New York Harbor is a sailor’s paradise. One is immediately immersed in the sweeping views of the skyline, an awe-inspiring 360 degree circle of the Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island, or an exhilarating tack out beyond the Verrazano Bridge. All the while passing a diversity of sea craft ranging from super tankers to cargo vessels, or military ships to cruise liners, or jet skis to kayaks and paddle boards. Beyond the shadows of superstructures, you can skirt protected wetlands that offer solitude and refuge. Sailing in and around the harbor offers this unique duality and it is indeed the experience Walt Whitman famously wrote about in the mid 1800’s.
As boat yards began to lower pleasure craft into the water for the start of the 2019 season, we found Nitzan Levy at Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City.
Nitzan is the founder and director of Sailors NYC. She started the company to offer both veteran sailors and novices alike to learn the ropes of sailing and ultimately join as a crew member. Nitzan was interested in contributing her personal stories for our May event that celebrated Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday. Being a hard-working, hands-on mariner, with much experience of navigating the waters of New York Harbor, Nitzan’s enthusiasm is captured in this recorded audio clip.
More recently, Nitzan’s love of the water and a connection to all things international found her creating more magic in New York Harbor this summer. Nitzan along with her co-organizers, supervised the custom designed sail cloth to boldly display each of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals decreed by the United Nations General Assembly on a flotilla of seventeen sailboats.
On August 28th, the flotilla assembled in the harbor to welcome a trans-Atlantic traveler who reportedly carried her own sail cloth message that read “Unite Behind The Sciences”. Nitzan and her seventeen sailboats greeted sixteen year old Greta Thunberg who stood confidently on deck under the sails of the Malizia II.
This week, Thunberg is speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, addressing the world on how important it is for every individual to act responsibly in order to save the planet.
Nitzan’s flotilla made sure the world bore witness to the UN’s mission and ceremoniously accepted Greta Thunberg’s message to all of us here living in North America.
Dr. Craig O’Connell is the co-founder and executive director of O’Seas Conservation Foundation, Inc based in Montauk. Dr. O’Connell's nonprofit foundation focus's on researching different species of sharks through camera studies, bycatch reduction technologies, and underwater video surveillance.
Janie Meneely, a songwriter, wrote a poem some years back on Grandma Polly, a true story from the Radcliffe clan, and Senator from Maryland describing their feisty relative. Apparently, Grandma Polly was upset when she found out the British commandeered the family merchant vessel and took her husband with it.