Thursday, September 25, 2008

More NYC sights

For our second day in the city, I had planned a cruise around Manhattan on the well-known Circle Line Cruise. In the morning, after sleeping in just a tad, we hoofed it across 45th Street to Pier 83. Despite the long lines, we boarded the next available boat for a 2-hour cruise at 11 am. We were blessed with a bright, sunny day complete with a light breeze. We hoped the cruise would give us a different persceptive of the city, and it did. When you are in the middle of NYC, it is hard to imagine your exact locale. Being on the water allowed us to take a step back and absorb the enormity of the place, as well as to see some of the sights we otherwise might have missed.

First, we cruised down the Hudson River, noting the presence of the gigantic Empire State Building, the burg of Battery Park, and the giant void in the skyline where the Twin Towers once stood. Soon we came upon Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, just off the southern tip of the island of Manhattan. The captain lingered a bit near the Statue, and we marveled at its beauty and significance, and snapped lots of pictures.

As the boat sailed away from the statue and up the East River, we saw the Staten Island Ferry (free to the public, as noted by the narrator of the tour), Govenor's Island, and Wall Street to the west. We sailed underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and two other famed bridges as well (can't think of which ones they were right at this moment). We continued to motor north and got close-up views of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Finally, we sailed back south, retracing our steps back to Pier 83. It was a relaxing and fun trip, nice to see so much of the city without actually hoofing it around. Although it was cold and windy on the boat, and we had difficulty hearing the tour guide because of the engine noise from the boat (we were late boarding and missed out on one of the premium seats on the top deck), it was money well-spent.

After disembarking, we walked back toward 5th Avenue to do a little shopping. We ate lunch at a little cafe, among what looked like throngs of New Yorkers (the tourists didn't seem to frequent this particular dining spot). After peeking in a few shops and noting the price tags, we decided that we were a little out of our league. We headed into Rockefeller Center, and decided to see to the Top of the Rock. I'm so glad we made this last-second decision. The view was amazing! The three-level observation deck gave us a direct view of the city skyline, unobstructed in many places by glass or gates. Absolutely breathtaking. Making it even more special was the clear sky and warm sun. We could have stayed up there for hours taking it all in if we hadn't needed to depart the city for Cooperstown at a reasonable hour.

I was a little nervous about finding our way back to our car from Manhattan, but we pulled it off without a hitch, asking many questions of helpful people along the way. We found our car at the airport, and pulled away for the four-hour drive to Cooperstown.

More on that adventure coming soon...

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