Shortly after passing Atlantic City, it was my turn to be on night watch. Glen, thankfully, stayed up with me. When the sun goes down, my eyes want to close. His jokes, facial expressions, and laugh help me stay awake.
We scan the horizon frequently while we are on night watch pointing out lights or mysterious shapes that we see and are having a hard time identifying. We saw many large ships that were well lit, but I did see an intermittent flashing white light off our port side that I couldn’t make out. We couldn’t see any shape, and there was no buoy marked on the GPS. We decided to play it safe and move to the right a little bit. It seemed, however, that the more to the right we moved, the light followed. As we passed the light (at about 20 feet off the port side), we could faintly make out that the light belonged to a smaller sailboat. We were shocked! There were no navigation lights or anything to help us determine that this was a boat of any sort. It was frightening for both of us.
John wanted us to wake him up when we started to enter the shipping channel. He was expecting a lot of traffic. As morning came (around 7:30 am on September 16th), not only were there big ships everywhere, but there was thick fog as well. This was the first time that we had to use the sights AND sounds of the buoys. I stood on the front of the boat looking for buoys and listening for their bells. I would point in the direction of the buoy so John would know where he needed to go to stay in the channel. We also had to make sure and stay out of the way of the big ships. They would alert us by horn as to whether they were passing on the port or starboard side, but we had the radio on high just in case we needed to be contacted.
The first bridge we went under was the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The double-decked suspension bridge was opened in 1964 and is the longest in America. We weren’t expecting it to be double-decked, and it was interesting watching the cars on both levels.
The size of the bridge was impressive…especially passing under. We felt dwarfed.
The boys were still sleeping when the Statue of Liberty came into view. I woke them up, because I didn’t want them to miss anything. Erik was pretty excited, but the two older boys would rather have stayed asleep.
We passed with Lady Liberty on our port side. I sometimes forget just how big the statue was as we cruised by, and then I look at the photos that I took. The people at the base of the statue put it all back into perspective.
Since we were all so tired, we had planned to anchor near the Statue of Liberty and catch a nap. There was a monohull sailboat and several ships anchored nearby, but we decided to continue on our journey for a little while and try to find something that wasn’t so out in the open.
John and I had checked out the mooring field at Hudson River Park on our previous trip to NYC in May 2017. The moorings, however, cannot accommodate a boat over 40′ (we’re at 41′) or a catamaran. We thought that we might be able to find something up the East River as we were headed that way.
Manhattan was still so foggy as we neared, however, it was more clear than Brooklyn. I tried my best to point out some of the buildings that I knew to the boys. I was excited to see NYC from a different point of view than our previous visit.
We started up the East River at 9:20 am. We didn’t notice the strength of the current right away, but it was soon apparent that we were traveling up the river when we should have been traveling down the river. We were getting nowhere fast.
The next bridge we went under was the Brooklyn Bridge. The hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge was opened in 1883, and is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the US. Passing under the bridges in NYC was not threatening like so many bridges we had been under before. This particular bridge had a 127′ clearance…easy for our 60′ mast.
The next bridge was the Manhattan Bridge that first opened in 1909 and had a clearance of 134′. I love the blue-gray color of this bridge.
The ferries in NY move swiftly and don’t take in to mind slow moving sailboats that are nearby. You really have to be careful and watch out for what is around you, and you can expect to be jostled around with frequent boat wakes.
We passed by a generating station and what looked like a roller coaster that turned out to be art sitting on top of an abandoned waste transfer station.
There were many sailboats on the East River that passed us going the opposite direction. They were really moving while we were maintaining our slow steady crawl. We were going so slow that Benny and I were able to walk up to the front of the boat for a better view.
We saw some very impressive apartments as we passed by Tudor City. 5 Tudor City was built in 1929 where you can get a 1 bed/1 bath apartment for a mere $675,000, give or take a little, according to recent pricing.
The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram, opened in 1976, was crossing the East River as we passed by. We might have to take a trip to ride the tram and walk by the Renwick Smallpox Hospital before we leave the area.
The Lighthouse on Roosevelt Island is 50′ tall and was built in 1872, supposedly, by an inmate of the penitentiary on the island. There is so much history that we have yet to explore.
The Manhattan Marine Waste Transfer Station was on our port side as we continued upriver. The smell of chlorine was strong as we came upon the station and stayed with us until we were almost out of New York.
We cruised under a few more bridges before leaving New York including the Triborough Bridge, also known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, that opened in 1936. It is part of a series of bridges that connects Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.
Hell Gate Bridge was opened in 1917 and celebrated it’s 100th birthday in March 2017. There was an Amtrak crossing the bridge as we passed under. This bridge got it’s name from the hazardous waters and obstacles that were difficult to navigate for the early explorers of the region.
John knew that he would be working in the Bronx, and as we passed by, we wondered just where the hospital was located. Luckily, we had another month before his start date. We would take a day, after getting settled, to visit the Bronx and locate the hospital and parking for his work days.
I had never seen a garbage barge before the cruise through NYC.
Nor had I ever seen, or even heard of, a floating prison. The Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center is an 800 bed, medium to maximum security, prison barge. It’s nickname is “The Boat”, and it is located across the East River from La Guardia Airport. As we passed by, John noticed that there were men playing basketball in the caged upper left hand corner of the boat. I had to put the zoom lens on the camera to see them.
My camera was needing to be charged by this point. I had let Erik and Liam take photos along the way in addition to the ones that I took. Some of their photos are in the blog!
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, opened in 1939, was our last bridge to pass under as we left New York. Supposedly, it only took 23 months to build this bridge!
We made it up the East River despite the current. It only took about five hours. We never did find a good place to anchor or moor, so we just planned on getting to our marina, getting settled, and going to bed early.
“I had never seen the Statue of Liberty before. It was on an island and was more green than I thought it would be. I thought it would be more blue. The fire was cool because it was fake but looked real.” – Erik
“Our cruise through NYC was slow and long. I liked seeing all the signs on the river. The Pepsi-Cola sign was really big and old-fashioned. It was especially cool how it was right next to the water, and it stood out from the other signs.” – Glen
“The Brooklyn Bridge was pretty cool when we passed under it. It looked really old and connected two very busy cities. The skyline looked nice with all the buildings. I was surprised that there were so many abandoned buildings on the river.” – Liam