New York, New York

Monday 18th July 2011
 
With the boat safely hanging off a town buoy, we took the commuter train into New York city.  It was just like getting the train from Coulsdon South to Victoria, only much more comfortable,less crowded and air conditioned!  We used the time on the train going in to plan the day's sightseeing, and coming home resting our legs ready for the walk back to the dinghy dock! 
 
On the first day we explored lower Manhattan.  We got off the subway at Wall Street and passed by the New York Stock Exchange, tucked away among the skyscrapers and then walked to the visitors' centre at Ground Zero.  The area is now very much a construction site as they are building a memorial garden and another tower block there.  It was sad to be reminded of the horrific events of 9/11, but good to be able to pay our respects.  We wandered along the Hudson River, which runs along the West side of Manhattan Island, and looked across at Ellis Island which was the landing point for many people immigrating to the US. 
 
                   
The New York Stock Exchange.                                                    Across the Hudson River towards Ellis Island.
 
In the mood for something a little livelier, we took the subway to Times Square,and boy, what a difference!  It was like Piccadilly Circus and then some!  We spent ages wandering around watching the different street performers, and eventually when our legs wouldn't carry us much further, we took the train back home to Scott-Free.  One of the marvellous aspects of sailing is that we always have our home with us, and so when we retire weary at the end of a long but very enjoyable day, we can sleep in our own bed.  Magic.
 
                   
Times Square in the late afternoon.                                                                        Us in the centre of the big screen in Times Square.
 
Next day we decided to explore Central Park after sticking our noses into the lobby of the Empire State Building.  We had been advised against queuing for hours to go up the Empire State, and instead to go up to the top of the Rockefeller Centre if we wanted a good view over New York.  So we just did a walk around the ground floor of the Empire State, and then caught a bus up Madison Avenue to Central Park.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed severalhours of wandering through the park, stopping to listen to the musicians, eating lunch in the lakeside cafe and sleeping it off on the grass like hobos!
 
                   
The lobby of theEmpire State Building.                                                                We enjoyed listening to this violinist beside Chirstopher Columbus' statue.
 
                   
The Alice in Wonderland statue.                                                                            Model boats sailing on a park pond.
 
                   
We lunched in cafe next to the boating lake.                                                        Strawberry Fields, Yoko Ono's memorial to John Lennon who was shot not far from here.
 
Another day was spent visiting the Rockefeller Centre, wandering along Fifth Avenue window shopping, and visiting the New York Public Library.  The library turned out to be the best visit of the day, as the building itself is beautiful, the reading room superb, and the exhibit on the ground floor fascinating. We arrived in time to catch a free tour of the exhibit,which includes a copy of a Dickens novel which he used for public readings, with his own handwritten notes inside, one of Virginia Woolf's diaries showing her last entry before she committed suicide, and an example of an antisemitic picture story book that was used in schools in Germany.  The exhibition was extensive, the guide very knowledgeable and the visit very worthwhile.
 
                   
Central Park from the top of the Rockefeller Centre                                                The Empire State Building,also fromthe Top of the Rock.
 
                       
A quiet moment in the Channel Gardens at the Rockefeller Centre.                                The Rockefeller Centre building we went to the top of.
 
                                                       
This colourful sculpture in City Hall Park really stood out against the grey buildings.            The Empire State Building from 34th Street.
 
We could have spent a lot longer in New York, but we felt we had seen what we wanted to, and there is only so much walking our sailing legs can cope with at one time!  We really enjoyed the visit, and now plan to spend some time in Long Island Sound before heading back to the Chesapeake to get the boat hauled.