Thousands of paddlers, rowers, sailors and ferry riders are expected to glide their way to Saturday’s third annual City of Water Day Festival on Governors Island. The goal is simple: to get people onto the water.
But beyond the day of free harbor tours on historic and working vessels and educational displays, organizers at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance have a bigger agenda: to reconnect New Yorkers (and Jerseyites) year-round along the entire coastline.
“We could be doing so much more with our waterfront,” said Roland Lewis, president of the MWA advocacy group. “We should be able to kayak and camp in waterfront parks and have ferries that connect all these places.” (Kayakers will be camping Saturday night under the stars on one part of the island while the popular performer M.I.A. will rock out to a huge crowd on another.)
After decades of turning its back to the waterfront, New York City is starting to embrace it as the Bloom-berg administration embarks on a major plan for its 578 miles of coastline.
Lewis hopes neighborhoods from Bensonhurst to Astoria and Mott Haven will one day get spud barges or little piers to moor boats and stage their own satellite City of Water Day festivals in years to come.