From Captain Aaron Singh, head of Harbor’s Vessel Operations program and captain of Lettie G. Howard:

The Lettie G. Howard crew wishes safe travels to Paola R, NYHS alumna on her training cruise this summer on T/V Empire State. Great job getting Lettie running and we can’t wait to have you back sailing this fall (between classes of course.)

Paola’s time on Lettie is a perfect example of Harbor’s STEM-focused maritime education, combining CTE and college preparation.  Paola’s on her training cruise on another vessel, preparatory to entering SUNY Maritime in the fall.  Aaron’s Vessel Ops program prepared Paola in the technical aspects future career, and her time on Lettie (owned by the South Street Seaport Museum) and on Harbor’s own vessels provided vital hands-on experience implementing her classroom learning.  She is more prepared than most to start her course at SUNY, working towards a BS in Marine Transportation.

This is how it works: sail training as STEM education, and CTE tightly integrated with college prep.  We’re so proud of Paola, and of so many others:  you guys have grabbed hold of Harbor’s opportunities with passion and commitment.  Bon voyage!  Don’t forget this Harbor where you launched…


Jade, class of 2015, showing off an aquatic ecosystem model. At the end of next year, she will be passing the torch— or the microscope?— to students like Shania, who will be officially eligible to join the Marine Bio Career and Technical Education Program her sophomore year.  Photograph: Mauricio Gonzàlez. 

The first group of students have gone through Indock— orientation and a brief intro to Harbor on Governors Island on Monday, followed by three days of intensive sail training and team building aboard Lettie G. Howard.

These kids are motivated: none of them ended up at Harbor by accident.  Shania, on her way over to the Island on the ferry for the first time as an officially-enrolled Harbor student, explained her path: “I’ve always had an interest in water and fish, and I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist since I was in third grade.  All the other kids were watching regular shows; I was watching documentaries.  I’ve done fishing and a little bit of sailing, so I’m kind of comfortable on the water.”   

She also, just a few months ago, found out that by going to Harbor, she’ll be continuing a family tradition. She described the scene: her aunt was visiting from Trinidad, and Shania was, in anticipation of starting at Harbor and moving towards her goal, trying to find out more about what the job of a working scientist actually looks like. “I don’t know why this happens, but when I get interested in something I just ask about it, I ask a lot of questions.  And she heard me asking and said that actually she was a marine biologist.  And I said, how come you didn’t tell me before?  She said she didn’t know I was interested.”  Once Shania starts work with Mauricio González and the Marine Biology Research Program, she and her aunt will be speaking as colleagues.  

There’s a hunger in so many of these kids to learn STEM subjects: it’s not something their teachers create— but it is something that the educators at Harbor School know exactly how to cultivate.

Sun on the skyline; friends and family on deck.

Furling the foresail.  You have never appreciated lazy jacks until you’ve done this.  

Cullen, Harbor ‘14, as first mate on Lettie.


Happy Birthday (one day late) to Theodore Hudson, ship’s boy aboard SSV Lettie G. Howard!  One year old and more sea time than most New Yorkers ever get.  Many happy returns, Theo! 


A highlight:

Talking with a nine year old Brooklyn girl and her parents.  She was dazzled by Lettie— which happens, of course, when you are nine and on a schooner.  

Her favorite subject in school is math, and one of Lettie’s volunteers explained to her about a special kind of math, which helps you find your way at sea.  


She also learned why the wheel’s at the stern rather than the bow.  She learned that on a boat, the bathrooms are called heads.  She learned— she figured it out by herself, with a few prompting questions— that in 1893, when Lettie was built, boats didn’t have electric lights on them, and that’s one of the advantages to the skylight positioned right over the nav table in the Captain’s cabin.  

Results: there’s one mom in Brooklyn who’s gotten very interested in Harbor’s commitment to girls curious about STEM subjects… and one girl in Brooklyn for whom learning trig will seem like the prelude to a nautical adventure.   


Your program for tomorrow: 

Events on Governors Island run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Ferry information is here, and a map is here.  You’ll find Harbor people at various places around the Island:

  • Come down to Yankee Pier to say hi to Aaron and students aboard Lettie G. Howard, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
  • Mauricio’s Harbor SEALS will be doing water quality testing at two locations on GI, one behind the school and the other at Pier 101.
  • Rick will conduct a free fishing clinic, on Pier 101, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Perfect your putting and enjoy the Billion Oyster Project-inspired scene at the hole designed by Jen Primosch and Harbor art students in what’s got to be the world’s most high-concept minigolf course ever.  
  • Head over to Earth Matter to see our oyster shells curing and visit the chickens.

And much more!  See you on the Island!


A must read: Check out this Business Insider piece by Dina Spector on Paul Greenberg’s new seafood paradigm, as described in his newly-released book, American Catch— which features a chapter covering Harbor’s Billion Oyster Project.  

This article makes it clear why BOP was such a natural illustration of Greenberg’s prescription for a healthy fisheries sector. As Spector writes,

Traditional fisheries and aquaculture…are built around large predatory fish, such as tuna and salmon.  

Greenberg…says we need to reorganize our “seafood pyramid” to promote filter-feeders such as seaweed and shellfish, which are easy to harvest, fast-growing, and help to clean the ocean by sucking up harmful pollutants. 

Because of this, aquaculture’s future lies in

moving away from large-scale aquaculture systems that pollute the open ocean and instead farming animals and plants that do well in small plots of ocean. That includes bivalves like clams, mussels, and oysters… 

"If aquaculture were organized around this principle, then it would be good for the country," says Greenberg.

Brin Smith, our colleague at Thimble Island Oyster Company, has, Spector writes, “pioneered an aquaculture system that ‘restores rather than depletes the ocean.’”  

This is, of course, a huge element of the Billion Oyster Project vision: while we’re not at the moment raising oysters to eat, aquaculture program head Pete Malinowski and others are teaching students sustainable oyster-farming practices in the context of raising oysters specifically for the purpose of restoration.  

This is essentially the biological version of what William McDonough and Michael Braungart have called The Upcycle: it is biological design for abundance. Traditional aquaculture has— as the BI piece notes— a bad environmental reputation.  With the BOP, by contrast, the more “oyster condos” go in the Harbor, the cleaner the water will be.  

An excellent piece, and a great intro to Greenberg’s visionary work.  To learn more, and to see where Harbor fits in to this “diet for a Blue Ocean,” go buy the book!  

By getting to Amazon by clicking through this link, you’ll even be benefiting the New York Harbor Foundation.  Once you click, you’ll be prompted to select a charitable organization. Choose New York Harbor Foundation, pick up your copy of American Catch, and with no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase price will go to support the BOP!  

Harbor graduate Cullen P. ‘14 with some classic yacht-type photography.  Lettie makes a good Rosenfeld Collection model, right?

Happy Summer from Jen Primosch, New York Harbor’s art teacher!

School may be over, but the Harbor’s still here, and we’re still out on it!

Ann Fraioli reports:

We are just wrapping up a great weekend overnight program on Lettie!  As described by one of the students, it was a “Harbor School and M.A.S.T Alliance” weekend.  
M.A.S.T. is the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, a public high school in Sandy Hook, NJ.  They joined us for the Port Authority Lettie launch event on May 12th, and four students and one faculty member returned for this weekend’s program.  We are so excited, not only to have begun serving the students of New Jersey, but also to be forging a long-lasting relationship with M.A.S.T.
Friday evening we anchored near Bayridge Flats and on Saturday we teamed up with the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance for an event to celebrate the Eco-dock at the 69th Street Pier in Bayridge, Brooklyn.  Between 10am and 1pm the Harbor and M.A.S.T. students gave deck tours to over 250 visitors!
After the festivities in Bayridge, we had an amazing 9 knot sail down to Sandy Hook, where we anchored for the night and the M.A.S.T. students got a different perspective on some very familiar territory. In addition to standing watch throughout the weekend, students were engaged in ship’s work, such as navigating and making baggy-wrinkles. We topped off the weekend with training in going aloft and driving the rescue boat.
Lettie will be tied up for maintenance for the next week and a half, so we are fully prepared for running Harbor School’s Summer Indock Program for the incoming 9th graders, which will run from July 14th - August 8th.  We will also be participating in City of Water Day on Saturday, July 12th.  

Fair Winds,