up as to how much fuel consumption has soared from 1938 when the MARY WHALEN was built until now.  Photo by Karen Dyrland. Her father was captain of the MARY A. WHALEN from 1958 to 1978.

The wind really came up by the end of the day; and here Mike Cohen is wrastling the wheelhouse window tarps back into place. They came down for New Years Eve fireworks viewing....

Pizza #4. What you can't see here was the learning curve from Pizza #1, the pizza that was a lesson in corn meal or semolina flour. eg, without it scattered on your pizza peel, you're not getting your pizza off the peel! A nimble committee lept into action and helped me drag deformed Pizza 1 onto the Pizza stone. 

Nelson Chin cutting pizza, Mike Cohen and Mike Abegg  to the right of him.

Matt Perricone of the Tug Cornell and Amy Bucciferro arrived in time for Pizza #4. Matt was in to pick up two old radar monitors that were donated to us.  We're trading them for work time from Matt.  We all laughed about Lessons of Shipwork, The Shopvac Episodes.  My tale covered why not to use one to vacuum out a diesel stove--clogs your filter in minutes, and there is  no way to clean that off without getting blackened like a coal  miner.   Matt said "never use one without a filter; because if  you do, what was over there, just goes zzzzip over to here."  Matt described cleaning out the MARY WHALEN's boiler chimney on New Year's day. He removed about 15 gallons of rust scale and one dead pigeon.  Minus the bird and friends, could we finally get the boiler to work? Wouldn't central heat be grand....

And with that, I'll leave you with the Shop Vac Song

Summer friends return

from www.richard-seaman.com/Birds/USA/VoloBog/index.html
Returned to port 1145 tonight.

Another of the larger container ships on Pier 10, fueling barge already alongside. The port is ever busier.

Heard first croak of a night heron this calendar year.  Had it just returned from migration? I look forward to the cheerful chuffling of the swallows. They live under the pier. Clearly, they haven't read the DEC policy on shading, otherwise they would know they couldn't live there.

Fun fact: A group of herons has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "hedge", "pose", "rookery", and "scattering" of herons.