Sailing in the City - New York
WORDS: Bryony McCabe | PHOTOS: Cory Silken
New York City reserves some of its most spectacular panoramas for those lucky enough to visit by boat.
While the industrial waterways of New York City might not be the typical backdrop for a luxury yacht, sailing into New York Harbour is a magical experience that should be on every boat owner’s bucket list. Under 1000 nautical miles from the Caribbean and just over 3000 from the Mediterranean, the city offers an extra special welcome to those arriving from the Atlantic Ocean.
Passing under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, you will enter Upper New York Bay with the iconic silhouette of Lower Manhattan ahead of you and the One World Trade Center dominating the skyline. To your left, the Statue of Liberty stands 93-metres tall with her outstretched arm and flaming torch guiding the way for windswept travellers. The landmark’s symbol of freedom will resonate with those sailing past.
Sailing towards the gleaming metropolis, the feverish energy of the city comes out to greet you as the traffic on the water intensifies. On approach to Manhattan, the towering cityscape grows taller until you feel utterly dwarfed by its sheer scale and grandeur.
While there are several options for dockage around the city, North Cove Marina is an innercity oasis which – if you are lucky enough to secure a berth – positions you in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Lower Manhattan, surrounded by stunning high-rise apartments and an eclectic mix of locals and tourists taking a stroll or jogging along the riverside with live music often heard playing in the background. This is arguably what makes New York City so unique as a yachting destination: thanks to its sprawling river system, having direct access to one of the city’s most sought-after areas by boat is unparalleled around the world.
If you can tear yourself away from people watching on board your yacht, having a base in Lower Manhattan allows you to easily explore Greenwich Village, hip Tribeca, vibrant Chinatown and the buzzing Financial District. The area is full of the city’s trendiest eateries and exclusive retail hotspots, as well as being home to important cultural and historical sites, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
For those wanting to maximise their time on the water, a yacht is the ideal platform from which to take in the sights. For a day cruise, head north up the Hudson River, skirting Manhattan as far as the George Washington Bridge, or south to Ellis Island and round to Brooklyn Bridge. Keep an eye out for wildlife – humpback whale sightings in the New York and New Jersey regions have increased in the past decade, with many sightings less than two miles from shore. Topping off the day with a sunset cruise past the Statue of Liberty is a must, returning to your berth as the sun goes down and the city begins to light up.
If the thrill of New York City on its own is not enough to entice you to make the voyage, its proximity to the expansive summer cruising grounds of the US East Coast will do it. Venturing up the coast of Long Island, the idyllic shores of The Hamptons are just a short hop away. Further north, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Maine are all destinations full of rugged beauty and unique experiences.
A stop in New York City would be a fitting way to begin or conclude a cruise of the region and provide an exhilarating contrast to the rest of America’s Eastern Seaboard.