by: Paul Frangipane
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For the majority of its residents, New York City ends at the water. It is a blue barrier dividing boroughs and marking state lines, something to be crossed and never touched. A history of industrial pollution and aged infrastructure have contributed to New York hosting some of the most polluted water bodies in the United States. But with the estuary being the cleanest it’s been since the 19th century, more New Yorkers are paddling canoes down winding creeks that dissect the urban grid system. They’re shoving off in colorful kayaks from the city’s remaining beaches and piers and they’re diving into the harbor as land-locked witnesses watch with astonishment. Those pushing the coastal barrier with recreation and advocacy are showing what New York Harbor has to offer and the challenges it faces to become a more accessible piece of New York City.