City of Water Day, a free harbor-wide event organized by the Waterfront Allianceand its partners, the South Street Seaport Museum and New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP), to get people to, on, and in the waters that surround us, and to promote the shared goal of a climate-resilient New York Harbor, will return for the 12th year this Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to head to the waterfront to enjoy free kayaking and sailing, harbor boat tours, coastal cleanups, fishing, science experiments and educational activities, and more.
For the second year, City of Water Day will be headquartered in Lower Manhattan’s Seaport District, with The Howard Hughes Corporation ® returning as the day’s presenting sponsor. Organized in partnership with the South Street Seaport Museum, the City of Water Day Waterfront Festival—featuring more than 60 maritime-related booths and free activities, including children’s stories, theater performances, and giveaways—will take place at Piers 16 and 17, with additional children’s activities sponsored by Disney.
Fifteen teams will compete in the Con EdisonCardboard Kayak Race, a huge crowd favorite. The teams—ranging from professional engineers to high school students—will build their cardboard boats at Pier 16 and Peck Slip Plaza, and race the vessels in heats at Brooklyn Bridge Beach (three blocks north of Pier 16 on the East River).
In the City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood program, organized by the New York–New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, nearly 100 waterfront organizations across the metropolitan area will host more than 50 City of Water Day events in celebration of the region’s 1,600 miles of coastline. Use this map to locate City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood events across all five boroughs, Westchester County, and New Jersey.
On City of Water Day, many In Your Neighborhood groups will mount a dramatic demonstration of the need for proactive, equitable, and environmentally sound coastal resilience strategy by wearing blue and assembling side by side along the future (2050) 100-year floodplain line or at a coastal site with vertical markers indicating the height of the future floodplain. Participants will use the NYC Flood Hazard Mapper to find the line in each neighborhood, and will post on social media using the hashtag #MyFloodline.
HEP will also provide reusable straws to In Your Neighborhood award grantees for distribution, as a way to educate the public about the importance of reducing single-use plastic. City of Water Day attendees will be encouraged to pledge to reduce their use of single-use disposable plastics whenever and wherever possible.
Free PortNYC Boat Tours on all kinds of vessels, from tall ships to tugboats, will be offered at docks throughout New York City by individual boat tour operators, with additional sponsorship from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
On City of Water Day, NYCEDC is releasing the 2019 Shared Harbor Survey. Conducted with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the survey of 574 businesses and 757 active maritime locations across the five boroughs of New York City and the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, Monmouth, and Middlesex confirms that the waterways are well-used for recreation, transportation, and commerce; are the source of thousands of jobs; and contribute to regional quality of life. The survey will be used to assess and support policies to strengthen maritime business and invest in the maritime environment, and as of July 13 will be accessible to the public.
“The findings of the Shared Harbor Survey show a thriving New York and New Jersey maritime community that is enjoying record hiring rates and low employee turnover,” said NYCEDC Executive Vice President and Director of Project Implementation Seth Myers. “Furthermore, while we’re seeing significant employee retention, a majority of maritime entities and organizations continue to hire. NYCEDC is proud to work closely with maritime industry leaders on a variety of important initiatives, and we look forward to building on these efforts to consistently create jobs for New Yorkers.”
Elected officials, civic leaders, and business executives are joining together to advocate for the waters of the region, not just on City of Water Day, but every day.
“Our waterfront is what helped make New York City, New York City,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “City of Water Day is a way to celebrate that, and at the same time help educate us all to the need to prepare for its destructive force. My thanks to the Waterfront Alliance for mounting this event and to all the participants, including the South Street Seaport Museum and sponsor Howard Hughes Corporation.”
“City of Water Day has become an annual tradition that reminds us all of the central role our waterfront plays in our past, present, and future,” said New York City Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “In Lower Manhattan, we are familiar with the opportunities and the challenges brought by our proximity to the water. By participating in events like this one, we reaffirm our commitment to never again turn our backs on our city’s greatest resource and the source of its strength through history. That includes coming together to protect our coastline from sea level rise and more powerful storms brought on by global climate change. I thank Waterfront Alliance for helping to lead the way toward a more resilient future.”
“From the Bronx River to the Elizabeth River, from Jamaica Bay to the Hoboken waterfront, City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood programs will help people from all over the region celebrate their local waterways and learn about rising seas and the growing threat of coastal storms. Local civic organizations host these special events. The New York–New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program is proud to support City of Water Day and the In Your Neighborhood programs all over the estuary,” said Rob Pirani, HEP Program Director.
“We are proud to once again sponsor City of Water Day, an impactful initiative celebrating our City’s incredible waterfronts,” said Saul Scherl, President of the New York Tri-State Region at The Howard Hughes Corporation. “With the revitalization of the Seaport District, we are pleased to be bringing New Yorkers back to this historic neighborhood to reclaim their relationship with its iconic waterfront. We look forward to welcoming New Yorkers to the Seaport throughout the summer to take advantage of all the exciting programming that will be taking place— along the waterfront and on The Rooftop at Pier 17, including our free community Seaport Cinema movie nights and Seaport Fit classes, as well as the return of our Summer Concert Series set against the one-of-a-kind panoramic views of Lower Manhattan.”
“City of Water Day gives all of us a chance to focus on New York’s waterways. As a city born from a port, New York has always had an important relationship with the water. The Seaport Museum is excited to offer programming and activities that reconnect us with that water and that allow us to consider the future of recreation, commerce, and resilience of this maritime city,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware, President and CEO of the South Street Seaport Museum.
“City of Water Day is a wonderful celebration of the great natural resource our waterways afford all New Yorkers,” said David Gmach, Con Edison’s New York City Director of Regional and Community Affairs. Since 2014, Con Edison has supported the cardboard kayak race, the day’s most anticipated and creative event.
“This year on City of Water Day, as we gather at shorelines all around the metropolitan region to enjoy our beautiful waterways, let us engage in important conversations about resiliency and access,” said Roland Lewis, President and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. “This is a day to play, and a day to acknowledge our shared responsibility. As climate change irrevocably transforms our lives, we need to address this regional, national, and global emergency together.”
City of Water Day is generously sponsored by (in formation):
Presenting Sponsor: The Howard Hughes Corporation®
Festival Partner: South Street Seaport Museum
In Your Neighborhood: New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program
Children’s Activities: Disney
Cardboard Kayak Race: Con Edison
PortNYC Boat Tours: New York City Economic Development Corporation
Supporters: New York City Council, United Metro Energy
Media Partners: ABC7, FiDi Families, K-LOVE, PMD Media, The Broadsheet, Untapped Cities
Boat Tours: Classic Harbor Line, Hornblower Cruises & Events, New York Cruise Lines, NY Waterway, Save Our Ships New York (with fuel donated by United Metro Energy), South Street Seaport Museum
In-Kind Supporters: Boxed Water, New York Cares
The Waterfront Alliance inspires and effects resilient, revitalized, and accessible coastlines for all communities.
The New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP) is a collaborative effort to bring the benefits of clean water to the people who live, work, and recreate on our shared waterways. HEP is hosted by the Hudson River Foundation.
The South Street Seaport Museum preserves and interprets the origins and growth of New York City as a world port, a place where goods, labor, and cultures are exchanged through work, commerce, and the interaction of diverse communities.