Monday, August 07, 2006

First Victim of the Gowanus Detox: Empty Vessel Project?


We were unhappy when we learned that the Empty Vessel Project, the restored World War II Navy rescue boat being turned into a community space on the Gowanus, may lose its berthing space on the Big G. We'll let them explain:
We have berthed EV at the disused end of First Street since January 2006. Since our arrival, the street is safer and cleaner. We have created an access point for the pubic to use the water and a lovely perch to watch the sunset on the relics of gowanus history. Unfortunately, our berthing spot, is in peril. Berthing at the end an unused street is restricted by the City Commissioner and the Dockmaster, an employee of the Department of Small Business Services. They have been very generous to EV and appreciative of the positive impact we have had on First Street. But on August 12, they may ask us to move. We have two options - convince them to let us stay or find an equally inviting new perch on the Gowanus edge. Can you help us do either?

You send an email to, Dockmaster Dennis Cotto, expressing your aproval of EV's berthing and asking him to forward your message on to anyone who has the power to let us stay. Please cc on your message. Or you can send tips about a new home for EV to
The Empty Vessel is a proud little boat with a wonderful history. It is exactly the kind of thing we need to keep on the canal.

Please, please, please take five minutes to send an email to Mr. Cotto expressing your support for the continued berthing of the Empty Vessel at the foot of First Street on the Gowanus. It is an amenity that has brought safety, joy and life to an otherwise dead street. Show the people whose actions can have an impact on the outcome of where the EV Project boat lives that people care about its fate.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this!

- Tianna
(from EV)

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks can check out an archive of the wonderful letters Mr. Cotto has recieved this week here:
Thank you so much to everyone who already took the time to write.

If you've got writer's block, check out these letters. They are beautiful.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An update from the EV crew:

Sorry we've been out of touch for so long. We have had to move EV from her public berth at the end of 1st Street onto a nearby private property. There is no public access at this new site, so EV cannot accept visitors. As a result, all public events are suspended until we find her a new home.

For the month of October, we are partnering with Free Dimensional ( to host Bara Diokhane (, a painter from Senegal, aboard EV. He will be using the vessel as a studio, working on a project that makes connections to the 'boat people' who leave Senegal for economic opportunities in Spain. We are looking forward to a reception and show of his work at the beginning of November.

The future of EV as a publicly accessible space hinges on a berthing location where the public is welcome. Can you help us find a place to put her? Do you know anyone with waterfront property on the Gowanus or in Red Hook? Are you connected to other waterfront projects who already have access in New York and would welcome another vessel/venue? Do you have a crane and an empty lot? We are open to suggestions and collaborations. We are willing to re-envision and re-imagine. We would like to bring EV back to the public. She is lonely without you. Please help us.

Email with any and all ideas. We will even hand her over in service of another good idea.

5:42 PM  

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