BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The weather is getting warmer and life is getting shorter, so why not find a way to keep cool and be spontaneous at the same time? Now you’re wondering what that could possibly be …
Kayaking in the East River.
The Long Island City Community Boathouse is partnering with Socrates Sculpture Park to provide free kayaking all summer long, on select weekends, at Hallet’s Cove in Astoria, home to the NYC Water Trail.
According to chairperson, John McGarvey, LIC Boathouse is a free, all volunteer, community boathouse that brings kayaking to all and installs a sense of stewardship, access rights, safety and healthy fun.
The program is open to everybody who’s anybody. Whether you’re a pro-kayaker or don’t know what a kayak is, this is your opportunity to test your skills, with the company of the beautiful Manhattan scenery.
“Kayaking is a super easy and healthy way to see NYC as what it really is, an Archipelago of islands,” McGarvey said. “As soon as folks get out on the water and away from land, they get a sense of the broad open space between the islands and our amazing estuary and ecosystem that we have and must protract.”
Within recent years, LIC Boathouse has allowed people to bring their dogs to engage in the experience. Last year, LIC had its biggest dog turnout, resulting in the requirement of dog life vests.
“My favorite part are the smiles on the happy people and doggies when they come back on shore,” McGarvey said.
A kayak is a boat-like flotation device that you sit in, face-forward with your legs straight in front of you. Next, you use a double-bladed paddle to steer you in whichever direction you are trying to go in. In addition to the closed deck kayaks, sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are becoming the most popular kayaks, which LIC Boathouse offers.
In case you’ve never participated in kayaking with LIC Boathouse, when you arrive, there will be volunteers waiting to greet you. Everyone must read and sign a waiver and minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian. After signing the waiver, you will be stamped and asked to wait until one of the volunteers calls you to the beach to choose your flotation device. During that process, you will also be assigned both a boat and a partner.
Some rules to be mindful of: All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult, swimming is prohibited and footwear is to be worn on the beach. In addition be sure to be dressed for the occasion.
If you’re more interested in being a volunteer, LIC Boathouse is open to on-the-spot volunteers, with no necessary experience, as well as volunteers who would like to participate in future events.
The dates for the Community Sponsored Paddling at Hallet’s Cove program are selected according to the tide cycle and weather conditions.
In addition to walk-up paddling, LIC Boathouse offers other programs and trips for the public such as free paddle trips three times-a-week around New York City over the summer, night trips and outdoor movie viewings.
Community Sponsored Paddling at Hallet’s Cove are programed for the following dates: May 24, June 6, July 25, Aug. 2, 12 and 16 and Sept. 5 at 1 p.m., June 21 at 2 p.m., July 18 at 11 a.m. and the only sunset paddling program is at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26.
For more information, or to check the calendar for changes due to weather, visit the LIC Boathouse at licboathouse.org. Cancellations are posted two hours before the program start-time as a convenience for the attendees.