Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Circle on the River

One thing that always bugged me about living in Manhattan was how close we were to the ocean and how little we interact with water. I had met someone, I can't remember who, who talked about the construction of New York which creates that inward focus.

"The city doesn't look out on the ocean, it looks in on Central Park. It's all about the center of the city."

It's true, New York is obsessed with the park. On a coolish December mid-morning I walked from 34 street Penn Station down to the Hudson to take a little boat tour. It was cold but not so cold that I had on my winter coat. As I was walking I passed a woman selling five dollar cashmere scarves. For some reason I was especially taken with the pink scarf, that would match my pink jacket, and without giving it too much thought I handed her a five, wrapped the scarf around myself, and kept walking on my way. It was just enough to cover my head and keep me dry as a slight mist started to drift around the sidewalk. 

The walk was gloomy and grey but pretty in a New York sort of way. The Hudson seemed shrouded in fog when the city fell away and opened up to it. I was pretty happy to get a chance to see the ride on a boat and see the city. There was a strange sense of exhilaration to being a tourist in a city that I lived in.

I wasn't alone, of course, being the end of the year New York was crawling with tourists and the boat quickly filled with people from Florida to Washington. I found a small spot towards the back of the boat to park myself and enjoy the ride.

As we kicked off from the shore a tour guide began calling out the local sights and talking us through the history of the city. He was very good and balancing humor, education, history, and sight seeing. He was really delightful. Once the ride got underway we quickly moved down the misty river to see the various buildings on the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and bits and pieces of New Jersey.

You could go to the bow and stand and watch the water disappear under the boat. The speed and the wind made me very happy that I had picked up the pretty pink scarf as it helped to keep me warm while I dramatically enjoyed the tour.

As the tour finished the sun was beginning to set on New York. I walked back towards downtown Manhattan as the light dimmed and the buildings started to glimmer in the city.

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