Always looking for new ways to explore the city, K discovered the ultimate combo of NYC and wine! Of course, why would we ever say no to the partnering of our two favorite things? Departing from Chelsea Piers, a wine tasting cruise on Classic Harbor Lines is the making of a perfect afternoon, rain or shine. Unfortunately, our excitement for our spring wine adventure was squandered when we awoke to one of the seemingly ever-present New York rain and wind storms. How the heck could we enjoy a relaxing day on the water in the middle of this mood dampening weather?!
Cancellation of the cruise for rain is highly unlikely, so we headed in anyway hoping the sun would come out as we boarded. In true form, A+L were running late and literally jumped onto the vintage inspired boat moments before departure. K+M had arrived in the city early, hitting up the Chelsea Whole Foods for ‘boat snacks’ to accompany our wine tasting. They were getting quite nervous as they waited for A+L to arrive. It wasn’t looking promising, but the traffic gods shined down on us and we made it!
The boat, the Manhattan, although new, is in the fashion of a 1920s style commuter yacht. The classic styling is sure to put you in a wine sipping and cheese nibbling kind of mood. A+L were greeted by relieved faces and instantly the anxiety disappeared. We cozied up to our adorable 2+2 booth and quietly listened… our lesson was beginning. Now, 2+2 are no strangers to wine tastings. We’ve participated in tours, tastings and events both locally and abroad, but have never received such a thorough and interesting lecture, as from Wendy Crispell, the afternoon’s certified wine expert. We tasted (and learned about) six biodynamic and/or organic vintages, starting with a sparkling white and finishing with a heavy Carmenere (one of our new favorites from Chile). And we must say that there wasn’t a single one we didn’t love.
Partnered perfectly with hand selected speciality cheeses, we adored our rainy, but lovely circumnavigation of the isle of Manhattan. This was so NOT what we had expected. This is not a goofy Circle Line cruise overflowing with tourists. Or a wine tasting with super stingy pours and blocks of Cabot Cheddar. This is a perfect afternoon, ideal for groups or family (over 21) with a love of the city, the sea, and the essentials of life, wine and cheese.
After the fastest three hours in creation, our tour was over. Boo! But luckily, our ride ended in Chelsea Piers, the activity capital of the city. If you love the outdoors, adventure or a little sweat, there are countless options at the piers. Sail some golf balls toward the sea, learn how to rock climb, and even take up the flying trapeze. A+K waltzed through the massive facility quite leisurely, taking in all the interesting things to do and putting them down on our mental ‘list’ for future fun, as well as taking a plethora of pictures with the giant NYC prints!
It was still pouring outside and L+M happily suggested that we all go bowling! Ugh… think fast… A+K quickly had to distract them! What’s close? Beer! Thank god. The Chelsea Brewing Company was our savior. Its proximity was key and we barely got the boys in. What is with the recent bowling obsession? After a couple of homemade brews on the waterfront, it was time for our next destination… oh yes… this was only Part 1 of the day’s adventures…
Activity- 2+2Chelsea Piers- Pier 61 West 22nd and Hudson River, Manhattan 646-336-5270 www.wendycrispellwine.com www.Zerve.com/SailNYC/Wine (tickets) Cheese (Bring Your Own Picnic), Wine, Manhattan
Ahoy! A cheerful crew will greet you as you board the Manhattan, Classic Harbor Line’s indoor/outdoor yacht, and get ready to set sail around Manhattan. A quintessential New York activity, this boat ride is perfect to (re)acquaint yourself with the beautiful views of NYC, all while sipping on hand-picked wine and cheese selections by host and certified wine specialist, Wendy Crispell. The Wines of the World Tasting Series cruises are offered four times per month, with different workshops featured monthly.
On this particular afternoon, 2+2 engaged in the workshop entitled: “Natural Wines- Organic vs. Biodynamic.” We boarded the yacht on this rainy afternoon uncertain of what to expect from this experience. Would it be like other wine tasting experience where you travel from table to table and sip different wines? How many people would be there? Will we get seasick as a result of the choppy, stormy waters? Well, this event was so much more than we could have hoped for! With fewer than twenty people, each group had their own elegantly set table. With panoramic views from inside the boat, there wasn’t a bad seat in the ‘house.’ As we set sail, we were first given an aperitif to start. We sipped on a sparkling wine from Hudson Valley’s Brotherhood Winery as we headed south on the Hudson and made our way to Lady Liberty. As we enjoyed our bubbly, Ms. Crispell welcomed us and gave us an overview of what the afternoon would entail. Once we made our way around Liberty Island and into the calmer East River, we would officially begin the tasting.
When it was time to taste our first wine, we were also served our cheese pairings, which were accompanied by all of the essential accoutrements, including some fruit, nuts, and freshly baked breads. As we sampled our first round of organic wine and cheese, Ms. Crispell divulged more information about the organic and biodynamic processes of making wine. We learned that not only is she a certified wine expert, former chef, and world traveler, but she is also an affineur, someone who engages in the art of selecting, nurturing and maturing cheese to achieve peak ripeness, superb texture, and genuine flavor. Between pairings, Wendy made her rounds to each table to answer questions, converse, and ensure that everyone was enjoying themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed conversing with Wendy; she is extremely knowledgeable, personable, and charismatic!
As we made our circumnavigation, we sailed under twenty bridges; took photos of a foggy, yet mystical, skyline; enjoyed conversation and laughs amongst ourselves and other attendees; and enjoyed fantastic selections of high quality wines and cheeses. Wendy encouraged us to use the provided aroma wheel during each pairing to help us describe the many flavors and aromas we were experiencing from both the wines and cheeses. Our descriptions got much better with each wine we tasted! We also loved when the crew made second rounds to give us an additional pour if we liked a particular wine. Yes, please! There really wasn’t one wine or cheese we didn’t like.
Whether you’ve lived in New York your entire life, just moved here yesterday, or only visiting for the weekend, book a wine cruise with Classic Harbor Line, hosted by Wendy Crispell. It is a perfect afternoon, rain or shine, jammed packed with a unique wine and cheese education. Cruises run from March to December on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays (times vary) with various workshops to choose from. Bring along a camera, a picnic (if you so desire), and a positive attitude– Wendy Crispell and the Classic Harbor crew will do the rest to provide you with a fabulous New York moment.
Thanks to Wendy Crispell, 2 Plus 2 followers can receive a $10 discount by purchasing tickets using the code 1wine1 on www.zerve.com/sailnyc/wine.
What we ate…
Wine and Cheese Pairings
- Sparkling White Wine from Brotherhood Winery
- Domaine Spiropolous, Moschofilero, Greece (Organic); Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese (Organic)
- Cucao Chardonnay, Casablanca, Chile, 2010 (Organic); Comte St. Antoine Cheese (Organic)
- Frederic Lornet, Arbois, Trousseau, 2006 (Biodynamic); Hawthorne Valley Cheddar (Biodynamic)
- Shinn Estate, Red NV, LI, NY (Organic/Biodynamic); Weinkase Lagrein Cheese
- Palin Carmenere, Chile, 2009 (Organic/Biodynamic); Barely Buzzed Cheese with Coffee & Lavender Rub (Organic)
A: Although it was pouring outside, the party was inside! The throwback boat, fabulous wine and cheese pairings and our super informative lesson, lent to the perfect (but rainy) afternoon.
K: I was truly impressed with the entire experience. The wine & cheese selections were fantastic and Wendy Crispell was amazing. I recommend this kind of event for anyone who enjoys wine and loves Manhattan. Despite the weather and choppy waters (I really feared I would get seasick, but I was fine!), we had a ton of fun! Panoramic views of NYC, delicious wine & cheese, and a great crowd… what a perfect afternoon!
L: So I didn’t have a nautical themed pashmina afghan but I did have a serious amount of wine selected and poured by the knowledgeable and energetic Wendy. Thankfully M and K brought extra snacks. We were really hungry after all that drinking. Even in the rain, the views of Manhattan from the Hudson and East River were awesome. It doesn’t take much to remind me why NYC is so amazing.
M: I love the water, and anything that we do that involves it will always be a great time for me no matter what happens. We had wine + cheese + (extra snacks we brought) + boat = a perfect day for Manny. The rain didn’t affect the trip at all. It turned out to be what I expected: GREAT. Who knew NYC had so many bridges?! (We sailed under 20 of them!) Can’t wait to go back on a sunny day.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- An elegant 1920s throwback yacht complete with the finer things in life
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar- Wouldn’t change a thing
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the tip and then some
- Coordinates- 5: Fun is right next door (once you get off the boat).
- Return Rate- Green light! We can’t wait to try one of the other workshops Wendy Crispell offers.
Producing quality micro brew for over 16 years the Chelsea Brewing Company has become a staple of the Chelsea Piers sports and recreation complex. The brewery and restaurant, which occupies some of the most prime Hudson River waterfront real estate in Manhattan, is not only a spot for a celebratory pint, but a destination in itself. They have been brewing beer in house before it was popular.
Throughout the year the brewery serves up to 20 handmade beer varieties, making it Manhattan’s largest micro-brewery. We all decided to have a pint of the Chelsea Brewing Company standby, the Checker Cab Blonde Ale. This Pale Ale is the brewery standard. Made in the style of Northern Germany Kolsch beer with Noble Hops and 10% Wheat Malt. It was light, crisp and totally refreshing. Grab a pint and enjoy watching the huge boats come in and out of the marina.
Though we didn’t eat during this visit, we have chowed down here before. The Brewery serves up some tasty pub food. Try the pizza; it’s adequate, fresh and better than any of those places with “Ray’s” in its name. If you are looking for something a little fancier and expensive head upstairs to the single malt scotch and cognac bar, which is located right next to the driving range. They have a serious selection of the strong stuff and you can even smoke cigars up there.
- Checker Cab Blonde Ale (2+2)
A: I’m definitely not a beer lover but the one I sipped was actually quite good. I’m sure this place is packed on a sunny summer day!
K: This is a really fun spot! I have been here on warmer days and sat out on their patio and enjoyed great views right on the Hudson, along with food & drink.
L: Good for a beer after a long boat ride or basketball game at the sport complex. Not exactly a destination but certainly adequate. It may be surprising but they were doing the micro brew before it was so popular.
M: Great place to go get a local beer and sit by the water. Could have and would have had more beer if it was a nicer day out.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Water front beer sanctuary
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly Surprised
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 5: Fun is right next door
- Return Rate- Green Light
Activity- 2+2www.ChelseaPiers.com Sports Complex, Manhattan
Chelsea Piers is the active New Yorker’s paradise. Sandwiched between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, Chelsea Piers (59 through 62) span nearly ten city blocks. This mega Entertainment and Sports Complex is complete with a Health Club, Spa, Sky Rink, and training classes for adults and kids alike, in a wide range of sports. You can also bowl, play, golf, and rock climb, all within this same facility. It is truly an oasis for all things sports and entertainment in a busy metropolis.
Chelsea Piers offers endless activities for children and adults, and doesn’t stop at sports. The Chelsea Brewery and Jason’s Riverside Grill are two hot spots within the Piers that offer food and drink before or after a long day of golfing or playing soccer. Or, you can book a spa treatment after your hardcore cardio workout at the gym….you deserve it!
Completely unrelated to sports altogether is The Lighthouse at Pier Sixty. This is certainly one of New York City’s shining stars, and certainly one of the highlights of the Chelsea Piers complex. The Lighthouse is one of the most elegant and beautiful event spaces in all of New York City. With panoramic views of the Hudson and NYC, this venue makes the perfect location for weddings, celebrations, or other events. The Lighthouse offers indoor and outdoor space, and can accommodate anywhere from 75 to 1,000 guests. It is truly a special location in the heart of NYC.
One cannot forget that most of New York’s cruise liners and yachts dock at Chelsea Piers. This is where you will depart for your dinner or wine tasting cruise around Manhattan. The Maritime Center offers events small and large, providing you with a unique opportunity for dining and entertainment. Of course the Maritime Center wouldn’t be complete without the Offshore Sailing School, providing sailing lessons to individuals or groups on the Hudson River. Such a great summer activity!
It is no doubt that Chelsea Piers is the mecca for sports and entertainment in New York City. The activities and events offered are beyond one’s imagination… and you never know what they are going to come up with next! Chelsea Piers may just motivate you to start training for that triathlon….
- Bluestreak Training
- Golf Club
- Field House
- Sky Rink
- Sports Center Health Club
- The Lighthouse
- The Maritime Center
A: I knew Chelsea Pier was big and offered sports, but I had no idea of the vastness of the facility or the diversity of the events. Very impressive!
K: What an amazing complex! I attended a wedding at the Lighthouse a couple of years ago, and it was incredible. One of (if not THE) the best weddings I have ever been to! A truly incredible place…
L: I played Ice hockey here for years at the sky rink. It was always funny to watch the boats come in and out while checking someone into the boards. My jaw still doesn’t feel right from a fight I got into there 9 years ago… Those were the days. But I digress, the place is awesome and has everything. Its no secret why its is such a destination for sport freaks.
M: I have passed here so many times and knew it was big, but didn’t realize how much goes on here. It huge and everything is very well laid out. We’ll be back in the summer to hit some balls, and maybe even throw some at pins if I can get Kristen to give into bowling.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Waterfront Sports Mega Complex
- Coordinates- 5: Fun is right next door
- Return Rate- Green Light!
*Three Chelsea Piers photos were obtained from Google Images