Red Hook

First visit to: Verazzano Narrows Bridge
Repeat visits to: Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge

Route Map           More Photos      (click on any image in this post for a larger view)

The Verazzano Narrows Bridge much the way it looked as we floated under it just before dawn. (Photo from

Rosalba and I landing on the beach at Coney Island

Rosalba and I joined a group from Long Island City Community Boathouse led by the intrepid Ted G on a kayaking trip from Long Island City to Coney Island — by night! We left the boathouse at 1:30 a.m. and paddled down the East River with all the lights of New York City glittering around us like a galaxy. There was almost no traffic as we paddled across the very quiet, calm New York Upper Harbor and through the Buttermilk Channel (between Governor’s Island and the Brooklyn waterfront) before landing for a short rest in Red Hook (near where we had key lime pie last weekend). Then it was on again to the Lower Harbor before crossing under the Verazzano Bridge just before dawn. The sea at slack tide was glassy smooth and the same color as the sky; looking out toward the ocean the horizon all but disappeared and we were suspended in this amazing quietude of blue. We rounded Sea Gate as the sun came over the horizon, and landed on the beach just below the Coney Island tower a little before 7:00. The only other people on the beach were a church group performing baptisms.

Rosalba in our kayak on the beach at Coney Island, with the church group in the background

At 9:00 the CIBBOWS – Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swim – began. We participated in swim support, guarding the jetties along the beach and keeping swimmers on course. By 10:00 it was over; we got the boats off the beach then Rosalba and I caught the subway home as we had arranged before the trip with Ted. His plan had been to continue on to Breezy Point before trailering the boats back to LIC later in the afternoon, but once the boats were off the beach everyone else decided they were too tired for that, and as we were leaving the rest of them were preparing to load up the boats and leave as well. We were home by noon.

Our only glitch of the trip was that while beaching the kayaks after swim support we got caught in the surf at the last minute and rolled onto the beach. I felt a bit stupid, but then woman in the next kayak rolled hers too so I didn’t feel quite so bad! No damage done, just a LOT of sand in my ears!

We calculated that we traveled about 17 miles, and it was only our second significant kayaking expedition. All in all, another legen . . . DARY experience!


It all began on July 14th, 2012. I (RaNae M) took Rosalba F, the Italian engineering graduate student living with me for the summer, on what was supposed to be an afternoon excursion to Governor’s Island that we thought would include about half an hour in a kayak. The tide of events turned (as it were) on the spur of the moment, and suddenly we were on a 2-day overnight camping and kayaking trip, thanks to our friends at Long Island City Community Boathouse. We camped with them overnight on Governor’s Island, and the next day paddled south for a swim at Red Hook and then northward — in a rainstorm — home to Long Island City. Along the way we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge, and that’s when I learned that Rosalba’s engineering specialty is bridges. Somewhere during the course of the next week we cooked up the idea of visiting all the bridges in New York City — by water as much as possible — before she goes back home to Italy in December.

We could not even begin to accomplish this goal without generous encouragement and assistance from Victoria O, Steve E and Ted G of the Long Island City Community Boathouse, as well as many others who are assisting us and becoming friends along the way.  Our sincere gratitude goes out to them and to the many, many waterway enthusiasts who share their time and efforts to help make New York City’s waterways accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

This blog is the story of our adventures.