Summer in New York City can be an incredible time for locals to explore the streets and neighborhoods that are the fabric of the Big Apple. Many have left to other parts of NY or out of the country for summer vacations. I have come to love this time of year, because it tends to be easier to get a table at a popular restaurant, the lines to exhibits and museums are not as long and the streets are not as crowded.
But, one of the best things to do in the City, has nothing to do with neighborhoods, overbooked restaurants and city streets. My favorite summer activity is sailing on the New York Harbor. Sailing gives you a chance to see the city in a very unique way and gives you perspective that only stepping away from the hustle and bustle can give you. Manhattan by Sail has been rooted in Lower Manhattan This summer I was able to board the Clipper City at its new location in Battery Park and it was incredible. The Clipper City is a tall ship or topsail schooner which boasts a length of 158-ft and its masts and rigging reach 120-ft from the deck. It’s impressive, elegant and the perfect sailing vessel for viewing Lower Manhattan and all that it has to offer. I love the experience of the Clipper City because you are able to walk around the deck and experience different vantage points, without feeling like you are going to topple overboard. It’s the perfect sailing vessel for groups that want to socialize and mingle and great for families of little one’s that want to help the crew raise the sails and feel like a sailor. Catering is available and we took full advantage of that for my husband’s birthday and it was great food with wonderful views. Needless to say, we returned with friends, with no reason to celebrate, other than to enjoy the water.
Manhattan by Sail also operates the Shearwater schooner out of the North Cove Marina. The Shearwater is smaller in size and measures 82-ft in length. The Shearwater is beautiful and visitors will feel the history of the schooner, the moment they set foot on it. The Shearwater sail is an intimate experience because sailors tend to sit and relax, based on its size. Since the schooner can accommodate 48 passengers as opposed to the 134 that the Cliper City can accommodate, it tends to be a sail where you “sit back and relax”. It has been sailing out of New York since 2001 and is over 80 years old, still going strong.
As many people know, the seasons in New York can be a dramatic transition from one to the next. But, the transition from Summer to Fall can be a great time to experience sailing, as you say goodbye to outdoor activities and long sunsets. I’m looking forward to some Fall sails before the weather moves into Winter.
The Manhattan by Sail website lists the daytime and evening sails for both ships and both are available for private sails and group tickets. My kids and I have loved our sails and the views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are definitely fan favorites for my kiddos. If you have visitors in town and they wonder how and why you live in New York City, the best way to answer is by taking them sailing. One sail around New York Harbor will explain why NYC is the best place to live, with the views of the City, the skyline at night and the beauty of Lower Manhattan.