Vikings Invade NYC

Music & Arts

Vikings Invade NYC

viking ship
Photo: Mike Pennington

A 115-foot long Viking ship docked in Manhattan on Saturday. And no, this isn’t 10 AD.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre is the brainchild of Sigurd Aase, who wanted to build a ship to mimic the Viking discovery of the New World. Aase began constructing the vessel – said to be one of the largest Viking ships built in modern times – in March of 2010 in Haugesund, Norway.

Aase used archaeological material, Old Norse literature, sources from the Viking age, visual representations of Viking ships and old sailing records and reports to create the one-of-a-kind Draken Harald Hårfagre.

“Most people are astonished by her size and her beauty, she is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship with a lot of ornamentations and details to look at,” said Sarah Blank, the ship’s chief communications officer. “There are a lot of comments about her big red sail, it is one of a kind when she is spotted in the horizon.”

Thirty-three people make up the Draken Harald Hårfagre’s crew. A tent shelter is in place on board sleeps 16 sailors. The crew takes turns sleeping and sailing: four hours working, four hours sleeping. An open-air kitchen is used for cooking during the voyage.

“Everything tastes good when you are cold and wet, and our cooks have been cooking two hot meals every day regardless of weather and conditions during the crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean,” Blank said. “That is an achievement in an open galley on an open wooden boat!”

The ship departed Norway on April 24 for The Expedition America 2016, a route similar to what the Vikings sailed thousands of years ago. So far, the Draken Harald Hårfagre has visited Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. On Saturday, the crew pulled into Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina.

“We have met a lot of Scandinavian descendants in Canada and USA,” Blank said. “The Scandinavian organizations along our route have been of great help, and they have been spreading the word about our project. We have met so much engagement and so many initiatives, it is overwhelming.”

Check out the Draken Harald Hårfagre at the North Cove Marina in Manhattan, located at 250 Vesey St. through Sept. 26. Adult tickets are $10; tickets for children (17 and under) are $5. Tours of the ship take place daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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