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Someone coughs near me on my crowded commute. Me: holding my breath in a vain attempt to “avoid their germs” as I turn purple around the edges. Futile attempt, really.

Photo courtesy of

But short of walking around in a surgical mask like my folks do in Asia, what can I do?

If only there were some kind of germ-mask that didn’t look like a germ-mask…

LEO SCOUGH – Black Flannel Scarf with Light Blue Mustache. Photo:

Well look-ee here, a Gowanus inventor team has developed something called a Scough.

A scough is a scarf with a germ-barrier mask tucked in a hidden pocket in the scarf. It even has elastic ear-bands to help hold your germ-barrier in place. The removable mask has carbon and silver filters that according to the Brooklyn inventors, absorb germs and pollution and even kill viruses.



Scoughes are made of cotton, some with a cashmere or wool blend.  All scoughes come with one filter and cost between $39 and $59. Replacement filters can be purchased for $10 each or $20 for a 3-pack. Read more at DNAinfo, Brooklyn News12.

So why this odd post about scoughs? Well, while struggling for an April Fools post, I found this story that reeked of a prank. Upon investigation, I was amused to find it was indeed a real product. Now that’s an April Fool’s joke for ya!

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee


Photo: Charles Kyriazos via Wiki Commons

On my way back from hosting WHC’s Walking Tour of the Staten Island Waterfront this past Saturday, I encountered a trio of tourists from Ohio. Obviously bewildered by the chaos caused by subway closures and redirects, I offered my assistance. As most locals know, the subway system on the weekends is quite a challenge to navigate and this weekend was no exception.

Photo via NYC EDC

The 3 young men were in town just for the weekend to celebrate their buddies nuptials. Having just toured the Statue of Liberty, they were headed for Coney Island to see the iconic boardwalk and to ride the world-famous Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel. Unbeknownst to them, an hour-long journey on the subway lay ahead of them, likely longer due to track work.

Now, if there were a Coney Island Ferry, the trip would take less than 30 minutes and offer an amazing view of our vibrant waterfront along the way.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

Last week, I had the opportunity to ride on a Coney Island Ferry trial with the Friends of Coney Island Creek Ferry and Landing. The round-trip left from Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan and took us to Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island Creek.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

The purpose of the trip was to advocate for and install a recreational ferry route and improve ferry landings from The Battery to a proposed Ferry Landing on Coney Island Creek.

Image via Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

The Brooklyn Paper: A second group of People’s Playground boat lovers say that a pier tucked away in Coney Island Creek is the perfect place to dock a ferry from Manhattan, and even ran a successful test run to it from Battery Park on June 17. But a recently announced mayoral plan for the fetid waterway could leave their beloved vessel literally out to sea.

Photo: Stefano Giovannini via The Brooklyn Paper

[The American Princess,] a boat with 150 passengers set sail from Manhattan and landed at what ferry backers are calling the perfect dock at W. 21st Street and Neptune Avenue in Coney Island on June 17 — a maiden voyage that they hope thousands of tourists may soon make every day.

But there is one major obstacle — Mayor Bloomberg’s recently announced anti-flooding plan would build a dam across the mouth of the creek and convert the waterway into a marsh, making it impossible for boats to get inside.

Coney Island Creek Wetlands Restoration Proposal. Photo: NYC Mayor’s office via The Brooklyn Daily

The cruise was the brainchild of Friends of Coney Island Creek Ferry and Landing, a month-old organization trying to convince the city to convert a derelict jetty and adjoining lot on the inlet’s bank into a gateway to the People’s Playground. It argues that creating a water route from the city to Coney would not just cut travel time in half — 29 minutes compared to at least an hour by train — but would revitalize local businesses and the long-neglected Coney Island Creek itself.

“A recreational ferry can provide much-needed community economic development on Coney Island,” said founder Stuart Pertz, an urban designer and professor at Pratt Institute.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

A city study on the possibility of launching a ferry service to Coney considered the fishing pier in Kaiser Park as a possible docking location. The city rejected both the dock and the creek, saying they were too far from the amusement district.

Photo: Stefano Giovannini via The Brooklyn Paper

But Pertz and Friends argue that the dock at the end of W. 21st Street got overlooked — and would be just a 10-minute walk from MCU Park, the Parachute Jump, and Borough President Markowitz’s planned amphitheater in the former Childs restaurant. Read more here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

With OpSail 2012 behind us, we turn our sights to the next historical harbor event!

Last month, the Space Shuttle Enterprise made her final flight from Dulles International Airport to NYC where she will soon be on permanent display at the USS Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.

Infographic from the Intrepid Museum

Having been demated from her Boeing 747 SCA mount, the Shuttle Enterprise has been at JFK for the past couple of weeks, getting spruced up for her voyage to Intrepid’s flight deck. Today, Friday
June 1, she is being rolled out from her hangar and to a location near the water, where she will be gently craned onto her specially configured transport barge tomorrow afternoon. Enterprise will spend the night docked on her water chariot.

Shuttle Enterprise being demated from her Boeing 747 SCA. photo: Intrepid Museum

Sunday morning, the shuttle begins the water-leg of her journey, cruising past Queens and Brooklyn, travelling uncovered on top of the barge. The slow cruise is expected to take all day, the shuttle-topped barge heading for an overnight stop at berth in New Jersey.

From Newyorkology: passing the passing the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge at 3:30 p.m., Coney Island at 4:19 p.m. and under the Verrazano Bridge at 5:34 p.m. It will dock at 6 p.m. at Weeks Marine in Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, where it will remain until Tuesday morning.

The Shuttle Enterprise glides by the Statue of Liberty on her final flight. photo: Mai Armstrong

Tuesday June 5, the Enterprise begins her final journey to midtown.

From On Tuesday (June 5), at 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT), the barge will depart the Jersey shore to deliver Enterprise to the Intrepid, which is docked at Pier 86 at W. 46th Street and 12th Avenue in New York City.

On its way, the barge is expected to take the shuttle past the Statue of Liberty at about 9:50 a.m. EDT (1350 GMT) and the World Trade Center about 50 minutes later before traveling up the Hudson River to complete its journey by 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT).

The dates and times of Enterprise’s trip up the Hudson are subject to change, as they’re based on weather and water conditions.

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. photo: deror avi, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

The Enterprise will then be lifted by crane onto the deck of the Intrepid from the barge. The craning process should be really cool to watch. It’s supposed to take 3 hours to perform, so plenty of time for pictures! I wonder if the crane will be constructed on the barge, or if it will be on the Intrepid. Anyone have any intel on that?

Live Webcams on the Intrepid!

The Intrepid Museum has 2 live webcams trained on the deck where the Enterprise will be placed on Tuesday. You can watch Intrepid personnel hard at work preparing for her arrival. Can’t be there in person? Watch as it happens!

Weather will be a factor, so stay tuned for any changes in the planned schedule. If you have details I’ve missed, please do share them in the comments section.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

With OpSail 2012 and Fleet Week just around the corner, here are some of the many events scheduled for May 22 – 30, 2012.

Tuesday, 22 May
6:15 PM – Working Harbor Committee Hidden Harbor OpSail 2012 Preview Tour – see tall ships close-up at anchorage outside NY harbor. Departs from South Street Seaport.

USCG Eagle. photo OpSail 2012

Wednesday, 23 May
8 AM – Parade of Sail begins with the first tall ships sail under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to George Washington Bridge. Fireboat John J. Harvey leads Parade of Sail, and the Juan Sebastian De Elcano of Spain, third-largest tall ship in the world, leads the 17 Tall Ships.

10:30 AM – Military Parade of Ships begins under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, with USCGC Eagle leading the military ships.

11 AM – Working Harbor Committee OpSail 2012 Parade of Sail Tour, narrated by maritime historian Norman J. Brouwer. Brunch Cruise departs from South Street Seaport.

11 AM – Parade of Sail ships reach George Washington Bridge and begin turn-around.

12 PM – Northbound Warships pass Southbound Tall Ships near Pier 86, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum while Blue Angels fly over.

2-4 PM – Ships moor at assigned berths in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

OpSailCT 2000. photo OpSail 2012 CT

Thursday, 24 May
9 AM-5 PM – Staten Island ships open for public visiting (Stapleton Pier)

11 AM-3 PM – Manhattan ships open for public visiting (Piers 86 and 90 between West 46th and West 50th Street).

1 PM – Ecuadorian tall ship Guayas commemorates Batalla de Pichincha holiday with remarks by Ambassador at Pier 86

Friday, 25 May
9 AM-5 PM – Staten Island ships open for public (Stapleton Pier)

11 AM-3 PM – Manhattan ships open for public visiting (Piers 86 and 90 between West 46th and West 50th Street).

9 AM-6 PM – Military Day in Times Square (military bands, displays)

Sea and Air Parade of Sail: a new event for OpSail 2012 Virginia. photo:FestEvents

Saturday, 26 May
9 AM-7 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Manhattan)

9 AM-4 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Brooklyn)

9 AM-5 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island)

10 AM-3 PM – Blue Angels perform at Jones Beach

10:30 AM-12 PM – Intrepid Tug-of-War Competition (team from each ship)

7 PM-9 PM– Sunset Parade (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island)

Blue Angels. photo: U.S. Navy

Sunday, 27 May
9 AM-7 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Manhattan)

9 AM-4 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Brooklyn)

9 AM-5 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island)

10 AM-3 PM – Staten Island War of 1812 Commemoration Event @ Ft. Wadsworth

10 AM-3 PM – Blue Angels perform at Jones Beach

12 PM – USCG Search & Rescue Demonstration (Pier 86, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum)

2 PM – Military Bands in Times Square

7 PM – Sunset Parade (USS WASP, in Manhattan)

DCV Hayward Unloads After Day on the Harbor. photo: Chris Gardner, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Memorial Day Monday, 28 May
9 AM-7 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Manhattan)

9 AM-4 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Brooklyn)

9 AM-5 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island)

10:30 AM-4 PM – The 124-foot US Army Corps of Engineers Hayward will be open for public visitation near the Intrepid.

11 AM – Intrepid Memorial Commemoration (Flyover @ 11:40AM)

11:30 AM – Memorial Day Ceremony @ Intrepid

photo: Fleet Week NY

Tuesday, 29 May
12 PM-5 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Manhattan)

9 AM-5 PM – Ships open for public visiting (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island)

Wednesday, 30 May
Ships Depart New York Harbor

Guayas gets underway from New Orleans April 23. photo: OpSail 2012

Where to see the Tall Ships and the Military Ships

Pier 86 – Intrepid Museum Complex (West 46th Street at 12th Avenue, Manhattan, map)

Tall Ship Gloria of Colombia
Tall Ship Guayas of Ecuador

Pier 90 and 92 – West 52 (West 54 Streets at 12th Avenue, Manhattan, map)

Tall Ship Eagle of United States
Lead U.S. Navy Ship (LPD)
U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer

Port Authority Piers 7 And 8 (90 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, map)

Tall Ship Juan Sebastian De Elcano of Spain
Tall Ship Cuauhtemoc of Mexico
Tall Ship Etoile of France
Tall Ship La Belle Poule of France

HMCS Iroquis of Canada
JS Shirane of Japan
FNS Pohjanmaa of Finland
RFA Argus of Great Britain

Staten Island
The Sullivans Pier (Stapleton Pier, Staten Island; 2 stops on the SIRR from St. George’s Ferry Terminal)

Tall Ship Dewaruci of Indonesia
Tall Ship Cisne Branco of Brazil

U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer (3)
U.S. Navy Guided Missile Cruiser

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

A new report from state health and environmental officials has assessed the Newtown Creek for environmental and health risks and has concluded that the recently designated Superfund site is safe for kayaking.

Just don’t touch the water.

Kayakers on Newtown Creek. Credit: Moses Gates

From The Brooklyn Paper: Kayaking in [Newtown Creek] is not dangerous as long as paddlers avoid drinking or touching the water and do not schedule boat outings after big rainstorms, when raw sewage floods the creek…

“Because people do not usually submerge their heads in the water during these activities, the presumed volume of incidental water consumption is lower than swimming, and subsequently, the risk of illness can also be assumed to be lower,” the researchers said.

Two months after the Newtown Creek was declared Superfund site by the EPA in September 2010, the Department of Environmental Protection suspended boating on Newtown Creek; a DEP spokesperson asserting the city was “reassessing boating access via city property in such waters”.

From The Brooklyn Paper: The ban was lifted last spring, but the city bickered with community activists over the health and safety risks for recreational boating and pressured state officials to stall funding for a proposed Greenpoint boathouse. The state approved the boathouse last October and its health assessment confirmed that kayaking does not hold significant health risks.

The report also warns against eating any seafood from or swimming in the polluted waters. The new state study has concluded boating on Newtown Creek is safe, but don’t eat any creek critters and don’t take a dip.

Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Nature Walk Signage credit: Mitch Waxman

Environmental activists are calling for continued testing on the creek and better systems to alert the recreating public about risks. Projects like are testing prototypes that couple real-time raw sewage discharge monitoring with SMS technology to alert the community.

Riverkeeper regularly conducts water quality studies along the entire Hudson River estuary, including Newtown Creek; see their sampling data for Newtown Creek at Dutch Kills here and the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge here.

Help Pass NY’s Sewage Right to Know Act 
Unlike many other states, New York currently does NOT require public notification when raw or partially treated sewage is discharged into the waterways where we swim, fish and boat.

Please contact your NY State Senator now and urge them to pass bill S.6268A the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act. This bill will require wastewater treatment plants to notify the public through local media outlets where and when sewage is being discharged into our waterways.

Email your Senator today and urge them to support bill S.6268A.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Coast Guard training cruise will include leading tall ship parades

New London — The Coast Guard barque Eagle leaves today for a historic summer training cruise, but soon it will be back, and it’s going to bring along a few friends.

Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” will lead the parade of ships into the ports that are hosting Operation Sail events to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The July 6-9 event in New London is expected to draw thousands to the waterfront.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be able to lead that fleet into New London,” said Capt. Eric C. Jones, Eagle’s commanding officer. “We get to, in a sense, be the first to welcome the U.S. Navy combatants and international ships into our home port. We get to be the ones to invite them into the house, so to speak.

“The organizers of OpSail2012CT, politicians and other well-wishers gathered Thursday at the pier at Fort Trumbull State Park to say goodbye to the crew.

John Johnson, the local OpSail2012CT chairman, who said last week he was disappointed that more ships were not signing up to come to New London, said at the event that a Class C vessel, or a smaller, yacht-sized ship, had just agreed to participate.

Johnson declined to name the ship, but he did say that the total number of tall ships participating now stands at close to a dozen. That figure includes two of the large Class A square-rigged vessels, Eagle and the Cisne Branco, a training ship from Brazil.

The plan for Navy ships is to have the Yard Patrol Squadron from the U.S. Naval Academy bring four boats and for one of the Navy’s amphibious ships to dock at State Pier, said Navy Capt. Marc W. Denno, commander of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, who was at the Eagle Thursday. Right now that amphibious ship is the USS Whidbey Island LSD 41, Denno said, but that could change.

A Portuguese submarine already had planned to be at the base in July. Denno said the diesel submarine wouldn’t be open for general tours, but the crew would take part in OpSail events. The base also would provide volunteers for OpSail and help with security, Denno said.

“It seems like there is some momentum starting to build,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

Sailfest, the city’s annual summer festival that features food vendors, carnival rides, live music, and arts and crafts, will be held the same weekend in July. Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said that while the city faces competition from Newport, R.I., which is hosting the Ocean State Tall Ships Festival 2012 the same weekend, “it’s still going to be a great event for the city.

“With close to 80 people training to be officers in the Coast Guard or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on board, Eagle will sail from the city to New Orleans for the first OpSail event, April 17-23. The USS Wasp LHD 1, along with five large Navy vessels, will welcome the tall ships.

Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate 3rd class Manuel Perez tests his whistle as crew and trainees on board the barque Eagle prepare for a send-off ceremony Thursday at Fort Trumbull State Park. Sean D. Elliot, pool/The Day

New Orleans, unlike New London, is considered to be one of the major events for the bicentennial commemorations, said retired Rear Adm. John B. Padgett III, chairman of the national advisory group for the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, perform at the major events in the ports where the Navy can educate large numbers of people about the history of the War of 1812, what the Navy does today and the importance of a strong Navy, Padgett said Wednesday.

“You have a limited number of ships, and you’re trying to distribute them most efficiently to get the message out,” he said. “You get a bigger bang for the buck in New York or in Boston than you would in New London. It’s just a fact of life, and you can’t put as many ships in New London as you can put other places.”It is estimated that nearly 1 million people visited New London for OpSail 2000. But millions went to the New York festival, Padgett said.

“That’s not to disparage New London,” he said. “It’s just not as big.”

Padgett said some of the Navy ships that will be in Boston, June 30-July 5, may be available for New London, depending on their operational requirements.

Finizio said this year’s OpSail is still “a work in progress.”

“If we compare it to, say, past OpSails, or what we would hope ideally OpSail to be, then our expectations would fall short,” Finizio said. “But if we look at this as every year we do Sailfest, and this year we’re going to have an event that doubles or triples the size of Sailfest. We have to look at it through that lens and see that it will be a tremendous success and a tremendous boon to our local economy.”

link The Day – Eagle will leave today on mission to OpSail | News from southeastern Connecticut.

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