Want to avoid the hassle of big-name cruises? Westchester Magazine staffers took to the water and found a classic yacht & sailboat tour around the NYC harbor.
Sure, everyone knows about the Circle Line tours—but do we really want to join that circus? I, for one, much prefer the idea zipping around New York harbor in a classic yacht or sailboat, while sipping a glass of Champagne. And that’s just the type of experience you can expect with Classic Harbor Line, which operates out of Pier 62 at West 22nd street. The company offers a variety of themed cruises (as well as private charters), with sunset sails the most popular, along with the critically acclaimed AIA-NY Around NYC Architecture Tour, Morimoto Sushi & Sake Sail, and full day trips to Bear Mountain and back.
I set sail on a perfect Sunday afternoon on the 105-foot Eco Schooner America 2.0 with my three daughters and a few of their friends. The entire experience—chatting with the crew and other passengers, enjoying the breezes and expansive skyline views was fabulous. No matter how many times you visit the city, seeing it by boat is the best way to fall in love with New York all over again. I know I did.
“It was brilliant,” agrees my daughter Lauren Giles, visiting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “The last time I was that close to the Statue of Liberty I was actually on the island. Seeing her so clearly on such a beautiful day was practically magical.”
Lauren Steffens, visiting from Columbia, Missouri, loved seeing the city from a new vantage point. “It gave me a new appreciation for NYC’s shining architecture and magnificent waterfront,” she says.
“It felt like a comfortable living room on the water,” says Westchester Magazine Creative Director Aiko Masazumi, who took the sunset tour with her husband and son on the Manhattan, an 80-foot 1920s-style yacht. “Unlike Circle Line or World Yacht, it was a small and cozy boat. The crew members were paying attention to all the passengers, taking care of the food, drinks, and entertainment, including a magic show for the kids on board. We enjoyed the beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty, the gorgeous sunset, and the warm breeze on the perfect summer night. If I was lucky enough to throw a party on the boat, I would definitely call them up!”
Art Intern Alexandra Tutelian was also on the Manhattan. “I was unaware of all the beautiful architecture surrounding New York City until I went on the boat cruise,” she says. “The staff was extremely accommodating, checking up on the passengers often, which I found really nice. I would absolutely go again.” Indeed, that was the sentiment echoed by all the attendees. And it’s easy to go again—just a quick trip down the West Side Highway and into another world.
Insider tip: Park at one of the garages between 10th and 12th Avenues rather than the insanely high priced one at Chelsea Piers. Download a coupon for even greater savings.