Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Sunday Stroll along the Hudson

A personal update by a facebook friend alerted me to the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater being docked in the City. With Sunday afternoon being the first Sunday afternoon since who knows when that neither my wife nor I had to work, we headed into the City (that is how people in the outer boroughs often refer to Manhattan even though we all live in New York City) to see Pete’s boat. We have known about the Clearwater for several years but have taken more of an interest after we moved to New York. Our interest has increased even more after attending Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday party which was also a fundraiser for the Clearwater.

Since the Clearwater was docked at the 79th Street Boat Basin we decided to first eat lunch at the Boat Basin Café, located at Riverside and 79th Street. After only a ten minute wait we were seated at a table for two on the terrace overlooking the Hudson and the Clearwater (top photo right). With temperatures in the mid seventies and an almost clear blue sky the outside terrace was a nearly perfect setting to enjoy a late lunch while overlooking not only the Clearwater but the any other boats docked in the area as well as the kayakers paddling by. I had a juicy burger and my wife had a veggie burger. Both were accompanied with chips.

We have been considering volunteering for a week on the Clearwater and wanted to see the sloop for ourselves before making a final decision. After our lunch we were able to see the crew quarters and the galley and to talk to some of the crew about what a week of volunteering might be like. The galley was bigger than most New York City apartment kitchens. The crew quarters looked bigger and more comfortable than many cabins and tents I have lived in at summer camps. We learned that as spacious as the crew quarters might be, however, when the weather is nice many of the crew sleep on deck rather than in their berths.

After a quick tour of the Clearwater we walked south along the Hudson, enjoying the sun, the open air, and the water. With no particular destination in mind, thinking we might walk all the way down to 42nd street before catching the subway, we strolled along the Hudson. As we walked we would occasionally stop to enjoy the view, watch boaters, and I would take pictures.

Approaching 72nd Street we could see kayakers taking advantage of the free kayaking offered by the New York City Downtown Boathouse. We were considering taking advantage of it ourselves, even though we were not dressed for it, until we saw the long waiting line and decided to keep walking. Fortunately the wait was not nearly as long at pier 96 (56th Street), so we signed our waivers, stored our valuables in a locker, donned life jackets, and waited just a few minutes to enjoy a twenty minute paddle. We both paddled Ocean Kayak Drifters, later models of the same sit-on-tops we own. Though we enjoyed our brief paddle, The Hudson River is not Jamaica Bay, but it is still the Hudson, and even in the restricted paddling area there was still some wave and wake action. (second photo from top right taken from the paddling area looking back toward the Boat House)

After returning to the dock, depositing our PFDs and retrieving our belongings, with wet butts we kept walking south along the Hudson. At Pier 88 (46th Street) we encountered the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Meseum (third phto from top right). This was the first time I have seen the air craft carrier (featured in the movie National Treasurer) in person. It is huge! Unfortunately we were too late to enjoy a tour. I definitely plan to go back some time earlier in the day when I can enjoy the tour.

As we walking we decided that it had been a good afternoon. We had enjoyed lunch al fresco overlooking the Hudson, briefly toured the Clearwater, and for a short while kayaked in the Hudson. When we reached 42nd Street, however, we decided to keep walking south along the Hudson.

At Pier 66 (26th street) we passed The Manhattan Kayak Company and saw a few paddlers but the entrance was already closed. Meanwhile we heard music and voices not far away, saw where it was coming from, and discovered Bahamas Culture Day, sponsored by the Bahamian American Cultural Society. We bought a raffle ticket, explored the festival, and enjoyed a couple bottles of Kalick (empty Kalick bottles fourth from top right). Kalick is a Bahamian beer we have not enjoyed in almost two years, having last had it while vacationing on Eleuthera at the end of October and Beginning of November 2007.

As we approached Chelsea Piers, located between 17th and 23rd Streets, we turned East at 23rd Street and walked away from the river to enjoy dinner at one of our favorite eateries, Pongsri Thai Restaurant (bottom photo right). Vicki ordered Thai Basil Eggplant and I had the Pineapple Stirfried Rice. After dinner, we headed home.

Considering that our original plan was only to visit the Clearwater, our afternoon turned out to be quite an adventure that included kayaking as well as a taste of Bahamian Beer and Thai Cuisine. Such an afternoon is only possible in New York City. You have to love it.


CaptainV45 said...

Sounds like you guys had fun!

John Edward Harris said...

When is a day in New York City not fun?