21 July, 2013

Goodbye NYC - Hello Long Island Sound

After almost four weeks on a mooring ball at west 79 Street Manhattan it was time to go cruising again. Denny and I had renewed our love for New York by visiting the many places we had visited on past visits. We found the Beacon Hotel and Apartments on Broadway which was the place we stayed at some 12 years previously. It is also in the Upper West Side. The the memories of that visit came back: deli shopping, museums and night glasses. Say no more, say no more.
I must say the feeling in New York has changed. We were last here before the Mayor started to clean it up. It was dirty, grubby and not a pleasure to walk in certain areas. Well this time we felt safe wherever we walked and the streets were clean and the people friendly. The 4 July celebrations showed me that the NYPD can clear an area and put “a man on each street corner” with great efficiency. Their show of force for the 4 July celebrations I have never experienced before. I did however not like the multitude of signs everywhere telling you what you cant do and the consequences of doing it. The implied threat gets into the minds of the people and they accept it. I now know why the USA has such a high prison population and why they accept such an invasion of their privacy and rights under the guise of the threat of a terrorist attack.
Now for the sailing. The water runs fast in this part of the world as huge volumes rush in and out with the tide as it rises and falls so moving with the tide makes ones passage easy and fast or very slow. I had calculated that I had to be at the southern tip of Manhattan at 2:30 pm and at Hells Gate at 4:30 pm.
We set off at 10:30 about an hour early but I calculated I could spend time around the Statue of Liberty. When we reached it the tide was still running out and I had to motor to get into the East River at Battery Point which was also flowing towards the sea. I had no other option but to proceed up the East River.
The tide was running fast and despite our 6 knots through the water we where only making 2 over the ground. The chop from the many boats, ferries and large vessels in the river made our progress slow. Thankfully both Denny and I had experienced these conditions before in the Bosporus and in the Rhone River so we took it in our stride. We passed under the Brooklyn Bride with ease and then on to the Williamsburg up past the Lower East side. I had planned to pass on the east of Roosevelt Island but soon saw that the lifting bridge was down and we would not get beneath it. So take the port channel past the United Nations and towards Hells Gate where one can turn left and go up the Harlem River or right into Long Island Sound. We passed under the two bridges at Hells Gate as the tide started to slow and then proceeded between the two Brothers Islands.
Rikers island came into view. This is a huge prison island. The amount of barbed and razor wire on this island must have kept one factory busy for more than ten years. There appears to be a number of high security blocks and then even more three story blocks with fewer fences. All surrounded by wire and security cameras. I wonder what would happen if one broke down and had to go ashore.
We passed by with out seeing anyone in the water making a break for it and on eastwards right under the flight path of la Guardia airport. I felt I could reach up and touch the under carriage of the planes about to land but like the many bridges we have passed under they are much higher than you think.
The tide had now well and truly turned and we where swept along under the high Throgs Neck Bridge out into the Long Island sound. We had decided to stop at Port Washington. This is an anchorage on Long Island one can use to take a train into NYC and visit the sights. Unfortunately you have to walk a fair distance to the train but it is an easy ride into Penn Station or you can get off at a subway connecting station.
We stayed here a few days to get back into the cruising mode, stock up on some items and purchase some anti-freeze at the West Marine. The salesman asked if I had some inside information on the weather because he expected a heat wave to hit NYC over the next few day and I can tell you it was hot and humid. In fact it was so hot we moved from this pleasant anchorage further east to get some sea breeze.

A magical moment on Malua

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