VIEWPOINT: A Close Call In the Big Apple! Laurie Bleish tells about her sea kayaking encounters.
BANNERMAN'S ISLAND: Bannerman's Island is an actual abandoned castle sitting in the middle of the Hudson. At one point, they manufactured
munitions until they had an explosion inside. Now the shell remains. It is beautiful. The parks department may not let you land there anymore for
safety reasons. The island is full of poison ivy.
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Hypnotize Me - Mesmerism for kayakers !
Copyright © 1991 A Salty Dog Webzine Production
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THE HISTORY OF THIS WEBZINE !!!!
**** History of Modern Day Seakayaking in New York City starting with the
German Folding Kayaks on the Sea Walls of NYC's Hudson RIver
It was here that John Petrocelli and Bob Huszar created the largest recreational seakayaking club (M.A.S.K. -
The Metropolitan Association of Sea Kayakers) in NYC about 15 years or so ago (maybe longer) in the United States.
At that time, every beginning sea kayaker either owned a German Klepper folding kayak or they didn't own a boat at all. Plastic seakayaks were not even in prototype at the time because there was no market.
In England, kayakers were working at the time on developing the first fiberglass sea kayaks.
A sleek design emerged for advanced paddlers because of its poor initial stability was known as the Nordkap.
It was fun times for kaykers back then in NYC, but extremely dangerous just getting in and out of the water.
Sometimes from 3-40 of us hardy paddlers would show up an hour or two earlier at the site each lugging 2 sacks containing close to 100 lbs. of rubber and canvas folding boat which were lugged in the open trunks of NYC cabs or through the NYC subway system.
The boats (most of them, 17 foot, 2 seaters) were assembled the debris-ridden sea walls of NYC and then lowered down carefully along the treacherous sea walls using frail 'climbers' ropes, doing our best to avoid the glass, rats, slick oil-encrusted pilings, sharp steel spikes and sometimes waves which pounded us up against those very seawalls.
There was no put-ins (a 'put-in' for new kayakers is like a floating ramp or a driveway into the water that offers easy and safe accessibility) at the time. Because of the efforts of the M.A.S.K. group, Bob Huszar formed an offshoot - the Hudson River Watertrail which set in motion the precedent for other environmental groups to follow ... major groups ... like those who over the last few years completely redeveloped the waterfront along the Hudson into beautiful parks.
It's amazing ... the actions of a handful of kayakers whom were continually arrested (the NYC police boats didn't understand the law, that we as small boaters had a right to be on the Hudson) and we were continually hauled down to the precinct and when they tried to charge us, well ... heh heh ... they had to let us go (talk about ignorance of the law)..
The Salty Dog Webzine contains those articles which were in the first four years of the M.A.S.K. newsletter.
M.A.S.K. grew in 4 years from 10 or so paddlers to 600 strong and hearty. The organization created
a movement. We took celebrities, newscasters, authors and just plain folk out on what was still considered
the polluted waters of the Hudson and got them paddling.
JFK jr. (his pre-flying days) joined us and we took him out on his first trip. He even had two boats stored at the Downtown BoatHouse, another successful off-shoot with members whom originally came from M.A.S.K.
John Petrocelli still kayaks. Sometimes he leads trips to the Statue of Liberty or up in Cold Spring Harbor but mostly
he likes the quiet back waters of the NJ Pine Barrens or fishing in the NY reservoirs. He has gone from being known
as one of the leaders of a kayaking movement to being known as one of the leaders in the self help movement and is
one of the most well respected hypnotherapists / hypnotists on the planet and has an office just a
heartbeat from the old world trade center site. You can find him here!
Robert 'Bob' Huszar ran a successful kayak company called the Manhattan Kayak Company who offered
tours of the Hudson from a barge located near 25th Street in NYC and the Chelsea Piers.
Bob formed the original Hudson River Watertrail which was the defining mark which started the
whole ball rolling for the redevelopment of the Manhattan Waterfront and the Parks Commission.
We hope you enjoy these articles contained within.
As you notice, when these were written, there wasn't specific kayaking gear.
We had to borrow from other industries and sports.
You could imagine how we looked in those rag-tag days: Wearing fisherman's thigh boots, long rubber fisherman's glove in the winter which made it extremely hard to grasp a paddle. We wore scuba diving wet suits which cause our arms to chaff from the constant rubbing. Yep, we were a sight.
So enjoy the pages and remember,you're perusing the history of the Sea Kayaking movement in America ... from the famous German Folding Sea Kayaks that were around from the early 1900's and were used in military expeditions during the war ... and now to the Hudson River and beyond .... again ... enjoy ... and if we peaked your interest in trying your hand at sea kayaking, you're in for a wonderful experience that's addictive and a wonderful way to get some exercise.
See you on the water.
FRIENDS OF OURS !!
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