With the Path (Subway line from New Jersey) partially closed for maintenance, we walk along the New Jersey boardwalk towards the next available station. It is a muggy morning. The mist hanging down touches the river.
New Jersey waterfront
There’s quite a lot of traffic this Sunday morning. Boats on the water and strollers alongside it. A water taxi makes its way over to our shoreline and we decide to take it instead. Two stops later we depart close to the New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex. We simply don’t have time to visit but can’t resist a chance to photograph a real deal submarine and the Intrepid, a aircraft carrier, itself. I guess this will go on our when-we-come-back-wish list.
Today we don’t have that much specific on the agenda: Central Park and Roosevelt Island. Just as well because it is quite a walk plus it’s quickly becoming oppressively humid. The mist only dissolves in terms of visibility; the minute water particles hang on for the rest of the the day.
Central Park is gigantic (I did tell you this was my first time in the Big Apple, didn’t I?) and seeing it on television, a computer screen or a map hardly explains what it feels like experiencing it first hand. But it is Sunday. It is beautiful warm weather. We stand at the southern entrance and try to figure out how to make it through this rush hour traffic junction. We dodge runners, kids, buggies and again those tourists on bicycles who can’t combine balancing with, well, anything else really.
We make it across the main path and plunk our sticky selves down on Umpire Rock beside and looking out over Heckscher Playground. What an amazing view! Majestic trees, sun reflecting off the skyscrapers that line West 59th Street and whose residents are probably looking down on the ant mount that we most likely resemble from that height.
The kids run off and play somewhere out of sight in 2 seconds flat, not in the playground but the rock itself is a fantastic kids sized bouldering place.
No matter how much we enjoy the view it quickly becomes too hot and sticky, so on we go. Past the baseball diamond where two junior leagues play each other. The ice cream cart owner under the trees there does his best business selling anything that’s cold. We score some bottles of water. On the Mall we move from shade to shade and enjoy the acts along the sides: singing, magic, creating bubbles with loops of string and a number of musicians.
Laughter from a big group draws us in and we watch a street performance act. It clearly is well rehearsed with some dancing, some acrobatics but mostly a lot of fun banter and trying to get volunteers from the audience to partake. In truth it is standing still a long time waiting until someone may jump over you. Quite a lot of fun to watch. By the time it finishes, we’re hangry (angry from hunger). We muddle on a bit longer til we get to the Model Boat Sailing pond where we leave the park on to 5th Avenue. So much more to see or do but not for us, not this time.
Tramway by air
About half an hour later, now in possession of bagels and drinks (again) we’re at the Roosevelt Island Tramway (at 2nd Ave and East 60th Street). A gondola hanging beside the Greensboro Bridge that takes you to the island in less that 5 minutes. The views over the city are well worth the cost of the subway ticket – the MetroCard works too- which you can obtain from one of the machines at the entrance.
It’s a shame but after a good three days of walking, we’re getting tired and the idea just being back in the air conditioned hotel room, makes that we decide not to explore further. We’ll come back next time to go see the FDR park or the fun art installation ‘Marriage of Money and Real Estate‘ by Tom Otterness along the waterline with views of Manhattan, or delve into the history of the island as a way to fight small pox.
What we do do for now is quietly sit under the Roosevelt Bridge and enjoy. Enjoy the beautiful weather along the water, the warmth on our skins and the trees still in their deep dark green summer dress. Not walking, no movement other than taking a sip, engaging our stomachs and the occasional wisp of wind. We slowly start to feel normal again, we even chat, without growling and we decide it’s been enough. Long enough. Fun enough. Warm enough. We’re done.
After taking the three Subway lines back, and our now bright and sunny stroll from Exchange Point back to the hotel along the Hudson River, we soak in the hotel pool. At dinner that evening we discuss our highs and lows of the ‘city that never sleeps’.
What we won’t miss and has me trawling the internet for data on accidents and crimes, afterwards, is the noise. Hardly ever are we NOT aware of a siren somewhere nearby. Plus, does the fact that the city was built on garbage still contribute to the smell now? Or is there another bigger issue? Are services not able to clean in time, or at all? I guess there’s a lot I want to find out still.
In general too, so much to see and do. So much history and so many places that had to move to the future to-do list. I definitely need to come back here.
What are your high lights of New York. What should I definitely go do or see when I go next?