Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New York, New York; Do I Want To Wake Up in the City That Never Sleeps?

Moorings at the 79th Street Boat Basin, NYC
     After enduring opposing currents and winds in excess of 25 knots blasting down the Hudson River and a seemingly endless night of hobby horsing on a mooring ball at the 79th Street Boat Basin, at dawn all I wanted to do was sleep in the city that never sleeps!
     The previous day we'd arrived at the Boat Basin and picked up a mooring around 11:00 AM. The forecast called for heavy northeasterly winds in the evening. We assumed the Boat Basin would offer some protection from the forecast winds. Conditions early in the afternoon were benign with light winds from the south and a relatively flat Hudson River with the exception of the occasional wake from a barge or Coast Guard boats.
Central Park

      At noon we dinghied ashore and spent the afternoon exploring areas around Central Park and hopped the subway to Greenwich Village where we enjoyed an afternoon of exploration that reminded us of our college days in Boston. An early dinner was savored at the Greenwich Village Bistro where a jazz trio entertained us during happy hour.
The Greenwich Village Bistro


      When our visit to Greenwich Village came to a close the return subway ride back to the 79th Street boat Basin took about 15 minutes. The dinghy ride back to Simple Life was quite a distance from the marina and Joe was concerned about the current and negotiating our way back to the boat in the dark.
Subway riders on the Red Line

      The river was fairly calm and flat when we hopped in the dinghy headed for home when all hell broke loose after 10:00 PM. The northerlies had kicked in early. The wind generator began spinning at an alarming rate. It was freewheeling! This usually indicates wind speeds in excess of 30 knots. Joe shut it down. Then the opposing current began rocking the boat violently. As the late actress Bette Davis said,"Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." Somehow we managed to sleep, though sporadically. At dawn the coffee colored waters in the Hudson River were boiling. Simple Life's full keel caused her to sit to the current with winds barreling in from the stern at an alarming speed. A nearby Beneteau sailboat (a much lighter vessel) "sailed" around on her mooring and repeatedly came precariously close to Simple Life's stern. It was before dawn when Joe called me on deck. He shouted, "Michele get up! I'm going to need you! This Beneteau is really close and I think we're going to need to get off this mooring!" I'd been having a bout with vertigo for a few days. Mornings were the worst time. Somehow, I managed to get my clothes on and climbed into the cockpit. Everything was spinning. I didn't want Joe to think he couldn't count on me in a pinch but, he caught on when I staggered as I tried to get up.

     At dawn we'd settled down after some much needed coffee. It seemed the heavy currents were driving Simple Life with her full keel against the wind. She was sitting to the current. It didn't appear that the two boats were getting any closer. By 10:00 AM the current slackened and the wind turned off. It was safe to leave Simple Life unattended and once again head up 79th Street into the city to salvage the remainder of the afternoon.

John Lennon's former residence at The Dakota
     The afternoon's itinerary consisted of visiting The Dakota, John Lennon's former residence to take a few photos. I spotted what appeared to be a group tour of Central Park! We meandered into the crowd crashing an obviously organized event. Within a short time it was evident that the tour was led by a French speaking guide! We tagged along and discovered many of the highlights of the park. The tour brought us to several well known must see areas of Central Park such as Strawberry Fields in honor of John Lennon, the Bestheda Terrace and the Angel of the Terrace Fountain. The Mall in Central Park and the Trefoil Bridge. We left the tour hoping to make some discoveries of our own.

Imagine at the entrance to Strawberry Fields
The south gate where John Lennon was killed


Actor Michael J Fox
     Our first unexpected event was stumbling upon the filming of Michael J Fox's new TV show in Central Park! The number of people involved in the production of the show was astounding. Editing was done in real time on the set with elaborate portable computer stations and editing software. Joe and I watched several takes of the same scene for over an hour. When the director declared the scene a wrap it was time to move on to explore more areas of the park.
Production editing of the Michael J. Fox Show
Musicians performing at the Bestheda Terrace
     The Mall in Central Park is one of the more recognizable places where we walked. It also leads back to the Bestheda Terrace where Strains of Bach's Air on a G String filtered from the lower level. The Terrace is a quintessential venue with an inspirational design after the Palace of Versailles. Two marvelous musicians were performing on viola and double bass under the archways on the lower level. The couple from Kiev, Ukraine performed Bach's Prelude from 1st Cello Suite, Air on a G String BMV 1068 and "Intermezzo" from Cavileriara Rustiicana as well as several other classical pieces. It was a moving experience that nearly brought me to tears. Our love of music always seems to lead us to unexpected treasures.
The Bestheda Terrace Fountain Central Park
     Our day in the Park came to a close it was nearly sunset and time to head back toward the 79th Street Boat Basin. Conditions were calm when we hoisted the dinghy onto the davits for the following morning's departure. Our itinerary for the upcoming week would take us down the coast of New Jersey to Cape May, up the Delaware River, through the C and D Canal and into Chesapeake Bay where we hope to enjoy the remaining warm days of September before heading farther south for the winter.