Getting to New York can be a hassle. But arriving in New York is never dull. Whether ascending into the glowing hustle of Grand Central from the train tracks below or staring down at what looks like a miniature city from an approaching flight, there’s a sense of liveliness and continuity that radiates from the New York’s constant state of motion. Arriving by boat early in the morning was an incomparable experience.
After sailing through the night, we finally caught view of the city just after sunrise. We made our way past the mansions on Long Island’s western shore and Laguardia’s incoming airplanes, slid by Riker’s Island and then through Hell’s Gates and, suddenly, floating down the East River, we became part of the city we’d been looking at from afar.
My idea of sailing has always been heading out into open water, filling the sails with breeze and feeling the boat move in tune with the sea and wind. When we put the sails away and floated past the apartment buildings and avenues that line Manhattan’s East Side, I was reminded of something more fundamental about being on a boat. You’re at once completely integrated with the world, reliant on weather, geography, and much of the time other people, and at the same time set apart, bobbing around alone on your little vessel, not able to fully grasp what makes the environment surrounding you its own place. Once you’re anchored or ashore, that all changes. But while you’re moving along it’s a strange contrast. Nowhere was that more evident than in New York. We watched a busy city unfold before us from the quiet isolation of the boat. It was one of the cooler things we’ve done on Tamata.
The day we arrived was a bit grey, but the day we left was bright, crisp and clear. We spent nearly an hour just cruising up and down the Hudson taking photos. Like most representations, they don’t do the experience justice.
The boat sat a bit lower due to the amount of food we’d consumed. Over the course of four days we’d eaten Cuban once, Italian once, Korean twice, Japanese twice, pizza daily (oops!), a few bagels, a bit of tapas, way too much coffee and some street food. Oh, and I had an apple for good measure. Even with Matt sticking to his rule of No Museums with a Hangover, we still made it to the MoMA for a Matisse exhibit and spent a couple hours walking the Highline. (I’m not sure if impressive is the right word here…) We were able to catch up with a few good friends each night and met a couple more along the way. It ended with a fiery sunset off the coast of New Jersey followed by a really nice two day sail into Norfolk, VA. It was a perfect way to start our trip. Neither Matt nor I have ever had a bad time visiting New York, but this trip ranked among the best for both of us.