Commute Stories: Peter Kelemen
Peter Kelemen (Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) commutes via kayak from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY to the Lamont campus.
In 2004, Peter moved to Hastings-on-Hudson from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Hastings-on-Hudson is about halfway between the George Washington Bridge and Tappan Zee Bridge; a 25-minute drive to Lamont.
“As it turns out, Hastings is directly across the river from Lamont,” Peter said “The river’s only a mile wide, and because I moved from Cape Cod with two kayaks, I realized I could kayak across the river. But it's more difficult than I thought it would be. I have to load the kayak on the car, drive down to the river, park the car, pay the meter, and get the kayak into the water. I paddle straight over to the west side and lock my kayak to a tree, which is at the bottom of a pretty waterfall. Then I remove all the moving parts off the boat to take with me, as well as the paddle. All told, it takes me about an hour and 15 minutes door-to-door, and 20 to 30 minutes of that is in the kayak.
I hike up. There’s a break in the cliff and a notably steep trail – part of what makes this commute such good exercise – which goes from route 9W right along the border of Lamont and Palisades Park, steeply down to the river.
Kayaking is great exercise and helps me reduce my carbon footprint. Also, when I return home, I get to see a spectacular view of the George Washington Bridge and Manhattan, looking down the river from the kayak. The nighttime view is amazing, but I don’t kayak in the dead of winter because when the water is cold, it’s not safe. I make sure to wear a wetsuit in the late fall and early spring.”
Despite the challenge, Peter said that overall, he is happier when he kayaks.