Yesterday, I stood on Pier 66 in Manhattan in shorts and bare feet.
And it. was. awesome.
Some friends from Arizona are in town this week and they found a Groupon* for kayaking the Hudson. Along the edges of the pier, trash bobs in the waves. A corporate helipad sits just a few hundred feet north of the pier, making constant ripples and loud whipping noises as profiteers come and go. Folks enjoying a warm, gorgeous Sunday funday afternoon hooted and hollered from the Frying Pan — a bar on the next pier over.
D looked at the trash and then at me and swallowed hard. “Are we up to date with our vaccines?” He smiled. I laughed, throwing on my huge sun hat and smacked his paddle with mine.
“Come on! This is going to be a blast.” It had been years since I’d kayaked last, but I remember it being a killer workout and a great way to see the landscape.
After a brief introductory to the equipment, we slid into our single kayaks and headed out into the brown water.
Some 45 minutes of paddling later, I could barely pull myself back up on the pier. We caught the tide heading south toward the State of Liberty, which meant we fought our way home. The water was cooling as it dribbled down from our paddles on to our warm legs. It was also a beautiful dark blue once you got past the murkiness on the shore. We were all screaming and having the a great time until we realized we’d outlasted our welcome. I couldn’t physically paddle any more, but I didn’t want it to be done.
A kayak just may be the way to see the island that never sleeps. I’d love to see if I could maneuver around the entire thing. We plan to ride our bikes around the entire island at some point this summer with another friend. There is something so much more enjoyable about discovering a new place when it is done outside of the confines of public transport, or a cramped Civic. When the four of us got back to my little car, we were all exhausted. It was 7 pm on Sunday and we’d all traveled, worked and reached the end of our weekend to-do list. We climbed in and prepared to make the typical 45 minute drive home, where dinner was bubbling away in the Crockpot.
A little more than an hour later, our car had barely budged. We had unknowingly driven into the middle of this 100,000-plus person demonstration. When we finally did get around the countless school busses full of Hasidic Jews and their male children, we could barely think. It took more than two hours to get home. God bless Mr. Crockpot for his technology; dinner was still ready regardless of our late arrival.
Regardless of the crazy traffic, I cannot wait to go again. Manhattan Kayak actually rents space by the month. I may just buy one of these babies. There are several spots nearby on rivers near our home that offer hourly rates for canoes and kayaks. I may just sign us up again this weekend. I’m wondering if I can get Nelson interested in going along too. He would look pretty cute at the front of a boat.
*Groupon might be the best way to get to know a new place. Signing up for the “adventure” section gets you out of the house doing crazy fun things for just a few dollars, while the food category can quickly help you find the best mom and pop spots in town.