Juan Ruiz was jogging past the Inwood Canoe Club last spring when action at the club caught his attention. Despite the fact that he was born and raised in the area, he said never saw the place before.
“I live on 190th Street and I had no idea—and it’s been here for a hundred years,” he said.
He said that senior member Ilya Bernstein gave him the lowdown on Sunday Open House, but it was still two months away. So, he waited. And waited. And now that Open House is in full swing he’s only missed one paddle so far.
He said that his friends were no less surprised than he was when he introduced them to the place. Last weekend he came solo because he “didn’t get the word out early enough.” But get the word out he has.
“My friends can’t believe this is going on in their backyard either,” he said “It’s awesome to find. It’s almost like a little hidden secret, but it’s not like anyones trying to keep it a secret.”
Juan said that said the athletic aspect of paddling intrigues him.
“From a workout perspective it’s surprising how difficult it can be,” he said. “And it’s cool to know that it’s a functional kind of exercise, like if you were out on the water sometime and you needed to get somewhere, you can.”
And get somewhere he will.
“I want to be better," he said. "I don’t know how far you guys go, but if you to Yonkers I want to be able to keep up.”