Tag Archives: kayaking

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns for 24th annual celebration


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of HKDBF

Chinese celebrations are coming to Queens for the 24th Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York.

The event will begin on Aug. 9 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with a Chinese ensemble of musicians playing ancient and modern music  at 10:30 a.m. The event is named after the main attraction that involves over 180 teams, 2,250 participants, on boats with a dragon head on them racing each other across the Meadow Lake. The event is divided into the 250 and 500 meter race. The teams compete for cash prizes and other trophies. The festival is completely free and will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The tradition of dragon boat racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. as a form of protest. To prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body, the locals beat their drums and splashed their paddles.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with performances like the shaolin warriors. Masters and students of Shaolin Kung Fu Center headquartered in Flushing will demonstrate their ancient skills.

Across the country, similar dragon boat races will be held to celebrate the fifth moon of the lunar calendar, according to the event’s organizers.

For more information, visit www.hkdbf-ny.org.


RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Howard Beach residents say Charles Park needs repairs


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Some Howard Beach residents want to make sure a local park is cleaned up before future development comes in.

Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, part of Gateway National Recreation Area and heavily damaged by Sandy, was listed as a site for potential concession stands, kayak launch bays or bike terminals in a request for proposal from NYC Parks Department and National Parks Service (NPS).

But Charles Park has been traditionally underfunded despite many facelift and cleanup efforts. It has experienced problems with athletic fields including broken fences and toppled mounds at its baseball fields that are used by locals.

Community Board 10 Chair Elizabeth Braton said while the board would be open to rebuilding Jamaica Bay, many members think replenishing the park should be NPS’ first priority before other attractions come in.

“The people in the community would be far more interested in seeing New York City Parks Department do some work on the ball parks there,” she said, “Or to work collaboratively with the federal parks people to get some real improvements there.”

Representatives from the Parks Department are scheduled to address Community Board 10 on Thursday, April 4, Braton said.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo said Charles Park has been underfunded because it competes with other parks nationwide, including Yosemite National Park and the Statue of Liberty.

If Charles Park is selected for one item in the project, Addabbo said he wants to see some federal money go into repairing the park. “We need to use some of the federal dollars to rebuild Charles Park,” he said.

Suzanne McCarthy, the deputy superintendent at Gateway, said in a statement that the proposals would help secure more funding, and the agency has future plans for the waterfront park.

“We see our request for proposal (RFP) with city parks as another opportunity for this community, not an obstacle to our continued clean up,” she said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Kayaking could bring tourism, revenue to Jamaica Bay


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Jamaica Bay has been many things.

It was a fishing haven. It was the site of a deadly plane crash. And it was the catalyst for some of Sandy’s devastation.

But soon, the bay might attract more tourism when the region needs it the most.

Community Board 14 Chair Dolores Orr said the Parks Department had presented the board’s park committee with rough plans for kayak launching bays in Rockaway, along with concession stands throughout areas that are part of Gateway National Park.

Orr said the community desperately needed the project even before Sandy, as it would bring more tourism and revenue to the area.

“We are very much in favor of that in Rockaway,” she said. “We have a very large kayaking community.”

Kayaking has tapped into the water sports subculture in Rockaway. The New York Times last summer featured a story about kayaking trips in the bay. Access, however, has been restricted for many — especially after the storm cause extensive damage and pollution.

Gateway recently re-opened two launchings at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, but a Queens opening could still be way off. Orr said the board had proposed a launching site at Beach 88th Street about a year-and-a-half ago, and that Parks had begun to look into it as a potential site.

“Public access to Jamaica Bay was extremely limited prior to Sandy,” she said. “So after Sandy it’s even more significant.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES