While athletes all over the world prep for Rio, many Manhattanites are reading themselves for a more local competition–the second annual Hudson River Park Games. On Saturday, May 21, amateur athletes (even and their four-legged friends) will compete in dodgeball, kayaking, flag football and beach volleyball during the Pentathalon; and take on the epic Fear the Pier obstacle course on Pier 26. Meanwhile, all ages can enjoy a week full of fun and recreation in the Park during the Community Fest, starting May 14-May 21. Presented by the Friends of the Hudson River Park, the Games began last year as a new way raise money for the longest riverfront park in the US.
To learn more about what this year’s Games have in store, we caught up with Gregory Boroff, Executive Director of Friends of Hudson River Park.
What’s new at this second annual Hudson River Park Games this year?
There are a ton of new events and attractions at this year’s Hudson River Park Games. We are incredibly excited for Fear the Pier, an epic obstacle course and one-of-a-kind adrenaline rush along Manhattan’s lower West Side waterfront. This timed challenge features heart-pumping, body-busting fitness and agility tests for everyone from elite athletes to urban thrill-seekers, to casual competitors just game for having fun.
How would you describe the Games’ mission? And main events?
The Hudson River Park Games is the perfect kick-start to summer, a celebration of sport that fills the piers in “New York’s Park for Play” with pulse-raising athletic challenges while raising critical funds for recreational programming and resources. This one-of-a-kind participatory fundraising experience offers individuals and businesses alike an opportunity to support and drive awareness of Hudson River Park as an indispensable community resource and premier riverfront treasure.
Starting this Saturday, May 14, we will also have week-long ramp up to the Games with recreational activities, restaurant deals, special events, and tasty treats, all made possible by Hudson River Park’s community partners and sponsors. From the flying Ttrapeze high above the water to kayak and paddleboard challenges through the Hudson, the Games go beyond with the Community Fest.
What will be some of the highlights for families and young children? What ages are the Games appropriate for?
There’s something for everyone all week long from mini-golf to kids’ soccer workshops with Super Soccer Stars, to a high-sweat bariMACRO workout on Pier 46, to open ice skating on Pier 61, to stand-up paddle board lessons and SUP Yoga at Manhattan Kayak on Pier 84, to outrigger paddling lessons at the Pier 66 Boathouse, flying trapeze instruction, and a visit to the River Project migratory fishes wet lab at Pier 40.
There’s a charity ride at SoulCycle, a Lululemon fitness class, sunset yoga with Chelsea Piers, sailing with Hudson River Community Sailing, a Gotham Lights kayak tour courtesy of Manhattan Kayak, community rowing—even a chance to shop for a cause at Patagonia! Look for special promotions in the neighborhood courtesy of Vertias Studio Wines, Sprinkles Cupcakes, The Frying Pan, Jack’s Wife Freda, Atrio Wine Bar and Restaurant, ‘wichcraft (at Chelsea Piers) among others. The Games appeals to a variety of New Yorkers and their interests, we are thrilled to have something for each individual to enjoy!
We saw that there will be dog-friendly competitions as well! Can you tell us a little about those?
While two-legged competitors enjoy Fear the Pier, four-legged friends can test athleticism at a free BarkBox Dog-stacle Course. NYC’s finest pooches will compete for the top prize, just like their owners in Fear the Pier.
How do you hope the Games will continue to grow and evolve beyond this year?
All of us at Friends are enormously proud of this extraordinary natural resource and the limitless joy it brings to city dwellers, businesses and visitors alike. The Games represent the ultimate celebration of this great spirit paired with the fierce dedication to physical fitness that brings so many to New York’s “Park for Play,” right here in our own backyard. We look forward to creating a tradition around The Games that will make it a can’t-miss event every year.
To learn more about the Hudson River Park Games, check out hudsonriverparkgames.org!