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Forces at play include:  sun, earth, season, tide, surf, and many more.  J aka Jamaica Bay is not not more than 10 nautical miles (goose-flying miles) from Manhattan, about the same distance the Meadowlands is, if you continued that straight line between my vantage point and the Empire State Building, then beyond.

Here’s a map.  Doubleclick to enlarge;  see “you are here” and continue clockwise around the indicated yellow path and look toward Duck Point Marshes;   Manhattan is to the northwest.  J-Bay is an NPS area.  Click here for info on the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

See the Verrazano Bridge on the far side of Floyd Bennett Field.

Osprey respond to all those same forces at play.

On the far side of a pond, a wildlife volunteer (aka midwife?) observes an egret,

a snowy egret, gossiping and waiting . . .  as they all are.

So what’s this volunteer doing?  Note the pendant and the red dot.

After the eggs get laid–prompted by all these forces–

and a thorough burying process happens,

the red-dot mama gets weighed, and all relevant info gets encoded.  I saw a half dozen egg-layers summoned by the forces in a one-mile walk in the preserve yesterday.  A year ago, on the northeast side of J-Bay, the terrapin shut down JFK.  See the story here.

Humans think the terrapin obey signs?    From the volunteer, I learned that another force at play here is an overpopulation of raccoons.  And for hatchlings, predators include wading birds and voracious fish.

Well, it’s time for us all to kick back and enjoy all those same forces at play:  Saturday . . . Coney.    Or if you’re upriver . . .  Clearwater.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, himself beset by forces and tribal ritual of spring.

For info on terrapin mating, see here and here.

For another rite of spring in the sixth boro, click here.

Leapfrogging from “L” to “P,” ok ok, later I’ll pick up the ones I skipped.  P . . . parks and paddling.  Like National Parks.  Try to guess where these waters flow.


It’s Sunday glorious morning, and


and the water is flat;  the kayakers stay safely out of shipping channels and “go-fast” trajectories.


A ranger stands by.  The trailer transported the kayaks to the beach off to the right.  What’s your best guess about location?

aaaap4A clue:  apartment buildings lie just beyond the beach and trees.


If I turn the other way, this tower projects itself against the sky.  The profile might lead you to wonder if it’s the newest ATB setting the record for the highest air draft (a metal swan, as Bowsprite conceptualizes it) . . . or  an airport?


It’s JFK, in the boro of Queens.  And the kayaks, believe it or not, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, in conjunction with the  National Park Service, runs a FREE kayaking program just east of Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn.  Yes, it’s Brooklyn, and a calm out of the way portion of the sixth boro.  Friday through Mondays all July from 10 am until 2 pm.  And someone powerful must be happy:  since the program started on July 10, the weather has been fabulous.  Over 200 folks have come out for a paddle, many of those again and again and again.

Harbor Conservancy has also created a trail for experienced kayakers in Jamaica Bay with five put-in points as well as signage for wildlife viewing.  A map will soon be available here.

Click on the map below to make it interactive.  This beach is just south of the intersection of Rockaway Parkway and Belt Parkway.  Jamaica Bay is the “only wildlife refuge in the National Park system.”  Follow some great directions in that link.


I first kayaked over 20 years ago in boats much like these, nervous before I boarded that a kayak would be unstable.  Only weeks later I was surfing down coastal New Hampshire waves that grew from three feet to four feet to . . . well, after that I usually wiped out, but got back in and tried again.  For the kids and adults getting into a kayak the first time here, where might the experience lead?    And since writing that post more than two years ago, I’ve met Rocking the Boat and  Floating the Apple.

Thanks to Rangers Jose A. Ramirez, James Keena, and Pat Given for info used in the story.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  City Parks info here.

Unrelated:  Read frogma and moveable bridge’s reports from “Campground Governor’s Island.”

Also unrelated:  from today’s NY Times, a “secret pool party“!!

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September 2021