Any plans to visit New York City anytime between now and October? If so, then you might want to think about fitting this into your itinerary. This goes for any locals who haven’t taken advantage of what’s bobbing in their own backyard.
The Honorable William Wall is a floating clubhouse in the midst of New York Harbor, courtesy of the Manhattan Sailing Club. For anyone who can’t get enough of the city skyline, or just any opportunity to be on the water, it’s a must.
Anchored from May through October, the clubhouse is open Tuesday through Saturday and getting there is a breeze. Just head to the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City and hop aboard the Admiral’s Launch. Club members sail for free, otherwise it’s $18 round-trip and worth every penny. Reservations get priority boarding so if you’re set on sailing, book an advance ticket.
Some folks visit this watering hole for the chance to see evening sailboat races, while most others probably head there to sip a few while the sun starts its slow dip and lights up the city’s skyline. With 360-degree views that include Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Jersey City, and Governors Island, there’s not a bad seat on this barge.
Some friends and I visited this past Saturday. The sun was blazing and the weather was perfect as we bounced across the choppy water. About fifteen minutes later we disembarked, I looked up and a sign read “Welcome Aboard! Today’s special is “Bloody Floatin’ Mary’s.” My kind of place.
The open-air, full service bar on the upper deck was bustling, and customers were ordering Dark and Stormy cocktails faster than the bartenders could mix them. There were smiles all around and everyone looked blissful in a way that only comes from being on the water. All of the tables and chairs were taken so we made our way to the lower deck and pitched our picnic atop a storage unit, unpacked some homemade snacks, made a toast, and enjoyed the view. On the tender back, the moon was rising.
The William Wall owes its sea legs to a Civil War congressman who was an ancestor of the club’s commodore, who runs this floating roadhouse. One of the draws is that you can bring your own grub. The clubhouse has some basic bar food, and you can even cater to the barge from an outside vendor, but all drinks must be ordered from the house. Not a bad deal in my book.
These days it’s harder and harder to find a best kept secret in NYC but most folks I know haven’t heard of the Willy Wall. As far as new favorite things go, it’s made the list. I don’t have to travel far, get to be on the water, meet people, and appreciate my city from a different point of view.
Come visit. I’ll see you at the Wall!