Hoboken couple commutes to Manhattan by kayak - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Hoboken couple commutes to Manhattan by kayak

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Zach Schwitzky's commute requires a life jacket and a change of clothes.

"We try to get ourselves smelling OK for the rest of the day," he said.

For more than a year, Zach has kayaked from the beach of his Hoboken apartment across the Hudson to a Manhattan pier and then wheeled his vessel 10 blocks to work. On a good day, the entire journey takes less than an hour.

"There's probably a much easier commute," he said, "or a way to be much lazier in commuting."

Zach doesn't need to tell this to his girlfriend and coworker Milhelm Calderone. She said she never imagined paddling to work when she signed up -- with Zach or his company.

"No way," she said. "That was not in the job description."

No send-off party watched Zach and Milhelm disappear into the Manhattan haze Wednesday or christened their vessels with bottles of champagne across their bows or bestowed upon them farewell hugs and kisses. Every day they paddle, they leave without ceremony.

"We yield to everyone bigger than us," Zach said. "That means stopping and starting a fair bit."

It helps that Zach is the founder of his own tech startup and no sassy superior questions his stashing a wet kayak at the office.

"Yeah, I gave approval for that one," Zach said.

A kayak may look at home in an ocean, near a lake or even on a river like the Hudson, but it tends to stick out on wheels rolling up a Manhattan street.

"We get some funny looks," Zach said.

This time of year, Zach fields those baffled stares as many as four days a week (in the winter, much less frequently). He said he has largely avoided dangerous weather, but has had to back paddle for a police boat to answer some questions.

"I said: Were the sirens really necessary? Where do you think I'm going to go? [You think] I got a motor stashed back here and I'm going to go James Bond and jump off?" Zach said.

A secret agent Zach is not. But when your only delays stem from your own gunnel-grabbing and lily-dipping and you've found a way to avoid rush-hour traffic, bus stops and any time spent underground in the city (all while fending off ferries and barges with only a paddle), you must possess a certain amount of guile.

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