July 15, 2016 / Brooklyn news / Photo Galleries / DUMBO / The Greatest Story Ever

Dough! Police launch manhunt over empty kayak — owner found in Dumbo pizzeria

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Photo gallery

Looking out: Dozens of police, fire, and Brooklyn Bridge Park personnel searched for the owner of the boat.
Missing: Officials searched for the kayaker for about an hour.
Found: A policeman searches the abandoned vest found on the rocks.
On his way: Jordan got back into his kayak after the debacle and paddled onward.

Authorities launched a massive manhunt for a missing person after locals discovered an empty kayak and lifejacket on the rocks off Dumbo on Wednesday, but it turned out the vessel’s out-of-towner occupant was safe and dry all along — he had just ducked into the neighborhood for a slice.

“I wanted a piece of pizza from Brooklyn,” said Tyler Jordan, who travelled from Virginia to kayak 38 miles around New York. “I hadn’t had a good slice in a long time.”

Around 30 officers from the police, fire, and parks departments, swarmed the waterfront adjacent to Main and Plymouth streets with four boats and several ambulances, searching for the kayak’s owner after receiving a dozen calls from people worried about the abandoned kayak, which also contained energy bars, a water bottle, and an empty container of trail mix, according to Jordan.

But it was much ado about nothing, Jordan says — he had just docked his ride there at around 1 pm so he could sate his craving for an authentic Kings County pie at Dumbo’s best pie joint, Front Street Pizza.

In fact, the pizzeria is such a neighborhood institution, it should have been the first place the cops looked, according to the proprietor.

“The cops should have just come here to find him!” said pizzaiolo Larry Leonardi (nee Leonardo). “We were very happy to have him here and we’re satisfied he chose us to have pizza.”

Jordan indulged in two hard-earned pepperoni slices, but sadly missed out on tasting the Gersh — an inexplicable combination of chicken parmigiana and spinach named for former Brooklyn Paper editor Gersh Kuntzman.

He then walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to check out the 9–11 memorial, planning to make it back within an hour-and-15 minute-window before the tide rose.

But as he was walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge, Jordan noticed his kayak parking spot had turned into a crime scene. He thought perhaps someone had gotten into his boat and accidentally injured themselves — only to find that he was the man they were searching for.

“I saw all of the lights, all of the trucks and boats swirling around while I was going over the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said. “I saw tons of people there and thought, ‘Uh-oh, maybe they’re actually looking for me’ ”

Jordan spoke to officers at the scene — who eventually saw the funny side of the incident — for about 20 minutes before climbing back into his kayak to complete his journey.

He said he was happy that people came to his rescue, but didn’t regret a second of his excursion to Front Street Pizza.

“I thought it was good citizenry, people were concerned,” he said. “But it was definitely worth it.”

A Police Department spokeswoman said it had no record of the search.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
why should he be allowed to store personal property on public water?
July 14, 2016, 9:26 pm
Roberts jones from Dumbo says:
He should pay for the cost of the search. He should be happy that no one stole of took away his kayak.
July 15, 2016, 8:04 am
Cindy from Queens says:
How do they know that's really him? What if the killers just planted a look-a-like at the pizza store?
July 15, 2016, 8:14 am
Debra Storr from Scotland says:
It's lovely that people were concerned. I'm sure the emergency services prefer a false alarm to people not reporting a such.

But I'm puzzled by the mean minded comments from TY and Roberts Jones. We need a bit more concern for each other, sharing of spaces and trust in this world.
July 15, 2016, 9:04 am
Monica from DC says:
This sounds like an advertisement stunt.
July 15, 2016, 10:20 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
The following is simply the opinion of one man.
But first, I have some questions:
Why would these firemen search the water after finding a "parked" canoe (on land)? If I were them, I would search the land, if at all. Was the balloon jacket that they found the same balloon jacket being used in drawing number four (located above)?
You see, this man was never reported as being missing. Furthermore, if you'll pardon my saying so, if this man did indeed drown, there is something to remember here: He's dead already. No need to rush. Completely void of opinion, not hurting anyone and sooner or later would wash up somewhere (unless someone put weights on him - which is another part of this story that is clearly missing). More later, your own John Wasserman got hungry while reading the above report and is on his way to get a slice of pizza.
John Wasserman
July 15, 2016, 2:45 pm
Richard Spencer says:
Tyler is an old buddy of mine and he taught me how to travel because I really don't like to leave Richmond, Virginia much. This is exactly what he does. He travels, decides on the spot, enjoys life, a taught me how to relax and it's just natural for him to park things and go explore and enjoy his surroundings. All these other comments about him being fined for the search or parking in public water? Yeah, we "cool" people have to deal with that a lot and quite frankly you may need a couple days with Tyler, so he can teach you how to "relax". :)
July 15, 2016, 3:15 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hello Richard Spencer. John Wasserman. I couldn't agree with you more (if you don't mind my saying so). The first 2 comments on this board should be removed (or worse!). This "Thank You" (TY) character in particular is always typing extremely offensive comments on this message board, just to get a "rise" out of the listeners so please just ignore him.
John Wasserman
July 15, 2016, 3:39 pm
Louise X from Fulton Fairy says:
So who's the retard who reported the guy 'missing' anyway? I hope at least it was a tourist but so-called 'New Yorkers" have become so stupid I'm afraid it could have been one of 'us', alas.
July 16, 2016, 1:52 am
Martin from Park Slope says:
I bet this whole thing was just a publicity stunt for the pizzeria. Free advertising! They intentionally put the police on the trail of the 'missing' kayacker, only to lead them straight to the pizza store.
July 18, 2016, 6:52 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: