New York, NY-City of Water Day, the region’s largest and most popular harbor festival, organized by the Waterfront Alliance to get people to, on, and in the water, is taking place this Saturday, July 14, 2018. The festival hub-presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation-is at Piers 16 and 17 in the historic Seaport District in Lower Manhattan, while dozens of community groups and organizations will host their own City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood events in all five boroughs, Yonkers, and New Jersey. View an interactive map of In Your Neighborhood sites and descriptions of City of Water Day activities around the region.
For one day only on July 14, and in celebration of greater waterfront access all around the region, Brooklyn Bridge Beach will be open to the public. Directly under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side, this small, sandy beach will be the venue for the annual Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race in the morning, and will host free public kayak lessons throughout the day courtesy of HarborLAB.
Free, narrated PortNYC Boat Tours sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will board at piers on South Street, along the South Street Seaport Museum Street of Ships (and several additional locations throughout the city). Hosted by local vessel operators, the PortNYC boat tours honor New York City’s maritime heritage and the historic “Street of Ships,” two miles of East River waterfront once lined with sailing and cargo ships. Boat tour reservations will be announced here starting on July 11. Tickets are first come, first served.
“City of Water Day is a great day to come together and celebrate our waterways and waterfronts,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “I’m especially thrilled that the City of New York has partnered with the Waterfront Alliance to open up Manhattan’s Brooklyn Bridge Beach. I’m sure this will be the first day of many that the public will be able to use this lovely little beach for education, recreation, and relaxation.”
“Lower Manhattan is surrounded by water, yet the East River is still largely inaccessible for too many downtown residents. I am once again proud to support Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day, a celebration that is reconnecting New Yorkers with our waterways,” said New York City Council Member Margaret Chin. “I thank our City for partnering with Waterfront Alliance to provide access to Brooklyn Bridge Beach on the East River waterfront during the festival for kayaking and environmental education. We look forward to working with all our partners to ensure that Brooklyn Bridge Beach becomes a permanent and easily accessible resource for residents and visitors to touch and experience the waterfront firsthand.”
“We are pleased to have the Seaport District play such an integral part in City of Water Day and look forward to seeing our waterfronts come to life in celebration of this special Waterfront Alliance event,” said Saul Scherl, president of the New York Tri-State Region, The Howard Hughes Corporation.
“We’re thrilled to support City of Water Day, which will further connect New Yorkers to one of our City’s greatest assets – the incredible New York Harbor,” said NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett. “With great activities like Brooklyn Bridge Beach and PortNYC boat tours for all to enjoy, this year’s celebration will be one to remember, paying homage our rich maritime history.”
At Piers 16 and 17 on July 14, City of Water Day festival-goers will find Disney children’s activities and the Waterfront Activity Fair, where Waterfront Alliance partners will offer waterfront education activities, games, giveaways, performances, and more. Among the many highlights are water quality testing and trawling for plankton with the Billion Oyster Project, a fishing clinic with I FISH NY, a performance from Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, and sea animal mask-making with Spotlight Kids NY. Please visit the City of Water Day website for a full schedule of activities and performances.
“The Seaport Museum is thrilled to partner with Waterfront Alliance on City of Water Day; this water-focused event brings attention to New York’s origins as a port city and focuses efforts on the future of our metropolis,” said Jonathan Boulware, president and CEO of the South Street Seaport Museum. The South Street Seaport Museum, cultural anchor of the South Street Seaport Historic District, will offer $5 museum admission on City of Water Day, as well as hands-on educational activities along Pier 16.
“We at the Waterfront Alliance are grateful to the City of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for allowing access to Brooklyn Bridge Beach on City of Water Day,” said Waterfront Alliance president and CEO Roland Lewis. “Civic groups in Lower Manhattan have worked for years to unlock this singular stretch of waterfront, and this is a great first step. I’m proud that the Waterfront Alliance brought the parties together and made it happen, and prouder still that together we are working hard all around our urban archipelago to make sure everyone has a safe way to get to the water. As we celebrate our waterways and waterfronts on July 14, we should remember that many waterfront districts in the region have minimal or zero waterfront access. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
About the PortNYC Boat Tours and PortNYC
New to City of Water Day in 2018 are the free, narrated boat tours sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)’s PortNYC initiative, which develops freight and transportation infrastructure along the city’s waterfronts to fuel the region’s economy. PortNYC facilities include the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Cruise Terminals, the 34th Street Heliport, and Pier 4 at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, among other waterfront assets. PortNYC also supports small maritime operations like Swale Barge, a floating food forest at Pier 4 at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and hosts career awareness fairs for high school and college students. On City of Water Day, PortNYC Boat Tours will depart from Piers 16 and 17 at the festival’s main hub, and several additional locations. Although free, there is a nonrefundable $5 per ticket processing fee. Advance reservations are required and a limited number of stand by tickets will be available on the day of the event.
About the Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race and Con Edison
This is the sixth year that Con Edison-one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, providing electric, gas, and steam to New York City and Westchester-has sponsored the annual cardboard kayak race on City of Water Day. At 8:30am adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Beach and under the FDR Drive, the competition will begin when 15 teams, drawn from corporations, schools, nonprofit organizations, and community groups, each receive precisely 250 square feet of corrugated cardboard, 10 rolls of packing tape, and 3 rolls of gaff tape. At 10:30am, the construction period will conclude and judging (Most Classic Design, Most Creative, etc.) will begin. At 11am, race heats will begin, and by 12:30pm, the Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race champion will be crowned.
About City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood and the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program
Each year on City of Water Day, communities come together in the In Your Neighborhood program to paddle kayaks, cast fishing lines, explore wetlands, and simply appreciate and learn more about their waterfronts and waterways. In Your Neighborhood events, which are supported by the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP), highlight the great need to create more access for more neighborhoods to enjoy their waterfronts, and, importantly, tie waterfront fun to stewardship and advocacy. Federally sponsored, HEP is a partnership of federal, state, and local governments; scientists; civic and environmental advocates; the fishing community; business and labor leaders; and educators who work together to protect and improve the quality of the estuary.
“At the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary program, we believe in fostering community stewardship and expanding safe access to our waterwys,” said Robert Pirani, NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary program director. “The City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood program reacquaints thousands people with their waterfronts all around the region, and we’re happy to support this effort.”
“The Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race is an opportunity for participants to innovate and have fun as they build their boats and paddle them in the Harbor,” said David Gmach, director of New York City Regional and Community Affairs. “It also helps focus attention on the wonderful work the Alliance does in advocating for our waterfront, one of New York City’s greatest environmental, recreational and economic resources.”
City of Water Day is generously sponsored by (in formation):
Presenting Sponsor: The Howard Hughes Corporation
Children’s Activities: Disney
Cardboard Kayak Race: Con Edison
Narrated Boat Tours: New York City Economic Development Corporation
Boat Tour Operators: Classic Harbor Line (Schooner Adirondack and yacht Kingston), Hornblower (Great Point), Manhattan By Sail (Clipper City), New York Cruise Lines (Circle Line), NY Waterway (Henry Hudson), Save Our Ships NY (John J. Harvey), South Street Seaport Museum (Schooner Pioneer)
In Your Neighborhood: New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program
Festival Partners: New York State Council on the Arts, South Street Seaport Museum and its Street of Ships
Fleet Sponsor: United Metro Energy
Lieutenant Sponsor: New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Media Partners: ABC7, Davler Media, FiDi Families, K-LOVE, Yelp
In-Kind Sponsors: Bai, Boxed Water, Downtown Alliance, Garden Goddess, GoGo squeeZ, Honest Tea, New York Cares, Raw Elements, Sam Schwartz Pedestrian & Traffic Management Services, Sparkling Ice, ULINE
The Waterfront Alliance works to protect, transform, and revitalize our harbor and waterfront.
The Howard Hughes Corporation is committed to helping the Seaport District reclaim its role as the jewel of Lower Manhattan and the city as a whole.
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