Two of my (sort of) interests converged on Sunday when ukulele players were invited to entertain the crowd at the Mayor's Cup, a kayak marathon that began in the Hudson River at Battery Park City and ended somewhat short of circumnavigating the isle on a Sunday afternoon. I could see it was too windy for me to go out in a motorboat on Jamaica Bay—frankly, it was too windy even to bike downtown to the Battery—but this did not stop the kayakers from pushing off into the Hudson. Now, make no mistake: I have never been caught in a kayak, for the simple reason that if I ever got into a kayak I would never be able to get out again. I would be like one of those mythological creatures, a Centaur, half woman, half surf-ski: a surfosaur.
So I was lazing around on Sunday, feeling bad not so much for missing the kayak race as for not coming out to support Ukulele Fun, in which some friends were playing. I hoped they had brought along fingerless gloves. I needn't have worried: the event was cancelled, both uke and race. Here is a description of the conditions from the Times: "The wind picked up speed ... and worked against the current to create a volatile chop, said Greg Porteus, a retired New York State trooper and the safety officer for the race. The currents in the river overtook several racers immediately after they turned north from the harbor, leaving them struggling to control their boats." One guy ran into a barge, and there was a pileup as kayakers tried to avoid him and negotiate the current. Several people had to be rescued from the water. Luckily, nobody drowned. If I were the Mayor, I would take my name off this event.
Read the whole article here and watch hair-raising footage of the race from the makers of the kayaks, who believe that there's no bad publicity.