New York City – Free Travel 3: Hudson River Kayaks

How would you like to learn to man a kayak on the Hudson? You can learn for free and use the boats without charge, too, in Spring through Fall. There are simple rules to adhere to. What a unique opportunity that most people would not expect to find in a huge city like New York!

There have been many dedicated people like Robert Kennedy, Jr. who have worked for decades with Riverkeepers to clean-up this grand river. Now, you can enjoy their hard work and maybe even consider supporting their independent organization. Riverkeepers

The Boathouse is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to providing access to the Hudson River for everyone; it is located at Pier 40 in the Hudson River Park, at Joe Dimaggio Highway and Houston Street, just north of the Holland Tunnel. All activities are completely free and available to anyone. All the equipment and the know-how is provided. BUT: you MUST know how to swim, wear a life jacket, abide by The Boathouse rules, stay in the assigned area and sign the liability waiver.

Due to insurance regulations, children under age 16 must always be accompanied by an adult in the same boat. So, young children must go in a double kayak with one or two adults. Children between the ages of 16 and 18 may go out in a single kayak, as long as their guardian comes too, and signs the waiver form for them. The guardian must be present the whole time the child is on the water. Bring a bathing suit, or use shorts and a T-Shirt, also sunscreen, water bottle and lock.

Walk-up kayaking is the original and most popular program. The main requirement is that you MUST know how to swim. You do not need any kayaking experience or to have taken classes, before using one of the kayaks out for a short 20-minute paddle inside the protected embayment in front of the boathouse. They give you a life jacket, a kayak, a paddle, and some tips on paddling, but you must stay inside the protected embayment, out of the river currents, where they can keep an eye on you. Otherwise you are on your own to enjoy the river and the sunshine.

Once you have completed the Walk Up Kayak Program, you will be allowed to join their longer trips out onto the Hudson River, as long as you are strong enough. Boats are assigned via a lottery.

All 3 boathouse locations will open in May until October, sometime. See Calendar page for changes and a complete activity schedule. Daily Status: check specific Pier 40, Pier 96 and 72nd street pages at: Daily Kayak status and Pier 40 Boathouse, New York City

Pier 40 offers Walk up Kayaking every weekend and holiday and occasional weekday evenings from 5PM-7PM from May – October. There are lockers, a changing room and shower. Please bring your own lock.

Directions: WALKING – Pier 40 is at the west end of Houston Street on the river side of the West Side Highway. Pier 40 is large. They are on the South side of the Pier walkway, about halfway out. Several subway stops nearby: #1/9, train to Houston Street, then walk west to the river. Take the A, C, or E subway to Canal St (express), walk west to river, then north on the esplanade 5 blocks.

This is a whole new way to experience New York Harbor and the Hudson, and to meet some New Yorkers, too.

See nearby:
StoryCorps Heritage Taping Booth in Tribeca, NYC Fire Museum, Greenwich Village, Washington Square, Little Italy, NY Children’s Museum of Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY University, NY Drawing Center, Chaim Gross Studio Museum and go visit 75 ½ Bedford Street, the skinniest house in New York City! You won’t believe who’s lived there.

See Parts 1 and 2 at the New York City Archive page: New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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