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NYC’s Piers – The Highlights

September 20, 2019

When people think of Manhattan, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually “island”. But, with the number of piers that the city has, maybe it should be! True to New York City, the offerings at these piers go well beyond fishing. From entertainment to recreation, events at the piers reflect NYC at its best. Here’s a short list of some of the city’s best piers.

Chelsea Piers

Situated on the scenic Hudson River, Chelsea Piers is a mecca for fitness lovers of all ages. Dubbed “New York’s Ultimate Playground,” this 28-acre sports complex offers a state-of-the-art health club and 25+ different sports, all with dedicated coaches. There are steam rooms and saunas, sports facilities and swimming pools, delicious cafe fare, and communal work and social spaces. With a vast children’s curriculum, Chelsea Piers offers instruction in 15 different sports, some for as young as six months old, in everything from baseball and soccer to figure skating and rock climbing. For adults, there’s no shortage of fitness activities: learn a sport, join a league, utilize the Fitness Club, take a class (there’s over 100 a week), or enjoy one of the many drop-in activities such as bowling, golf, rock climbing, or sailing on the Hudson. Want a little something different on a Friday night? Come to Chelsea Piers’ Friday Night Swings, where you can swing away on the driving range, get instruction from golf pros, and enjoy the open wine/beer bar. Or, relax after work at Girls Night Out, where you can learn to play golf while having fun, drinking wine, and making new friends.

Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park is not only the longest riverfront park in New York City, but it’s also actually the longest in the United States. Of the Park’s 550 acres, more than 400 are located in the Hudson River, with three boathouses, and a fourth under construction in Tribeca. Head to any of the piers along Hudson River Park, and enjoy countless activities on the water, from learning to building to sporting to relaxing. Interested in learning about NYC’s rich maritime history? Check out Pier 25 in Tribeca to explore the historic ships anchored there. If this has you inspired, take the next step by learning to build a boat yourself – Pier 40 in Greenwich Village offers you the chance to work with wood and try your hand at fine craftsmanship in free boat building workshops. If you’re more interested in sporting, head to Pier 66 in Chelsea for sailing, or Pier 96 in Clinton for kayaking – both provide lessons, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not experienced. If you’d rather just relax and enjoy the stunning Manhattan views from the water, catch a dinner or brunch cruise off World Yacht at Pier 81 in Maritime Entertainment District. Let a boat captain and a chef take away your cares for the afternoon. 

NYC Ferry

From a pier near you to your work or pleasure destination, why not take the water? Operated by Hornblower, NYC Ferry provides a new, more adventurous way to travel around New York: by ferry. The company has six routes which span over 60 nautical miles of waterways, connecting the city’s waterfront communities. For the price of a subway ride, tickets can be bought on the NYC Ferry app or at the landing. Interested in switching up your daily work commute? Hop aboard the ferry at Greenpoint and make it to East 34th Street in nine minutes or Wall Street/Pier 11 in half an hour. Want an easygoing way to get to the beach? Board the ferry at Sunset Park and get to Rockaway in 41 minutes. You can bring your bike along for just $1 more, children under 44 inches travel free, and there’s a cool bodega-meets-tech-shop, The New Stand, onboard for your snacking and browsing needs. 

Summer on the Hudson

Riverside Park from 59th Street to 153rd Street

Summer on the Hudson is a series of events at various locations in Riverside Park, hosted by NYC Parks. The events are all interesting and varied, span well past summertime (the current events calendar runs through December), and take place in the park or on a pier. In September alone, events at the piers run the gamut from aerobic dancing workouts to tugboat racing. There are events for writers (Literary Lounge), singers (#TotallyPublicKaraoke), dancers (Silent Disco), and gamblers (Bingo!). There are Stargazing nights and Sungazing days, and even a county fair (West Side County Fair at Pier 1), complete with live bands, sideshow performers, aerialists, carnival rides, and food trucks.

If the great views and outside air of the piers have you wanting more, then go ahead – spend fall on a rooftop.

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