The ‘sub moron’ to have day in court

The Brooklyn Paper
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The dean of marine mischief is going to court.

Carroll Gardens artist Duke Riley — who set off city terror alerts earlier this month when he floated a homemade submarine too close to a luxury cruise liner — will appear before a New York State Supreme Court judge Tuesday in what is likely to be a short and somewhat absurd hearing.

As of press time, Riley wasn’t sure how he would plead to NYPD charges of reckless operation and towing of his egg-shaped, propeller-less, plywood replica of the Revolutionary War-era submarine, the “Turtle”

“I don’t know anyone who has been in this situation before, not even my lawyer,” the history buff and former tattoo artist told The Brooklyn Paper. Riley, who was also slapped with Coast Guard citations for having an unsafe vessel and violating the security zone of the Queen Mary 2, declined to say much about his defense as he and his lawyer haven’t gotten around to hashing that out yet.

Upon pressing, Riley admitted that he had kept flares, emergency horns and life jackets with him on in the homemade sub, which was equipped with pumps and ballasted with chunks of lead.

He said that his preparation for the worst should help in court.

“I’ve been doing projects on the river a long time,” he said. “A lot of thought went into this.”

Hours after the stunt set off a red alert that brought a flotilla of federal and local security agents, news reporters and art dealers to the Red Hook pier, it was described by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as “marine mischief.”

Even after it was clear that no harm was done by Riley — who was ridiculed by TV newscasters and the daily tabloids as a “sub moron,” and a “stooge,” — the commissioner declined to ask the DA to drop the charges.

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