our urban ocean love story

December 5th   |   7pm - 9pm

Soho House New York Impact Series
Curated by the Lonely Whale Foundation



As part of Soho House's on-going Impact Series, the Lonely Whale Foundation has brought together leading voices for ocean conservation in New York City.

As members of a vibrant coastal community, the Lonely Whale Foundation believes in the importance of highlighting efforts taken to preserve and rebuild the New York waterways.

Join us at Our Urban Ocean Love Story to learn more about local efforts and how individuals can engage with, and activate, their community.


Murray Fisher

Murray Fisher has dedicated his entire life to ensuring that all our youth have access to clean and abundant ecosystems. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he moved to New York to work for Hudson Riverkeeper and then Waterkeeper Alliance. Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the environmental movement, he co-founded The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School in 2003. He co-directed the school until 2010 and led the school’s move from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn to a newly renovated building on Governors Island. Then he created the New York Harbor Foundation with a broader mission about Harbor access, education and restoration and led a successful capital campaign for the school’s new waterfront Marine Affairs, Science and Technology (MAST) Center.. Together with the Harbor School aquaculture teacher Pete Malinowski, Murray created the Billion Oyster Project which is now the Flagship Initiative of the New York Harbor Foundation that he continues to run.


Nikita Scott

After leaving Scotland to chase waves around the world, Nikita decided New York City would be her new home break. Having always believed that we should protect what we love, it was only a matter of time before she found her way to the Surfrider Foundation. In 2016 Nikita was elected Chair of the NYC Chapter. Prior to that she was the LNG Rep and led a victorious campaign to defeat Port Ambrose, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port proposed for off the coast of NY. Nikita is a recipient of the 2015 Wavemaker Award in Environmental Leadership and her activism efforts have been highlighted on panels and media outlets across the city, as well as in Surfrider Foundation's national marketing campaigns. Professionally, Nikita works in communications and events for a non-profit trade association and is a graduate of the University of Glasgow.


Matt Griffin

After cooking in Nantucket and Lake Tahoe, Matt gained experience working with seafood in Las Vegas as chef de cuisine at Rick Moonen's RM Seafood and then in New York City at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin. In 2011, Matt joined the Happy Cooking family of restaurants and was named the Executive Chef and partner at both Fedora and Bar Sardine in 2015. Matt is a champion of sustainable seafood, and due to his efforts the restaurants have been recognized as partners by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a Ph.D. marine biologist, policy expert, and independent consultant currently in residence at TED. Her mission is to build bridges among science, policy, and people, so we can use the ocean without using it up. As Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, she co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning project, resulting in one third of Barbuda’s coastal waters being protected. She went on to launch similar programs in partnership with the governments and stakeholders of Curaçao and Montserrat. Currently, her consulting practice provides integrated ocean conservation strategy, policy, and communications for non-profits, philanthropies, and startups. Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology, and she has worked on ocean policy at both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Naturemagazine. Her op-eds have been published in The Guardian and The New York Times. She blogs on National Geographic and Huffington Post, and tweets as @ayanaeliza.


Gotham Whale

Gotham Whale is a newly minted education, research, and advocacy organization that is tracking the marine mammals that are returning to the waters around New York City. Since 2009 working aboard the American Princess, a commercial whale watch boat out of Rockaway Queens, Gotham Whale has built a database tracking seals, dolphins, and whales. Using the model of long standing research programs in the Gulf of Maine and around the country, that database tracks sightings and includes The New York City Humpback Whale Catalog. Individual whales are identified by the unique pattern of their fluke (the underside of the tail) As the vibrant port of NY/NJ expands to accommodate more and larger vessels, Whales and humans are coming closer together. An area of high human activity is becoming an area teeming with wildlife. Marine mammals are increasing each year and Gotham Whale seeks to provide the information to better understand and manage the growing convergence of Big Whales and Big City.