It’s a paradox that rules can bring us freedom, but one we find true in so many areas of life. Experienced that very thing today after studying the precise airspace and reporting rules governing the NYC Hudson River sfra, then enjoying the freedom of flying so close to such an incredible skyline.
Took an experienced friend with me for this first time and found it to be easier than I expected. Lots of Helicopter traffic, but no other fixed wing planes spotted. Going on a weekday likely made for a less crowded experience. My kids are on the list to go next, and my son can't wait... no so much because he's looking forward to the NYC skyline, but because he found out we flew over Lakehurst, NJ... and is obsessed with the Hindenburg!
I definitely recommend having someone else with you if you intend to take photos/video. Flying the plane in such a congested area required all the concentration I had. Having vertical autopilot control was a huge benefit in such a narrow band of airspace (1000-1300 ft msl). I set the power for a nice slow cruise, plugged 1100' into the grt for vertical control then left the horizontal off. This significantly reduced workload and made the time over the river more enjoyable.