The Urban Waterfront Get Its Day in the Sun: City of Water Day

It’s easy to forget that New York City is surrounded by water, but that’s why the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is offering a full day of free water related activities on Saturday, July 16 for its annual City of Water Day Festival.

In recent years, the city has made an effort to make New York’s waterfront more accessible — last March, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released Vision 2020, a 10-year redevelopment plan for the city’s 520 miles of shoreline. And with some students now earning math credit by boating on the Hudson River, more and more city programs are focusing on the importance of one of our most abundant resources.

Visitors to the festival can explore various critters that inhabit local waterways. Photo Courtesy of Elisa Deljanin

In light of the city’s renewed concentration on increasing waterfront access for New Yorkers, the festival, now in its fourth year, maintains a focus on utilizing and protecting the region’s waters. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of over 500 organizations from New York and New Jersey, expects to draw more than 15,000 people to Governors Island, Liberty State Park and other locations throughout the harbor on Saturday, July 16.

This year’s festival includes kayak lessons, live music, an activities fair, historical and ecological boat tours and variety of other events scheduled to take place in parks across the city, from the Bronx to Staten Island. Each location will have unique activities.

Some highlights include:

Governor’s Island

A kayak lesson at Liberty State Park. Photo by Mark Miller

A waterfront activity fair

– Tango dancing

– A kayak rolling demonstration

Liberty State Park

– Waterfront bike riding

– Kayak tours

– Bouncy castles

Brooklyn Bridge Park

– Try to catch a fish with a casting machine made out of a homemade soda can, while watching a squid dissection on Pier 6

– Free kayaking — first come, first serve — on Pier 1

– Water-themed art projects

Harlem River Park

– A rowing course with instructor Tracy Eberhart

– Cast a line fishing contest, held by the Parks Department

– A murals tour with Creative Arts Workshops for Kids

Hudson River Park

– An estuary cleanup that will offer participants a firsthand look at the debris in our local water

– Dockside history tours with Lighthouse Tender LILAC

– Learn the basics of outrigger canoeing with New York Outrigger

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