BY AMANDA MOSES
As New Yorkers living in a bustling urban environment, we are not often afforded the opportunity to bask in nature or even have full access to the shorelines in our own neighborhood. However, this has changed with the opening of the Shirley Chisholm State Park and the influx of environmentally friendly activities being introduced into city programs, like the Jamaica Bay Festival on City of Water Day event.
The City of Water Day was introduced 12 years ago by the Waterfront Alliance on July 13th, which helps people celebrate the New York Harbor, learn more about local marine life, and participate in an array of free water related activities with access to over 700 miles of waterfront. The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy wanted to incorporate the beauty of the Jamaica Bay shorelines with the City of Water Day event, so they decided to host the Jamaica Bay Festival offering free programs like: kayaking, fishing, bird watching, sailing, nature walks, and arts and crafts.
At the Canarsie Pier attendees were able to paddle along the bay to the Shirley Chisholm State Park with a guided kayak adventure by a National Park Service Ranger. East New Yorkers could enjoy at least 15 locations that celebrated the Jamaica Bay and interesting facts about water.
The Spring Creek Sun stopped by the Sebago Canoe Club for a morning of kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. The smell of salt water and the feeling of being on a lightweight plastic boat were daunting at first, especially for those who have never paddled in open water before. Yet, after a while the entire experience became a fun voyage to explore parts of the bay we don’t often see. There were even educational programs that allowed guests to pluck oysters from the water and learn about their existence.
If you are interested in kayaking in Jamaica Bay or just want to explore nature, visit the Shirley Chisholm State Park right along Pennsylvania Avenue or stop by the Canarsie Pier for free activities on Saturdays.
Photo by Amanda Moses