Floating Reporter: Paddling around Manhattan

As this summer’s floating reporter, I’m excited to continue exploring the waterways in and around New York City. If you’ve already tried paddling in the Bronx or exploring Brooklyn by boat, now’s the time to hop in a canoe or kayak and embrace the fact that Manhattan is indeed an island. Take advantage of the rest of summer by visiting these boathouses in NYC:

Inwood Canoe Club, Inwood

Season: Sunday mornings Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend
Cost: Free
Getting there: Take the A or 1 trains to Dyckman Street. Then walk west on Dyckman toward the Hudson River. At the marina gate, turn left on the paved path. The club’s red boathouse is 200 yards down the path on the right.
Details: Arrive early for this first-come, first-serve paddling open house north of the George Washington Bridge. Participants must be able to swim in order to join the 25-minute guided kayak on the Hudson River.

Harlem River Community Rowing, Inwood

Season: Saturdays and Sundays in June, July, and August

Cost: Free

Getting there: The Columbia Boathouse Dock is a 10-minute walk from the 1 train stop at 215th Street

Details: Don’t miss your chance to learn to row or refresh your skills with the Harlem River Community Rowing’s hour-long classes for beginners and advanced beginners out of Inwood Hill Park. And if you’re up early enough, you can catch Columbia University rowers practicing or competing out on the river.

Central Park

Season: Anytime, weather permitting, at the Boathouse

Cost: $15 per hour at the Boathouse

Getting there: The Loeb Boathouse is a 12-minute walk from the 6 train stop at E 77th Street.

Details: If you’re not quite ready for the openness of the Hudson River, Central Park offers two easy options for paddling practice. Play tourist and row around the scenic boathouse area or take one step up — the Urban Park Rangers are hosting a twilight canoe adventure in the park on August 25.

Manhattan Community Boathouse, Midtown

Season: Weekends May 26 to October 7; Mondays and Wednesdays June 4 to August 29

Cost: Free

Getting there: Pier 96 is located on the Hudson River at W. 57th Street, a 15-minute walk from Columbus Circle.

Details: Walk-up kayaking and classes are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and open to paddlers of all skill levels. Classes are focused on paddling efficiency, steering techniques, and recovery after a capsize.

Manhattan Kayak Company, Midtown, and New York Kayak Company, Greenwich Village

Season: Classes and tours are underway at both locations

Cost: Classes start at $75; tours range from $40 to $400; rentals (MKC only) are $7 per 30 minutes

Getting there: Located beside the Intrepid, the Pier 84 Boathouse (MKC) is on the Hudson River at 44th Street. The closest subway is the A/C at 42nd Street. Pier 40 (NYKC) is located on the Hudson River at W. Houston. The closest subways are the 1 at Houston and the C/E at Spring Street.

Details: If you’ve enjoyed kayaking at one of the many free options around the city and want to learn more, take a trip with other paddlers, or rent a kayak on your own locally, these companies offer many options for broadening your skills and experience.

The Downtown Boathouse, Lower Manhattan

Season: May 19 to October 7

Cost: Free

Getting there: The Pier 26 Boathouse is located on the southern end of Hudson River Park on the Westside Highway just north of N. Moore St. The nearest subway stops are the 1 at Franklin Street and the A/C/E at Canal Street.

Details: This is the same group that operates on Governor’s Island, offering 20-minute paddles on the Hudson. Kayaking is available on weekends and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Circumnavigate Manhattan, Inwood

Season: August 4 (rain date: August 5)

Cost: $90 ($85 if you’re a member of the American Canoe Club)

Getting there: This kicks off at the Inwood Canoe Club.

Details: Confident and experienced paddlers can circumnavigate Manhattan — a 30-mile paddle — with the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club. Launch your kayak in one of four waves at varying paces and, if you make it this far, meet other finishers for lunch at Gantry State Park in Queens.

Header photo by Stephen Elliott of MUD Productions