Harlem River Community Rowing here- we do actually offer learn to row classes for people without any rowing experience. Rowing is non-impact and generally good for people with aching knees, etc. but it is pretty vigorous and might not be the best choice for you if you haven't been active for many years. That may be why our classes for people who have never touched an oar are described as "intermediate" here. FYI, we're open to anyone who is at least 14 years old, but the vast majority of our members are adults. Rowing is lots of fun! Come check us out.
Best Rowing New York 2012 - Harlem River Community Rowing
Although New Yorkers usually think of our surrounding water as a slimy place to avoid, some uptown sports enthusiasts don't let it scare them off. Not-for-profit, volunteer-run Harlem River Community Rowing isn't meant for kids or beginners (though it offers intermediate classes), but if you're a good swimmer, can do a good knee bend, and can haul 30 pounds overhead, this 25-member club might be for you. Its four-mile outings go from Yankee Stadium to the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Comfortable-fitting clothes and an optional sun-blocking hat are the gear you need to wear. As for being out on the virtually unswimmable Hudson, HRCR reminds newbies that "we row on the river, not in it, though we wouldn't recommend drinking the water." harlemrivercommunityrowing.org