(I'm sorry for not posting a blog for many days. We had some difficulty with our website. It is now resolved.
This blog was written on October 26)
Once we left New London, CT, we stopped at Port Washington in Manhasset Bay before entering New York City. Port Washington is a good place to wait for a weather window to cross NYC; it's only 24 kms away. We anchored instead of paying for a mooring and used a water taxi instead of lowering our dinghie and motor for only 24 hours.
Port Washington has a unique aviation and military history (1913 - 1958). Legends such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart have tested prototypes in Manhasset Bay. A few entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan financed part of the aviation industry; and companies such as Pan Am built hangars and terminals in this area. Pan Am had their first planes to Europe from Manhasset Bay in the late 1930s. Port Washington also has a sand mining history (1880s - 1989). It is estimated that 90% of the concrete used in NYC was from Port Washington. It's fascinating all the things we learn everywhere we stop. I love it.
Through New York City, along the East River, there are no marinas for sailboats, very few for powerboats. After crossing the city, Brooklyn and Staten Island have many marinas and yacht clubs. We chose Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island at only $2/foot, it was a bargain. The staff and club members were very friendly, down-to-earth people, many local Italians. We arrived last Sunday afternoon, just in time for Sunday football with potluck dinner ($5 donation) at the club's bar.
With currents of more than 3 knots, our speed estimated at about 9 knots, with 90-degree curves of the river and joining rivers (Salem and Hudson) in our course, with pleasure boats/ferries/freighters traffic along/across the way, we were (well, I was) apprehensive at first when planning our city crossing on the East River. Travelling on a Sunday morning with cold/cloudy temperature, we were glad to see very little marine traffic. The ferries are so used to traffic, they zigzag among the ships at high speed. The crossing went very well; seeing the Statue of Liberty near the end of our trip was a nice treat.
The first day in New York City, we took the public transit (tramway, ferry, subway) during rush hour. NYC, everywhere and at anytime, gave me ample opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite hobby, people watching. Because it was raining, we started with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We spent time in a section on Cubism (ie Picasso), on urban typologies (Bern & Hilla Becher), on samurai, on jade, and on the old European Masters (1250-1800). In the old Masters section, it's interesting to see the progression of painting styles and subjects. The brush strokes become more precise, the colours more vibrant, the subjects from outdoors and wars scenes to indoors and portraits. We spent 3 hours in The Met. We could've spent a lot longer or have many more visits to be able to appreciate all of it.
We went to Time Square. Talk about a bombardment of light/sound/smell to our systems! The ads as big as houses, the street food vendors everywhere, the people from all walks of life, and of course loud music of all genres fighting to get a bigger hold on your eardrums. I stood in the middle of the Square, not moving, my jaw dropping and my eyes to the sky for a long time, until Frank brought me back to earth. At that point, we played with the idea to get tickets for the broadway show The Lion King. Having worked a little bit backstage in our local theatre, I could just imagine the humongous scope of makeup, lights, sound, decor, choreography, music and stage management. We finally decided not to see a show on this trip. But I promised myself another NYC visit that will most definitely include one or two shows in the near future.
We walked along 5th Avenue where we met - just passing by, a foot away - a known actor at the corner of 5th Ave. and 15th St. He must be in his 60s, very funny, often in a Jewish role. I've been looking on the internet to find his name unsuccessfully. Next time, I see him on Netflix, I'll let you know. We finished our day at an Italian restaurant called Via Carota. Fine Italian cuisine was the perfect cherry on our cake of the day.
We brought our bicycles on our second day. We biked about 20 kms, mostly on dedicated bike paths (the only safe way in this city), from Battery Park through the length of Central Park and back. We also visited the 9/11 Memorial Park. There are 2 big holes where the buildings were located. They have a waterfall along the four walls - about 40 feet - then another smaller hole in the middle where water continues falling but deep enough to prevent a person to see the bottom. So to me, I found it very disturbing to see the water fall at a level, then fall again with no bottom. The significance of this movement is gripping my insides when I think about what may have happened to the victims on that day.
As Frank says, when the leaves are changing colours, it's time to move on. We continue on the next leg of our journey today towards Chesapeake Bay. We'll travel overnight tonight to Cape May where we'll wait for strong winds to pass by.