Lest you forget, we’re on an island, surrounded by water, and these seven organizations make it insanely easy to see Brooklyn* by boat — oil slicks, egrets, and all. Some will even let you paddle for free, so there’s no excuse for landlubbers.
Gowanus Dredgers, waterfrontmuseum.org/dredgers
The Deal: Free canoes, life vests, and maps to explore the canal on select weeknights and weekends. Tours limited to 15-minute to hour-long sessions, and those under 16 need adults accompanying them. What You’ll See: Heaps of scrap metal, colorful graffiti, tugs, and the poorly named, “Vintage Food Corp.”
Red Hook Boaters, redhookboaters.org
The Deal: Very similar to the Dredgers’ program, except paddlers get to kayak the protected cove of Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park. What You’ll See: Those year-round Red Hook fishermen, Miss Liberty, container ship and ferry traffic in the Buttermilk Channel.
Sebago Canoe Club, sebagocanoeclub.org
The Deal: Donate $10 (to cover insurance) for free sea kayaks and a guided, hour-long tour from Paerdegat Basin in Canarsie to Jamaica Bay, Wednesday eves and Saturdays. Arrive early to secure a spot. What You’ll See: Horses along the beach, herons, the sludge barge (carrying slightly processed you-know-what).
Prospect Park Alliance, prospectpark.org
The Deal: Tour the park’s 60-acre lake by electric or pedal boat, from $8-$16.25 an hour (less for kids). On select Thursdays in the summer, wine and cheese is served before boarding the Independence on its $30 Twilight Tours. What You’ll See: Swans, mallards, bass fishers.
New York Water Taxi, nywatertaxi.com
The Deal: Cruise Lower Manhattan to Breezy Point for $6 on the Rockaway Commuter or Weekend Ferry (then catch the Q22 bus and A train back). What You’ll See: Gateway National Recreation Area, Manhattan’s skyline, *and Queens!