Astoria
Sep 23, 2014

Some Things That Make the East River Interesting

The view of the East River from Astoria’s waterfront along Vernon Blvd. Today we came across a couple of interesting stories on folks interacting with the East River and its inhabitants. (…)

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The view of the East River from Astoria’s waterfront along Vernon Blvd.

Today we came across a couple of interesting stories on folks interacting with the East River and its inhabitants. Via Gothamist, down in Brooklyn there was a seining event, where scientists used a seine net to capture creatures from the depths in order to look at and study them. It all sounds fascinating—the seine net picked up little crabs, fish, algae, and more. Of course, they returned everything back into the water.

I’d love to see something like this happen along Astoria’s waterfront.

The second story from the NY Times is about the fishing that happens along Astoria’s waterfront. Women—Bangladeshi immigrants—are throwing metal traps into the water just south of the Astoria Houses, with the intent to catch small fish called spearing or shiners. This little fish, often used as bait, are commonly eaten in Bangladeshi cuisine—they fry them up with tomatoes, garlic, onions, chili pepper, and strong spices; Bangladeshi food is very flavorful.

One Astoria Houses resident is concerned that the women are depleting the fish stock but it sounds like they are attuned to the season when these little fish are plentiful. Still, one wonders how healthy the fish are, since the East River is not the cleanest water. Apparently at the bottom of the river there is a lot of debris, things like old batteries and rusted metal. But those that fish there have not experienced any problems, so go figure. Certainly the East River is cleaner than it used to be.

Amazing things happen on the waterfront.

River Kale, Crabs & More: What We Found In The East River [Gothamist]
In East River, Bangladeshi Women Find Their Catch of the Day [NYT]

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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