Learn to Paddle Board!

Yes, you can learn to paddle board right here in NYC!  The New York Kayak Company is located on Pier 40 (West Houston and West Street) and this is their first summer of Stand Up Paddle Boarding instruction and tours.  I have really enjoyed learning to surf so I had to give this other popular sport a try.

I signed up for Intro to Paddle Boarding through Urban Escapes.  We had a 2 hour lesson followed by a pizza dinner on the end of the pier.  The ratio was 2 people for each paddle board, which meant lots of opportunities to get out and work on improving your skills.  NY Kayak and Co. also offers Intro to Paddle Boarding classes for $25 on Wednesdays.  More people are in those classes so the ratio is usually closer to 3 or 4 people sharing time for each board.  For an introduction to the sport though, it is definitely a great deal to get yourself out on the water.  Because paddle boarding is such a workout, it is better to take breaks when you are starting out and you will not mind handing the board to someone else in between tries. 

The scenery was beautiful and the sun was in the process of setting during our lesson.  Getting on the board from the dock was the easiest part.  Then once you row yourself far enough away from the dock, the goal is to stand up in a fluid motion so that you can then continue to balance and row yourself along.  As a beginner, it was an amazing experience.  There were more waves than I expected due to passing boats on the Hudson, thus balance was quite a challenge.  I could feel every muscle working to maintain my stance.  It is better to keep your board moving through the water to prevent yourself from falling.  Between trying to stay standing up, steering and rowing over waves I was very focused on my efforts.  With more practice, I am sure I would be a bit more relaxed than I was this first time.

Once you are more comfortable and experienced with stand up paddle boarding, NY Kayak and Co. has paddle boarding trips where you can venture out further than Pier 40.  It was mentioned that going out towards the Statue of Liberty would be one of the tours they offer.  I am not at the skill level for that yet but perhaps with more practice I will be.

Urban Escapes will be offering another intro course in September (for those interested click here).  You can view the current schedule of Stand Up Paddle Boarding offerings from NY Kayak and Co. by clicking here.

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The Creek and the Cave

It is long overdue that I write about one of my favorite spots in Long Island City.  Located just one stop outside of Manhattan on the 7 train, you will find The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave.), a spot that has something to offer to anyone who values live entertainment, food and drinks.  While they have a plentiful beer selection, I simply cannot go for a visit without ordering a pineapple margarita (pictured above).  For those looking for a bargain, they have a fantastic happy hour special on weekdays from 3-7pm.  During happy hour, you get 2 for 1 margaritas, $2-$3 beers and $2 off of other drinks.  With a restaurant area upstairs, fantastic outdoor seating on the back patio, and indoor space to lounge or catch a comedy show, you will have a great time at this LIC spot.

Usually, I lean towards ordering fried seafood, but at The Creek there is nothing better than their grilled fish or shrimp tacos.  A wasabi sauce with finely chopped cabbage is all that accompanies the tenderly grilled fish on a small tortilla and it is the perfect flavor combo.  I have yet to try another fish taco that I love more than The Creek and the Cave’s version.  I also adore their spinach burrito with fresh avocado, tofu, brown rice, cheese and a dash of sour cream.  I am so hooked on these two menu items that they are my consistent order (even if it means taking some of it to go).  However, from what I see being ordered around me, there are many other delicious options to choose from as well.

If you are interested in stand up comedy and improv theater, The Creek and the Cave is a prime spot to watch, participate and learn from local talent.  There is always something going on so visit their website (www.creeklic.com) for a schedule of daily events and these shows are usually free which is even better.