This past weekend Confluence and EMS teamed up to provide a unique paddling experience for New Yorkers in Central Park as part of the Adventures NYC event. Put on by NYC parks, the event encourages city dwellers to get outside and take advantage of the active opportunities in their beautiful park system. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but I found out that you really can commune with nature in the middle of New York City!
Set up for the event included parking a semi full of kayaks in the middle of Central Park and unloading them down stairs to Bethesda Fountain, the venue for the paddling. We had to unload a lot of boats and we were happy to have the assistance of some of the park employees — awesome, strong women who caught onto lifting and carrying boats fast! I was impressed. Most of them had never seen kayaks before and they handled them easily.
Friday night we were invited to a reception that included delicious food catered by one of the best chefs in the city (lucky us!). Originally the reception was suppose to be on the rooftop of the building, but it was rainy so they moved it inside. We did have the opportunity to go up on the roof and enjoy the nice skyline view of the city, the tree-top view of the park and the some of the buildings on upper east side. It was very cool.
Our hotel was right off of Time Square, which feels crazy with all of the billboards, lights and tourists. We spent some time in the M&M and Hershey stores there. They actually provide a lot of entertainment… especially the M&M store.
During the event, which was only 4 hours, we introduced over 300 people to kayaking. Toward the end of the afternoon there was a long line with people waiting up to an hour to get into a kayak. Had the weather been sunny I’m sure we would have seen hundreds more.
It was really awesome for me to watch people have so much fun in kayaks and really enjoy being outside. I had a great time chatting with people and helping them with their paddling. Kayaking really does transform people’s attitudes, moods, and lives and I’m so grateful every time I get to witness that on whitewater or flatwater. I enjoy bringing kayaking to people everywhere!
I paddled around a Dagger Alchemy most of the event and then switched into a Perception Tribute. Both boats are very different and very fun on flatwater! I even saw some wildlife… fish, turtles and a beautiful small Heron. Central Park is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the event. I appreciate Confluence and EMS bringing kayaking to people everywhere! Enjoy these photos of the event.