Sometimes I think there’s a place you’ve just got to know about and my Public Service Announcements (PSAs) will give you the full skinny.
Organized outdoor activities are great, but they’re even better when they’re FREE. That’s why I’m so happy Kathleen and Alison discovered free kayaking on the Hudson via Manhattan Community Boathouse. Located at Pier 96th (56th St. and the Hudson River), offers free kayaking, staffed by volunteers, through the beginning of October. All you have to do is walk up, grab a locker (also free) and a life preserver, and they’ll set you up in a kayak and let you on your merry way.
There are both one- and two-person kayaks available. We decided to go with the one-person boats so we could get the full experience. You’re allowed to boat in the area between the two piers and they’re pretty chill with the whole thing. They told us to check back in at the dock after 20 minutes. If there was no line, we could stay out and if there were a bunch of people waiting for kayaks, we could swap out and get back in line to go on the water again 20 minutes later.
That said, there was no fog horn heralding us back to the dock for our 20 minute check-in. When we glanced over and saw there weren’t many people waiting, we simply stayed on the water. We got a good 35 minute paddle in before we decided to call it a day, get some snacks, and continue with our plans for the day.
As someone who grew up with the river literally in her backyard, it felt great to be on the water. I also loved that it was so easy to just walk up and get going, though I recommend getting there on the earlier side so you don’t have to wait. Bonus: it’s actually a great arm workout!