The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School is one of New York City’s public high schools, dedicated to using the harbor as an instructional tool. It used to be located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, about as far from the harbor as one can get and still be in New York City. Today was the official opening of the school’s new Governors Island facility, a former Coast Guard building that has been beautifully renovated—an opening complete with the ceremonial cutting of, not a ribbon, but a fishnet.
It was chilly and rainy, but the ceremony was held outdoors. As Harbor School founder Murray Fisher explained, since the ninth-graders were at that moment out on the water on the schooner Pioneer, we should also be outside. The SUNY Maritime band played the anthems of the U.S. armed forces while we waited for the ceremony to begin:
The flags didn’t mind the rain:
Nor did the plants in the school’s garden, a joint project of the art and science classes:
The Sustainable NYC class at Fordham University worked with the Harbor School students to plant the garden and procured most of the plants.
Various dignitaries attended, including New York State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York City Council Member Margaret Chin, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Here Nathan Dudley, the school’s principal, addresses the attendees (with Murray Fisher on the right):
Chancellor Klein spoke:
Students listened, some in the rain:
And some from their classrooms:
Finally, Mayor Bloomberg came to the podium as the rain got serious about falling:
The fishnet was cut with golden scissors:
We were rewarded with “light refreshments” for standing in the rain. This being the Harbor School, the refreshments included oysters:
One project of the school is the reintroduction of oysters to New York Harbor, a necessary step for cleaning up the harbor. These oysters did not come from their project (we think).
The Harbor School is the only school in New York with this view from its cafeteria:
And it’s also the only school in New York whose students get to see this every day on their way home from school, as they ride the schoolferry: