by Ruby Lyon
Row New York started out as a girls-only rowing program in 2002, operating out of our Queens boathouse, and over the years, we’ve continued to add both new programs as well as more site locations. We opened our doors to adaptive rowers in 2008, and have since created recreational and competitive adaptive teams, and also partner with the Initiative for Women with Disabilities. In 2012 we integrated our Manhattan site, expanding our programs to include boys, operating out of the historic Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse on the Harlem River.
This past March, we launched the first of our Brooklyn programming, providing fitness classes for high schools within the wider South Shore Educational Complex on the Paerdegat Basin. In its initial stage, our main goal has been to get kids moving, focused on wellness, and introduced to the sport of rowing. Indoor rowing sessions run through school gym classes and are also offered as an after-school fitness program. We look forward to this fall when we will launch our first Brooklyn novice team. This will deliver our signature year-round competitive rowing and academics programming to the Brooklyn community. Our expansion also helps answer Borough President Adams’ call for more athletic opportunities for the Youth of Brooklyn. In addition, it will increase access to Jamaica Bay, the third highest need area in New York City according to the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
“Brooklyn is a natural expansion site for Row New York – the water is perfect, there are no current rowing opportunities, and most importantly, there is a community to be served. As we’ve demonstrated in Queens and Manhattan, our programs work to help middle schoolers and high schoolers reach their fullest potential and go off to college fit, strong, and confident. The expansion to Brooklyn will start small, but one day it’ll be a thriving site with hundreds of kids and people with disabilities rowing every day.” – Jennie Trayes, Deputy Director
The true magic of our Brooklyn expansion is two-fold. First, the Paerdegat Basin offers easy access and calm waters, making it an ideal environment for adaptive rowing, and a perfect location for learning how to row. It allows us to not only grow a high school team but to also reach a larger number of New Yorkers with disabilities. Second, it offers an opportunity to host our academic and athletic programming on the same site for the first time. This would support more individualized programming for our participants, where students could receive homework help and athletic training in one afternoon.
As we look forward to this fall, we know the students of the South Shore Educational Complex are just as excited to experience the Paerdegat Basin as we are. We aim to continue developing in the borough, not only serving the Canarsie neighborhood, but also Flatbush, Brownsville, and East New York.
Lastly, for all the curious readers out there, check out our video below to experience a day out on the Paerdegat Basin!