In case you were wondering who all those kayakers were that were paddling South down the East River’s West Chanel they were participants in the 2007 Mayor’s Cup New York City Kayak Championship. The race took its entrants on a 26.7 mile marathon around Manhattan including the stretch of the East River we call our backyard (granted a backyard we have no access to). The race was associated with the Riverkeeper project. The race boasted $15,000 in total prize money including $5,000 for the winner.
I have heard a rumor that a plan may be in the works to establish a point off of Roosevelt Island in the East Channel that kayakers might be able to gain access to the East River. I know nothing about it other than that rumor. For anyone that knows the East River the East Channel is much calmer than the West Channel so a kayak access point would be more suited to that channel.