10/28/2007, West 79th Street Boat Basin
This is a retro-active post, as Judy had done one up a few days ago, then inadvertently deleted the whole thing...
We spent the day touring the city, first cutting across Central Park to visit relatives and let the girls have a short playtime with their daughters.
It's definitely a different lifestyle in Manhattan, what with wall-to-wall towers, and as we soon found out, the price of real estate (well, a postage stamp sized piece of the Big Apple) is something unfathomable back home.
We took a cab downtown to Central Station, then headed over to the Empire State Building, and up to the 86th floor we went, a little over 1,000 feet up. It was great to be able to point out to the girls the route that we took to get into NYC harbour, as we could see well out into Long Island Sound. The density of the city is really mind-boggling, and as much as I enjoyed the visit, there is no way I would ever want to live here. From the Empire State Building the headed south to Ground Zero. I must admit that although I knew I was standing on what many Americans consider hallowed ground, it was difficult to separate the tragedy of September 11th 2001 from the carnage that has been wrought on its account both in the US and overseas. There was a sadness in the air there, punctuated here and there by hawkers selling images of the attack, postulating their conspiracy theories, and we passed one school choir singing the national anthem. It was a very surreal experience, and I am still trying to figure out what to make of it.
From this anti-climactic visit to the World Trade Centre, we headed back up to Broadway and Times Square, and bought tickets to see "The Drowsy Chaperone", a broadway hit. It was a fabulous show and we had superb seats, front and centre in the sencond row, and at half-price as well (otherwise we would never have gone...!) The girls loved it, and we headed back to the boat tired and happy.
With the forecast calling for favourable winds the next few days, we decided to head out, with a sloemn promise to Marine that we will visit the Statue of Liberty when we come back through here in the Spring!
10/27/2007, The Big Apple
After three weeks' frustration with the old laptop and its inability to connect via wireless, we had had enough and so bought a new computer within hours of setting foot ashore in Manhattan. This purchase was preceeded by that of a cell phone, since the sat phone's intermittent (at best) service has also been a source of frustration. Makes one pine for the olden days and handing off letters for home to a passing vessel headed that way.... Anyway, we are now moored at the West 79th Street Boat Basin, having arrived yesterday in NYC, managing to mooch our first night here over on the Jersey City side of the Hudson River. When we first sailed into port we had seen a rather enticing marina nestled in the financial district of Manhattan, and thought we might try there first. We called it up on the VHF, and the dock manager was very pleasant, said he was ready to take our lines and all, and then we asked about rates. "Four dollars per foot..." Not so bad, we thought, working out the math for our forty-footer, for prime docking in Manhattan... "Per hour," he finished. We decided not to bother asking if they had weekend specials, or if the price included champers and caviar on the finger pier at 4pm daily.
So here we are at W 79th, $30/night on a mooring, free showers, laundry, wireless internet, great staff, and super location, roughly even with the south end of Central Park, and within easy striking range of the main attractions. We shifted here in the morning, and set off for a walkabout, immediately enveloped in the steel, glass and stone towers, and the sounds (mostly taxi horns), smells and congestion that make New York, New York. We found our way to Broadway, skirted Central Park and the Ritz and Park Plaza hotels, then popped into Carnegie Hall and Radio City, then to Times Square(!). After dinner, we came back to the boat to do laundry, set up the new computer, and dry the boat out a bit after two days of rain. We have a packed programme planned for the next two days, as we will likely sail again on Tuesday when the next advantageous weather window will open for us to move south some more. It's certainly not enough time for us to see everything we want to see, but we will be back in the Spring for a second sampling of the Big Apple.
We'll get some pics posted soon, once I have installed the software for the new camera we bought in Newport RI (failing communications and media products has been a recurring theme lately). In the meantime, Judy has plenty to write about, and I'll leave it to her to describe the our entrance to NYC through Hell Gate, plus musings on the stratospherically wealthy folks' quaint homes and other trappings we have observed so far.
10/22/2007, Newport RI
Finally, I have rejoined Semper V and the girls after two weeks of tieing up loose ends (most of them, anyway) in Halifax.
A smooth flight to Boston was followed by a short train ride to Providence, where Charlie, our boat's previous owner, picked me up and took me to Bristol Yacht Club, the boat, and the girls. We went for a pleasant sail with Charlie and his wife Charlotte, who then treated us to dinner at their amazing home overlooking the Bay.
The next morning, we decided we would aim for Mystic, CT, but the weather had other ideas. It has been sunny and very warm (21C), but winds on the nose from the southwest, first blowing at 10kts at 0800, then increasing to 20+ kts as the day went on, would have resulted in a very lumpy transit along the coast. After poking our noses out past Newport long enough to decide that we really didn't want to get banged around that much, we decided to turn aback and anchor in Newport; we will likely have to wait another day or two before the winds become more favourable out of the northwest.
Marine and I headed ashore in the afternoon, and Marine guided me through the sites they visited earlier last week, including a stop at the public library (to aceess the internet, check e-mails, and update the blog.
It feels great to be with the girls again, and now I can take some of the load off Judy's shoulders, as she has worked incredibly hard to get Semper V this far along, and the girls have done yeoman service as well. For me, the fun finally begins!