Daily Archives: August 17, 2011

Recycled Adventures: Urban Kayaking, New York City

By Vladimir Brezina

Now that Johna and I are back from our New England kayaking trip (photos here, writeup still to come), it’s back to my regular old paddling routine in New York Harbor.

Here’s an account of one of my standard trips, written up a long time ago for the September/October 2003 issue of ANorAK, the Journal of the Association of North Atlantic Kayakers (a journal now defunct).  Rereading this account, I see that things haven’t changed much over the past decade. There’s mention of sewage, for instance…

In essence, the trip is a 50-nautical-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan with a side excursion into Long Island Sound, looping around City and Hart Islands. I developed this trip for those days when the timing of the tidal currents is such that the East River starts flooding in the early morning, just as I am launching from Pier 40 in lower Manhattan. Following the flood current up the East River soon gets me to Hell Gate, where I am faced with the choice of paddling against the current then coming down the Harlem River, or continuing with the current through Hell Gate into the Upper East River and out into Long Island Sound.  Being lazy, of course I choose the second option, returning to Hell Gate to resume the Manhattan circumnavigation only when the current has turned so that it will push me up the Harlem River. (As a bonus, I get to paddle through Hell Gate both ways at the peak of the current, sometimes boiling along at five or six knots, which can be interesting…)

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