‘Aqua-lujah!’ Green candidate Billy damns drilling

Performance-artist preacher Reverend Billy “baptized” 3-month-old Noah Salinger, held by his mother, Tracy Gary, on the Christopher St. Pier on Sunday, World Water Day. The baptism was part of the ceremony of the Blessing of the Water, as well as a protest against plans to drill for natural gas in the Upstate watershed. Billy, real name Bill Talen, is the Green Party candidate for New York City mayor. “If you poison the ground water, you’ve lost the ability to drink,” said Christabel Gough, a longtime Christopher St. resident. Gough sat on the pier’s grass with dozens of others, many holding signs, each bearing the name of a New York neighborhood whose water would be affected by the drilling. “We have the purest water here in the city,” Ellen Peterson Lewis said, holding a “West Village” sign with her husband, Lewis. “We owe it to future generations to keep the water pure,” she said. “Water is not a profit center,” Reverend Billy proclaimed as the crowd chanted, “Aqua-lujah!” Billy said that, if elected, he would advocate for the city’s takeover of the watershed by eminent domain.