I spent my early childhood years on a military base in coastal North Carolina where the weather was fine and sailing was a favorite past time. My parents and all of their friends kept sail boats in a small marina and spent much time racing, hosting crab cookouts and, I believe, drinking quite a bit. I can make this assumption based on the fact that I was taught by my parents to sing “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailer,” a shanty that was consistently requested of my four-year-old self at dock-side parties. It could be that my parents were using me for cheap entertainment, or they were merely instilling in me the truth that when combined, ocean, song and drink make for certain good times. Thus, when I heard about the Honorable William Wall, I knew it was the mother ship calling me home.
The Willie Wall is a two story bar/barge moored semi-permanently in the Hudson River from May through October. It’s the official clubhouse for the Manhattan Sailing Club, and the unofficial water bound watering hole for the likes of me. Members get first dibs (there’s a 150-person limit) but non-members can pay a nominal fee to be shuttled across the harbor on the Admirals Launch.
Beverages are reasonably priced, and guests are allowed to bring anything from small snacks to full-blown picnics. Several groups worked on stacks of pizza boxes while watching the regatta unfold around us.
We were centered in the middle of the triangular course, which meant our backdrop changed from sunny Battery Park, to the Statue of Liberty, to Ellis Island as we watched the boats tack along the route. Sure, the drinks aren’t muddled by a mustachioed mixologist, and the music is a horrifying blend Justin and Miley, but you really can’t beat views like this.