I know what you're thinking, but stay with me. I'm still alive, I'm not sick*, and I didn't see any floating bodies. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to it.
I've been trying to get my ass out to Ft. Tilden to see the MOMA PS1 exhibit, Rockaway! basically every weekend this month but, for one reason or another, I haven't been able to wake up early enough to catch the 9 a.m. ferry.
Yes, there is a 11:30 a.m. ferry, but then I wouldn't have any time to actually be on the beach or enjoy a drink at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club (since the return ferry is at 5:30 p.m.). I don't know about you, but the idea of taking an hour-long ferry ride to the beach and not actually laying out on the beach sounds dumb.
Needless to say, I was again completely unsuccessful in waking up on Saturday because reasons. (Pro tip: Don't stay out late on a Friday if you're trying to wake up early on a Saturday.) Even though I literally missed the boat, I was determined to get outside and take advantage of the decent weather that we only get three months out of the whole year.
During some recent weeknight runs on the West Side Highway, I passed by free kayaking at Pier 26, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I know the Hudson River is not the Atlantic Ocean, but on short notice, it'll do. NYC is great that way -- you can always find an awesome backup plan.
So, my boyfriend Mike and I suited up and set out to find adventure on the Hudson. By the time we got to the pier, there was a long-ish line and no more life vests. But since we literally had no other plans, we waited. Since they impose a 30-minute time limit on the kayaks (which we found out later), there was a pretty high turnover and we were able to get in one within 15 minutes.
Besides the funky old life vests and rule that you couldn't wear shoes on the pier (violating one of my #1 rules to never go barefoot in NYC) it was really fun!
They do make you sign a waiver cause let's face it, the Hudson isn't exactly safe for swimming, and there are behemoth cruise ships lumbering down the waterway, just waiting to run you over. To prevent this, they keep you in a pretty confined area (marked by buoys and patrolled by volunteers), but this creates another problem: bumper kayaks. They have about 30 boats out in a small area so people are literally on top of each other. This was not my favorite.
Mike on the other hand, far from discouraged, immediately proved all the regulations necessary by making a beeline for his native New Jersey unaware of the volunteer shouting at him. He also challenged me to a joust. I politely declined.
Besides the daunting task of chasing down and subsequently fending off my boyfriend, I had to contend with rogue waves born in the wakes of the cruise ships. This was scary because, as I mentioned earlier, the Hudson isn't somewhere you want to swim, and we saw more than one kayak capsize. But hey, it's not a real adventure without a little antibiotic-resistant bacteria, amirite?
That said, I still had a great time. I got to see New York City from a totally different perspective, soak in the sun and even get in a mini workout! It's always cool to experience a city that you've lived in for years in a totally different way, especially for zero dollars.
I will get to that Rockaway! exhibit eventually, but in the meantime, I'm glad I'm this city has so many other things to do for those that just can't wake up in time.
What do you like to do when you're staycationing during the summer? Are there other free activities around NYC that I should take advantage of?