It has been many years since Herman Melville wrote those words at the beginning of Moby-Dick, but Manhattan and its wharves endure, and wanderlust and adventure still call to those who ply its waters. Once again, NBBC responded, and on Saturday, October 1, at 10 PM, a crew of twenty paddlers embarked on on the club’s annual circumnavigation of Manhattan.
We followed the tidal currents counterclockwise around the island, launching in a headwind and drizzle in the East River. That same wind was waiting for us eight hours later when we came around the Battery and once again entered home waters, cruising up the East River as dawn, hidden behind high clouds, brought the city back to life around us.
We had seen the city in a way many people never get to: fog lights lighting up the low clouds over the bulking cliffs of Upper Manhattan, cruise ships making way up the Hudson to bring their loads of tourists to Manhattan at dawn, the fearless and proprietary rats of Riverside Park at 4 AM . . .
But what felt most true was that these sights were not foreign, not alien, but part and parcel of our life in our city. That as strange as the night might have looked, however much we might have confused those who saw us passing under the twenty bridges or landing on the city’s forgotten wharves, we were at home, a part of the life of the city.
Though, real talk: those bagels were pretty important when we got back.
What are you doing next fall? Why not join in?