Yellow. Grey. Glass windows. Leaves. Wind. Stone. Scarves. Lights.
These are the things that come to mind when I think of New York.
I also think of cold splashing water, pumping up our dilapidated dinghy (JJ), and the grey Hudson river.
Shang Du was anchored more than a mile upriver of the 79th street yacht basin. We were too heavy for any of their buoys, which was a real pity. You pay more per week anchored out than you would to be tied up to a mooring buoy. Added to that is the fact that you have to anchor beyond the mooring field. (Hence the 12minute dingy ride every time we needed to go ashore!)
By the end of our New York stay, we were leaving in a hurry. With winter just around the corner, the weather was turning a bit windy and frosty. We had a difficult time getting ashore with our injured dinghy. It kept on deflating after having sustained injury one fateful night. . . . more on that later.
It was freezing cold toward the end. We didn’t have enough layers to put on to keep the cold out!
This was all around November. Beginning of October, which was when we arrived, looks a lot different.
* * *
A whole book could be written on our New York stay alone, I shouldn’t wonder. We stayed long enough to justify a story – a whole 6 weeks! But I don’t have the time to write a story, nor do I have the skill. I’m just going to try give the impression New York left on me through a few memory pictures . . .
Close your eyes, and open them.
You are now on Shang Du.
We have been on the sea for more than a week now, and land is in sight at last. All the names familiar to me from a Billy Joel song have attached themselves to swathes of land. Nantucket. Long Island. Block Island. Montauk. Gardener’s bay.
The East coast of America used to be very hazy, but now the map in my head is slightly sharper around the New York area.
We have spent some hours of the night anchored, because we didn’t want to arrive in the dark. Now the anchor is back on board and we are moving through the mist. Land all around us, but somewhat unreal with the mist crawling about.
It’s my turn to take over the steering wheel. As we move through the various canals I get the strange feeling that we are travelling on a road with Shang Du.
From where I sit in the cockpit of the boat, glimpsing the first skyscrapers on the horizon, I can’t see what there is to be excited about. New York is just another city, after all!
Slowly, slowly, we motor closer and closer to the canal that connects Long Island Bay with the body of water next to Manhattan. (On the opposite side, not the Hudson river.)
As we pass under our first bridge, I feel an unexpected burst of energy. For some reason it has just clicked – we’re almost in New York!