It’s been 96 years since the America’s Cup race came through New York City, but starting this Friday you can catch the Formula 1 of sailing along the Hudson River as Team USA defends its title against five international competitors.
The finale is actually not taking place until next year in Bermuda, so this weekend’s race will be about points — and, of course, hometown glory.
“We have been eagerly awaiting this moment and look forward to getting out on the water for the races this weekend,” says Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The uniqueness of the Hudson River, the currents, and the winds, should make for extremely competitive and exciting races.”
You heard the man, get out there. Here are some of the best spots to watch the action, which begins Friday with a practice session from noon to 2 p.m., then gets down to racing on Saturday and Sunday from 2-3:30 p.m.
The official race village will be set up along Brookfield’s Waterfront Plaza, which is also the location of the finish line. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the village can accommodate thousands of spectators and will be free to access. Watch the skippers give remarks before heading out on the water; Sunday night’s awards ceremony will also take place there. In between, there will be performances, live race announcing, vendors and other entertainment.
The former harbor house at the western tip of Battery Park serves casual seafood and beer at its group-friendly tables and outdoor deck along the river, or get there early and head upstairs to the Commissioner’s Bar for cocktails and a great view from the balcony.
Hudson River Park’s longest pier will get you close to the action — and if you’re willing to keep ordering rounds of oysters and cocktails all afternoon, a spot on the deck of the schooner bar Grand Banks.
One World Observatory
If you really want the best view of the action, get high above it on the city’s tallest observation deck right next to the Hudson River. Tickets are $32 for adults.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Since you’ve lived here for years and still haven’t made the most essential NYC pilgrimage of all, this is a good weekend to visit Lady Liberty for some great views of the race.
On a boat
The best seats in the house will be aboard a non-racing boat, with viewing areas set up at the top and bottom of the racecourse. If you don’t have a friend with a yacht, Manhattan by Sail will have a 4.5-hour cruise starting at 11:30 a.m. with an open cocktail bar and barbecue buffet for $300 per person. Official race partner Circle Line promises to get you closer than any other boat, with two tiers of tickets: Spectator ($199) is just the views plus a cash bar, but spring for VIP ($299) and you’ll get hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
Sunburn easily? For those who don’t love crowds but still want to watch the race, NBC Sports Live Extra will be streaming both days of the event, and NBCSN will televise Sunday’s races.