A Late-Fall Paddle Along the Palisades

By Vladimir Brezina

A week ago, on the last Sunday of November, the weather promised to be clear and mild—perfect for a late-fall paddle. We looked up the current predictions. In the morning, the current was flooding north. So we paddled north—from Pier 40 up the Hudson River along the West Side of Manhattan, under the George Washington Bridge and along the Palisades up to Tonetti Gardens, then returning with the ebb current in the afternoon…

It was a peaceful paddle. There were no exciting conditions, no incidents to report. But it was a beautiful day for a few photos…

We poke our boats' heads out of the Pier 40 embayment. The frenetic boat traffic of summer is all gone; the river is mostly empty.

We paddle past Fireboat 343

... past the Empire State Building

... and past Midtown Manhattan.

Under the George Washington Bridge ...

... and along the Palisades, now bare.

We land for lunch at Tonetti Gardens

... amid dozens of hikers, congregating here at the end, or beginning, of their hike along the Palisades Trail. The swing over the river is irresistible for many.

The celebrated waterfall at Tonetti Gardens

... with the ruins of its circular collecting pool.

We paddle back

... under the rockfalls of the Palisades.

The river is mirror-calm.

Across the river, the sun lights up the Yonkers riverfront.

It's still only mid-afternoon, but the sun is already playing hide-and-seek behind the Palisades.

We reach the George Washington Bridge again, with Manhattan bathed in a golden glow of the approaching sunset behind it.

The golden sunlight reflects off the water and building across the river.

We pass under the bridge.

Sunset comes early

... but the last rays of the vanished sun continue to reflect for some time off high buildings

... and, even longer, light up the high clouds above the city.

We pass the man-made Palisades of the West Side and Midtown once more.

To the west across the river, the horizon still glows.

We are almost home.

These photos, and a few others, are here.

9 responses to “A Late-Fall Paddle Along the Palisades

  1. Great shots, thanks.


  2. Really nice Vlad. We sometimes paddle from Nyack Beach State Park down to Tallman Mountain. It’s one of our favorite trips. Hope to see you on the river soon.


    • Yes, see you on the river! If you paddle out of Nyack, we will run into each other sooner or later. We do the trip north often—if we paddle every weekend, as we try to do, then we go north every other week, pretty much. And on a single flood tide we can get all the way to the southern end of Haverstraw Bay before the current, and we, turn around. So Nyack is definitely within reach…


  3. You did a great job with the low light shots. They are especially difficult from a kayak.


    • Yes, the low-light shots are difficult. It helps to have a stable kayak, like the Feathercraft! Beyond that, there seem to be two strategies: (1) take as many photos as possible and pick out the one with the least movement, and (2) make a virtue out of necessity, as in this photo:

      Night-time Manhattan


  4. I have rarely been getting out on the water these days and these travelogues are a lot of fun! Thanks Vlad! Beautiful shots … Also I got my PhD at Lamont by the state line so have a similar fave spot there with a waterfall and rope swing…. Just short of piermont marsh, where you might also visit.


    • Thanks, Philip—more travelogues to come!

      Lamont is on top of the Palisades directly above the waterfall, isn’t it? The buildings are so well hidden that we only notice them from the river at this time of the year, when the trees are bare…

      And yes, Piermont Marsh, and even more so Piermont Pier, is one of our favorite destinations!


  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond | Wind Against Current

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