October 18, 2011

Photo Essay: Bronx River Estuary Paddle

Ever since I attempted the urban hike down the Bronx section of the Bronx River - and spent most of my time crossing the street and hanging out under highways rather than even seeing the river's shore - I've wanted to navigate it in some kind of vessel.

I'd had a couple of opportunities to paddle it in the past but they never worked out for one reason or another.

So when I was plotting out my schedule for Open House New York - this year as a visitor instead of a resident, with a very restricted window of time - I reserved my spot to canoe the Bronx River rather than tour any number of buildings or infrastructural facilities.

I once again returned to Concrete Plant Park, which was finally open to the public. I once again wished I'd seen it before its restoration.

The boat launch is just across the river from ABC Carpet & Home...

...and we were outfitted with lifejackets, paddles, and a quick lesson before we launched.

We three had a little trouble paddling through the gusts and the tide. We had a little trouble steering. We had a little trouble maintaining a sunny disposition despite how remarkably the weather had recovered from the prior day's rain.

But we made it under a number of bridges and overpasses...

...through trash-strewn tree branches and bramble...

...and past a bright display of fall foliage, anachronistic amongst all the industrial wreckage and floating trash that surrounded us.

The Bronx River may not be dirty, but it's full of trash.

And the pedestrians crossing the river overhead stopped to gawk and call out to us.

They must've thought we were crazy.

I even got out of the canoe and into the river at the turnaround point, to take a break from paddling and take the middle "Princess Seat" from which I could document the trip. My bare legs were mud-streaked the rest of the afternoon.

I was glad to cross another NYC activity off my bucket list, but I thought the trip was more significant than that. Not only did I choose to be outdoors and exercising, but I also managed to get myself to bed early enough and abstain from partying enough to actually make it there in the morning - probably the one thing that always prevented me from being able to take such a trip when I lived in New York.

Related Reading:
A Futile Search for the Bronx River Greenway
A Long Walk By the River
Photo Essay: The Bronx River's Northernmost Pathway
Photo Essay: Race Against Time Along the Bronx River

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