The Water Front and Center—Paddle, Sail or Cruise on the Hudson This Summer
In the hustle and bustle of everyday Hoboken, there are always temptations to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Perhaps none are as compelling as the Hudson River, which beckons the sailor, the sportsman and the tourist alike. Whether your skills lie in rigging, paddling or just drinking in the view, there is fun to be had on the water.
This uptown pier is a one-stop place for all watersport enthusiasts. The pier is host to Resilience Paddle Sports, which includes paddle boarding (SUP standup paddle boarding) and kayaking. They offer ongoing classes, tours, and private parties. Book online at hobosup.com. Keep in mind, you will be on display to the groups of people watchers at Pier 13, so you may want to take an afternoon lesson before trying SUP with anyone you are trying to impress. And if you think that your balance is great and are looking for a bigger challenge, SUP Yoga (standup paddleboard yoga) might be for you. The classes will begin in September and require a basic knowledge of paddle boarding, not to mention yoga. Participants will practice Asana on the water as they are challenged to find balance and stability while on the board. Thrill seekers can also rent jet skis at Pier 13. New York Harbor Jetski (newyorkharborjetski.com) offers tours and rentals.
But perhaps your idea of a perfect day on the water includes more drinking than sweating. Pier 13 Boating Club is a social club for young professional Hobokenites that includes more social mixing and VIP treatment. A seasonal membership ($175.) includes weekly social mixers at Pier 13, VIP access to the bar at Pier 13, a complimentary sail with a captain, plus a free kayak or paddleboard lesson. Zach Dinger, manager of the Boating Club, says that the membership makes “you feel like you are a part of something.” And as Hoboken elite can attest to—who doesn’t like to cut the line at a bar? Never wait in line at the popular pier bar again. Members have their own window, plus 15% off all drinks. “Being able to cut the line pays for itself,” says Dinger. “It’s a great experience, a great way to meet people, and a great thing to be a part of.” In addition to the pier specials, membership will include discounts at other local Hoboken businesses. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pier has been growing in popularity every season. In addition to the pier bar, there are food trucks offering seafood, pizza, BBQ, and more. “Where else can you find this? The best water sports around and the best view,” says Dinger. Interested parties can stop by the pier for the Boating Club happy hour party on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet members and get more information. Pier 13 is open Monday to Friday from 4 to 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Some may not be content with looking at the water—they’d rather be out on the water. The Hoboken Sailing Club, now in its fourth season, has over 50 members. While most of the members have some sailing experience, beginners are welcome. “Sailing is not the easiest thing in the world. You really get to experience Mother Nature,” says Dinger. “You get an understanding of currents and wind direction.”
No experience? No fear. Beginners can sign up for sailing lessons with a professional. Membership includes access to their fleet of boats, which include four J/24 Sailboats and an Archambault Sailboat. All the boats hold up to four passengers and the tours are in four-hour blocks (8 a.m. – noon, noon – 4 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.). Members have no responsibility of maintenance, gas, cleaning, boat registration or docking fees. Once a member, you can log in at any time to reserve a boat and a four-hour tour. The 2015 membership is $850 and a family membership is $1,175. The season runs from May through October, weather permitting. Members are also invited to social events throughout the season. In addition, experienced sailors can compete in a weekly race against the Manhattan Sailing Club. Races are held on Tuesdays (weather permitting) and involve a circular lap on the Hudson. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Every weekend, the Hoboken Cove Boathouse offers free kayaking to Hoboken adults, families, and yes, even your dog. The non-profit, volunteer based City-run program offers lessons, tours, and more. The season runs May through October, weather permitting. According to Jon Miller, president of Hoboken Cove Boathouse, they will even kayak in the rain. “A little rain never hurt anyone,” says Miller, who added that lightning or high winds keep them in. This is a great way for beginners to get their feet wet. “If they have never done it before, we are happy to send a volunteer out with them,” says Miller. “We want to help keep them safe.” In the protected area of the embayment, participants can get instructions from an experienced volunteer. “It’s a safe, fun way to experience the river,” he says. “We put parents out with their infants. We’ve even put dogs out there.”
In addition to the fleet of kayaks (including sea and sit on top kayaks, single and double), they also have access to canoes and paddleboards. “Anything you want, we can get it,” says Miller. Throughout the summer, they will offer free kayaking every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. in Maxwell Place Park, adjacent to Frank Sinatra Drive and leaving from the beach in front of the boathouse. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, come earlier in the day. More experience kayakers can sign up for a Thursday night kayak tour. Regardless of your skill level, Miller says that they are happy to offer instruction to all ages and all levels of experience. “It’s a great resource that is underutilized by the public.”
Interested paddlers can show up anytime on weekends. Also, volunteers are always needed. For more information, and updated scheduling, visit: www.hobokencoveboathouse.org
Another way to relax while enjoying the spectacular views of Manhattan is on a sightseeing cruise. In the Hoboken area, there are many tours to choice from including Circle Line (lunch, day, and sunset cruises), Cornucopia Cruise Line (dinner cruises), Boat Party NY (after work party happy hour cruises, and weekend sunset cruises).
Most of the boat cruises start at $20, (Circle Line a bit more at $36), and dinner cruises will cost about $100. You can get the same trip for less through Groupon, Amazon Local, or LivingSocial.
The after-work Thursday night cruise, is a booze-fueled party cruise from 7 to 10 p.m. This party boat is exactly that—adults only—you must be 21 to drink and it attracts a mixed group, but mostly young professionals looking for some fun. There are several bars onboard, but be advised—the drinks are pricey, even by Hoboken standards. And unless you want to be the jackass holding up the line, please bring cash! The long wait for drinks is mostly later in the night when people run their cards—and wait for it—the bartenders have to wait for spotty wifi service on the water to kick in. Isn’t technology wonderful?
If you want to get a good seat on the boat, you will need to get in line 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. boarding. Get a table first and then get drinks! Food is available on the tour, but it is catered cafeteria-style food at best. Most really come for the views and the booze. The tour takes off about 45 minutes after boarding and gives guests views along the East River. You’ll see the Manhattan, Williamsburg and Brooklyn bridges, South Street Seaport, lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. The boat stops for pictures of Lady Liberty, and that alone is worth the price of the tickets. Seeing her from the water, up close at sunset was spectacular.
The party element of the cruise really kicked in around 9 p.m. when people had enough liquid courage to dance to the DJ music. Skyport Marina, home to www.BoatPartyNY.com, is easy to get to for Hobokenites (located at 23rd St. and the East River)—just a PATH ride plus a short walk away.
After all, there’s a river right there in front of us—may as well make the most of it…