Thursday, June 28, 2012

Explore New York City's Newtown Creek

I've written before about the wonderful tours of New York harbor and the environs along the Brooklyn and New Jersey waterfronts: tours organised and run by the New York's, Working Harbor Committee (WHC).

On July 22, the WHC is organising a tour of Brooklyn's Newtown Creek, a body of water that was once the busiest waterway in North America! Not that you would think that today, given the present state of the creek.

The heart of industrial New York, Newtown Creek was home port to hundreds of tugboats (one of which is the historic WO Decker). It was also an international destination for oceangoing ships and a vast intermodal shipping and manufacturing hub that employed hundreds of thousands of people. Forming the border of Brooklyn and Queens for nearly three miles, five great cities grew rich along the Newtown Creek's bulkheads -- Greenpoint, Willamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City and Manhattan itself. The waterway is still a vital part of the harbor and the Working Harbor Committee (WHC) is presenting this tour as part of the celebration of their tenth anniversary year.

Mitch Waxman, a member of WHC's steering committee and the group's official photographer, also serves with the Newtown Creek Alliance as its group Historian. In addition to working on WHC's boat tours of the Creek, Mitch offers a regular lineup of popular walking tours, and presents a series of well-attended slideshows for political, governmental, antiquarian, historical and school groups. His website chronicles his adventures along the Newtown Creek and in the greater Working Harbor.

Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek Exploration

On 22 July, Mitch will share his unique point of view and deep understanding of the past, present and future conditions of the Newtown Creek as the narrator and expedition leader for the Newtown Creek Exploration. Other scheduled speakers are Captain John Doswell of the WHC and special guest speakers from the towing industry and industrial users of the creek.

The tour departs by New York Water Taxi from Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport at 11 a.m. (sharp) for a three hour tour of the Newtown Creek. From the East River the tour will move into the Newtown Creek where participants will explore vast amounts of maritime infrastructure, see many movable bridges and discover the very heart of the Hidden Harbor.

Limited seating is available, and tickets cost $50. New York Water Taxi's have indoor and outdoor seating, and tours run rain or shine.

Unfortunately, I will miss the tour by barely a week since I won't arrive in New York until August 1st. It's a great shame. Having been on other Hidden Harbor tours I know how interesting they are, and for visitors and locals alike, they offer a unique look at aspects of the city that most people never see or experience.

Click here to purchase tickets...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Coming Up For Air

Hard to believe, I suppose, but there it is… my last entry was posted on April 1 (All Fools Day), and despite my best efforts to ignore my blog and devote myself to reading, people have kept visiting this site, and to my amazement (and confusion), I’ve even gained a couple of followers during my self-imposed exile.
I also discovered recently that a blog called Eleni’s Blog in Ikaria recently featured The Compleat Traveller as her blog of the month. In keeping with the focus of her own blog, Eleni has specifically chosen to feature my numerous entries about the Greek island of Ikaria, my ancestral home in the Aegean Sea.
I had hoped to return to Ikaria this year, but I have decided instead to make my third trip to America, so Greece and my island ‘home’ will have to wait for another twelve months or so. Meanwhile, thank you Eleni for the honor, and I commend my readers to Eleni’s Blog in Ikaria and hope you enjoy her writing and mine.

Apple iPad 2
Apart from continuing my reading streak, I bought a 64Gb iPad 2 at the start of June, and I have been discovering its many joys and features ever since. In fact, I am rarely away from it, and amongst other things, I have been testing its potential as an eBook reader. To that end I have downloaded over a hundred free eBooks from that wonderful repository of public domain books at Gutenberg.Org, and already read a dozen of them. I have also bought and read one other book, Peter Bergen’s Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search For Osama Bin Laden.
I finally made the move to iPad and eBooks after my bookshelf began to fill to capacity, and I realised that I just had to make the transition from physical books to digital reading before my passion for books got totally out of control.
It seems to have worked.
Since purchasing the iPad, I have only bought a couple of physical books and the more I use the device to read, the less I feel the need to buy ‘hard copies’ of the printed word.
Of course, the iPad has many other functions and uses, and I am planning to make it my main digital companion on my forthcoming trip to America. On previous trips I have lugged a heavy laptop around with me, but I am going to see how I can get by with my new purchase. I am hopeful that I can do pretty much everything I will need to do while on the road, and where it does not suffice, I will use internet caf├ęs.
Anyway, I’m alive and well, and looking forward to travelling again, and making the occasional blog post here. Oh, and it’s good to be back. I think.
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