The ICC Turtles will be celebrating City of Water Day with an Open House on July 16 from 10AM to Noon. Members of the public who can swim should come join us for a guided, 20-25 minute kayak tour of the Hudson River. We're just north of the George Washington Bridge off Dykman Street. We'll paddle from 9:30 to 12:00, but guests are asked to arrive between 9:00 and 11:00 to ensure they get a spot. No prior experience is needed, and all equipment is provided.
James Rubiera was jogging on the path along the river when he saw our registration table. He stopped to chat with one of our volunteers, and minutes later, he was heading into the boathouse to paddle for the first time in his life.
"I like camping, I like outdoor activities," he says. "When I saw this, I was like, why not?"
The local real estate agent took to kayaking like a duck to water. He's come back every Sunday since, and he enjoys the Hudson River's waves and currents: "It makes it more enjoyable. It's more challenging."
Rubiera has been spreading the word about Open House. "I’ve had three of my friends come and I keep inviting people because it’s an amazing opportunity," he says. "To have it on a donation basis is even more amazing."
The current was running northward this week, so all three waves of paddlers headed south. They enjoyed great close-up views of the George Washington Bridge under a cloudless sky.
Open House runs through Labor Day weekend. Join us for a paddle!
Giselle Munoz was looking for something to do on the water that her mom “could pick up quickly, and that would be peaceful.”
Open House fit the bill.
Her mother, Bernarda, had never paddled before. “We shared a two-seater kayak and it was a lot of fun,” Giselle said. “I think she put trust in me.”
Since the current was strong, the two elected to paddle around the basin next to the boathouse instead of venturing onto the river. Giselle says they’ll come back for another outing soon.
As the summer heats up, so does Open House! It was our busiest of the summer, with 84 guests grouped into three waves. All three waves paddled north into a strengthening southward current.
This week’s activities also featured a special guest appearance by local turtle rescuer Lorri Cramer, who brought some of her reptilian friends.
Interested in Open House? Learn more and join us!
Rachel Baker came to Open House with a crowd: four members of her family. A dance movement therapist, Baker lives near Washington, DC; her New York brother organized the outing.
They arrived late thanks to triathlon traffic and just managed to squeeze into the third and last wave of paddlers.
Baker hadn't been in a kayak for 15 years, and had never dealt with river currents and waves, so she was a little nervous. But everything turned out fine. "It was a lot of fun," she said. "I've seen the Hudson River many times but I've never been on it. This was just a great experience."
Hot weather and blue skies brought 77 paddlers to the river. The currents were gentle and all three waves enjoyed southbound trips toward the George Washington Bridge.
Open House continues through Labor Day; here's how to try it out for yourself.
No thunderstorm warnings. No chilly breezes. No overexcited meteorologists.
This week, for the first Sunday in a while, the forecast called for an uncomplicated summer day. The Open House crowd responded with the highest turnout of the year, hitting 82.
An increasing southerly current throughout the morning made conditions a little challenging for beginners, but people still seemed happy to be out on the river. Some elected to cruise around in the somewhat quieter waters on the north side of the boathouse—always an option if you prefer a more laid-back experience.
Want to try paddling the Hudson yourself? Join us for Open House!
We had a great 7th Open House on Sunday after the fourth of July and have 9 more Open Houses before the season ends on Labor Day weekend.
One paddler was joining us for the third team this season after coming once last year.
“I live in the neighborhood and bought my apartment eight years ago, but it took me awhile to take that first step and come out to the boathouse for Open House paddling,” said Damaris Bergas.
“Everybody is welcoming and you guys coach individuals very well. It’s a fun place to be and I’m excited to be able to come back and learn more about the Hudson river and kayaking,” she said.
If you haven't taken that first step to paddle with the Inwood Canoe Club yet, check out a short video made by ICC Vice Commodore Steve Harris and Senior Member Julie McCoy. Then come join us on the Hudson river for canoeing and kayaking on Summer Sundays.
“I felt good today because I managed to paddle against the strong southbound current,” said Marina Chasse´ who had joined Inwood Canoe Club (ICC) for her second Open House session.
She lives a few blocks away from the boathouse and found ICC last year while walking down the road on a Saturday. “I saw one of the members working on a canoe and he told me I should come paddle at Open House. I came back the next Sunday.”
Marina works in the music business, spending half her year in New YorkCity and the other half in Paris. She hadn’t been able to come back to the canoe club until today.
“I love the Open House because the people here make you feel welcome and it’s very friendly.”
“I’m trying to get my friends to come because it’s very peaceful being out on the river. You feel very small when you’re on the Hudson.”
And about that strong southbound current she ran up against today? ICC trip leader Erhan Sakallioglu said the river seemed to be running faster than the predicted two knots, possibly due to the heavy rains on Saturday.
That’s one of the great things about paddling the Hudson – the currents are always changing. It’s never the same experience when you paddle. Why not check it out for yourself next week? Come join us Summer Sundays for canoeing and kayaking.
"It was a friendship test for us, because we were in a tandem."
"Are you still friends?"
"Still friends, I think." (laughs)
"Yeah, I still like you fine."
Week 4 presented the fun and challenging conditions the Hudson is known for. The current was flowing strongly southward, so paddling up past the La Marina boat slips was a workout. The payoff, of course, was a swift and easy return trip.
Some paddlers opted for a gentler cruise around the basin next to the boathouse instead.
Seventy-two guests made for a busy and rewarding morning.
July is coming on fast, but there's still plenty of paddling left this summer. Join us for Open House!
Photo: Steven Shen and Sarah Marza. Hat tip to Brandon Stanton and his excellent Humans of New York project.
When Pablo Astwood decides to get some exercise, he doesn't mess around. Astwood biked to the boathouse from his home in Riverside, went kayaking for the first time ever, and was getting ready to pedal home when we spoke.
Like many people, he first noticed the ICC while using the path along the Hudson.
"I usually ride my bike around here," said the JP Morgan employee. "And I made it a point that I was going to get out here and have a nice workout.
Astwood said he also enjoyed "the scenic change, and the cool people."
Sunday's conditions were perfect for first-time paddlers. It was sunny, but not too hot, and the current was so gentle the river was nearly glassy. Forty-three guests turned out to paddle.
You can get a Hudson River workout, too. Join us for Open House!
If you’ve been to Open House a few times, you’ve probably seen David Matsushita. The retired banker first tried paddling here about five years ago, and he’s been a regular ever since.
“I found out about the place from a friend who saw it online,” Matsushita recalled. “He said, ‘Let’s go down and try it together,’ so we did. I enjoyed it so much I’ve been coming back every year.”
Matsushita likes the “beautiful scenery,” which he called “almost pristine.” He appreciates all of the Hudson River’s many moods, he added, but “the choppier, the more challenging it is, and the more fun."
This week’s weather forecast called for possible thunderstorms, which seemed to hold turnout down. The storms never materialized, and the guests who did come enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere and a less busy dock.
Want to check out Open House for yourself? Learn more here and join us!
This year's Open House season launched with a new floating dock and revamped procedures designed to keep guests flowing through smoothly.
But many other elements were familiar, from the beautiful blue sky, to the majestic lines of the George Washington Bridge, to a playful, somewhat choppy Hudson River.
Ellesse Serrano was paddling for the first time ever. She shared the green double kayak with Ryan De Franco, and the two soon fell into a comfortable, matched rhythm.
"I was nervous. I thought I would suck," Serrano laughed. "Now I'm totally confident."
"just before we left, a lovely lady called out in a French accent, 'You are the power behind what she does, so watch what she does,'" De Franco added. "It clicked for me. I just watched what she did, and then gently did the same thing. It was cool."
"It was fun coming back. The waves were crazy!" said Serrano.
Some 71 guests turned out to enjoy the perfect early-summer weather.
Want to try paddling the Hudson yourself? Join us for Open House!