Last year we cruised straight down the Hudson River passing Manhattan as we were on a tight schedule to join the Salty Dawgs and finish preparations for the offshore jump to the British Virgin Islands. This year, we had a bit more time to spare so when we got a huge window without the prevailing southwest winds we took advantage. 6 days after leaving Cape Breton we were motoring in calm air down the East River that separates Manhattan from Long Island.
The East River presented us with a bit of a hiccup, as it was closed through the day for a United Nations meeting. The currents from the tides in these stretches are extremely strong so you want to plan your trip through to get a boost. Unfortunately the optimal transit time was in the middle of the closure. We determined that when the closure ended we could just squeak through at the transition from ebb (with us) to flood (against us). We wouldn’t have one of those swift transits we’d heard about from our friends, and would be slowed a bit, but in theory should be no big deal.
Unfortunately as we passed through Hell Gate, just north of the closure the current was 2 knots against us. We powered through a few swirling eddies without incident to find out that the police were enforcing the closure a mile north of the actual closure location. So here we were, at the south end of Hell Gate waiting for the closure to end. As 6pm neared, the coast guard came on the radio to inform us the closure was extended to 6:30. 5 other boats that had been unaware of the closure earlier and had anchored next to Hell Gate, had just pulled up their anchors with the same plan us – to transit immediately after the reopening. 6:30 came and we were holding steady in about 3 knots of current. Then the announcement of a further delay until 7:00 was announced. At 7:00, a further delay was announced, so we decided we would go anchor, and just as we found a spot they opened the river at 7:15. Foolishly, all the boats that had been circling decided to go. In hindsight, this was a poor choice and we battled the current. We struggled to make progress relative to land as the current peaked close to 5 knots (compared to the anticipated 3-3.5 kn in the current table) in the stretch along Rosevelt Island. We fought into a mogul field of standing waves making progress between 0.5 and 1 knot relative to land, 6.2 knots relative to the moving water. We watched people walking past us on shore. We had the anchor ready for a quick emergency deployment as well as the jib. The wind was directly against us, but if the engine quit we were ready to turn around and use the jib to give us enough power to steer back to the spot where we should have anchored to wait. Fortunately, after Rosevelt Island the East River widens and the current slowed and we started to make steady, albeit slow progress for the remainder of the journey. We tied up around 10 pm that evening at Liberty Landing in Jersey City.
I think we learned some valuable lessons during those few hours.
The next morning we wandered around on the Jersey side taking in the NYC skyline during daylight.
Just before lunch, Mom arrived for a visit. I had extended an invitation when we neared Newport a few days prior and had a good idea when we would actually arrive. Dad had to work, so he couldn’t make it this time. Fortunately, Mom was a good sport when we informed her, that hurricane Joaquin was potentially headed our way and that we might have to move the boat and her change her flight home. Fortunately for us, it became a non-issue, but our thoughts are with those in the Bahamas on some of the beautiful islands we visited last spring that took a major pounding.
We spent our first afternoon wandering around Manhattan, seeing some of the neighbourhoods such as Tribeca, China Town, Little Italy and the World Trade Centre. We were all tired at the end of the day, Magnus included and returned to the boat to cook dinner.
We’ve spent less than the parking rate to dock in other places…
The next morning we dropped Magnus off for in house boarding so he would have some company while we visited some places that he couldn’t go. We headed North, again on foot, getting lots of exercise. We wandered through a few more neighbourhoods and then stopped for lunch. After wards we walked the ‘highline’, a former elevated railway that has been converted to a walking trail. It gives a beautiful perspective on parts of the city.
Next stop was Times Square. Certainly a busy spot. We were quite disappointed with the big ball that drops on New Years though. All those years watching it on TV, and somehow we all thought it was much bigger. Can you find in the photo?
We took the chance to sit down for a few minutes and and waited to meet up with more visitors. Chrissy’s parents had flown in that morning and were staying downtown for a couple of nights. As a group we visited the Rockefeller Centre, and wandered the streets towards Central Park.
Central Park was quite scenic. We were actually impressed with how much green space we found on Manhattan Island.
The group of us went out to dinner at Alfredo 100. The original Alfredo restaurant is in Italy and is responsible for the Alfredo sauce we all know. For the 100th anniversary they opened a restaurant in NYC.
After dinner we took the subway to the World Trade Centre and visited the memorial.
Number 1 World Trade Center. Wow, that’s a big building.
Amazing and unfortunate the destruction that took place a number of years ago. An entire city block. Here is the memorial for one of the twin towers. I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos this block would have been in on 9/11.
And a night time view, with the base of the new ‘Freedom’ tower in the back ground.
The next morning we visited the Intrepid aircraft carrier that has been turned into the Intrepid sea, air & space museum.
You don’t see a harrier jet every day.
I had never noticed in the past that the wings folded on those aircraft so they could pack them in tighter on the air craft carrier.
Hope your neighbours shower regularly if you get to bunk here.
We also toured a cold war era submarine. It was agreed that Altera has more upscale accomodations.
That afternoon we split up and Chrissy and her Mom visited a modern art museum while the rest of us walked to see the Empire State building, the Library and Grand central station.
Don’t show up late for your first train ride from Grand Central Station. It’s huge.
And quite impressive to wander around in.
The Library is also worth walking into if you are in the neighbourhood.
Of course we couldn’t go to NYC and not go to Broadway, so after dinner we attended the popular show ‘Kinky Boots’.
The next day was a rainy one, so we didn’t stray far from the boat, other than to pick up Magnus and relaxed from all the walking by watching a movie and reading.
The past couple of days we have been on our own again, so we have tried to finish off the sightseeing that we wanted. For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that I had to go Wall Street. Perhaps the street in America with the best reputation for the creation, destruction and transfer of wealth.
And the NYSE.
Fortunately Chrissy barely noticed this shop on Wall Street. Probably best, the NYSE hasn’t been on a hot streak lately so it isn’t a good time to trade financials for jewellery.
The bull is a bigger tourist attraction that I thought. There was a queue forming while we were there and I couldn’t be bothered to wait to have my picture taken next to it. So I grabbed a quick shot while one group was trading places.
And no blog of NYC would be complete without a collection of fire halls from around the city.
And here is our view on our last night in Jersey City.
We have since moved up stream to the 79th street boat basin, so that we could be closer to downtown for a romantic dinner for two and followed by ‘Chicago’ on Broadway to complete our stay in New York City.
We are hopefully moving on tonight bound for Annapolis. We have favourable winds, but it will be a bit rolly on the Atlantic from the large swells from the hurricane Joaquin, so we reserve the right to change our minds.