What residents know, but visitors often forget, is that New York’s Financial District hosts a wealth of ways to get out onto the frothy waters that surround the island of Manhattan. Downtown workers can leave the office, walk to the docks, trade the briefcase for a cocktail, and climb aboard.
Now, unless you own your own boat, nobody’s going to let you captain a ship without any help. (No matter how many Lasers or FJs you sailed at summer camp, these boats are $50,000+ pieces of delicate machinery.) Instead, each charter boat has at least one sailor aboard who will actually raise the mainsail, lower the boom, unfurl the spinnaker, and act out any other lingo you might have picked up from Captains Courageous. You and your friends get to sit back, enjoy the view, and do your best not to get any of the East River in your mouth.
Starting on the smaller side of the spectrum, you can charter a 34.5′ boat from Gotham Sailing. It holds up to six passengers, with the standard, four-hour charter going for $399.
In the same price range, you can charter a Tayana 37 from Narwhal Yacht Charters. Their Tayana, a brand whose vintage-inspired wood and metal finishes (and ease of use) has earned a cult following, is available for four-hour cruises — just contact the captain, Eric Puleio, for charter rates.
Atlantic Yachting, which sails from 79th Street boat basin, has two boats for charter — a 43′ and a 42′ sloop. Each boat, staffed with two crew members, can hold a maximum of six passengers. The charter times vary from two to four-hour sails.
Now, before you rush out to the piers, it’s important to remember that sailboats in this size-range will inevitably rise and fall with every wave; if you’re hoping for a languorous cruise with martinis and board games, you should probably opt for something larger.
Which brings us to the Atlantic Sail and Charter, which mans a stunning, 62.5′ long wooden sailboat from 1921, which holds up to 25 passengers. It’s as classic as they come — built for the founder of Citibank, it’s got a mahogany hull and enough teak to reforest Burma.
And then there’s the Classic Harbor Line, which offers a 105 foot, three-mast schooner that can hold up to 75 guests. Weekday evenings cost $1,375 per hour, with a two-hour minimum.
The beauty of all of these options is that they require minimal commitment: you’re not joining a yacht club or buying a boat — at most, you’re taking a cab.
We want you to get out to eat this summer — literally — so we’re featuring the best spots to soak up the sun or the stars with food, drinks and friends wherever you’re traveling. This week’s great places in the great outdoors: waterfront dining destinations! From a chic, airy oceanfront patio in Malibu to a cruise alongside Washington, D.C. on the Potomac, here are the hot spots for summer suppers on the water, or nearby but dry.
Classic Harbor Line
A 1920s-style “commuter” yacht, the Yacht Manhattan is the most luxurious of the Classic Harbor Line’s cruises in the waters of New York City. The 80-foot yacht carries guests around the island, with views of most of the major sites of the Upper New York Harbor. All of the cruises feature complimentary food and beverages served in the solarium. The Yacht Manhattan also offers many special event cruises featuring food and wine, such as the Mother’s Day Brunch or the Wine Tasting series.
NEW YORK CITY — If you want to get on the water this summer, you can hear live rock ‘n’ roll or even see whales.
New York Harbor is big enough to offer varied but simple ways to get onto a boat and have fun. Here’s a list:
Classic Harbor Line
Where: Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers, near 11th Avenue and 21st Street.
When: Trips take place nearly every day on each vessel. Those interested should check the company’s calendar here.
Cost: Varies depending on trip. The cheapest voyage is $46 for a two-hour daytime sail past the Statue of Liberty aboard the Adirondack. But there’s also a $124 Morimoto sushi-and-sake tasting aboard the America 2.0.
Several companies, including Classic Harbor Line, offer an historical alternative to the regular diesel-fueled ferries that run sightseeing tours. Classic Harbor sightseeing cruises, dining trips and fireworks viewings are available on two schooners through the summer, the 80-foot Adirondack and the 105-foot America 2.0.
For many folks, summer often means escaping to the beach. But city-folk — and travelers — can take in a dose of water-filled fun this summer without ever leaving town. How? By experiencing one of the numerous river cruises in key cities nationwide.
From a sunset-sail in New York to a culture-filled excursion in Chicago, here are five city river cruises to consider right now.
This weekend marks City of Water Day — a fun and event-filled happening to honor the importance of the New York-New Jersey Harbor. And to celebrate, Classic Harbor Line is giving away free sailing trips on its elegant Schooner America 2.0 vessel.
Every day, three envelopes (each with two tickets) are being hidden near the Schooner’s Chelsea mooring with clues tweeted via @ClassicHarbor. Look for them in iconic Chelsea spots such as the High Line, Chelsea Market and Chelsea Piers.
The winning cruises feature top-shelf booze and sightseeing across lower Manhattan from this elegant vessel.
Standard cruises start at $52 for two hours.
Classic Harbor Line is paying it forward and offering “Hidden Sailing Trips” similar to “Hidden Cash NYC” starting Sat July 5th and culminating on Sat July 12th City Of Water Day. Every afternoon at 12 NOON several clues will be tweeted out on the location of 3 envelopes that contain 2 free tickets (a value of $104) for a day sailing trip on Schooner America2.0 via @ClassicHarbor. The envelopes will be hidden around public spaces in Chelsea and finders must tweet a photo of them with envelope at location to redeem the free sails. We want to encourage New Yorkers to get out and enjoy the waterfront and enjoy sailing. Envelopes will be hidden around iconic Chelsea locations like the High Line, Chelsea Market, A Chelsea Art Gallery, Hudson River Park, Chelsea Piers. Manhattan is an Island & we are hoping to get more people out on the water this summer. Classic Harbor will be giving away 42 sailing tickets for a total of $2184. Tickets can be redeemed on the day the winner finds it and up to 30 days after.
So get your running shoes on and get out there to find your tickets. This hot weather is the perfect time to get out on the water to cool down and what better place to do that but aboard the Schooner America 2.0! Set sail on this magnificent 105 foot schooner with a glass of Champagne in hand and the wind in your hair. We look forward to having you! Happy Hunting!
On our intimate 3-hour cruise we saw stunning new architecture that is changing the skyline.
As a veteran New Yorker who has written several guidebooks about the city, I thought I knew every detail about the island, but after taking a three-hour cruise around Manhattan that focused on the city’s architectural wonders, I’ve gained a whole new perspective. Standing on city sidewalks, you are too close to see the detail of buildings or the full impact of their height, nor do you have the distance to see how each blends into the city’s dazzling mosaic. From the river, with an architectural expert aboard to guide you, all of this becomes wonderfully clear.
Anyone can share this enlightening experience by signing up for a Classic Harbor Line Around Manhattan cruise with a guide provided by the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Unlike the crowded Circle Line cruises, Classic Harbor Line ships sail from Chelsea Piers several times a week carrying a maximum of 56 passengers, a captain, two cheerful crew members and a knowledgeable guide. This is an intimate, enjoyable and mind-expanding excursion. From the decks or generous cabin windows of the Manhattan, an 80-foot vessel built in 2006 to resemble a 1920s motor yacht, everyone can see buildings easily and also follow the course with an illustrated souvenir folder that contains a map and 156 thumbnail photos of the sites in store.
Blessed with a sunny day in July, my friend and I enjoyed the breezes as we sat on deck benches with a glass of champagne in hand and viewed the changing shoreline, not only in Manhattan, but in the boroughs across the rivers where parks and shiny new neighborhoods are rising. During the 35-mile circumnavigation, our excellent guide, John Kriskiewicz, professor of Architecture and City Planning at Parsons and FIT, told us about the buildings we were passing, as well as the historic bridges that connect the city (all 18 of them) and some of the hidden infrastructure that keeps the city running.
We had hardly set out from Chelsea Piers when two great buildings provided an example of my widened view. Frank Gehry’s IAC headquarters and Jean Noevel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue are a block apart and can’t be seen together from land. But from the river we could compare how two talented architects created entirely different façades using glass. Gehry’s curving lines look for all the world like billowing sails while Noevel has designed an intriguing mosaic of rectangular boxes at unexpected angles, almost like a puzzle.
Traveling south on the Hudson, we sailed by the burgeoning skyline and viewed the High Line’s modern marvels, including the Standard Hotel that actually straddles the walkway, and Richard Meir’s triple Perry Street Towers in Greenwich Village. It was a thrill to round the tip of Manhattan and see how the Freedom Tower has altered the skyline above its neighbors. Before we were done, I had discovered several buildings that were new to me—the striking stair-step façade of the Mercedes House, Frank Gehry’s undulating tower at 8 Spruce Street, now the city’s tallest residential building, and architect Rafael Vinoly’s 1,398 foot condo tower on Park Avenue that will steal that title when it’s completed in 2015.
Kayakers enjoying the river and bikers in the parkland above the highway were welcome reminders of how well the Hudson has been cleaned up and utilized.
We learned lots of interesting tidbits as we sailed. I didn’t know that Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers was to have been the final destination of the Titanic, or that the city’s oldest bridge, the 1848 High Bridge between upper Manhattan and the Bronx, was originally designed to resemble a Roman aqueduct as it brought water into the city. And who would have suspected that the handsome towers on the Normandy Apartments on Riverside Drive were built to hide the wooden water towers that supply many of the city’s buildings?
Cameras clicked madly as we came up close to the Statue of Liberty. “You’d have to stand in line for hours for another boat that comes this close,” John reminded us.
Heading north on the East River, we sailed beneath the city’s mighty bridges—the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Robert Kennedy (previously the Triboro) with a chance to see the differences in construction that aren’t as obvious from land. The changing fortunes of city neighborhoods were unmistakable as the Manhattan traveled past the action on the Brooklyn waterfront, where rotting piers are being transformed into parkland, and luxury towers are rising in once-gritty North Williamsburg. More cranes and construction marked the recent popularity of Long Island City, and as we cruised past the South Bronx, the new towers being built were evidence that this is the latest hot spot for artists and the residential development that is following them.
As the East River turned into the Harlem River, the water narrowed and we came upon a string of bridges leading to the Bronx—many of them foot bridges like the 135th Street Bridge that once led from Yankee Stadium to the Polo Grounds. The 1895 Macombs Dam Bridge will be familiar to those who have seen it in an Edward Hopper painting.
As we approached the end of the island, Manhattan’s topography changed dramatically from the flat mid-town that I know. Here we were passing cliffs, the 500 million-year-old bedrock known as Manhattan Schist and the dense greenery of Inwood Hill Park, the last vestiges of Manhattan’s primeval forest.
We saw some of the infrastructure sites almost unnoticed most of the time, like the handsome building decorated with sails near Dyckman Street that is actually an electrical transformer station. After passing through the Spuyten Duyvil, one of the several swing bridges that rotate 90 degrees on a turn-table to let ships pass by, we rounded the top of Manhattan and turned south again, the Hudson stretching ahead seeming as wide as an ocean.
I was awed by the dramatic sight of the 28 green acres of Riverbank State Park on the Hudson, built atop what our guide described as the “Versailles of Waste Treatment Plants.” I had been in that park, completely unaware of what was underneath.
Knowing that John Kriskiewicz is always the guide for specialized Saturday cruises devoted entirely to bridges, tunnels and infrastructure, I signed on for another of his colorful narrations. Even though it turned out to be a rainy Saturday in late July when we sailed, I found it quite enlightening; even staying inside the cabin turned out to be a cozy experience with more opportunity to enjoy the gracious drinks, fruit and cheese and cakes provided. I had been too busy snapping photos on deck to take full advantage of snacks the first time around. (When the weather is poor, passengers are limited to 44 to insure that everyone has an indoor seat.)
Whichever cruise you choose, I guarantee you’ll have a delightful afternoon and come back to shore knowing a lot more about New York City.
Happy birthday, America! It’s time to get your red, white and blue on, rain or shine.
Here’s your guide to explosive events going on this weekend – indoors and out!
Why crowd in with the masses when you can catch the fireworks from a luxurious vessel?
Hop aboard a 1920s-style Classic Harbor Line yacht and enjoy festivities from the comfort of an open-air deck complete with booze and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets range from $276 to $376 at sail-nyc.com.