Current River Conditions

Natural and Social History

Bronx River Bio-log

Photo Galleries

List of Native Plants and Animals

Bronx River Stories

Histories

Gators in the Bronx!

The Old Snuff Mill

Jumpin' Jupiter!

The Mile Square

What's an Alewife, Anyway?

Water for Concrete

Paddling Back in the Day

1895 Tragedy in a Bronx River Swimming Hole

William Hart, the Bronx River Cowboy

Cowboys on the Bronx

Brittannia Rule the Bronx

The Old Drovers Inn

Look Out for the Little People!

Happy Birthday Bronx River Alliance

The Witch Canoe

Woodlawn Brook

The Mighty Kensico

The Battle of White Plains

Launching the Golden Ball

The Left Bank of the Bronx

Awaiting the Alewife

The Boltons of Bronxdale

Ann Hanson, the Bronx River Stevedore

Aunt Sarah Held the Bridge

Jerry, the Bronx River Sea Lion

How the Bronx Got Its Name

Lloyd Ultan's History of the Bronx River

The Wishing Rock

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Bronx?

Big Brown Joe Plugs the Pipe

Ungrateful Old Scrooge

Jonas the Peacemaker

Beaver Tales

Why the Beaver?

Bronx River Parkway Reservation

The Pudding Rock

The Rocking Stone

Edgar Allan Poe and the Bronx River

Shipbuilding on the Bronx

The First Canoes on the Bronx

There Were Bears in There

McAdam's Bronx River Driveway

The Mid-Bronx Ride of Paul Revere

The Many Names of Van Nest

The Frozen Water Trade

Colonel Burr Burns the Blockhouse

Beavers on the Bronx

Songs

Greenway Stories

River Restoration Stories

Video

Paddling Back in the Day

For the past twelve years the Amazing Bronx River Flotilla has been an annual celebration of an ever-more revitalized Bronx River, with as many as 70 canoes and kayaks all proceeding downstream from Shoelace Park to the Bronx River Estuary. On this joyous occasion marking the Alliance’s tenth anniversary, though, we might pause to recall some earlier canoe trips along the Bronx River.

Perhaps the first publicized paddling trip took place on April 12, 1970. As part of an effort to call attention to the river’s neglected condition and the need for cooperation between their two counties, Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams and Westchester County Executive Alfred Del Bello set out to paddle a mini-flotilla from Westchester to the Bronx. Crisply attired in dress shirts and neckties, the two executives didn’t get far before they collided with another canoe and got stuck on a midstream sandbar.

A few years later the newly-formed Bronx River Restoration Project launched a more ambitious expedition. Led by Bronx Historical Society Executive Director Gary Hermalyn, the canoers set out from the Bronx River’s headwaters at Valhalla on April 11, 1977, and after two days of paddling and some epic portaging, made their way to Clason’s Point. The Restoration Project followed up with another trip the following year, starting at Valhalla on April 29, 1978 and working their way down to White Plains. They resumed the trip the next day, and after a full day of paddling and portaging finished at Harding Park.

Conditions on the river have greatly improved since that first attempted paddle over forty years ago. As we enjoy this year’s Amazing Bronx River Flotilla, we should salute those pioneer “voyageurs” who first dared to paddle an unrestored Bronx River.

Stephen Paul DeVillo