Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In the News: The Lure of Seeing a Hushed City at Water Level

As summer heats up, so do the activities on our waterways! One means for getting on the water - kayaking - has been increasing by leaps & bounds in recent years (the population of boaters in Manhattan alone grew ten-fold over the past decade). However "despite the risk of large ships, water scooters, changing tides, unpredictable currents and cold water" and no paddling related fatalities the City Department of Parks is considering more stringent regulations. Let's hope they lean towards boater safety & education and not reduced waterfront access...JB

Image: Kayaking Urban Waters, Wikipedia

By Timothy Williams
May 29, 2007

For years, a small, secretive group of people, most of them men, spent their off hours paddling just above the surface of the city’s dirty rivers in kayaks. They rowed to their own music, often alone, and few paid much attention.

Kayakers speak about their sport in spiritual terms: a feeling of freedom, the communing with nature, an enveloping quiet while paddling only a few meters off the Manhattan shoreline in temperatures that are often 15 degrees lower than on shore.

“When that sun is going down on the East River, there is nothing that compares,” said Robert DiMaio, 46, a documentary film producer who proposed to his wife as they were kayaking. “Everything is quiet. The lights of the city are coming on. It is beyond addictive. You want to be able to articulate it, but it is hard. The city becomes a theater of light and distant sound.”

Kayaking has been largely unregulated, but now the city is giving it closer scrutiny. The change has been met with both optimism and alarm by New York’s close-knit community of kayakers, which has grown to perhaps a few hundred serious paddlers since the mid-1980s.

Read more:

Downtown Boathouse

Sebago Canoe Club

Wikipedia Kayak

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