*Disclaimer* The activity described below is not recommended, and although it was loads of fun, I'm sure it's probably dangerous. Although I think it beats Duck Boats...
Ahh, the Hudson River. I was taught as a child that it was truly a thing of great beauty... until you read about it or got close enough to the water to see what's floating in it. Nonetheless, I've always appreciated having it so close to the city; I think the planned riverfront developments for the cities of Rensselaer and Troy, as well as the projects already done, such as the Corning Preserve and Riverfront Park, really give the people who live here a great place to go exercise, hear a concert, or just relax.
Which brings me to about a year and a half ago when my ex came up with a great idea for summer boredom; tubing. One would think that with the Adirondacks not too far away, we'd go there for our water adventure. But as a young college couple often is, we were broke, desperate for amusement, and far too lazy to drive an hour or more for good rapids. So we went to get our inner tubes, and set off for the closest river: the Hudson.
When we arrived, we parked in the lot and walked up the path in the Preserve a ways until we found a good place to launch off of. Tying our tubes together, we got into the water and set off, talking and sipping soda as we drifted downwards. A garbage barge went by, and I think it's the first time I really got an appreciation for just how big they are. People walking by on the trail above who noticed us shouted anything from "Having fun?" to "You must be crazy!" (which I think we must have been, a little bit, although frankly as long as I'm not drinking the water I'm not terribly worried). We also saw some ducks, which was pretty cool. I'm a big fan of the duck population.
After about an hour and infinitely more relaxed than we had been in weeks, we were down around the riverfront park, and spotting a dock, we paddled our way over to it. Soaking wet and with me giggling, we got out of the river to disbelieving looks and a few grins, hauled our tubes into the cars, and headed back for "Rent'ler".
That was the day I first decided that maybe the Hudson River wasn't so bad after all, and I still can't look at it or stand by it without remembering and smiling.