Kayaking Down the Street

kayaking

That’s an ambiguous title—”Kayaking Down the Street.” It could mean kayaking on the street, in the downward direction, during a flood, for instance. That’s not what I meant. I meant, instead, that right down the street from me there is kayaking. I took a stroll this morning to the Inwood Canoe Club, got in a kayak, and paddled off. Here’s a photo I took of the group that went just before me. My group went fairly close to the George Washington Bridge; we turned around when we reached a little stone peninsula.

Now, I don’t typically use the blog to talk about what I did this morning. But this morning’s kayaking merits an exception. To my knowledge, I have never lived in a place where I could walk a few blocks, step into a boat, and paddle off.

Also, it isn’t something I associate with Manhattan. Granted, there are paddle boats in Central Park, but that’s a different order of things. There, if you paddle a little ways in any direction, you’ll reach a shore. Not so with the Hudson, the waterway of regal barges. The Hudson tastes mildly of salt; freshwater and saltwater come together in its tidal estuary. The paddling is long and serene (with a wake now and then). The river stretches out of sight; the cliffs rise up on either side.

Also, one would imagine this as a tourist attraction with a high fee. No such goings-on here; the open house kayak  tours are free (with voluntary donations), and they draw people from nearby. Some come upon the place by accident and find themselves paddling a few minutes later.

I hope to do this many more times. It is one more semi-secret beauty of my neighborhood and the city. I am still amazed at the simplicity of it all, the ease of going out on the water.

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