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In Red Hook, kayakers cry ‘No parking!’

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It’s the same old excuse over and over again: The reason that no one kayaks to Red Hook is because there’s no parking.

This Saturday, kayakers can’t duck behind that tired canard anymore.

PortSide New York, a Red Hook group that encourages use of the waterfront, will be providing kayak valets at the foot of Coffey Street on Sept. 23.

The goal is not just to stem the tide of persistent kayak theft, but also to get people to visit Red Hook beyond merely driving to Fairway.

“The water is a two-way membrane,” said PortSide Director Carolina Salguero, an avid boater. “People come in from the water, and go into the water,” and they need a place to park.

Salguero hopes the kayak valets will garner attention to an effort to build a boathouse in Valentino Park, which is designated by the city as a launch for hand-powered boats.

If you don’t own your own kayak, don’t worry about not fitting in; boats will be available to borrow.

These kayak valets won’t be teenagers in ill-fitting red jackets, but experienced seafarers wearing “Kayak Valet” t-shirts.

And tipping is not necessary. Salguero promises that these valets won’t key your ride or steal your oars if you don’t slip them a buck.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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