Kayakers at Tribecas Pier 26, above, enjoyed Hudson River Park Day Sunday. A group rows in a historic Whitehall-style boat, built by the Floating the Apple program at Pier 40, below, and a juggling unicyclist on the parks esplanade.
Hundreds of people ignored the less-than-perfect weather Sunday to celebrate the annual Hudson River Park Day along Manhattans West Side waterfront. The activities kick off the parks Take Me to the River Festival, a full summer schedule of free concerts, dances, movies, barbecues, swims and fishing and boating events.
The day began with a 5K walk / kayak paddle. About 15 people walked while 10 kayaked through the morning mist. You get wet kayaking, so the rain is not really a deterrent, said Zin Alkhalil, a volunteer at the Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in Tribeca.
New York Trapeze School offered free swings starting at 10:30, but had to shut down for safety reasons after rain started an hour later. The batting cages, boathouse and the newly-redesigned mini golf course remained open and free to visitors. On Pier 40, at W. Houston St., visitors were able to participate in free boat rides on historic ships and the Circle Line.
Children enjoyed an art program that offered everything from painting to printmaking to clay works. The Guitar Man From Central Park, David Ippolito performed at the Christopher St. Pier. Jugglers, puppeteers, storytellers and face painters entertained families.
Hudson River Park Day concluded with an evening concert by Rooney and musical guests at Pier 54 at W. 13th St. Ozma and Straylight Run. The California-based band Rooney has been gaining national recognition with their appearance on Foxs The O.C. and NBCs Today Show. Grammy Winner Koko Taylor will be performing in mid-August on the same stage at the fifth annual Blues, Barbecue and Fireworks Festival.
Chris Martin, the Hudson River Park Trusts spokesperson, was pleased with the turnout. Given the weather, he said, it went extraordinarily well. We are looking forward to seeing people the entire season.
For the past nine years, the boathouse at Pier 26 has been offering free kayaking throughout the summer as well as classes and three-hour weekend tours around the Statue of Liberty. Today wasnt a huge turnout, but on sunny days, well have over 100 people, added Alkhalil. Last year 14,000 people signed kayak release waivers, which are valid all season. Anyone who can swim is eligible to take out a sit-on-top kayak. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. Be prepared to get wet.
Starting in July, Piers 54 and 25 will once again host outdoor movies throughout the summer. Childrens classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Beetle Juice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will screen on Friday evenings at Pier 25, at N. Moore St. in Tribeca, while a lineup of horror flicks like Scream, The Ring and Attack of the 50-Foot Woman will be showing Wednesday evenings at Pier 54 in the Village. Generally movies start around 8-8:30 p.m., or when it gets dark.
There are also free Sunday night tango and swing dancing and dance classes with live bands at Pier 25, free fishing and, for the brave of heart, Hudson River swimming races.
Check the Web site, www.hudsonriverpark.org, for movie dates and times and the full schedule of summer events in the park.