Throwback Thursday: Finding and then Occupying Wall Street

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Serendipity to sell and Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

This week’s installment takes us off the water and to one of mine and Matt’s favorite places in the world, Manhattan.  Honestly, until we hit Peru with our backpacks this still topped the list as one of the favorite places we’ve ever been.  When I was ready to chicken out of our Atlantic crossing last year, part of it was because I was longing to spend a summer here with the boat.

This city has a spell on us, and for mine and Matt’s first time here together we sure packed in a lot to our first day.  Which mean, another novel for you to read.  Enjoy!

You can find the original post here.

 

Friday September 12, 2012

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We’re on Wall Street!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we blew half our monthly budget for September by getting the mast put back up and all the things that went along with it. So you might be asking yourself How are they going to afford to stay in New York City? Marinas in the city are around $3/foot per night and even Jersey is at least $2. The only way we could afford it is because at the 79th St Boat Basin they offer transient mooring balls for $30/night. This we could squeeze into the budget.

Our plans were set to stay three nights, but upon reading a friend’s blog (Maryl @Water Music) the previous day, she mentioned how they tired to get a ball but were kicked off and ended up having to pay the exorbitant fees for a slip at the marina. We were in a panic. There was no way afford that but also didn’t want to skip the city. Worst part about reading the blog as well is she didn’t mention why they were kicked off. In a fury I was typing a comment on her post to see if she could reply to us about what the issue was. There was no response that night. (They didn’t have internet at the time)

Still departing this morning as we normally would have we got a message back about where they had their problem. It turns out there are only about 10 transient balls, all yellow, and the rest were for permanent owners. At the time they had grabbed a white one and since all the yellow balls were taken they were forced into a slip if they wanted to stay. We were praying there would be at least one yellow ball open when we got there. Armed with this new knowledge, we were only an hour from the basin when we saw a few boats begin to come up behind us in the river. What if they were going to the basin? What if they beat us and stole the only open ball? We were not going to let that happen.

Throwing all of our power behind the engine we zoomed ahead and left them in our dust. Getting close enough to the basin now to start making out some of the moorings I was sent to the bow with a boat hook and a pair of binoculars to keep an eye out for anything open. At first all I could see were white ones, and then a little further down I could start to see yellow ones here and there. All of them had boats attached and I was getting a little discouraged . Suddenly one of the boat attached to a transient ball swung to the side and revealed an open one behind it. Matt saw it at the same time I did and kept going at it with full power even though there were no boats near us anymore. Coming up behind it I swung the boat hook in the water and grabbed the lines and attached them to our bow. I was so excited that I started jumping on the deck and pumping my fists into the air. We had managed to get the only open mooring.

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Coming up on the George Washington Bridge.  Very beautiful architectural design.

Calling into the marina office we let them know we had arrived and quickly got ready so we could go in to pay them and then tour the city. As we were standing in the office to fill out paper work and check in I looked at a small map on the wall with the vicinity of the basin to areas in the city. Looking a little closer I realized that we were only a few blocks from Central Park. Let me tell you right now, I can be a little blonde sometimes and my geography can way off. In my head I was thinking that Streets and Avenues in NYC were the same thing and that 5th Ave would be prime real estate. So with that logic and being on 79th I figured we’d be waaaay out in a dodgy section of town. Not the case at all, we were sitting on the Upper West Side.

Once we got out and started walking the third street we hit was Broadway. Also sitting on the corner there (of 72nd & Broadway) was Gray’s Papaya, on the list of seriously three things I wanted to hit up while in the city, one of the others being Central Park. Since it was lunch time and we had not eaten all day I figured it was fate…except one thing. Due to an issue with our debit card we haven’t been able to take out cash since we left, and had literally $5 in our pockets. We assumed everything but street vendors would take credit but that is not the case. Sadly Grays Papaya would only happen if we found a way to get more cash.

Continuing our walk down 72nd St we went a few more blocks down and dead ended into Central Park West Ave. with a convenient entrance right into the park. We must have looked like tourist to the guys sitting on rickshaws who wanted to take us around the park and pounced on us as soon as we walked up, but may have passed for natives as a group of tourist asked us how to get to Strawberry Fields. We took a walk all the way around the pond while I searched for The Boat House which happened to be in a completely different area, and while walking narrow paths and ducking under trees it sort of had a zoo atmosphere complete with exhibits such as squirrels mating. Wanting to get out into the concrete jungle we left the park and figured we’d still have plenty of time to see it. Stepping back on to CPW we walked further south while keeping an eye out for anyone famous. No sightings in the Central Park area.

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Our mooring was directly on the opposite side of this building.

When the park and the avenue ended we were dropped out right by Broadway and figured that would be a good street to continue on. Part of it was wandering and taking in sights and the other part was a search for food. I was hungry enough that I wanted food NOW, I didn’t care if it was McDonald’s or Burger King. Matt was stuck on the idea that we needed to eat somewhere we didn’t have back at home. And it still had to take credit and still be inexpensive. The search was on.

We’d look up and down streets for anything new and abruptly the sidewalks opened and there were crowds of people in the middle of the street. We had just stumbled into Times Square. Neither of us had searched it beforehand or knew where it was, so it was a fun little bit of serendipity that we happened upon it. It was the middle of a bright sunny day, but the lights from billboards were still blazing in every direction. Standing around and taking it all in we promised we’d have to see it again at night. But right now food was still a top priority on my mind. Going just a few block further from Times Square we found a Potbelly Sandwich Shop and since neither of us has been to one we rushed in the door.

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After getting back on the street it was 3:30 in the afternoon and we still didn’t have any real plans for the day. Matt really wanted to see Wall Street and searched on his phone to see how far it was, about 4 miles. My legs were already a little tired but I couldn’t think of another time we’d be this far through midtown and resolved that we may as well keep going. When the street numbers began to fall off I assumed that meant we were getting close. Nope, gotta keep walking through Tribeca and Greenwich Village and a bunch of other places that I originally had no idea where they were located. Today was a lesson in New York geography for sure. Still not exactly sure where we were going we dead ended into a construction zone for the new Freedom Towers being constructed. I remember coming here with my parents 14 years ago when the Twin Towers were around and I’ll stare up to the top of them getting dizzy. I’m really glad something so beautiful is being raised as a memorial.

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One of the new Freedom Towers going up.

Crossing a freeway and then realizing it was taking us in the opposite direction we wanted to be in we crossed back and landed at the World Financial Center. Trying to get our bearing on the Google Map on our phone we decided to take a short cut through the building. Even though it was extremely hot out and I had just been wishing for a cold beer the smell of Starbucks wafted through the area and I could not have been craving anything more at the moment. I miss easy coffee. Passing the Starbucks by we exited the double doors and found ourselves in front of a marina. A very fancy one. It was The North Cove, the most exclusive mega yacht marina in Manhattan located in Battery City Park. Also one of the things I had wanted to see in NYC, although I originally had no idea where it was (again). Another bit of serendipity for the day.

Taking a few minutes to amble through the area we took in all the mega yachts that we’d probably be seeing again in the Caribbean, although just like now, will probably have no association with the owners or even the crew. Then walking out to the waterfront you could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. If I could have spent the rest of the day here I would have but Matt was pointing at his watch and reminding me we needed to get a move on. We hand’t found Wall Street yet, and there was still the walk back of about 8 miles.

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North Cove Marina at Battery Park.  (No mega yachts shown, although there were a few)

On a real mission now just to get to Wall Street we became those tourist with map in our hand, matching street names and pointing in the direction we needed to go. One thing I did not want to do while in the city was stand out as a tourist, but at this point I didn’t care anymore. The sooner we found Wall Street the sooner we could start the long walk back and rest again. Leaving The North Cove we were on a street that housed the 9/11 Memorial and there were people lined up around the block. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that we were there only three days after the anniversary. Again, if we had time it’s something we really would have liked to do, but it was so late in the afternoon I doubt we could have still gotten in that day anyway.

Continuing on with our map we managed to get turned around about five more times but eventually made it to Wall Street. Speaking of anniversaries, we were there almost exactly one year after the Occupy Wall Street movement. We wandered around for a little bit and took note of the sights, and also how 90% of the men leaving the buildings seemed to owned a nice suit that fit them right. Come on guys, you’re supposed to be the creme de la creme!! Next thing to do on the list was find the Charging Bull. We knew it had to be in the area but still managed to get turned down about three wrong streets before finding our way according to Google Maps. But even when they said we were right on top of it we couldn’t see anything. Just as we were about to get really frustrated with the map a truck pulled out of the way and presented the bull right behind it. As things always are in movies, we thought it would be a lot bigger but were still excited to see it. There was a large area fenced off around it which allowed people to line up and then stand in front of the bull to have their photo taken. We didn’t want to go through that process and just took a few photos of ourselves with swarms of people behind us. Oh well, still proof we were there!

At this point we were finally allowed to move in a direction closer to the boat instead of away from it. We didn’t take the same street down as we took up, but for the life of me I can not remember which one it was (and I think it was Broadway we took almost all the way down). Luckily at this point my legs were starting to go numb and the walk back wasn’t feeling as bad. At some point we jumped on 5th Ave and went through a more trendy area than we had come down on. There were also signs on the street advertising two slices of pizza and a pop for $5 and my mouth was watering. Cash only though….. of course. A few more streets down we were waiting at a light to cross the road and I looked over and saw a booth that was in the same shape as the Flatiron building. Then I looked further over and saw the intersection was in a Y shape, which tipped me off and I looked up. Yup, we had stumbled across the Flatiron building itself, one of the things that would have been cool to see but wasn’t in my list of must haves. This was turning into the best day ever.

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Remaining on a northerly course we took a quick side trip to give a call to our bank (cash issue should be resolved in 3-5 days) and then hopped back on 5th. A few more streets up and we floundered onto yet another New York landmark, Rockefeller Center. This was a very fun stop for both of us as we are completely in love with the NBC series, 30 Rock. We wandered around the area looking as touristy as possible and even went inside 30 Rockefeller Center for a better look. I kept waiting for Tina Fey to walk through the lobby so I could be that annoying fan that jumps out and tells her how much I loved her book and her show but she never appeared.

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Really ready to start getting back we followed 5th Ave until it hit Central Park. Stopping into a restaurant really quick we grabbed a few slices of pizza and a beer before hitting the road again. We had been walking for at least six hours at this point (I’ve taken out the time we used sitting for lunch and dinner) and I just wanted to crawl on the boat and into bed. Matt had other ideas though and wanted to walk down the East side of Central Park so he could get a look at the Guggenheim. I don’t know how he talked me into it but I agreed to follow him, my feet trudging every step of the day. Before we could even get 10 blocks up I was starting to think my body would fail me and contemplated walking through the park to get back home. We hadn’t felt any sense of danger at all yet through the day, but looking into the dark shady area, neither of us wanted to chance it. I thought I had resigned myself to at least five more miles of walking when we came up to what looked like a well lit path through the park. I looked at Matt but he still shook his head no.

Getting only 10 steps further we heard loud music coming from that area and turned to see what I was. I begged Matt to let us go in, stating that the music probably had a large crowd around it and there was a very small chance we’d get mugged. He finally caved and we headed into the park. There were people scattered here and there on blankets on the ground, enjoying the weekend with their friends. It was a beautiful night out, clear and in the low 70′s now, and I could see why they’d want to be out. With the music getting louder we followed the path and could start to see what looked like an outdoor concert hall. Remembering posters we had seen all around town that day we realized that it was a Ben’s Fold Five concert. Right out in the park. Although we couldn’t see the stage we could still hear everything perfectly and took a seat on the cement next to a grassy knoll where others came out to enjoy the music. What were the odds that we would find something like this? We must have gotten there really late because after sitting through two songs (didn’t hear Brick) the concert ended and people started milling out of the area. Following their lead we made our way through the rest of the park full of crowds and feeling completely safe.

Forgetting what street we had originally come out on that morning we just went down 79th Street all the way to the Hudson to try and get back to the basin. After crossing over a loop in the street that didn’t have any sidewalk we found stairs going down and were dropped right into the middle of a very busy restaurant housed in front of the basin. Weaving our way through the patrons we made our way out of the outdoor area the only way we knew how, and that was walking through the middle of it to get to the pedestrian road lining the river. Jumping in the dinghy we made it back to the boat just after 10:00.

Wanting to celebrate the occasion of making it to the city we pulled some seats up to the bow and I cracked open our Kraken to enjoy a nite cap while taking in the city lights from the boat. We had been gone nine hours overall and walked over 20 miles. In addition to the areas listed we also saw Parsons School for Design, NYU, and so many others that I can’t even remember anymore. There were a few celebrity sightings that day, Russel Simmons for me and I think we took in so many sights in one day that we could leave in the morning and I’d be satisfied. All I can say is I love you New York City. I love you, I love you, I love you.

 

A Walk In The Park

Sunday September 16, 2012

Checking the weather today we learned that there are some bad storms coming in on Tuesday that will make traveling very hard, so we’ve extended our time in/near Manhattan. We’re still debating on if we should stay on the mooring for a rather cheap nightly fare or if we should travel the few miles to Sandy Hook, NJ just before we get into the Atlantic and hole up there for a few days. The city is sounding so much more interesting right now. The morning didn’t have a lot going for us today, knowing we might have a few more days in the city we weren’t as ambitious and gave ourselves most of the day to relax. One of the things that we did want to take care of though on this lazy day was a little bit of provisioning. Our friends on Water Music told us they visited Trader Joe’s on 14th St and were able to stock up on wine for $3 a bottle, or 3 buck Chuck as they called it. We had seen a Trader Joe’s at our home corner and made a mission to make it there. Before heading in to get groceries though I forced Matt in for a stop at McDonalds so I could do a few updates to the website (this wifi through our phone only is staring to drive me crazy) and while checking our Facebook account I saw I had a message from a guy Bill that lives in New York, also owns a Sabre, and wanted to get together while we were in town. I shot him a message back that we should be in town for a few more days and would love to meet up. I just felt bad that he had sent the message three days prior and this was the first time I had access to it. Did I mention I hate our internet situation right now?

 Walking next door into Trader Joe’s we didn’t know what to expect as we had never been in one before, they didn’t have them in West Michigan. Picking up a basket we browsed the aisles for the few necessary things and quickly found out that 80% of what’s inside Trader Joe’s is store brand. Prices seemed good though and we quickly filled the basket. Then looking through the beer section we kept an eye out for the wine but didn’t see anything. Figuring they kept the wine on a different floor we went back up the escalator to search for it there. No wine. So then we went back down. After walking the whole store three times we still couldn’t find it and eventually asked the store clerk who told us they didn’t carry it at that location, we’d have to go to the 14th St location. Good thing we were getting extra time on our hands with the unexpected delay in departure. Getting into the checkout line which reached all the way back to produce we were quickly ushered into one of 20 cashier stands and then back on the streets. The wine would have to wait another day.

 Depositing the groceries back on the boat we were back on the streets for another evening of walking. Deciding not to go to our home corner we turned north to see what kinds of things we would find as we remembered seeing lots of interesting restaurants on our lost stroll back the first night when we had overshot 79th St. Walking up Amsterdam there were indeed a lot of restaurants, but none of the same ones we remembered seeing before. Not discouraged since it wasn’t dinner time we kept wandering until the streets started looking a little worn down and cut over to WCP which we followed up to 96th Ave and realized there wasn’t much to see anymore, so we went in to the park. My goal was to check out the Upper East Side and see what the fuss was all about, so we took the most direct path we could find through the park. Having seen a little bit of 5th Ave running parallel to the park our first night out we passed through a few more streets headed east until we came to Park Ave. According to my NY geography, this is where all the big money was supposedly sitting. I think we had popped out of the park too far north and the buildings were still a little run down, but the further south we headed the nicer they became.

 Had I thought about this a little better before I left the boat I may have changed my attire a little bit, as this is the day I decided to go casual and was in cut off jeans and flip flops. Not quite Park Avenue material. The sweater may have saved me a little since every time we’d pass someone on the street they’d smile and nod, almost as if we belonged. Or Matt’s long hair and beard made him look like a celebrity incognito and they thought they were just passing by some rockstar and his hipster girlfriend. Getting back down to 72nd it was getting later and once again I was really ready for food, which we knew we wouldn’t find in our price range in this area. Passing by a few designer stores (the first Ralph Lauren Purple Label I’d ever seen a brick and mortar building for) we went back in the park so we could come out near Amsterdam again and get some food. Just a few minutes after entering the park I thought I spotted the boat house off to my right. Dragging Matt off to the side path we meandered to the area and walked passed a few times, in envy of everyone with food and drinks in their hands.

Having now taken ourselves completely off the main road we had been using to walk though the park we continued on the small path we were on until it opened up once again into Bethesda Fountain, a very popular area of central park often portrayed in movies and tv shows. The sun had just set and it was casting hues of orange and pink all over the area with hints of blue still in the sky. Even though the area was somewhat crowded it seemed still and serene at the same time. Taking a seat on one of the benches to the side we watched friends gather and gondolas pass through on the lake next to us. We sat there until it grew almost completely dark and then walked up the staircase back to a main road. I had known the whole time that we needed to continue right, but Matt began walking straight (thinking it was the correct way out) and I followed him since that craving for food didn’t seem as necessary anymore. While we walked we came up on the sound of music with a large crowd of people gathering around it. What we found was a bongo-type drum circle with a few others playing homemade type instruments. Inside the circle were all different kinds of people dancing to the music. One was a girl in an authentic Spanish or Latin American type dress, one was a guy in a ripped up tank top with pads on his knees, and best of all, an older man wearing a coconut bra and a tutu. His beard was dyed in neon shades of yellow and orange, and his little white dog was dressed to matched. This circle took all kinds. At different times people would exit and enter the circle and it was kind of a free for all for whoever wanted to join.

 Continuing down the park a little further there was another musical session going for whoever wanted to join. This one had music playing out of a boombox and different areas for different things. In the center was a spot for couples or singles to dance, off to one side was an area for anyone on rollerblades, and the other side was reserved for hulla hoopers who were using ones that lit up in the dark and flashed every color of the rainbow. Someone had really put some thought into this area and had skates, rollerblades and hula hoops for rent, plus copies of the CD playing for sale. When we first passed by the park at night on Friday it looked like a place you did not enter after the sun went down, but after tonight it seemed like the place to be after dark. After getting to the edge of the park and exiting on Central Park Ave instead of Central Park West like was the original intent (good thing Matt has me around to navigate) we found our way back to our home corner and then cut off on another street to find a restaurant. Wandering down a good 10-15 blocks we didn’t see anything appealing and went back to a semi-fine Italian restaurant we had already passed. Getting sat outside right next to the sidewalk we browsed the menu but nothing sounded even remotely appetizing, and on top of that, this was one of the restaurants where all the entrees started at over $20. Neither of us felt like shelling out a ton of money for something we weren’t even going to enjoy so while no one was looking (and before a waiter had even come) we slid out the crack onto the sidewalk and walked away. Is it still considered dining and ditching if you’ve only taken a few sips of the water the busser brought you?

 Realizing this street had nothing for us we took the next cross street we came to and decided to go back to Amsterdam where we knew there would be at least something halfway decent that we’d also be able to afford. Before we could even turn the corner onto Amsterdam there was a restaurant housed there called the Amsterdam Ale House. Sounded promising. Checking out the menu they actually had sandwiches under $15, and with a name like the Ale House you knew they had to have some good brews. For the second night in a row, just by dumb luck we had found a restaurant with some of the best food we had ever tasted. Matt had the pulled pork sandwich and I went with the portabello and goat cheese. Absolutely delicious and it came with one of my favorite sides ever, sweet potato fries. Definitely worth the wait and the extra few miles. Stuffed and tired we were dinghying back to the boat when we passed by our friends on Between the Sheets who had just got in that morning and were moored a few balls down from us. Since there looked to be life aboard we stopped by to say hi and also had the chance to meet John’s wife and daughter. Turns out they really do exist. Sitting and chatting for a few minutes I found out that a ‘small’ glass of wine to John meant completely topped off and in talking to his wife Cathy found out they were high school sweethearts just like Matt and I. Awwww. Since she had a long day of traveling we didn’t stay too long but it was nice to put a personality to the face. And with two more days in the city I’m sure I’ll be able to catch up with her again and get some more dirt I can use against John.

xx