Our last two days in New York were great. Bob spent one doing boat chores and I rode my bike around the Liberty Landing Park. We spent our last day sightseeing. We took the ferry to Ellis Island, starting out in the pouring rain. I was struck at how beautiful the main building at Ellis Island is and how much money the U.S. Government spent on a building that was for processing new immigrants.
Bob just off the boat
Main building at Ellis Island
Arch detail at Ellis Island
Puzzle used determine mental fitness for new immigrants
Ellis Island Main Hall
I learned a few new facts. First, only 2% of immigrants that came through Ellis Island were turned away. Second, the first major group of immigrants that were turned away from the US as a class was the Chinese. This was before Ellis Island and happened primarily in the west.
After Ellis, the rain stopped and after lunch we took the ferry across to the city, using up our last tickets from the book of 10 that we purchased. One of the last items on our “really want to do” list was walking the High Line. What a treasure and what foresight someone had not to destroy the old raised railroad bed; but to make it into a park. I was surprised by how many people were walking the path. It was crowded - but what in NYC isn’t? Along the way there are sculptures, places to sit and watch the traffic down below and a wide variety of plantings: wild grasses, cone flowers, black eyed susans, other perennials that I recognized and many I did not. We walked from 14th street to around 40th and then back to 9th. There was so much to see and such good people watching.
high line from the street
sculpture on high line
Bob on the High line
high line runs right next to apartment buildings
high line sculpture - man, fish mammal
HIghline - witch's shoes
Every time we took the PATH train from NYC to Jersey (back to the boat) we passed a bar/restaurant near the train station that was always bustling with people. Going under the assumption that if a place is repeatedly busy it must be good, we decided to meet Karen and Hugh there for our last dinner before leaving NYC. We discovered that the ‘busy assumption’ is not always right. Actually the food that we got was good, but the service was so bad. Bob and I ordered a pizza to share and I ordered a salad. Karen and Hugh were done eating by the time the pizza came out and the salad came even after the pizza. Our server was the restaurant’s new manager and he was working the floor to understand what had to be changed. Clearly he had his work cut out for him.
With concerns about tropical storms and hurricanes, we decided it was too early to head south, so we agreed to spend a little bit of time in Long Island Sound. Many other sailors we met along the way had done it and said how beautiful it was. So Monday morning we headed up the east river for Port Washington. Port Washington is very hospitable to sailors with free mooring balls for the first two nights and $25 a night thereafter. They also have a free water taxi that runs until 9:45 pm and will take you to other boats or into the shore. Captain Matt (owner of the taxi service) was very friendly, talkative and a veritable encyclopedia of local knowledge and useful information.
We motored up the East River passing the United Nations building, Roosevelt Island (which has a cable car that crosses from NYC), and Ryker’s Island (prison – think Orange is the New Black). We came very close to LaGuarida and watched multiple landings and takeoffs. We crossed Hell Gate which is a part of the east river that is supposed to be very tricky due to currents, but we timed it correctly and it was very calm as we passed through where the Harlem River joins the East River. The books warn about Hell Gate which had me a little spooked for no reason.
UN building from the east river
Picking up a mooring was somewhat new to us, as we had only moored in the BVI and never with our own boat – okay maybe once up at Put-In-Bay. When we got to Port Washington it was very windy and there was a pretty strong current. It took us four tries before we got the mooring line safely attached to Her Diamond. The forecast was for rain so we were intending to stay in the boat for the evening. What we realized a little late was that the mooring pendant on our ball was badly chafed by a previous user, frayed about half way through. We had some concern whether it would hold through a bad storm – but the wind was howling (20 plus knots) and there was no way we were going to move until the morning – unless of course we were forced to because of a break. Bob added a second line from the boat to a second loop tied in the pendant and planned to get up every hour or so to check the mooring. Shortly after going to bed, the wind suddenly stopped – like someone had thrown a switch. We moved to a different ball in the morning.
Port Washington mooring field at night
On top of this, earlier that day we noticed that my plant which had been sitting on the counter near the refrigerator had much of the dirt knocked out - but was still sitting upright. I thought Bob had opened the refrigerator in the dark and not realized that the plant was sitting there. He vehemently denied it so we both scratched our heads trying to understand how that could happen. When we had arrived at Port Washington I noticed that the potato chip bag in the dry storage locker had a couple of neat little holes in it, and there were shavings from the paper around some of the food cans. There were also some little black things that looked like caraway seeds. I think you can see where this is heading – WE HAD AN ILLEGAL ABOARD!!!! So we went to the hardware store in Port Washington and got mouse traps. This has caused me two sleepless nights – but we did catch one mouse and we are hoping that there are no more. We are leaving the traps out for at least two more days to make sure. Bob was my hero as he removed the mouse and gave him a burial at sea.
Back to Port Washington – they have a nice mooring field but not much in town to speak of. Had a great pizza lunch, shopped at our favorite store – West Marine – and had a long walk into town to see the shops – again not much to see.
Karen invited us for dinner on their boat and in the pouring rain the water taxi took us the fifty yards over to Trekker and brought us back safely after a delicious dinner. The Euchre tournament continues with the score tied at 4 games each (Karen and Sheila vs Hugh and Bob.
Thursday 9.7.2017 we sailed to Huntington Bay – and I do mean sailed. We had been a motor boat or motor sailed for so long (since leaving Buffalo) it felt great to put up the main sail and the spinnaker and TURN OFF THE MOTOR. Had a beautiful sail over to Huntington – this is what I needed to remind me why we are doing this. The wind was cool and the sun was hot. Huntington is a very crowded basin. The boats are very tightly moored but it is quiet and the facilities are nice. We moored easily this time and took Loren and Monica for a ride in the dinghy out to our boat, then went out for dinner. The only hitch in an otherwise wonderful day was when we returned to the marina after dinner and found the entry gate locked. No one mentioned that we had a curfew! We were able to squeeze through the gate and dinghied back to the boat in the dark with no issues – another first for us.
We are watching the news and will make sure that we don’t go anywhere unless we are close to a sheltered harbor should the storms start to head north. We appreciate the concerns about our safety.