Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bruising the Hell Gate

Yesterday we made our way, via Whitehall gig, down the East River from 96th Street to Newtown Creek, the ultra-polluted dividing line between Queens and Brooklyn. Industrial blight abounded, but it was nature that proved to bruise so hard.

Minutes after my boat kicked off the row, manned by a mere three mates rather than four, the other boat faded off into the foggy distance. In the absence of our teammates, Rob Buchanan, adventurer and coxswain, decided to direct us on a "short cut." So we forded the Hell Gate, a patch of water where tides get as nasty as 5 knots. What would happen if we tried this little trip at top-knot? The water would push us backwards, because no rower could row that hard. Luckily, yesterday was a good day - and the three of us made it through alive.

Photo by Rob Buchanan.

Info on Boat Launch and Update, May 7:

There's a good chance - 70%, by Rob's latest estimate - of heavy rain come Friday, when we plan to pull our gig out of the window at 65 5th Avenue and roll it over to Pier 40 on West Houston Street, making some stops along the way. I'll keep whoever might be reading this posted as to whether or not Friday will be the day. Rob wrote via e-mail that Don, master-boat crafter, "suggests I'm being a bit of a pansy about Friday's weather. If we do decide to launch it then, maybe we should name it 'storm queen.'"

As for the boat we just built, it is so close to being done. The trouble is naming it. Ryan Wood, a fellow rower, just wrote in a proposal "To combine votes for Queequeg, Tashtego."

Dear readers, the bickering between loosely defined factions of the educated and progressive left has gone on long enough. This is why I propose that Hillary Clinton, I mean Tashtego, respectfully concede to Quequeg.

Let's put our minor differences aside and focus our energies on the most electable candidate. If we want to see our interests served in the long run, we must unite the base and mount a full campaign against the heir presumptive, John McCain. I mean sialia sialis.
Let's not throw the general election. A vote for Queequeg is a vote for Barack Obama.

Thank you.

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