July 31 (Bloomberg) -- I flipped the levers to no avail. Clearly the motor that raises the anchor on this old lightship was toast and the thing was going nowhere.
I moved along to another part of the hull and discovered that someone had cut the power to the ship’s DJ booth, leaving the makeshift dance floor in steerage completely deserted.
So I climbed out of the boat’s hull and onto the adjacent barge where the solution to my problems became clear.
“A bucket of Corona and an order of ribs please,” I said to the bartender.
You can have a lot of fun playing captain, DJ, pirate or whatever else seizes your heat-addled brain aboard the floating complex of barge and boats tethered together at Pier 66 Maritime in the Hudson River. The 326-foot former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad car barge is located on 26th Street in Manhattan.
Get yourself a drink, order some food and drop anchor at any of the tables set up all over the complex.
This place is great for channeling your inner 12-year-old with a drink in your hand. The old caboose near the entrance is a reminder that this was once a crucial way of getting cargo on and off Manhattan long before today’s bridges and tunnels.
One can imagine steam locomotives from decades past hauling train cars loaded with all manner of goods, puffing plumes of smoke into the air. Getting loaded here has a much different meaning than it did back in those days.
Climb up to the top deck of the historic lightship and enjoy the sweeping views of Manhattan and the river while downing surprisingly well-made food and drinks. Helicopters from the West Side heliport buzz in and out while marine craft troll up and down the river. It is hard not to have fun here at arguably the best outdoor drinking establishment in Manhattan.
According to Pier 66 Maritime manager David Robinson, people do like to drink here. “In the summertime we sell more Corona than any other bar in the United States,” he told me.
Food selections include the usual burger and fries ($9.22) or chopped vegetable burger ($9.22). The lemon-herb chicken breast wrap ($10.15) was quite good and came with a salad.
Have some St. Louis-style barbecued spare ribs ($10.10) or a well-prepared Jamaican jerk-rubbed half-chicken (14.76). Wash it all down with your favorite beverage from the full bar. A bucket of Corona and ice for $35 is a good way to beat the heat. (Prices are subject to change depending on the time and the day of the week).
Bikes are tolerated and there are plenty of places to lock them up. But steep staircases leading to the restrooms, catwalks above the river and industrial debris make this place not very kid-friendly.
Pier 66 Maritime is open from May through October from noon until midnight, seven days a week. It is located at West 26th Street and the West Side Highway in Hudson River Park. For more information: +1-212-989-6363.
(Paul Goguen is a multimedia producer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. All opinions expressed are his own.)
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