Today was the first time paddling up the Harlem River and circumnavigating Randall's Island and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
I had only been to Randall's Island once, to play in a coporate softball ball in the early 90's and it was a an awful place back then. If you know me you will say you? on a softball team? Yes, I played under duress.
Even back then I was communting by bike. The Japanese company owners were obsessed with softball. TO participate in the softball league you needed a minimum of 4 women on the team and a certain number on the field at all times. They figured since I was athletic enough to bike, I would make a great ball player. Wow, were they wrong. I really hated baseball & softball and any organized sports, but for the sake of job security I joined the team. The first time they saw me try to catch a ball , by stickign out my glove hand, closing my eyes and ducking for cover they must have realized their mistake.
But, the point is , I was on Randall's Island when it was covered in piles of trash, had a few patches of weeds as it's only greenery, and both rats and homeless people wandering about.
What we paddle past today was another world. There were flower beds in bloom, new trees planted everywhere, people walking their dogs on manicured pathways. Lot's of little league games. It's also the current home of Cirq du soleil, which I'm told is $130 a seat. No thanks.
The weather was perfect despite a few high gusts. We hit the tide just right for crossing from the Harlem River to the East River, and slipped under the low bridge.
Oh, and I almost forgot one of the most exciting part. We were running a little late, so we decided to catch the stranger tide on the West Channel of the East River at Roosevelt Island. Well, there was a tug & barge heading west and a big pleasure craft decided to race past it, not realizing there were three little kayaks just past the barge it would pin to the seawall. It saw us at the last moment, just barely made it past the barge, swerved in front the barge to give us room between the barge and the Manhattan seawall. So we caught it's huge wake, multiplied by the tug and barge wake and tripled by another tug following directly behind the first tug. Wow, we surfed up some pretty tall waves and our kayaks caught air and slammed down into more confused waves.
Most suggest doing this circ in a counterclockwise fashion because of the elevation drop, but a clockwise circ worked out great for us. About 4 hours including some cove exploration and bobbing around while we snacked. Anyway, much fun and excitement was had by all three of us. We are all happily exhausted.