Two Days in NYC

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Looking ESE from One World Trade Center. Brooklyn Bridge ahead in center. Woolworth building has construction cover to left.

We enjoyed our 2nd dramatic entry into New York Harbor. The weather was pretty good until passing the Statue of Liberty, when the rain started. You can see how it looked from our last year’s entry.

We’re at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City. A ferry leaves a few steps away from us and lands at World Financial Center, which is a large floating dock (really – look it up in Google Maps). This is just a short walk and escalator ride from One World Trade Ctr.

We got Gray Line double decker tickets to see the city, which was an expensive mistake. We got on around 10 AM Sunday and went for most of the Lower Manhattan loop. We got off at Eataly, a large Italian restaurant/market facility on 5th Ave. not far from the Flatiron building for lunch. Turned out great. Sue learned new things about Italian cooking and food and wished she could shop there often.

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Jordan approaches the first tower. Starting early made the walk in the sun just right.

Then we tried to get back on the “hop on, hop off” bus. We were in line with 20 people, waited a half hour, and the one that came had space for three. We forgot about that and used Uber the rest of the time. With three people, the price of the bus tickets would get you all you need in Uber rides. We went back to One World Trade Ctr. and took in the observation floor. It was great, but I prefer Empire State. After the first thousand feet the height is pretty much the same, and I like seeing Central Park from above. If, however, they get anything 10,000 feet or above, I will want to see that.

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Once we entered the city finding shade was easy. Looking back to the Woolworth building.

The next day I got up early and drug Jordan out of bed to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years. We took the 6 AM ferry over and then Ubered to Prospect and Washington streets in Brooklyn, the walkway entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked to where the walkway let out near city hall in Manhattan. The bridge seemed smaller than I imagined. Its cables are less than half the diameter those on the Golden Gate, and seemed to me smaller than even that. There are 4 of them to the Golden Gate’s 2, however.

We continued up Broadway to 5th Ave. and then on up to the public library. This was still closed so we walked 2 blocks to Grand Central Station and after a good look went down to the food court for an early lunch. By the time we were finished the library was open and we took in some of its grand rooms. Unfortunately the grandest of all, the main reading room, has been closed for renovation for the last two years. It opens this October.

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We walked through Grand Central and ate in the food court below.

We next walked two more blocks to Times Square and turned north through it and on to Central Park. We walked through its southern half, including the famous mall, coming out at the Met. We went in to just see the grand entrance hall, and then Ubered back to Brookfield Place, the glass covered mall by “World Financial Center”. The total distance we walked, not including side trips, going through buildings and a bit of Central Park rambling, was 7 miles, so not it was not such a big thing. It became hotter as the day went on, but with shade from tall buildings and park trees at last it was very comfortable.

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The blind John Milton dictates Paradise Lost to his daughter. You’ll have to go to the Library of Congress to match the NYC public library.

We met up with Sue at 1 PM. She had come over and took in the shopping center and was ready to have a later lunch with us. After lunch Sue wanted to see the Guggenheim Museum. I wondered about this and did tell her about it a few times, but apparently she did not quite hear me, because she was shocked that it had only modern art. Since we were there, we decided to give it our best shot, which was just not good enough. Whatever it is people see in that just does not register for us. There is nothing there I would even want as a repeating wallpaper pattern, and I still think that with a decent computer graphics program and printer I could do as well as most of what I saw. We should have gone to the Met, which Jordan has not seen, but maybe next time.

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Jordan as we started walking the Central Park Mall, scene of many movies.

There is no place like NYC. We will certainly be back. Anyone who wants to do “extreme” NYC sightseeing on foot let me know.

 

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To New York Harbor

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Atlantic City as we left it early Saturday Morning.

We left Canyon Marina late for us, at 9:30 and proceeded at slower than usual speed to Atlantic City. We needed two days on the open Atlantic to reach New York harbor. We could have started late afternoon one day, traveled overnight and arrived late morning the next but wanted to stop over at Atlantic City. There were no marina slips available anywhere, but Kammermans Marina was able to take us on their fuel dock if we did not show up until they closed at 7 PM.

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All along the way from Cape May to Atlantic City we saw beaches full of people.

Even with going slow we got there around 3:30 PM. The Senator Farley State Marina, which is at the Golden Nugget Casino, was where I first called to stay. They have a courtesy dock where we could tie up for several hours although not overnight, so we found a place between a sailboat and a wall that turned out to be less than 60′ long and slowly shoehorned our way in. We went to the same buffet that we went last year with Keith and Gayle. It turned out not as good and a lot more expensive than last year. I think on our return trip this year (no full loop this time) we’ll just make an overnight trip and do the entire New Jersey trip on one shot.

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Star Gazer clear at the end and a bit right, from the window upstairs in the casino.

After dinner and wandering in the casino we took the boat over to the fuel dock and tied up for the night. Atlantic City is a lot less than halfway up the coast, so Saturday morning we left at 5:30 for New York Harbor. The forecast was for 2 – 3 foot waves with a 8 second period. I think the period turned out a bit longer, so we had some slow and easy movement and were pretty comfortable all the way.

There was some haze in the air so we did not see the New York skyline until we were 10 miles off. Things got a little rougher when we entered the harbor because of the wake from boat traffic, especially all the ferries. Still not so bad, and we showed Jordan the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Statue of Liberty and some of the high points of Manhattan.

It started to rain before we pulled into Liberty Harbor Marina’s channel around 4 PM. Their channel, 72, was going crazy with other boats running in to get away from the storm and a sailboat that had completely lost power outside the channel. I just had insert my own statement that we were there, where should we go, etc. into the rest of the chatter. The first thing they asked was whether we had thrusters. Next time I’ll say no, or that I don’t know how to use them. They decided we were the perfect candidate for side tie at the end of a long corridor of slips that the other large boats could not fit into.

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Fishing must be good. A few times on the Atlantic we ran into a fairly dense clump of boats, forcing steering correction.

The corridor was much too narrow to turn around in, so once I got to the end I could only go bow in to the last slip with my back very close to the 20 foot boat in the slip on the opposite side. When we leave here I’m going to have to back out all the way to the main channel.

Anyway we have three nights here, which gives us the full days of Sunday and Monday to see the city.

 

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Cape May

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Pier 5 Marina as we left it at 6AM. Pier at left is condos. Franklin Bridge to right

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Wanamaker Organ in the Grand Court at Macys Philadelphia. We got there too late for the noon concert and did not want to wait for the 2nd at 5:30. Console to the left.

We left Philadelphia early on the 12th wanting to go all the way to Cape May at the southern tip of New Jersey. About 2 miles downriver we pulled in alongside the SS United States to take a good look. Its paint is peeling off pretty badly. There is a group trying to save it but it may be a lost cause. Its size is not impressive compared to modern cruise ships. If they restored its interior to original condition that would look very utilitarian by today’s standards. I don’t think the fully restored liner would be all that interesting to see. Still, it’s a shame such an important part of our maritime history may be lost.

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The battleship Olympia (1898) from the Spanish American war, oldest steel US warship still afloat. Next marina down from ours.

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SS United States, fastest passenger liner ever built. Superseded by the Boeing 707 in the 60’s.

It took enough time to get to Delaware Bay Marina, which is along the way, that we decided to stop there for the night.

The next day we traveled south from the top of Delaware Bay. While Chesapeake Bay is quite the boating and fishing playground, Delaware Bay is just a place you get through and get over with. The channel down its middle is deep enough for large ships, but depths get too shallow for our boat outside of that. It’s hard to get close to its shores, plus they are marshy enough that there is little in the way of towns and development along them.

Last year our trip down the Delaware with Keith and Gayle was very smooth, which I learned was unusual. This year was different.

Delaware bay is directly open to ocean waves and winds while the Chesapeake is not, so it can be a lot rougher. We had following current for all of our trip but the first hour or so. The south wind was steady and blew against the current, magnifying the waves. We had a little water over the bow and the ships bell rang about 10 times. The waves were close and fast, however, so overall the trip was a little more comfortable than our night trip from Brunswick to Charleston. Only the middle third of our trip was rough. It was smoother at both ends.

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Almost all sport fishers at Canyon Club Marina. 

Canyon Club Marina in Cape May is large and upscale. 95% of the boats here are sport fishermen from 40 to 80 feet. A lot are local, but it’s less than 3 hours by car from NYC. A lot of people from up north keep boats here. More of these boats with 3 or 4 guys each came in yesterday for a fishing tournament that started today. We saw some mighty impressive tuna, one 170 lbs., on the dock this morning. I’m told they’ve gotten that particular kind of tuna up to 550 lbs. That I’d like to see.

At this time of year almost everyone who works on boats is booked 3 or 4 weeks out. One reason we came here was that they could (and did) replace our macerator pump that drives our sanitation system. Replacing that did fix the problem. Without that pump we rely only on pumping out our holding tank and that can be difficult some times. For example, there are no pump out facilities in or near Philadelphia or anywhere in Cape May. The only one in the entire region is Delaware Bay Marina. Apparently this is due to various contradictory government regulations.

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A street of Victorian houses in Cape May

We knew Cape May was a place loopers wait for a weather window to go out on the Atlantic past New Jersey, but did not know it considers itself the oldest resort community in the US. It does have a very touristy walking street downtown with more souvenir shops, restaurants and such in a small area than we have seen for some time. Since we are here for 2 nights we had most of a day to spend down town. We had a light lunch in a hot dog – ice cream shop, spent the afternoon there and then went to the suitably elegant Washington Inn for dinner. We finished up with some resupply shopping at Ace supermarket, which seems to be the store of choice in this area. Sue says we’ll have to allocate more days in Cape May next time.

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Philadelphia

 

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4th of July street fair the day after we arrived. Art museum in the background. Started to rain so we left before fireworks.

We left Annapolis at 6:00 AM July 3rd and went to the top of the Chesapeake, through the C & D canal to Delaware City Marina. We overnighted there and left late at 9 for Philadelphia so we would have a following current all the way up. We cut back on the engines to maintain a 10 mph speed in the 2 mph current.

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Star Gazer to the right with Pier 5 condos behind. Franklin bridge on the left. Sailboats in the back are now where they belong.

We saw the SS United States, docked just south of our destination. We were a bit past it when Sue noticed it tucked into a pier off the Philadelphia side. We’ll go in there and investigate further on our way back.

We timed our trip so we could enter Pier 5 Marina when the current died down. Even so we came close to hitting one of the sailboats parked along the marina entrance channel when our back swung out as we had to make a sharp turn. Sue was watching and yelled. A last minute gun of the engines kept us off them. The current had died down, but there was still enough that I could not take tons of time for the turn. You have to keep a bit of power on and move smartly or the side current can take you. They weren’t supposed to be there. The dock master arrived just after we did and cleared them out.

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Our marina is in old town. We blundered into the oldest continually inhabited neighborhood in the US our first evening.

This marina is bare bones. I timed our trip to come when the current slacked off at high or low tide. We were lucky to come it at high, because we were not rocking later when it was low – our rear section had settled into the mud. Lucky our A/C has its cooling water intake near the front. No pump out here. The nearest upriver was 13 miles and the nearest downriver was back at Delaware City, 38 miles away. How can such a big city have so little in the way of boater services? What do other boaters do? Maybe I shouldn’t ask.

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Part of the largest city hall in the US. We’ll take a tour of that tomorrow.

These problems were small compared to how great Philadelphia has turned out to be. About all we knew was Independence Hall, but it has a number great art museums with the top two competing well with anything in the world. We’ve been to great restaurants, the 4th of July celebration along the way to Art Museum, the oldest continually used residential street in the US, the Eastern State Penitentiary and more.

We went to the Barnes Foundation which has the largest collection of French impressionist paintings in the world. More than France has. I’m afraid most of that went over our heads. Our audio guide explained a lot, but I thought they could have said the opposite and it would have made as much sense. I did get to know a lot more about Renoir’s wife than I felt necessary.

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Armor at the art museum. We spent two days here.

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Eastern State Penitentiary. This was the first penitentiary – the name came from this. Most famous in the world when built.

Jordan came in late July 7 and we have continued to see things. So many things we can’t see this time. We need to get back here next year for the WWI battleship (the WWII ship, the New Jersey, is just across the river in Camden. No time to see that either.), the maritime museum, another art museum we want to see. We didn’t even have time to get to Independence Hall!

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Reading Terminal Market. If it’s food, they have it. Places to eat everywhere. Don’t even think about coming here on a weekend.

Still time to see a few more things, then Tuesday morning we go south. We’ll stop at Delaware City along the way and then it’s on to Cape May at the mouth of Delaware Bay.

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Annapolis MD

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A number of 100’+ yachts have our marina as home port. This is the first of a row of them.

We arrived at Annapolis Yacht Basin on the 23rd. It’s a block from the small city center area which includes the state house and other buildings for the capital of Maryland. It doesn’t seem like most capital city areas we’ve been to. They still use buildings from the revolutionary area. The may also have some larger more modern buildings for government use, but we haven’t seen where they put them.

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I’m standing in the center of downtown, where “Ego Alley” ends. A block from where we parked. Very public, but we may try this next time.

The boys and us took a walking tour of the academy and saw the main dormitory, so large it has its own zip code and their equivalent of a student union which was previously a large armory. We could not see the church because our tour was on a Saturday when it always has back to back weddings. I did stop by later and saw it. It was very nice but not spectacular, although I would like to go to an organ concert there sometime. We would have liked attending the service there but had to take the boys to the airport on Sunday.

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Yard models of British ships. Many other models here on the 2nd floor also. 1st floor is regular navy museum.

The naval school was great, but overall we were more impressed West Point. There is more history there, starting from George Washington’s use of the fort there on a choke point in the Hudson River. We learned a lot of history while touring the West Point cemetery. There is a cemetery at Annapolis but we did not see that.

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Main street looking toward its end at Ego Alley.

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Chick & Ruth’s deli. Always full on Sat & Sun. Don’t miss this. Kids and us both loved it. A few stores from Ego Alley.

With the boys gone Sue and I toured some historic homes and spent more time in museums. The maritime museum at academy was very good. Their collection of yard models, models made as the ship was built and thus deemed extremely accurate, from Britain must be the best in the world. With Britain impoverished after WWII many owners of these models wanted to sell them and the museum was buying.

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Sue in the garden of the Paca House museum. We saw two house museums here.

We’re off to another house museum and a bit of shopping today. We’ll turn in our rental car tonight and leave tomorrow morning for Delaware City Marina DE. From there we’ll go up about 20 miles to Philadelphia harbor. Jordan flies in to PHL July 7, then, weather permitting, it’s down Delaware Bay and up the NJ coast on the outside to NYC.

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On the Way to Hampton

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Square riggers with fire boats in the distance

I don’t want to forget few things we saw coming up to Hampton. Approaching Norfolk and mile 0 of the ICW there was an event with 5 old square riggers of various sizes and fireboats spraying. Also there were maybe a thousand private boats. The river was packed. Long strings of boats were rafted together. We checked with a police boat at the edge of the mass. They said “If you think you can do it, go ahead.” So we slowly threaded our way through, changing course a number of times. Later I always wish I had taken pictures of things like this, but we were far to busy dodging to think about it at the time.

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It was like this in any direction you looked.

A few minutes after we got out of that we passed the Carnival Sunshine coming the other way. I didn’t think of it then, but now I wonder what they did when they ran into that.

A few more minutes later we were cruising not far, but far enough from the navy ships parked nose out one after another on the east side of the river when we just noticed a submarine hauled by a large tug lashed alongside coming the other way a few hundred feet away. On the radio we heard the military boat telling someone else to turn away. I got a good look, but it seemed like an just an ordinary, if a bit small, nuclear sub to me. They noticed us and told us to turn, more than 90 degrees, off to port. A guard boat “shadowed” us out of the area.

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The river is pretty wide here.

It must be hard to keep military secrets with festivals, cruise ships and people like us who don’t know what to stay away from until we’re on top of things.

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More Hampton

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There are a number of military cemeteries in this area. This one we just happened by on the way somewhere else.

We leave tomorrow morning for Heathsville VA, then Solomons MD and will arrive in Annapolis on Thursday the 23rd.

With the boys here we extended our Hampton stay to 10 days total to take in some of the many things here. We saw and did

  • Mariners museum – the largest in the US,
  • NASA Air and Space Museum with IMAX theatre,
  • Jamestown Settlement,
  • Fort Monroe – the largest old stone fort in the US,
  • Chrysler Art Museum with its glass blowing works and the third largest collection of art glass in the US along with other art of all stripes
  • a 5 hour fishing trip with instruction and practice for the kids and
  • Virginia War Museum.

We didn’t have time to get to Colonial Williamsburg, the Battleship Wisconsin and several other museums and historical homes in the immediate area. As nice as some of those trips were it could feel “really comfortable to sit down after all that standing”. I thought I was feeling my age until Ethan said those very words. Maybe it’s not just old age coming on, at least yet.

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Glass studio at Chrysler Museum. Really worthwhile art museum. The kids were much more interested than we expected.

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On the wall at Ft Monroe. Sue and I stood up here 45 years ago when we visited the area.

Now we will all have 3 travel days on the boat on the way to Annapolis and several days there before they leave on the 26th. West Point was great to visit, and we’re thinking the academy at Annapolis will be no less so.

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Haul from the fishing trip. The kids and Sue made them into fish tacos.

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