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Demise of the Neutrino Raft "Town Hall" and disappearance of the Raft "Child of Amazon"

This page is being updated as events unfold; the most recent developments are at the top of the page.


9/4/00

After conducting a thorough investigation of the applicable laws, Working Waterfront Association, together  with Rutgers University Law Clinic, are preparing papers which they will soon present to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, requesting a federal investigation of HRPT's conduct in this incident. They have also received letters of support from a number of elected officials of New York, which will accompany the request for investigation. We are hopeful that the true legal status of all vessels anchored in New York City waters will be affirmed through this process. We realize that this is a long and slow process, but feel it is vital to address the big issues involved, and not just the loss of our own vessels.

Also see the article from the June issue of the Tribeca Trib


6/10/00

Working Waterfront Association continues to work with us to investigate and prepare the legal moves to be made.

Meanwhile, Bob Roistacher of the NY Community Sailing Association has anchored his own sailboat on the very spot where the Town Hall was anchored.   Thank you, Bob!

It continues to amaze us that, having destroyed our vessel, HRPT still has not made a statement of any kind directly to us.


5/26/00  Action responses under consideration

Together with the Working Waterfront Association and others, we are investigating and will pursue appropriate legal and action responses to this event. Adam Brown, President of Working Waterfront had this to say: "This apparently unauthorized action by HRPT seems to violate numerous Federal laws, puts every vessel operator in jeopardy, but more to the point, represents a mean-spirited and capricious attack on innocent people's civil rights."


5/21/00 Articles appeared in both the NY Daily News and the NY Times, reporting the events

HRPT is quoted as stating that they did not need to give formal notice before removing the rafts, a position which is contradicted by the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the chief of harbor supervision for NYC.


5/16/00 Additional update re: Coast Guard

It has now been confirmed that the Coast Guard had nothing whatsoever to do with the most recent and very unfortunate incident regarding the Town Hall and Child of Amazon. The Coast Guard  has also confirmed that due process, which was bypassed by HRPT, certainly was necessary and should have been followed, and that the incident under no circumstances would have proceeded without due process, had the Coast Guard been involved. Our apologies, once again, for having incorrectly implicated the Coast Guard in our original press release on 5/10.


5/14/00 UPDATE AND CORRECTION:

The following press release was originally written in the first moments after the tragic end of the Town Hall, when information was coming to us in bits, and not even from eyewitnesses; some of this information later turned out not to be accurate. We now know that it was the Hudson River Park Trust which, without any court process or notice to us, ordered the rafts towed by a private towing company. Whether the Coast Guard was even on the scene or knew about the event is still unknown at this point. Our apologies for having incorrectly implicated them, in our initial statement, as the responsible parties in this tragedy. Balasz, the owner of the Child of Amazon, is presently sleeping on the pier, and has not yet been able to find out where his raft was taken.


Press Release, originally sent out on 5/10, corrected on 5/14

On May 8, 2000,  suddenly and without warning, and during the memorial service for Cardinal O'Connor, which was occupying the attention of all the media,  an unknown towing company, under orders from the Hudson River Park Trust, arrived at Pier 25 and summarily towed away the rafts Town Hall and Child of Amazon. After towing these two rafts up the Hudson River to Pier 40, the Child was loaded onto a barge to be taken to an undisclosed destination. In attempting to lift the Town Hall, presumably to do the same with it, the straps broke, and the Town Hall fell to the water, breaking into many pieces. The owner of the Child, Balasz, who has lived on board tied next to the Town Hall for several years, was there, and was refused even the right to go aboard and collect his personal belongings before this action was carried out. He lost, among much else, his green card and papers, the ashes of his father, and his cat, who was on board and has not been found since.

The following is an official Neutrino statement, released to the press, by Poppa Neutrino and Capt. Betsy, who were in Minnesota working on the Vilma B, and only heard about the incident after the fact:

The Town Hall, from its very inception, it seems, was destined eventually to fall victim to the bureaucrats. From the first time the Coast Guard wrecked her, near Port Jefferson, refusing to inspect or make a report about the damage they had done; to the stop voyage order they issued upon her arrival in New York, when their refusal to make an official inspection or specify what the problems were made it impossible to overcome this order; to her last and final moment, the splattering of a great art piece in bits, all over the Hudson River. How ironic that this symbol of creative recycling, which never, despite the accusations of its enemies, created any pollution anywhere it went, instead gathering and transforming into working art, the debris of an overindustrialized society, should end up as a clean-up incident caused by the euphemistially titled "Hudson River Park Trust."

The Town Hall was an inspiration to many who still seek to escape the rat race and pursue a life of creative possibilities. Although it may seem that it has now been eradicated, this will never happen. Just as Victor Laslow said of the French Resistance in the great classic Casa Blanca, "And what of it? If you kill me, hundreds, thousands, will rise up to take my place."

Parts of the Town Hall were used in the building of  the Son of Town Hall, which has made history by completing the first-ever crossing of the North Atlantic by raft. That event can never be erased. Parts of the Town Hall are being incorporated into our orphanage raft, the Vilma B, which even now is beginning her voyage down the Mississippi Riverto the Gulf of Mexico, and from there will go on to Brazil, Africa, and India.

To quote one of the Town Hall's former detractors in Provincetown, "It's too late to neuter the Neutrinos, they've already multiplied."  

And like a virus let loose on the wind,  just try and stop us.

-Poppa Neutrino and Capt. Betsy

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Last revised: May 30, 2006