By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina
This trip dates from last fall, but took us this long to post in part because we wanted to include a lot of detail to guide paddlers who might want to go to these places, which are very accessible to NYC paddlers of all skill levels.
So each photo is numbered, and the third image down is a map showing where each photo was taken, so you can associate the photo with the location. The body of the post includes only a small selection of the photos; for the rest, see the slideshow at the bottom.
And don’t miss the special bonus: A link to a GoPro video from the trip, at the very end of the post!
The currents weren’t really right for any of our usual trips, ebbing most of the day, and turning back to flood around 4:30 PM. So a long trip to points south would mean returning close to midnight, which neither of us wanted to do.
But it was an effervescent fall day, with a gusty breeze, blue skies, and sunlight sparkling over the waves. We wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary, for us, at least.
“Why not visit Port Liberté, and meander down the Jersey side of the harbor?” Vlad suggested.
What a splendid idea! Port Liberté is one of the many weird and wonderful things on the New Jersey side. Vlad calls it “the would-be Venice of New Jersey,” and it truly is: According to Wikipedia, it was designed in the 1980s as a waterfront community patterned after a similar one in Saint-Tropez, France, complete with canals lined with docks and waterfront walkways.
The idea is, to my mind at least, flawless: Imagine living right on the waterfront, with your own personal dock, just a few minutes by ferry or private boat from Manhattan! Unfortunately, though, the market crash of the late 80s ended the development plans, and what remains, though beautiful, is just a wistful indication of what might have been.
We’d last been to Port Liberté several years ago—maybe as far back as 2011. So it was time for another look. Then we’d continue down the Jersey side of the harbor, our moods and the currents permitting, until it was time to turn back. Come to think of it, despite our many years of paddling in the harbor, neither Vlad nor I had ever really properly explored all the ins and outs of the Jersey side.