As we noted earlier this week, Summer is a glorious time in Scandinavia. The region’s normally chilly temperatures have mellowed, and activities like cycling, boating and swimming are in full swing. If you need more visual proof, just check out this idyllic scene captured by Flickr user justchuckfl, in the Danish city of Copenhagen. Like many Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen is an urban center inextricably tied to the sea and its many canals. If you find yourself walking the streets of this colorful capital, you’re likely to encounter a scene much like this one – a scenic canal ringed by brighly-hued buildings and bobbing sailboats.
It doesn’t really make sense. Why does music sound better when you’re riding on a boat? Do melodies travel better by sea breeze? Can the current of a river improve a guitar solo? They’re not questions we ponder very often, but maybe it’s time that we did. Because believe it or not, New York City happens to be a great place to hear live music on boats.
You’re probably thinking – why in the world are people playing music while floating on water? As much as we try to fill in the gaps here at Undiscovered New York, to help you try to understand the lesser known parts of this great city, we aren’t really sure that we have an answer. Maybe boat-goers enjoy the city’s awesome harbor views when accompanied by a good tune. Maybe leaving shore lets us leave our inhibitions behind. Or maybe there’s no need to rationalize – as with so many other unexpected activities in New York, sometimes you just show up and go with the flow.
Whatever, the reason, New York has some seriously good options when it comes to riding the waters to hear some top-quality tunes. Whether you want to enjoy a symphony orchestra along the East River, boogie down at an abandoned boat dance party or check out the latest in floating indie rock, there’s a boat concert to suit your needs. So leave those “lame” concerts for the land-lubbers. This week, Undiscovered New York is “rocking the boat.” Click below to see where you can hear some great music while riding the city’s waves.
The Frying Pan
From 1930 until 1965, the lightship Frying Pan played an important role for the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as a floating lighthouse to keep ships from running aground in rough seas. These days though, the ancient Frying Pan is more likely to guide partygoers to a good time. After spending three years at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay, the boat was salvaged and brought to New York, where it now floats at Pier 66 along Manhattan’s West Side. On weekends and evenings, partiers come to hang out along the water and dance inside the ship’s rusty barnacle covered hull. It’s a one-of-a-kind night out that definitely beats an evening on dry land.
New York visitors are often surprised to learn that the city’s grimy East River is home base for symphony-quality performances of Chopin, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. These decidedly highbrow affairs happen at Bargemusic, a series of weekly classical music concerts hosted on a former New York City coffee barge. The event’s nautical setting makes for a surprisingly good concert – attendees claim the boat’s cavernous acoustics and intimate seating, close-up to the musicians, makes for a truly memorable experience.
Rocks Off Concerts
Remember that time you saw your favorite band live? Man, what a show. But good as it was, have you ever seen your favorite band live and on a boat? That’s exactly the thinking behind Rocks Off concert cruises. Now in its ninth year of musically-themed boat cruises, the events combine a New York City harbor cruise at dusk with a variety of up-and-coming musical acts like Electric Six and Amon Tobin.