Harlem

A River is Never Too Far Away: Fly Tying in Harlem

By Seth Fera-Schanes

New York is the most populated city in the United States.  It is home to some of the highest skyscrapers around.  It has residential apartment buildings layered with tenants.  Needless to say, it can be a crowded, congested place to live and visit.

There are three moments when you look at the city and truly recognize this fact.  The first is when you’re on a commercial flight getting ready to land at JFK airport.  Sometimes on red-eye and early morning flights, the pilots take you directly over the city.  They will usually call it out over the PA system and if you are fortunate enough to have a window seat get ready for a real treat.  Looking down at the five boroughs from the plane is like looking at topographical map.  It’s a surreal, holy shit moment; beautiful to see what people have built and understand just how dense it is.

The second moment is riding the Staten Island Ferry.  If you don’t reside in Staten Island, chances are you heard the insider’s tip the ferry is free and offers panoramic views of downtown Manhattan and great photo opportunities of the Statue of Liberty.  Once you debark, you turn around and get right on a waiting boat to take you back to the city.  From the harbor, you see lower Manhattan and the Financial District with its towering buildings and quite frankly you have never seen anything else just like it.

Finally, when you’re coming back into the city after a weekend in Boston visiting friends, family or just to see a little US history.  You are looking out the window at the Bronx and then Manhattan and realize that you live in a crowded neighborhood somewhere downtown but that same density continues block after block, mile after mile.

So, what’s my point?  With the long working hours and sometimes just feeling boxed in, people need an escape.  When this happens (and it is a fact of life in the city) you need to find some outlet or means of relaxation.

I would say alcohol stands out amongst the rest.  Let’s face it, this city likes to drink.  Collectively, we go out multiple days each week (but let’s just say with the amount of walking we do, it sort of balances out…just go with me on this one.)

You can always plan day or weekend trips outside of the city to help sooth your nerves.  There are plenty of low cost options and something as simple as boarding an MTA train up to Cold Springs for the day can do wonders.

There are also a lot of crocheters and knitters living in New York.  And they are good too.  My advice is to make friends with these people because you will be the recipient of some really cool gear.

I don’t knit. But what I like to do is fish (and as previously written, do fish in Central Park.)  So what if I wanted to not only go fishing but make hand-tied flies to catch the fish.  That felt like something to really up my outdoorsy game.  And in the winter it would be a fun apartment activity when I no longer felt like walking around in 20 degree weather.  The added benefit of fly tying is a starter kit is affordable and consists of a vice, string and feathers so it doesn’t take up a lot of room.  Plus, how badass is it to tell someone you tie flies to catch fish in the middle of 8 million people.  Well, I did just that and started last winter.  I am very much a novice but enjoy the activity.  If you are looking for a new hobby, this one might be something to look into.  Below are a few flies from my tackle box that are hand tied right in Harlem.

Fly Pattern Made in HarlemTying Flies in HarlemFeathered PatternFly Tying in NYCRed Tinted Fly Hand Made in HarlemBumble Bee Pattern Fly TyingFirst FlyFly with Deer HairHair and Feathers FlyHand Tied Flies from HarlemLong Wing Pattern Fly Tying in HarlemYellow and Green FlyFly Box

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