What to Do with Visitors to NYC? A Round-Manhattan Paddle!

By Vladimir Brezina

Heading homeWe are constantly racking our brains trying to come up with new things for people who visit us in NYC to do.

Empire State Building? They’ve been there. Statue of Liberty? They’ve done that.

But how about… a round-Manhattan paddle!

Here are some photos from last Saturday’s Manhattan circumnavigation on which we took our friend R.

And I think she got all the excitement, as well as the unexpected quiet beauty, that she could have wished for.

(click on any photo to start slideshow)

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61 responses to “What to Do with Visitors to NYC? A Round-Manhattan Paddle!

  1. vastlycurious.com

    Amazing as ever! Back to Pier 40 is just brilliant …literally

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  2. That’s a great way to see NYC from a completely different perspective! Some of that water looks a little rough- your guest was not a first-time paddler I’m guessing….

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  3. What a very nice idea from you and again with exiting photos ! :)

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  4. Allyson Mellone

    Exhilarating for sure! I enjoyed the slideshow. The water glistens like mirrors. I don’t see that effect of the water from land…or is that your photographic magic? Do you think I can see the mulberries from the path on Randall’s Island?

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      HI Allyson!

      That effect is natural, not photographic magic. It just happens at times!

      My best guess as to why: close to land, there are often plenty of reflections, which darken the water. Out on the open water, the only thing that’s reflected is (glistening, luminous) sky….

      As for the mulberries, you can certainly reach them from land, but I’m not sure if you can see them from the path. They’re pretty tiny!

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    • (I see Johna was replying at the same time as I was. Here’s my reply anyway—)

      I think it appears that way more often when, as in a kayak, you are very close to the water, so the water surface acts more as a reflecting mirror and less as a transparent pane…

      And yes, you can definitely see the mulberries from the path. Climb from the path a few steps down to the water at the locations indicated in the map. There are several trees. However, because the trees lean out over the water, whether you will actually be able to pick any mulberries from land is another matter…

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      • Allyson Mellone

        You guys are so in sync sweet! Thanks for the water explanations. Viewing your slideshow I wanted to be in the water and feel those glistening ripples around me. And thanks for the map of the mulberries. I loved your water adventure in your post picking mulberries from your kayaks (Johna was having a snack). I’ll take a walk and have some curious fun on Randall’s Island :)

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  5. Great photos! It is great to have a different perspective.

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  6. Good Evening: You know, people might pay for this…

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      They do, actually :-). There are several commercial outfitters in the city, including the best (in my estimation): NY Kayak Company, which takes folks out on the water, after suitable training, for a fee. I have a huge amount of respect for the folks who run those businesses!

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  7. What a wonderful ride with the excitement of going over and through the waves. I felt my stomach turning at that point. I loved your advantage point of seeing the city.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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    • When you are actually paddling through those waves, your stomach isn’t turning, fortunately (there are exceptions, a few people who do get seasick)—it’s like the difference between driving a car and trying to read in a moving car (which I absolutely cannot do without getting sick). Or, at least, you have no time to think about your stomach… ;-)

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  8. Now that’s a tour not everyone has taken.

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  9. You know how to treat your friends, don’t you – giving them a trip they will never forget. And now we can join you – at least in spirit. Lovely.

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  10. I see a business opportunity….

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  11. Very nice paddle. Jeanie and I are planning a visit to NYC, for the sole purpose of paddling around Manhattan, the last weekend in August (24,25). This was a nice preview. Our plans will put our launch at the Englewood, NJ boat basin. It seems like the simplest access for out of towners with a canoe. We plan a sunrise launch on Sunday.

    You don’t regularly see the SI ferry in he river?

    Thanks,

    George

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    • Take a look at some of our other Manhattan circumnavigation on Wind Against Current to complete the preview :-)

      We do see the Staten Island Ferry regularly, but not in the East River! :-)

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  12. Nice paddle. Thanks for sharing. Jeanie and I are planning a trip to NYC in late August for the sole purpose of paddling around Manhattan. We needed friends like you guys! Ha!

    We plan a sunrise, Sunday launch from Englewood, NJ. It seems like the easiest way for out of towners to launch a canoe and park for the day.

    The SI ferry was a surprise!

    George

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  13. Thanks for these great photos! What a perfect preview of the paddle Jeanie and I have planned for the last week in August. Very helpful. SI Ferry was a surprise!
    We will launch in Englewood, NJ. Unloading a canoe and parking for the day looks simple from there.
    Friends like you guys are real treasures! Perhaps we will see you no the 25th.
    George

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    • Yes, the Staten Island Ferry was very surprising to see in the East River. We were joking about how, with a new captain perhaps, it must have gotten lost…

      But actually I’ve seen it there a couple of times before (and even more often up the Hudson River). It’s usually VIPs—or perhaps, I’d like to think, just regular city employees—going on a festive boat cruise and picnic outside the city…

      On August 24th, we will be paddling with another round-Manhattan swim, so if you go that day, we might indeed see you. On the 25th, we’ll be paddling out in Long Island Sound, and so we won’t.

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      • Thanks again to both of you. Sorry about the multiple posts. My account seemed to be rejecting my attempts. Sorry we will miss you on the 25th. In Gloucester, MA today for tomorrow’s paddle around Cape Ann.

        George

        George

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  14. The amount of effort, thought, and time that you and Johna put in to your posts here is impressive. From my own small blog entries – usually with only a single photo – I know how much work it is, but you take things to a whole other level with these outstanding slide shows. Thanks for taking your audience along with you around Manhattan!

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    • You are most welcome!! :-)

      What takes the most time is processing the photos—but I would do that anyway, blog or no blog. Then posting them on the blog is relatively quick and easy… the operative word being relatively ;-)

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks! Actually Vlad puts in most of the time–Wordpress is not the most photo-friendly blog platform. Plus he provides a meticulous edit of my writing (and I return the favor, when I can—we both take well to editing and enjoy debating the meaning and placement of words!). It’s wonderful to have a partner…

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      • Yes, and your partnership works every well in your blog, it seems so balanced. I think you and I both come from professional media company backgrounds, so the importance of editing is ingrained. Me, I could sure use a second pair of eyes when it comes to proofing, so I envy you both.

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  15. magnifico blog
    saluti dall’Italia

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  16. A wonderful idea!

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  17. A wonderful presentation; I loved coming with you all!

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  18. Good for her! Where did all those waves come from? And truly strange to see the ferry in the East River, but in NY one always expects the unexpected, part of its beauty.

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    • There is some natural turbulence in that part of the East River just from the fast flow of current. But the larger waves are mostly wakes that get trapped and amplified and then bounce across the narrow channel from the seawall from one side to the seawall on the other side. As the photos show in part, there was a barge, the Staten Island Ferry, and several smaller boats that had gone through that spot in the minutes before we got there. All in all, the water is much rougher in the summer when there is a lot of boat traffic. In winter, it’s very quiet :-)

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  19. Oh!!! That is a wonderful way of visiting the city!!! Your friends are lucky!!!

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  20. You are gracious hosts. I’d say, “I want to party with you!” but that’s way too scary for me.
    I really like all the red in the shots. Pops!!!

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  21. How wonderful. They type of trip to NYC that a visitor would not forget. :-)

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  22. I grew up in NYC and not once was aware you could do this. My hubby woulda loved it. Wait….here:
    This might amuse you…

    https://aholisticjourney.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/east-meets-west-a-literal-translation/

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