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Queens Chronicle

Float your boat at Jamaica Bay Fest

If it’s on the water — from fishing to kayaking — it’s on the schedule

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 1:18 pm, Thu Jul 11, 2019.

It’s one thing to drive by the great Jamaica Bay, look out the window and whistle at its beauty.

It’s another to plop your behind in a boat and go out on it, feel the water beneath you and wonder at its scale.

The Jamaica Bay Festival this Saturday is giving people who rarely get to experience that feeling a chance to see what riding the water is really like.

The festival is part of the City of Water celebration, a citywide event now in its 13th year, to promote New York’s waterways to the people who usually forget that, no matter where they live, a shoreline is only a few bus stops away.

“We have an incredible waterfront in New York,” said Roland Lawrence of the Waterfront Alliance, the nonprofit environmental group that sponsors the huge New York harbor festival.

“Once you are engaged with it,” he said, “you want it.”

The alliance coordinates the day with scores of local groups, including the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, which is hosting nearly a dozen different events for the festival this Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

Among the activities on and around the bay are:

• Take a three-hour kayak tour of the natural wonders of Jamaica Bay led Don Riepe, who, for 25 years, has been Jamaica Bay program director for the Littoral Society.

It’s at Bay Breeze Park at Beach 88th Street and Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Beach, starting at 11 a.m.

• Learn how to fish from hooking up bait to casting a fishing rod. All ages are welcome, fishing rods provided.

It’ll be held at Bayswater City Park at Bay 32nd Street and Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway, at 11 a.m.

• Tour Jamaica Bay’s own version of the Calypso, Jacques Cousteau’s famed research vessel. It’s called The R/V CUNY I, a state-of-the-art, 65 foot hybrid propulsion, aluminum catamaran, docked for the day at the foot of the Marine Park Bridge, on the bayside of Riis Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Take a sunset sail around the bay aboard the Norfolk Oyster sailboat Christina. The boat leaves from the marina at 350 Beach 59 Street at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are necessary.

• Learn paddleboarding at Bayswater Park in a one-hour session. The organizers supply the equipment, at 701 Bay 32 St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information and signups are available at the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy web site at jbrpc.org.

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