Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Big Apple

June 5-13

Days 206-214

One thing we have learned about Loopers as our paths have crossed from time to time, is that we have many different takes on how we should prepare for each day's travels. Some Loopers record everything, from fuel consumption, miles travelled, engine hours, dockage fees and every minute detail in between. Others leave everything to chance. I think Jess and I fall pretty close to the latter. Other than keeping up with the important stuff that keeps Bama Dream functioning the way she should, we usually leave our daily travels to chance. We have a very good reason for using this laid back approach. It seems that most of the time when we take an hour or so out of our evening to plan for the next day or two something happens to change everything. Our evening would have been much better spent by playing a few games of cribbage (especially if I win). A prime example of this happened as we recuperated from our horrendous crossing of the Delaware River. We moved into an anchorage near Cape May and proceeded to check every weather and wind app we had at our disposal, in order to determine how long we would be staying in Cape May, and if we would be able to go outside to open water for the more direct route up the New Jersey coast, or if we would have to stay in the relatively shallow ICW until we reached Manasquan River Inlet. We literally hashed this over for at least a couple of hours before we decided we would visit Cape May for a few days, then stay inside for a run up to Atlantic City, hoping we could go outside at that point. Great! We have our plan set, right? Wrong, bright and early the next morning, as we are still in our pajamas and enjoying a second cup of coffee, the first set of Loopers cruise by. Then here comes Tumbleweed (met them in Baltimore) right behind them, all headed for open water. A brief radio discussion follows and we are quickly pulling anchor to join the caravan headed for Atlantic City. So much for all that time we spent planning.

Storm clouds were threatening as we arrived in the harbor at Atlantic City. They ended up moving off and we had a very nice evening at the Farley State Marina. We were told that it is not a good idea to walk from the marina to the boardwalk, so Jess and I just wandered through the Golden Nugget. It was fun joining the crowd watching American Pharoah take home horse racing's Triple Crown.

Don't know how we managed it, but some how we were docked on the same pier with several mega yachts. Boardwalk belongs to the owner of the Golden Nugget Casino and about 600 restaurants. All they did for us was block our view.

The weather is much better as we leave Atlantic City headed for a long day outside. Our plan is to get to an anchorage near Coney Island, which is about 80 miles from here. At 8 mph that makes for a long day on the water.

A long choppy ride became thrilling when Jess spotted a whale on our starboard side. Other than this splash I caught on camera as his tail sunk below the surface, I was never looking in the right spot at the right moment. Jess was lucky enough to see him breach twice before he was out of sight.

We made our anchorage and spent a quite night before entering the busy harbor around the Statue of Liberty. This is the best I could do for a picture of us with this awesome lady. With ferry boats and umpteen tour boats buzzing around, it is best to move on up the river as quickly as possible.

Our first up close view of the Manhattan skyline, with the new Freedom Tower taking its rightful place among the many skyscrapers. 

We spent two days anchored at the West 79th St. Boat Basin. The view of Riverside Park and the accessibility to the city made this a great stop. Unfortunately, the rough water and very strong current also made this an extremely uncomfortable stop. 

As you can see we haven't totally given up on selfies. How can you go wrong with this view in the background?

Our first afternoon was spent in Central Park. We walked and walked and still did not see it all. Of course I had to make a quick stop at FAO Schwarz to pick up a few little things. I still can't believe that this fun place is soon going to close its doors. I am glad I was able to shop there one more time before they are gone.

If we wanted to get back to the boat this evening we had to get some fuel for our dinghy, and this being New York City there is not a gas station on every corner. The closest one to our anchorage was 17 blocks away. It was actually a very nice walk through Riverside Park. Of course when your day's plan consists of visiting as many of the NY landmarks as possible, beginning with a 3 mile hike for a gallon of gasoline is not really such a great idea. 

Our first stop of the day was Ground Zero. The new Freedom Tower is stunning as it dwarfs all of the other skyscrapers nearby. The crowds were hugh here so we didn't take the time for the new 9/11 Museum on this trip.

In the background the new transportation hub takes shape. Several of the structures planned to replace the World Trade Center complex are still in the construction phase. The 9/11 Memorial area is complete with its museum and pools surrounded by the names of those that perished as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The pools are in the actual footprints of the original towers.

The Financial District, home to the New York Stock Exchange.

When you stop a random stranger to ask if they mind taking a quick picture for you, you may want to check to see if they have a child that is a camera hog. Oh well, it was just one more memorable moment. We did enjoy our walk on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Back on the subway for a quick trip to Grand Central Station. We did take a short break here for a drink and an ice cream.

Rockefeller Center, where the famous ice skating rink becomes a restaurant during the summer. 

Couldn't resist a walk through the huge Lego store at Rockefeller Plaza. 

If you look closely you will find Jess and I in the back of the crowd on Times Square. I have on a light green shirt and we are just in front of the vehicles.  

I must be getting old because I just don't remember the crowds being this large the last time I visited NYC. This was a Tuesday, and just walking down the sidewalk was difficult. It is still an exciting place to visit.

The Naked Cowboy (yes, he was on the other street corner) now has some competition. Meet the Naked Cowgirls. Thank goodness even in NYC a bikini is as close as they can get to the real thing.

We have had enough of the current, so we are heading about 30 miles up the Hudson River to Croton-on-the-Hudson to meet up with our friends on Aunt Aggie. The plan was to travel with them to Albany, but we have decided we are not quite ready to continue north, so we are going to stay here for a few days.

We rented a car for a day so that we could visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The campus is beautiful with its stunning green landscape, surrounded by magnificent stone buildings. The land where the academy sits was the site of a fort overlooking the Hudson River at the time of the Revolutionary War.

This statue honoring American Soldiers was designed by the same man who created the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington D.C.

A tour of West Point has to include a view of Michie Stadium where Army goes head to head with their opponents on the playing field.

The inspiring view across campus from in front of the cadet's chapel.

This is the first chapel that was constructed to provide a place of worship for the cadets, faculty, and staff. Until the 1970's all cadets were required to attend church services of the denomination of their choice. 
The stained glass windows lining the sanctuary are beautiful. Notice that all of the hymnals are set precisely in their shelves. Even here military precision can be found.

A view of the chapel from below. 

George Washington commanding his troups on the lawn in front of the barracks.

The West Point Academy focuses on academics, leadership, athletics, and military principles. Cadets are expected to serve at least 5 years in military service after they graduate. Other than a nominal fee for their uniforms and other necessities the education these cadets receive is free. If they choose not to finish their degree or do not fulfill their military commitment they must pay back the cost of their education. 

The Confederate War Memorial stands on the knoll overlooking the Hudson River. This war was traumatic for many reasons, but here at West Point it was especially so. Many of the battles on both sides were lead by West Point graduates who had been close friends while they were here. 

Each of the cannons carry the names of major battles between the North and the South. 

It was quite hazy across the river when we visited. This is the reason why West Point was so important to the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Whoever controlled this narrow passage was thought to have an advantage because they could control the flow of ships moving on the river. The Americans actually had a huge chain constructed and stretched across this point in the river. This is where Benedict Arnold turned traitor by attempting to allow West Point to be taken by British troops. 

Thayer Hall was originally the riding hall where cadets were taught horsemanship. It now houses academic classrooms. I thought it was interesting that a cadet can bring his or her horse to the academy with them as a freshman, but they can't have a car on campus until their third year.

This is the new library. The statue in front of the right corner is of General Patton. He is posed looking through binoculars across the parade ground. The story is that when asked why it took him five years to complete his studies, he replied it was because he couldn't find the library. When he died his wife had the statue commissioned to depict him still looking for the library.

A short ride through the hills and back across the Hudson brought us to the village of Sleepy Hollow.  After searching through the large historical cemetery we finally found the gravesite of Washington Irving. I swear I could hear the hoofbeats pounding up the gravel road behind me, carrying the Headless Horseman through the night.

This is the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow built in 1697. Church services are still held here during the summer months. Many of the very old headstones are no longer able to be read, but it sure turns back the clock as you walk amongst them and think about what their lives must have been like in the early days of our country.

Finding our way through town led us past this imposing structure. This is Sing Sing prison, a place I have no desire to visit.

A comfortable train ride back into the city, then a ride on the subway out to Flushing, and it is time for a Braves game.

Citi Field is the beautiful new ball field that replaced Shea Stadium in 2009. The subway dropped us off right across the street from Jackie Robinson Rotunda. We have been to several away games to see the Braves play, and we always have a great time. 

The flight path for LaGuardia Airport is directly over the stadium. Every 90 seconds another airliner gives us a flyover. It was a great game that stayed close to the very end. The Braves had their chances, but when the third out was made in the top of the 9th it was all over with the score of 5-3 Mets.

We had planned to leave the marina this morning, but the wind was blowing rather strongly and we have been joined by about 14 other Loopers. It is time for a docktail party, so we will hang in here one more day. Its a tough life, but we are doing our best to enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment