The New York City skyline, lit up against the backdrop of a night sky, is a familiar, iconic scene, but you've never seen it like this... Normally, I would insert the obligatory picture here, but I didn't have my waterproof camera that day (okay, actually, I don't own a waterproof camera). By "that day," I am referring to a recent dusky evening, on which I had the adventurous pleasure of embarking on a "New York After Dark Tour" with Manhattan Kayak Company.
Joining a tour of approximately 12 people, we were each given a life vest and a paddle, received some brief paddling instructions on the dock, and then boarded our sit-upon kayaks one by one. Then two experienced guides accompanied our group as we paddled up and down the Hudson River for a little over an hour. Each kayak was equipped with a small back lamp, which the guides turned on as the sun turned down.
Pausing to take in my surreal surroundings, I was mesmerized by the sky, as remaining blue patches began to swirl above my head, mixing with marigold, mauve, rose and red-orange, like a painter's palate. Words cannot capture the magnificent image of the setting sun descending behind the skyscrapers, as we literally watched a New York night begin to come alive and vibrant. The natural light of the day faded out and the glimmer of the city shone bright with electrical buzz, and all the while I sat in the middle of it all.
Splashing around in my kayak, sitting on a body of water separating two states, my favorite view was, perhaps surprisingly, the southwest exposure of the sky over Jersey City. The further south one looked, the more open the water became, and toward the west, of course, was where the last remaining colors of the sun could be glimpsed the longest. Although we did paddle somewhat "after dark," the tour might more aptly be named something like "Sunset Over New York Tour."
I purchased my tour via bloomspot for under $40, and I have also seen Manhattan Kayak offer a similar voucher on zozi. At that price, the tour is well worth it. The normal price tag is $80 per person, which begins to feel a bit overpriced considering the length of the trip.
Manhattan Kayak does offer a 90 minute Full Moon Tour, when appropriate, for only $65, and a daily 45 minute "Fun in the Sun Tour" for $40, which runs twice on weekdays, and four times a day on weekends. Check out their calendar for these and other trips, and make sure to read the descriptions to choose the appropriate trip for your skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
WGINY Reader Tip: If you've never kayaked before, try getting your feet wet first, for free, by stopping by an introductory kayak class with the The New York City Downtown Boathouse (not affiliated with Manhattan Kayak), offered on Wednesday evenings at Pier 96, or taking out one of the Boathouse's free kayaks for a quick (only 20 minutes allowed) early evening or weekend paddle.