NYCkayaker boathouses on the Hudson river in NYC

Joy Hecht
Wed Nov 1 12:29:40 EST 2006

Good points, Bonnie.  The appropriate analogy to bike racks might be places
to launch, or to pull kayaks onto the shore while getting lunch.  Not
permanent storage.


The bottom line is that NYC real estate is very expensive.  That's why most
New Yorkers don't live in places where you can keep kayaks at home.  And why
housing for kayaks, just like permanent car parking, is going to cost a fair


There's a further argument for not subsidizing it - generally subsidies
should, IMO, go to people at the bottom of the income ladder, not those who
can already afford to purchase a not-so-cheap boat.  How would you feel if
the city gave free or subsidized stable space to people in the city who own
their own horses?  That's a more extreme example, since horses cost vastly
more than kayaks, but I imagine most people would consider that a grossly
inappropriate use of public funds.  If dock space at the 79th St. Boat Basin
is subsidized (and I have no idea, though I'm guessing it might be), I'd
guess you consider that inappropriate too.  The same goes for kayak storage,
though to a lesser degree since kayaking isn't as expensive as horses or
power boats.


Working together to increase the total amount of private rack space, even if
it is available at market rates (paid either in money or in volunteer labor)
seems like a really good strategy - and more likely to succeed than showing
a conflicted front to the city officials or whomever you have to convince
that kayak storage is a real need.







Joy Hecht
now living in a real house in northern Virginia
and Matilda, 1989 Burgundy Vanagon
now living in the driveway and resting after two and a half years
lugging Joy and her stuff around...

For musings about life traveling in the van or living in one place: <> 




[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:14 AM
To: Gordon,Peter; Nancy Brous;
Subject: Re: NYCkayaker boathouses on the Hudson river in NYC


Problem with the bike rack analogy is that our "bikes" need permanent
storage. Bike racks (and dog runs, and basketball courts, and all that type
of public space dedicated to specific uses) end up getting used by a whole
lot of different people. For me to keep my kayaks in the park requires that
one specific kayak-sized chunk of real estate be devoted exclusively to my
personal use. That's a privilege (one I'm willing to pay for rather
handsomely, as are the DTBH folks - only difference being that I pay for
mine in cash, they pay for theirs in hours, & in fact if you assume that an
hour is worth $10, they pay quite a bit more than I do) & I don't lose sight
of that when I'm thinking about the storage problems in the Park. 


Actually that's one of the arguments that's been made in trying to convince
the Powers that Be to let us keep paddling out of the barge - barge stores a
whole lotta private boats while actually increasing public space in the
park, not decreasing it. 


Beyond that - 


Seems like we're all ("we" being both the capitalist & socialist models of
boathouse operation in the Hudson River Park) in the same boat right now. 


Easy to get all sectarian when our overall turf is threatened. Say, "We
deserve this storage more than they do, and here's why".  Think that's a
little shortsighted, though. We see our internal divisions so clearly, but
the people who are making the decisions that affect us don't. 


This is sort of like back when the Human-Powered Boating Group had been
pulled together - to paraphrase Jim W., we were being presented as a problem
to which a certain person was presenting himself as the solution. If we'd
sat there & said "Well, we at Pier 63 encourage training & blah blah blah,
but those folks down at the downtown boathouse, well, there's folks down
there  might be a problem" (and vice-versa), the whole "Let's quiz all the
motor vessels in the harbor, powerboats on up, for their specific
annoying-kayak stories" might not have been dismissed quite as easily as it
was when we pulled together, presented a united front to the various harbour
regulatory agencies that came to that meeting. 


There's been some of that going on already - Nancy's post comes from someone
who's in an interesting position, given that she's on the Advisory Council
due to her HRWA role, and active as a DTBH volunteer, and also a regular at
Pier 63 with New York Kayak Polo. She got the barge on the agenda at the
late August Advisory Council meeting (where in fact Jim W. made an argument
in favor of trying to let Pier 63 stay open for a while longer, using the
long period when the DTBH was shut off the water by their pier closure while
nothing was done as a parallel - unfortunately the Trust didn't bite,
there's the whole basketball city nightmare tenant thing complicating
matter, but Jim did speak up for us & I know at least a couple of people I
talked to really noticed that); I think that meeting did a LOT to show the
Trust & the Council that there's a lot more paddling, in a lot of different
styles, going on in the park than they realized - 


Think this failure to fund the boathouse at Pier 26 is just another
reflection of this failure to understand the size & breadth of the
park-based paddling community, and speaking for myself, I think it's
probably more productive to respond as a member of that community, not as a
Pier 63 person. 


Bad time for infighting. 


Just thinking out loud...

-----Original Message----- 
From: "Gordon, Peter" 
Sent: Oct 31, 2006 11:27 AM 
To: Nancy Brous , 
Subject: Re: NYCkayaker boathouses on the Hudson river in NYC 

I think that Nancy's points are well taken and we all applaud the public
kayaking program that DTBH runs. I'm sure Mike didn't mean to sound
pejorative about the people who run it.  But, most people who are kayakers
don't really want to limit themselves to queuing up on a Saturday to paddle
around in a tub.  Most of us want something a bit sleeker and given the
risks of closed cockpit kayaks, they are unlikely to be made available to
the general public, so private kayaks are necessary.  Obviously there are
options for storing kayaks in the city, but storage often ends up being more
expensive than the kayak itself over a couple of years.  I know we New
Yorkers are expected to shell out for everything, but many people cannot
afford to pay out quite as much cash as is required by the storage
facilities available.  I think Mike's point is that since most of us don't
have storage space in our homes, and many don't have cars, the situation is
a bit different from other parts of the country where these issues don't
arise, and a reasonably priced boat storage facility within the city would
be a great help for people who are or want to be kayakers.  Perhaps the
analogy should be that the city does provide bike racks where bikes can be
stored -- and many would argue that there should be more.  I don't think
that we should feel bad because people's private bikes are chained up on
public property.   Perhaps a kayak is more like a bike than a car.


Peter Gordon



From: on behalf of Nancy Brous
Sent: Tue 10/31/2006 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: NYCkayaker boathouses on the Hudson river in NYC

mike, as i tried to point out, the dtbh was the sole respodent to the very
public rfp put out by hudson river park for the boathouse they operate at
pier 96 at 56th street.  i'm not sure how you see this as translating to a

neither the dtbh nor floating the apple provides private boat storage.  the
park dictates what type of activities are acceptable at public boathouses
built on public land with public funds, and they insist, for good reason,
that these facilities are open to the public for a certain number of hours
during certain times of year free or at a very low cost.  so in effect the
dtbh does provide public kayak storage--for kayaks to be used by the public,
for free. 

it seems that there is often confusion on this list about public storage
versus private storage of kayaks.  private storage is when you, as a kayak
owner, rent a spot for your personal kayak (which is not used by the
public), sort of like renting a parking spot for your car.  public storage
would be storage of kayaks used by the public on public land or in public
facilities, much as there are public tennis courts and parks which can be
used by the public.  i doubt anyone wonders why they cant park their private
cars in central park or build a private storage shed on NYCs public tennis
courts or ball fields.  i cant fathom why anyone would expect (or want) a
public park to encourage use of its space for private kayak (or any other)

that said, hudson river park will consider a response to the rfp for one of
the new boathouses which includes private kayak storage as part of a
proposal for the operating and programming of the public boathouse, provided
that the proposal  satisfies the public use elements as well.  

if it is storage rather than monopolies which you are most concerned about,
there is currently a group of independent kayakers working to ensure that we
maintain adequate private kayak storage in hudson river park, particularly
at the pier 63 maritime barge when it relocates to pier 66a next season.  we
stand to lose approximately 70 private kayak slots if the DEC permits issued
to the barge's owner are not ammended.  
ithis effort has been mentioned on this and several other lists.  at at
least 2 recent park and community board meetings there was a great showing
of paddlers who were willing to take their time to come out in support of
such storage and show the strength of the numbers in the paddling community.

this loose affiliation of independent kayakers (some who need the storage
and some who just support the cause) welcomes anyone with ideas and energy
to work for this common goal.
a yahoo group called HRPAccess has been set up for anyone interested in

there are other groups working toward getting public launches and boathouses
set up eventually on the east river in manhattan, in queens, brooklyn,
staten island, hoboken, governor's island, on the harlem river, etc.  i'm
sure that if you want to become involved in a constructive way you can find
more information online or i may be able to help point you in the direction
of a few  of these groups. 

in the interim, as i mentioned, there is NYC parks dept-run kayak storage at
the 79th street boat basin, private storage at pier 40 at new york kayak
company, and you might want to contact the inwood canoe club as well to see
what their policies are. 

so there is storage on the hudson in nyc now, and if we want to keep it and
hopefully add more, we will have to work for it rather than bemoaning its
lack and waiting for the kayak storage fairy to pay NYC a visit. 

On 10/30/06, mike pidel < > wrote: 

There can be a  problem with when one organization with a different mission
than other local paddlers monopolizes the available boathouses.

D TBH does not offer public storage of kayaks.  Many paddlers want public
storage of kayaks without having to volunteer their lives away.

If there was more public storage of kayaks, there would be a larger kayaking
community. Many new and seasoned paddlers don't further their involvement
with kayaking due to no place to keep a kayak in Manhattan



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