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CURB Remembers Avid Kayaker and Hudson River Advocate Gerry Blackstone

We are very sad to share that Gerry Blackstone, a longtime friend of Beczak and true Hudson River hero and advocate, passed away last week. Gerry, who is often aptly described as larger than life, leaves a lasting legacy in Yonkers and beyond. As a member of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club he was instrumental in creating their public paddling program at JFK Marina, known as RiverRiders, which connects thousands of local kids to the river every year. In 2013 he started testing local water quality in the Hudson River and Saw Mill with the help of the NYC Water Trail Association and found shockingly high bacteria counts in the Saw Mill, leading to the “Golden Toilet” award seen below (Gerry on the left).

Gerry Blackstone

This work was influential in CURB building our lab so we could adopt and expand the program. Now the annual testing program includes dozens of citizen scientist volunteers, tests the entire stretch of the Saw Mill, and has led to remediation efforts including fixing leaking sewers. Gerry was also always quick to volunteer to take our staff, interns, Sarah Lawrence students, and really anybody and everybody on many paddling adventures on the Hudson. Those days were always an extra special treat, to be with Gerry in his element, on the water with friends. We will miss you Gerry, and will do our best to carry on your legacy here at CURB!

For more on Gerry, including how to donate to the YPRC RiverRiders, see: