Our long anticipated arrival in New York City finally took place on Friday, June 11. As we left Manasquan Inlet and cruised up the Atlantic, the fog was so thick that we couldn’t see anything near us. Thank goodness for radar which kept us from running into a few fishing boats. We kept thinking that the fog would burn off but as we got closer to New York, we came to grips with the fact that our first glimpse of the city by water would be somewhat obscured.
Still, it was spectacular to approach the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. At the time of its construction in 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It’s still the longest in the U.S. As we got into New York Harbor, Jersey City also came into view.
The Statue of Liberty was on our port side with the impressive three-masted schooner, the Eagle anchored nearby. We motored very close to Lady Liberty and it was an emotional experience seeing her from a boat and thinking about the fact that each of our grandparents had a very personal experience seeing her as they arrived in America for the first time in the early 1900’s.
We were excited to be anchoring in Lady Liberty’s “shadow” or more precisely off of Liberty Park in Jersey City, NJ. This afforded us a fabulous view of Manhattan and the tip of her torch above the treetops.
After settling into this amazingly quiet anchorage, we took the dinghy out to explore our surroundings. We wanted to see how long it would take to dinghy to Jersey City so we could take the ferry or PATH to NY the next morning. As we entered NY Harbor on our 10 foot dinghy, we realized that we were the smallest vessel out there. At certain points in the voyage, it got increasingly choppy such that Lynn insisted that we put on our life jackets. Finally, it became clear that this was not the way we were going to get to and from the city the next day (what if it rained, what if we wanted to stay out late?) so we decided that we would stay the night on anchor and head over to Liberty Landing Marina early the next morning.
The anchorage was calm with very few boats and right across from the Daily News office building. We were rewarded that evening after dinner with a great fireworks show that took place over the head of Lady Liberty!
The next morning, we got up early and “zipped” over to the very nice (fancy) Liberty Island Marina and met some of our fellow “loopers” there. We took the ferry into NY and landed very close to the World Trade Center.
We chose not to do a tour of the museum as we had not purchased tickets in advance and the line was very long. However, we were able to see all of the outside sights including the two reflecting pools which are a gripping testament to the lives lost from that tragic morning.
Lynn had read about the role that St. Paul’s Church played for all of the rescue workers so we took a walk over there. That church, which George Washington worshiped at, was right near Ground Zero and yet it did not sustain any damage. During the rescue effort, it became a refuge for the rescue workers to go to for food, rest, comfort and counsel. All the pews were removed to make room for the supplies and services provided. Where you often find small altars and alcoves to saints, this church featured spaces filled with collections of letters to loved ones, teddy bears sent to comfort the rescue workers, origami banners from Japanese school children and many other very moving symbols of comfort offered to victims and rescue workers from around the world. This experience also became a very emotional one for us as the expressions were incredibly personal and meaningful.
We then took a bus to the theatre district because we had tickets to see a matinee of Kinky Boots (quite a departure from the morning’s activities)! Times Square was a trip, as always! We managed to find a very cool place for lunch called City Kitchen. It was located on the second floor of a building right off of Times Square and it had an assemblage of food truck type food from all around the city. Each section was run by a different vendor and there were choices from Korean to Middle Eastern to New England Seafood to Deli and everything in between including the most outrageous selection of gourmet doughnuts you ever saw. We were in foodie heaven. And of course, Lynn hates to waste eating out at a place she hadn’t researched or been referred to – but this one turned out to be a find. Pass it on!
Of course, Kinky Boots was wildly entertaining! Cindy Lauper outdid herself writing all the music and lyrics for this Tony Award winner. A fun, feel-good show that left everyone smiling as they walked out. We had great seats, front row center mezzanine, and last minute tickets to boot (no pun intended)!
Walking is the thing to do in New York, so walk we did – this time going up to Fifth Avenue,window shopping and people watching all along the way. Lynn wanted to stop at St. Patrick’s which we did. However, the interior is under construction and much of it was filled with scaffolding even as they were getting ready for a 5:30 mass.
We had decided on an early dinner by NY standards and were referred to Sotto 13 . This little Italian restaurant was located on the edge of Greenwich Village on a tree-lined street of well maintained brownstones. We had a lovely dinner on their patio and Lynn was happy that their special appetizer was fried squash blossoms! Spent the cocktail hour coaching Stephanie by phone on how buy her first car on her own. She’s growing up and has a mind of her own and I guess that’s what we raised her to have! Fortunately, she does reach out for advice rather frequently.
After dinner, we strolled through the Village and found our way to Christopher St. where Jonny had an oriental furniture store back in the late 80’s. It’s been transformed back to its original life as a corner coffee bar – a real classic! Next time you see us, ask us about our experiences with that shop which was located in a very colorful part of town!
We finished our long day’s outing into the city by taking the PATH back to Jersey City and preparing for the following day’s trip up the Hudson River.