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Swim to Brooklyn

Or die trying.

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Impromptu crossings of the East River are an extremely bad idea: Besides the highly dangerous tide-influenced currents that switch directions twice a day, there’s the matter of those thousands of dirty barges. Such a trip should be done only in the company of experts—the open-water-swimming fiends of the Manhattan Island Foundation. On September 9, they’re expecting about 150 swimmers in the first-ever Brooklyn Bridge Swim from South Street Seaport to Dumbo. It’s a distance of one kilometer, requiring exertion roughly equivalent to running five miles. The event’s start is set for maximum water stillness, at 12:30 P.M., and racers will be accompanied by boats, but anyone who wants to get in the drink must have documented evidence that they’ve completed an open-water swim. And even with all that preparation, everything gets called off if there’s been too much rain—overflowing sewers flush dangerously high levels of pathogens directly into the river. Island Foundation open-water vet James Sheehan insists NYC river-swimming is not as grimy an experience as it sounds: “I know everybody cringes when they hear about it,” he says, “and maybe at the beginning by the shore you might see some suspicious things floating by, but once you get out in the middle, it’s clean. Really!”

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Sweat Without Setting Foot in a Gym
Swim to Brooklyn or Die Trying
Catch Your Supper in the Rockaways
Ride Your Bike to Montauk
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