Rock the boats! Five ways to get on the waves this summer

Garden of eatin’: The Swale garden, floating off of Brooklyn Army Terminal, grows flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

We’re going to need a summer boat! The waterways of Brooklyn are filled with boating activities, and if you want to get out on the water, there are plenty of paddling options. And it not just about getting from one place to another — there are plenty of stationary spots where you can snap a selfie and brag “I’m on a boat, y’all!” We have cast a net and caught some of the borough’s best activities atop the waves:

Seafood scene

A floating oyster bar will satisfy your summer seafood cravings in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pilot, a bar and eatery aboard a 1924 wooden schooner, will open for its second summer on May 25, boasting a brand new cocktail menu and a few additional, non-shellfish menu options, according to founder Alex Pinchus.

Pilot will dock at Pier 6 until the fall, and its provides an exceptional floating view, he said.

“There’s fantastic drinks on a one-of-a-kind boat, and flawless views of the New York harbor,” said Pinchus.

Pilot at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 [Atlantic Avenue at Furman Street in Brooklyn Heights, (917) 810–8550, www.pilotbrooklyn.com].

Barge and in charge

In Greenpoint, you can also get your food and drink on a boat, though in a more casual environment. The Brooklyn Barge is a floating party spot with amazing views across the East River. It serves hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, and more from its kitchen on the shore, and beer, wine, and a collection of cocktails from its bar atop the waves.

The spot also offers stand-up paddle and kayaking lessons, in association with Manhattan Kayak.

The Brooklyn Barge [3 Milton St. at West Street in Dumbo, (929) 337–7212, www.thebrooklynbarge.com].

Water music

The floating music venue Barge Music is a classical concert hall like no other. Parked just off the Dumbo waterfront, the tented boat features concerts every weekend, with free shows every Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. Notable upcoming concerts include a Beethoven String Quartet featuring Barge Music’s artistic director Mark Peskanov on violin, on June 16 and 17, and the Barge Music debut of the jazz band Endangered Heart Quartet on July 27.

Peskanov said he is especially looking forward to a unique group featuring Grammy-nominated violinist Gregor Huebner.

“On June 1 we’re going to have El Violin Latino — they are a very interesting quartet of a classical violin, piano, bass, and percussion,” said Peskanov. “It’s going to be a great concert and this is an example of a certain quality music we listen to on the barge.”

Barge Music at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 [1 Water St. at Old Fulton Street in Dumbo, (718) 624–4924, www.bargemusic.org]. Fri–Sun, at various times. $40 ($35 seniors, $20 students).

Views: Pilot, a restaurant on a schooner parked off of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, offers great views of the harbor and Manhattan skyline.
Douglas Lyle Thompson.
Douglas Lyle Thompson.
Douglas Lyle Thompson.
Douglas Lyle Thompson

A swale time

Take a break from bustling city life and visit a floating food forest! Swale, which docked at Brooklyn Army Terminal earlier this month, is a public art project spearheaded by Mary Mattingly, who will guide groups through the farm on a barge until it floats on in July.

Visitors will be shown how to harvest food, and can take home some of the herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown on the boat.

It is a rare opportunity for kids and locals to get hands-on experience and learn about the environment, said a spokeswoman for the Army Terminal.

“It really appeals to all five senses, and we hope we get to encourage New Yorkers to go into the public space and address the environment,” said Julie Stein.

Swale at Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 [140 58th St. between First Avenue and the water in Sunset Park, www.swaleny.org]. Sat–Sun, noon–6 pm.

Row your boat

If you want to propel yourself through the water, you can choose from the still waters of Prospect Park, the East River alongside Brooklyn Bridge Park, or the murky waters of the infamous Gowanus Canal.

Prospect Park’s LeFrak Center at Lakeside offers pedal boats for rent by the hour, or one- or two-person kayaks for up to a full day of exploring. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s boathouse on Pier 2 will offer free, 20-minute kayak trips in a bay bordered by the Pier One and Pier Two, starting on May 31.

And the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club offers canoes that you can paddle along Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside [171 East Dr. in Prospect Park, (718) 965–8951, www.prospectpark.org]. Open daily, from 11 am to sunset. $16–$36 per hour.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse (Pier Two in Brooklyn Heights, (718) www.brooklynbridgepark.org). Sat–Sun, from 10 am to 2 pm and Thursday, from 5:30 pm and 6:45 pm. Free.

Gowanus Canal Boathouse Dredgers [125-153 Second St. between Bond Street and the Canal in Gowanus, (718) 243–0849, www.gowanuscanal.org]. Suggested donation.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Set to sea: Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Boathouse on Pier Two will offer free, first-come, first-served kayaking sessions starting on May 31.
Etienne Frossard

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