I can’t quite describe the feeling I had as I stood behind the wheel of our sailboat guiding our family into New York Harbor at night. It was…well…indescribable, and unforgettable.
We were awestruck by the lights of the city, the Statue of Liberty, as well as the frequent near death experiences as every vessel in New York, from ferries to freighters, all tried to run us down. I imagined the conversations at their helms, “Hey Tony, 100 points for the sailboat full of Californians!”
We slid in behind Lady Liberty to one of the coolest anchorages ever. We were so close it felt like we could throw a rock and hit her hindquarters. We resisted the temptation.
With the shifting currents and strong winds, I was afraid that our anchor would drag in the night–but the view of the city was worth the anxiety. Absolutely stunning!
In the morning, after “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing” some more, we motored up the Hudson River to the 79th Street Basin, where we could tie up to a mooring ball for a few days. Unfortunately, their mooring balls are closed for repairs, so we had to anchor out. In telling this tale later to other cruisers we were told, “79th Street?!? No one anchors at 79th Street!” The tides and currents often conspired to make the long dinghy ride to shore more than a little hair-raising.
We wandered around Manhattan’s Upper West Side and found some amazing and authentic NY pizza in some little hole-in-the-wall whose name I can’t remember.
We spent a day exploring Central Park, playing a family football game near a tree whose fruit smells like vomit (the Ginko tree, Google it!), and getting somewhat lost-ish on the miles of trails that crisscross the park.
I, of course, tried to teach the kids about the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, but since the name didn’t stick around long enough to inspire the Frank Sinatra song, I doubt if the lesson will stick around either.
After a couple of sleep deprived nights at 79th Street we moved onto a mooring ball in Port Washington, Long Island. Great town, secure mooring, but expensive train ride into the city (with six people everything is expensive!).
Speaking of costly things, Manhattan transient dock fees run $4/foot per night. Way too much for cruisers on a budget! In hindsight, we would have stayed in Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, or in Sheepshead Bay on the back side of Coney Island. Live and learn.
In Manhattan, we toured Chinatown, walked on the Brooklyn Bridge, rode the subway, viewed the 9/11 memorial, and took selfies in Times Square. Yep, all the touristy stuff. It was great.
But as all good things have their end, so did our New York experience. The cold weather was sneaking up on us like an icy ninja, and we were ready to turn our helm southward toward warm weather and new adventures.