City sinks academic wet dream

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A Bay Ridge educator wants to build a floating science lab in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge — but the city says his dream is dead in the water.

For more than 20 years, Thomas Greene has been fighting to create an aquatic learning center beside a decaying dock called the Denyse Wharf, which juts out from a sandy outcrop near the Fort Hamilton Army base.

The former Fort Hamilton HS science teacher envisions a refurbished pier, and then docking beside it a decommissioned barge retrofitted into a classroom and lab complex for student field trips.

“Every student from the first to 12th grade is required to do some hands-on lab work — but in many schools, labs don’t even exist,” said Greene, who is also an adjunct professor at Kingsborough Community College.

“This could be the kind of place where kids can get excited about science again,” he said.

Last month, Greene’s proposal floated past Community Board 10 — which advanced the idea from the 18th item on its annual budget wish list to the fifth.

Even local education officials are onboard.

“It’s a wonderful idea — if this lab could offer something special in terms of sciences to the community, it would be a gold mine,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the District 20 Community Education Council.

But the city isn’t convinced.

“We have considered it; the location is not viable,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.

“It’s just not an appropriate space — it’s not a space that we can consider,” she added.

But Greene isn’t ready to abandon ship.

“We rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations in science and math for a number of years, and we’ve got to do something,” said Greene. “We’ve got to look at the school system itself and start building if we want to move forward.”

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Reader Feedback

Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I for one, 100 percent support Mr. Greene's vision.

Has the Department of Education given any reason for why Denyse warf is "not a space we can consider"?
What could possibly make it beyond even consideration? I can accept if they considered the possibilty and had a reason to reject it, but to push it aside without consideration is not an answer I can live with.
Nov. 26, 2008, 8:25 am
Kristen from Bath Beach says:
The building of some kind of lab would destroy the historic value. Yes, it should not be decaying the way it is currently, but having children rampaging around the pier will destroy the pier's specialness.
April 19, 2009, 5:28 am
bklynparent from clinton hill says:
Did the author think about the title at all before he printed it? Is it appropriate?
Jan. 19, 2012, 10:22 am
Ester Hall from Dyker Heights says:
It is a great idea. Whenever I walk by it I stop and think that something needs to be done here. It is a historical place and should be preserved and as a teaching place for Bay Ridge/Shore Rd. Area's future - perfect! Look into the history of it.
Oct. 21, 2014, 8:24 pm
Cathy B from Bay Rige says:
I always like Mr Greene he actually got me so interested in Marine Biology I seriously considered it for Major in College. What do we have to do to back him up in this? I love the idea!
Oct. 21, 2014, 10:04 pm
Mike L. from Bay ridge says:
I think it's a wonderful idea but between the bike path, Vz bridge off ramp and belt pkwy. It's not a great location. I'd say in the bay between nelly Bly and Home Depot would be better. Right behind the park there.
Oct. 22, 2014, 10:39 pm

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