Storm Preparations


I took a look at the CFs on the major Croton streams to see how they were flowing after Tropical Storm Irene. Since the DEP controls water levels, I was thinking they were releasing a lot of water from the reservoirs into the outlets. That combined with the runoff, I expected it to be high…but not this high. Pretty dramatic differences.

– East Branch (Croton River just below dam): median CF = 63, right now, CF =2460 , gauge height, 7′ 3″ and falling
– Croton Falls Outlet (Croton River West Branch): median CF = 70, right now, CF = 430, gauge height, 6′ 6″ and falling
– Amawalk Outlet (Muscoot River): median CF = 19, right now, CF = 241, gauge height, 10′ 6″ and rising
– Titicus Outlet: median CF = 12, right now, CF = 2,180, gauge height, 8′ 7″ and peaking
– West Branch Outlet: median CF = 32, right now, 846, gauge height, 4’1″ and rising
– Cross River (in Ward Pound Ridge): median CF = 4, right now, 825, gauge height, 6′ 2″ and falling

The EB is 39X normal flow.  TO is 181x normal flow, but Cross River takes the prize at 206X normal flow!! 😮

Seeing how Cross River has the only native brook trout population in the area, that’s quite worrying. On the other hand, the buildup of silt on all the rivers should be lower after the flooding, right?

For the heck of it–looked at the Esopus Creek up in the Catskills: median CF = 261, right now, CF =59,900, gauge height, 16′ 9″ but earlier was 21′. The Esopus is 229X its normal flow…I’d say that’s got to be a flood.

…I can’t begin to imagine the damage.


Wondering what a Category 3 might look like if it hit New York? Here is a vintage WPA film covering the great 1938 September hurricane, “Shock Troops of Disaster: The Story of the New England Hurricane.”

So with Hurricane Irene mozying up the coast, I really had just one thought in mind, “damn, what’s going to happen to the Amawalk?” The Croton Watershed, home to my three favorite trout streams, the East Branch, West Branch, and Amawalk, have had significant hurricane damage in the past. Even a casual nor’easter can cause erosion and treefall on these delicate riparian corridors. Naturally, I took Friday to join my fellow Gowanus Noodler, Daniel, to fish the east branch, the west and close the evening on the Amawalk. Just above the trestle bridge I had located a nice rising brown in a riffle and he took a copperish larvae under a dropper but wiggled off. Later at the West Branch Croton Falls Outlet,we noticed the water was up and fast–perhaps the DEP decided it would be a good idea to release some water ahead of the storm? There were some big trout holding under logs near the Route 22 bridge, but they wouldn’t be enticed–they were gorging on the larvae and bugs suddenly released from foam patches that had literally been hanging around all summer. It seemed the anglers down in “frustration pool” were doing no better.

CFO presented extremely challenging circumstances. It was frustrating to be unable to “match the hatch.” After an hour of beating the pool mercilessly, I just waded out into the middle and WOW, there were tons of bugs in the bubble line, many dead, but I counted at least 6 different kinds of bugs. In that case, I realized it would be impossible to determine exactly what the trout were eating. Though I had a few rises to a small caddis, no takes. I tried nymphing but had little response.

Daniel decided to stay and work the pool, but I bugged out for the Amawalk, which was luckily still at its usual flow. This old river has had mills on it since the 1800s, and the evidence remains, old dams, rock walls, the sunken forms of basements to cabins long since disintegrated. Brothers Falls Dam was glowing in the late day sun.

In a lovely setting sun, I began to watch a long glide come alive with rising trout. They were taking what looked to be termites and blue winged olives. I didn’t have a termite pattern and my caddis was refused twice, so I tied on the BWO and let it dead drift toward the lip. SLURP! A violent take and I had a lovely wild brown on. 12″, good for the Amawalk unless you’re night fishing, but wilds are muscular and sleek and he surged upstream twice and did a jump when he was close in. The sky was gold and pink, perhaps signaling the impending storm.

The pool slowly began to calm–the hatch only lasted about an hour. One more cast and another good-sized brown took my BWO and broke me off as he dove for cover. What a day, but I did have a restless sleep, I’m seriously worried about the hurricane’s affect on the rivers. Looks like the TU might have some work ahead of itself. Trout Unlimited often do streambank work, restoring damaged local waters–the Croton chapter is lovingly referred to as the “Rock Rollers,” and the twenty plus years of work is evident all through the watershed.

Now as the fist bands of showers descend on Brooklyn, I’m quite happy I live on Clinton HILL. The car is parked as high up as I could get it on Clinton Ave. Two of my fellow noodlers live near Red Hook, an evacuation area. Man, can you imagine if the Gowanus overflows? Yuck, but at least it might get “cleaned” out. Well, there’s ice in the fridge, candles at the ready…just need to nip out for batteries, and ground beef. I think Hurricane Irene deserves a good stew, just in case the power goes out, we’ll have something that can last a couple days in the cooler. After making the stew, we’ll tape up the windows and take the garden furniture in.  We’ll settle in and ride out the storm with cocktails and scrabble. Be safe everyone.

Sneak Peek at Putnam’s in Clinton Hill

LATEST UPDATE*** 8.27.11

Yes! Putnam’s has started a Happy Hour! With $4 select beers. Yesterday they had Oysters on special for Irene, $1.50 a piece. Well done. DO try the Putnam’s Pilsener. This place keeps getting better and better. 7 out of 10 now.

UPDATE *** I went with the missus on grand opening week and they didn’t have the kinks worked out. The waitress and host Connor were gracious though and comped our meal due to a kitchen malfunction that had us waiting more than an hour. Their mint julep was PERFECT, the lobster roll (OK…it ain’t no Red Hook Lobster Pound roll that’s fo’sho, and the burger was acceptable pub fair). Oysters check, beer specials…er….no check. YELP has the latest reviews. I’ll wait a few months and give it another shot, but it’s about a 6 out of 10 right now.


So I live about fifty feet from a new restaurant going in at the corner of Clinton and Myrtle Avenue. The wood panels are finally down and everyone’s buzzing about the new pub. So after a few pints at my local, Rope, my six-foot tall friend and I peered in the windows and got a sneak peak.  We think its called Putnam’s Bar and Cookery (UPDATE – it’s Putnam’s Pub and Cooker) or something, according to a sign. The pressed tin walls and ceiling, sumptuous-looking enclosed banquets, edison-style light bulbs give it away a bit. While I have no idea of the menu, I’m hoping it’ll be along the lines of nearby Dean Street Cafe, No. 7 or Roman’s, excellent pub fare with the odd oyster or two.

I hope the this post will serve as a polite plea to the owners and managers of Putnam’s–please, consider having a decent happy hour and specials–a buy-back wouldn’t hurt either. Remember, this is Clinton Hill, not LES. Pay attention to your neighboring pubs–most have good happy hours to accommodate the mixed nature of this neighborhood (Pratt students, middle-class bohemians, and blue-collar folk with actors and novelists sprinkled-in). Don’t worry about fancy cocktails, focus on local beers and a good wine list. Hell, you don’t even need a back yard, and the sidewalk is wide enough to fit a table or two.

Bear in mind these grainy mobile pictures don’t do ANY justice to what the owners probably have in mind. I spotted beautiful wood paneling inside, a curved bar, and outside the windows have beautiful transoms and leaded wavy glass as if they’d been there forever.

Wondering where the name Putnam’s came from? Similar to say Buttermilk Channel in Red Hook, I believe that the owners have taken a cue from local history. According to wikipedia  in 1776, under the supervision of General Nathaniel Greene of Rhode Island Fort Putnam was constructed during the Revolutionary War. Later renamed after Greene, the fort was a star-shaped earthwork that mounted six 18-pound cannons, and was the largest on Long Island at the time. It was an instrumental fort in shielding General George Washington’s escape from Long Island in the “battle of Brooklyn.”

According to the Myrtle Minutes, “the 68-seat restaurant will evoke the inns and dining rooms found in New York during the Prohibition-era and at the turn of the century. The menu will offer 24 quality draft beers, 40 quality bottled beers, 2 highly unique Cask Ales, an extensive wine menu and delicious assortment of small plates, salads and large plates for lunch and dinner, and weekend brunch.”

Ever since leaving Williamsburg and my favorite pre-prohibition era saloons behind (Dressler, Walter Foods, Five Leaves and Rye), I’ve been pining for a good all around pub (with oysters-hint-hint AGAIN). I wish I could say the Brooklyn Public House on Dekalb does it for me–but its kinda soul-less and the menu is all over the place, though the Public House DID learn to provide a decent happy hour. I look forward to giving Putnam’s a try–if they put half the effort of the design into the menu and staffing, they’ll create something quite special and enrich this increasingly vibrant stretch of Myrtle Ave.