City Life Org – Downtown Boathouse Reaches Milestone – Half a Million Kayakers on the Hudson
Photo: Downtown Boathouse
The 500,000th kayaker launched from Pier 26 Boathouse in Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park’s oldest non-motorized boating organization, the Downtown Boathouse, announced that it launched its 500,000th kayaker from Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 Boathouse. The kayaker hails from Buffalo, New York, and like the 499,999 kayakers before her, she was able to enjoy her river adventure for free thanks to the Downtown Boathouse and its partnership with Hudson River Park.
The Downtown Boathouse was established in 1994 with a mission to encourage safe public use of New York Harbor waters and provide residents with increased recreational opportunities. Since its inception, it has maintained its commitment to operate an all-volunteer program, which allows it to offer its programming at no cost to the public. The no-cost programming structure is facilitated by the construction and maintenance of the Pier 26 boathouse and wharf by the Hudson River Park Trust.
“On behalf of the Hudson River Park Trust, we would like to extend our congratulations to the Downtown Boathouse for introducing half a million kayakers to the Hudson River and New York’s coastal waters,” said Noreen Doyle, President and CEO of Hudson River Park Trust. “Along with our other boating partners, the Downtown Boathouse plays a crucial role in extending our mission to make the Hudson River accessible and in promoting environmental interest in our diverse river ecosystem.”
The Downtown Boathouse launched its free public programming for 100 members of the public in 1995 at Pier 26, when the pier was still owned by the New York State Department of Transportation. When the Trust began redeveloping Pier 26 for use as a public park, the Downtown Boathouse continued operations from Piers 40 and 96, expanding its program for more kayakers to enjoy. In 2014, the Downtown Boathouse was able to return to Pier 26, in the new boathouse where the program continues to grow and introduce an incredible number of boaters to the estuarine sanctuary of Hudson River Park each year. Downtown Boathouse also operates programs from Governors Island.
Hudson River Park is home to four purpose-built non-motorized boathouses located at Piers 26, 66, 84, and 96. With additional space at Pier 40, these boathouses accommodate kayaking, outboard canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, kayak polo, rowing and boat building, each operated by a different boating organization and park partner. By providing direct access to the Hudson River and its shoreline, the park’s boating programs encourage environmental stewardship and educate visitors about the importance of New York’s ecological habitats. Collectively, the boathouses helped bring thousands of people to paddle, row and sail the Hudson River for the first time, largely free or at low cost and boating not motorized an egalitarian recreational activity.
“The Downtown Boathouse tries to allow as many people to kayak New York Harbor as our resources allow, and as far as it is safe to do so,” according to Graeme Birchall, president of the Downtown Boathouse. “The Downtown Boathouse is part of the LOCAL OUTDOOR recreational movement. In an increasingly urbanized world, we believe that people in densely populated cities need safe and affordable access to their local outdoors, which for New York City is the Port of New York,”
The Downtown Boathouse is located at Pier 26 of Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan. One of the distinctive features of the pier is the Tide Deck, a technical representation of a tidal rock marsh used for educational and environmental programs. The pier also has a sunbathing lawn, a sports field for children’s games and several lounges to enjoy the view of the river. This important riverside access point helps support events and activities offered by the River Project, the environmental education and science programming arm of the Trust, for more than 30,000 children and adults each year.
In addition to its boating programs, from May through November, Hudson River Park offers a full range of fun, family-friendly programs, from Wetlab Look-ins tours and Pier 26 Tide Deck tours to biking lessons. for kids and Big City Fishing. The park also hosts a number of events that celebrate movement, music and dance, including free waterfront fitness and dance classes, the famous Blues BBQ Festival and Jazz at Pier 84.
ABOUT HUDSON RIVER PARK
Hudson River Park, which stretches from Chambers Street to 59th Street along the west side of Manhattan, is the longest riverfront park in the United States. This free urban recreation oasis is home to award-winning skate parks, playgrounds, sports fields, nature gardens and exhibits, water and sea activities, art installations and a myriad of year-round events that celebrate the diverse cultures and neighborhoods along its shores. The park, which has transformed four miles of decaying piers and parking lots into a premier New York City destination for local residents and visitors, plays a vital role in protecting the Hudson River ecosystem. For more information, please visit www.hudsonriverpark.org, or follow the park on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @HudsonRiverPark.