Another Crowdfunding Effort Is Underway to Build Something Beachy in the Hudson River

Image courtesy CityBeach NYC
Swim at your own risk.
"I want a beach in Manhattan soooo badly," a man confides to the camera. He leans forward, hands in his pockets. A cheery tune plunks along in the background.

"Like, this much," the woman next to him adds, stretching her arms as wide as they go.

One by one, a parade of eager, hopeful beach bums flashes across the screen, all voicing their enthusiastic agreement: The city's largest borough needs a beach. STAT.

Clearly, these cheerful, wide-eyed New Yorkers want it. But how close are they to getting it?

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Lucy Lawless, Xena Warrior Princess, Captures Oil-Drilling Ship

Lucy Lawless -- of Xena, Warrior Princess and Spartacus -- has taken over an Artic-bound, oil-drilling ship along with several other Greenpeace activists today.

Lawless and the Greenpeace members boarded the Shell-contracted ship this morning, in hopes that their protest would keep it from leaving Auckland, New Zealand for the Alaskan coast. That vessel, the Noble Discoverer, is scheduled to drill three exploratory oil wells this summer in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.

Runnin' Scared reached out to Lawless, who took a few minutes to chat about the demo.

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PU! Jamaica Bay Is Soon to Be Stink-Free

Howard Beach stinks. But soon it won't smell so bad, because New York's Department of Environmental protection has just finished building a new, odor-curbing station in Jamaica Bay's Shellbank Basin.

The area, known to reek of rotting fish during the summer, gets an olfactory reprieve because two new air compressors will pump oxygen into the bay, stopping the sour stench, the DEP announced today. Work on the $3.5 million setup started in September 2010.

Here's why Shellbank needs the station: during hot months, oxygen-deprived, stinky bottom layers of water -- which can't really support fish life -- tend float to the top. These two air compressors will blast air along the bottom of the basin, preventing the problem in the first place.

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Gross Gowanus Canal: Cleanup Conversations Continue

The Gowanus Canal, which has the unique honor(?) of being one of the few water bodies in America that can kill a baby whale, might soon lose its century-old street cred as a cesspool for industrial waste.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency met with area residents and shared its cleanup ideas with the public. Runnin' Scared caught up with Elias Rodriguez, spokesman for the EPA's New York City branch, to see how it's going to fix the City's beloved aqueous dump.

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Department of Environmental Protection Clarifies Fracking E-Mail (UPDATE)

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has had his share of public reservations about hydrofracking, urging government honchos to keep drilling far from NYC's water. The City's environmental agency is on board, too.

But a strange little newsletter released this afternoon from the Department of Environmental Protection sends mixed signals, even if it doesn't mean to.

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Sewage Secrets: Leif Percifield Does Not Like It Raw

Last week, Runnin' Scared brought you news of Leif Percifield, a Parsons grad student who's working diligently to develop a phone app, DontFlushMe, that could prevent 27 billion gallons of shit from flowing into New York's waterways yearly. A lot of this raw sewage enters the City's harbors as overflow -- concisely, when the system gets backed up and people continue to flush. So Percifield's basic idea is this: He wants to hook up sensors to the plants where this excess travels, that would send text alerts to people notifying them of potential overflows. That way, they can change how they use water, preventing pollution. We had a chance to catch up with the Bushwick resident and chat a bit about his aqueous ambitions.

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New App to Measure Poop in NYC Harbors in Real Time

If you go for a swim in New York's waterways, you might have a bit of uninvited company -- the 27 billion gallons of raw sewage that get dumped into the harbors yearly, that is.

Leif Percifield, a grad student at Parsons, would like to reduce this deluge of human excrement flowing through the rivers and bays, so he's launching DontFlushMe -- an app that will alert sewer system users to overflows related to toilet-flushing.

Or, as the EPA's Elizabeth Myer puts it, the program will advise "when to let it mellow." (Disclosure: We really wish we'd used that line first.)

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Nudists Want a Little, Naked Piece of Coney Island

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Hasn't Coney Island seen enough of sorrow, tribulation, and nakedness? Perhaps not. The American Association for Nude Recreation would like Coney Island to have a designated nude beach for reasons including Coney Island's accessibility via mass transit as well as the opportunity to "attract more Europeans and out-of-state tourists to New York, because they would finally have a convenient place to sunbathe nude," said the group's spokesman, Tom Mulhall, who we're not sure has ever actually been to Coney Island. City officials are being kind of a buzzkill about all this, however, as nude sunbathing does not exactly fit in with plans to revitalize charge more for fancy new things at Coney Island.

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NYPD Doesn't Care About You Smoking, Ban or No Ban

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Earlier this month we reported on New York's new smoking ban, which will prohibit cigarette smoking at public beaches and parks. City Council passed the ban 36-12, and it will take effect on June 2 of this year. So what will a police officer do if you light up at a beach or park? According to Mayor Bloomberg, nothing, really.

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City Council Passes Strict Smoking Ban

New York City Council has passed a bill that prohibits smoking in public parks, beaches, boardwalks, pools, playgrounds, and pedestrian plazas. Smokers may need a cigarette to calm their nerves after reading this news.

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