Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, August 7, 2011

River in the Sky

Yesterday, NYC sponsored one of its Summer Streets days, closing down a major artery to cars and buses so that bicyclists, runners, skaters, etc., could do their thing. There were volunteer crossing guards with double-sided Stop/Go signs to let automobile traffic through at designated cross streets. Pedestrians trying to cross were more or less on their own (but aren't we always?). As I was crossing 9th Street on 4th Avenue, an in-line skater eager to join the throng inadvertently sideswiped me, prompting a moment of roller-derby deja vu.

As I thought more about the event, I wondered why something similar, though on a much more ambitious scale, couldn't be attempted on the BQE. Rather than runners and bikers, we could flood an elevated section of the roadway--possibly where it skirts the Brooklyn Navy Yard or the massive warehouses in Sunset Park--and hold races for various kinds of flat-bottomed watercraft: canoes, kayaks, sculling boats.
Chinese Dragon Boat Festival 2010

In the evenings, gondolas could ply the elevated waterway while Brooklyn hipster bands provide an appropriate soundtrack. The festival would culminate in a Chinese dragon boat race, like the one pictured here in Hong Kong.

A pipe dream? Perhaps. Or just an excuse to share one of my favorite cartoons by the Polish writer Slawomir Mrozek (below). Reader, you decide.

From Rysunki by Slawomir Mrozek (1972)

Translation: "You, lads, don't be so jealous of me. Morally I stand in a lower position than you."

1 comment:

  1. Chinese dragon boat races are held annually in one of the lakes in flushing meadow park.

    and there are enough waterways (North River, East River, Harlem River, Bronx River, plus creeks (Newtown for one), and canals, already in NYC.
    there is no need to flood hi-ways--NYC is just slow on allowing/using the water ways (unlike say Boston where the Charles River is well used) recreationally.

    but there are kayak boat houses, with free access beginning to appear in every borough. Check out the LIC boathouse, and you can go on kayaking trips from Queens to Staten Island--And skip the BQE entirely!

    Just be sure to take a tide table--going against the tide can be nigh on impossible (in places in the East River (not a river at all but a tidal straight) tides can run 40knots!