Celebrating NYC’s freshly rehabilitated waterways on City of Water Day

MANHATTAN – New York City is surrounded by water, but for many decades those waterways have been polluted and unfit for recreation.

However, that's changing and the annual City of Water Day is trying to get the word out.

"The wilderness of New York City is the estuary," said Erik Baard, of HarborLAB, which is running kayaking lessons and tours on Saturday as part of City of Water Day.

The Waterfront Alliance, the founder of the free event, has convinced New York City to open a small strip of sand under the Brooklyn Bridge for just one day.

"This spot is very special. People have been fighting for a long time for access to our waterfront all over the place, including this spot," Waterfront Alliance president Roland Lewis said.

A morning clean-up and cardboard kayak races and kayaking lessons will launch from beneath the famous bridge. There will boating, fishing and environmental programs across New York City, Westchester and New Jersey.

"A long time ago, before Henry Hudson got here, the entire island was beautiful. It was sand and lagoons. Of course, we've built it up pretty good over the last 400 years," Lewis said.

It's taken decades for some of New York's waterways to be clean enough for recreation and now they can be enjoyed again.

For more information about City of Water Day, click here.