City Man Cited for Cleaning Dirty Water

By Pug Ransom

Published May 15th, 2016

Debris floating in the Hudson River near the Corning Preserve.

ALBANY — An Albany man was charged by police with disorderly conduct for walking along the banks of the Hudson River and removing garbage from the water.

Barry Williams, 61, was cited Thursday when officers saw him strolling through the Corning Preserve with two trash bags, a fishing net and a cleaning tool commonly known as a “Nifty Nabber.”

“Officers observed Mr. Williams as he walked down to the river where he removed several empty cans of beer and motor oil with a fishing net,” said Albany Police Department spokesman Jason Bateman. “As officers approached, Mr. Williams was then seen using a ‘Nifty Nabber’ to pick what appeared to be used tampons and a rusty license plate from the water.”

Burgard Crupp, spokesman for Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, said while the city encourages residents to enjoy its public spaces, it will also be vigilant in ensuring the integrity and character of those spaces are not threatened in any way.

“The simple fact is, the Hudson River is as widely known for its pollution as it is its role in navigational history,” Crupp said. “We must not alter nature as we have come to know it. That’s why right now, in wake of Mr. William’s arrest, we have a work crew down at the preserve made up of Albany County Jail inmates who are throwing bags of trash back into the river. That’s what people expect to see when they visit the preserve, and they have every right to see what they expect.”

During his arraignment, Williams told City Court Judge Burl Ives that he was inspired to remove trash from the water after watching a PBS documentary about folk-signing legend Pete Seeger and the Hudson River Sloop.

“Seeger was a commie,” Ives told Williams. “If you’re so fascinated with Sloops, then I’ll see to it that your ass is tied to the front of a Sloop that’s headed out to sea and loaded with dynamite.

"Stop with the commie do-gooder shit," added the judge. "Now, I hereby impose a $150 fine payable to this court, as well as the immediate surrender of your Nifty Nabber.”


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