You won’t find Sperry footwear or Nautica gear at the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Nope, only industrial waste and rumored hepatitis. But that’s precisely why founder Dewey Thompson’s collective of rowers is so indisputably badass. The club proudly calls Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted waterways in America, home. For three years now, these renegade kayakers, canoers, and sailors have been on a mission of reclamation, jamming one oar after another into some of the choppier waters of environmental stewardship in order to re-enable the creek for purposes of recreation. Membership to the volunteer-run community organization is $40 and includes intrepid small-craft group sails, bird-watching, and exclusive concerts back at the boatyard. Last time we visited their Greenpoint hub, members were gathered around a fire pit, tossing back Brooklyn Lagers and recounting past outings. The consensus was clear: Stunning views of the Manhattan skyline are worth the occasional run-in with a floating rat.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013