There's no need to head out to the Hamptons for some summertime fun, why not take a leisurely paddle in NYC's waterways? That's how one New York local spends his free time and he wants you to join in.
According to Owen Foote, New York is a city of islands and should be treated that way. He's one of the founding members of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, looking to promote the fun you can have in New York City's waters, despite coming along some unsightly finds.
Foote recalls own of his dirty journeys, "My last voyage on the Gowanus Canal was with my wife - and that's when we saw a dead rat."
It's a sixteen-year-tradition now for Foote. After a hard day of work, Foote routinely heads down to the heart of Brooklyn's manufacturing district.
Still dressed in business casual work attire, he makes his way to the Gowanus Canal and hops into a canoe, only after clearing the trash blocking the shoreline.
"We think that by recreating on this waterway, by enjoying a wonderful safe and lovely activity and evening after work is athletic, healthy, it gets your heart-rate going, reduces weight a ton of positive benefits. One negative? It could be a little contaminated - so don't drink it," Foote stated.
Many times, he'll meet a set of newcomers to NYC's aquatic activities, and he'll lead them on a tour.
At first, it's not too different than an average canoe ride on your favorite lake. There are, of course, the relaxing elements of sitting on a boat and drifting with the water.
But then you open your eyes and it's a little different: graffiti walls, bulldozers and water pipes bordering the shoreline.
"We saw a dead crab, but we saw a crab. Seventeen years ago, you didn't even see a crab. You would be lucky if you saw a small bait fish because those are the only things could survive in the 16 inches of oxygen on the surface. Now, come back in the summer, you would see striped bass jumping," Foote said.
Now, by no means does Foote think these waters are clean or even safe, but, he's a man on a mission.
Foote says a lot of this pollution comes from harbor overflow after it rains, something that can be fixed if residents restrain from doing laundry or taking showers in inclement weather, "If we had 10 million people not taking a shower, not doing laundry when it rains, not doing the dishes when it rains perhaps there would be a noticeable difference in the harbor. Perhaps you won't see the remnant of what you flush down the toilet, on our city beaches. Can you imagine?"
The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is a volunteer organization based in Brooklyn, but offers fun in the water all around NYC. If you're interested in taking a ride you can go to www.gowanuscanal.org.