Dick and Gayl's Cruising Adventures

New York State

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This section has three pages.  If you have already read this page, you can click the following links to get to the other pages.

Click here to continue north up the Hudson River.

Click here to see the lighthouses we passed along the way.

Metedeconk River, NJ to Tarrytown, NY
81 miles
We faced the day with more than mild trepidation.  The marine weather forecast called for ocean conditions much like those that drove us to seek shelter yesterday, and before we could even get out to the ocean we had to traverse more shallow and shoaled inland waters, a narrow cut with unpredictable tidal currents and a blind curve railroad bridge just wide enough for one boat to pass through in an area with swift currents.  As if all this weren't enough, the coast guard issued a "hazard to navigation warning" on the radio indicating that a telephone pole had been reported floating in the inlet channel we planned to use to get out to the ocean.
We passed through all the inland waterway passages safely, got out of the turbulent inlet without seeing the telephone pole, and found the ocean to be much milder than predicted.  The sky was overcast, a light fog put a soft focus on all our views, there was a chill in the air, but none of that mattered -- the waves remained in the heavy chop to one foot range most of the way, breaking into gentle two foot swells toward the end of the morning.  Our ocean passage was a piece of cake.
Within three hours we could barely see Coney Island through the haze.  At four hours, we were entering the channel to New York Harbor.  At five hours, we were passing under the Veranzano Narrows Bridge, and into the thick of the New York Harbor action.
That's where the challenging navigation began.  Fast ferries, the Staten Island Ferry, small commuter ferries, sight-seeing boats, a sailing school fleet, pleasure boaters in zip-abouts, and tugs pushing barges criss-crossed the harbor, whipping the water into a maelstrom of competing wakes, and creating a moving obstacle course.  Helicopters created a din overhead.  New York by water is every bit as frenetic and intimidating as the land version.


We have been looking forward to cruising past the Statue of Liberty since we first started planning the trip.  We thought it would be one of our magic moments.
It was.
The haze lifted and the sun struggled to come out enough to throw some light on Lady Liberty's golden torch.  We took pictures from every distance and every angle.  We were in a state of boater's bliss.
We passed Ellis Island, and cruised along the Manhattan shoreline, identifying the buildings werecognized, and feeling the emptiness left by the twin towers lost from that familiar skyline view.
As we hoped, we were riding a favorable tide through the harbor, and we decided to just keep surfing it beyond New York City and a few hours up the Hudson River to Tarrytown.
As soon as we passed under the George Washington Bridge, the water started getting calmer, the traffic much lighter, and the western shore of the Hudson got steeper and greener.  The concentration of concrete and brick gave way to trees and rock cliffs.
We arrived at Tarrytown at 5, and were all tied up ready to relax when we looked at our depth finder and realized that when the tide went out, we would be hitting bottom.  We asked for a new slip, tied up again, and were ready to crash.  
We had just completed our highest mileage day to-date, and it was not just quantitatively long, but also qualitatively action-packed.  In additon to all the other wonderful things I have mentioned, we also saw seven historic lighthouses today!  It was a record day for lighthouses.  I will cover the lighthouse highlights (and there are lots of them) later.
We decided we had earned a romantic dinner out at a waterfront restaurant.  We had the best seats in the house -- on a patio next to the water, with a flock of Canada Geese floating in the wter below waiting for hand-outs, and the sun setting over the hills across the river.  It was a perfectly tranquil end to a most energetic day.

Click here to continue up the Hudson.

Some things we learned about Lady Liberty:
Although French sculptor Auguste Bertholdi gets credit for designing her, the man who made Bertholdi's grand vision a reality was structural engineer Alexandre Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame.  He designed her skeleton and developed the supporting structure that ensured her stability and longevity. 
The French people were responsible for funding and building the statue, and the Americans were responsible for its pedestal, which is about the same height as the statue itself, a little over 150 feet.
When fundraising efforts were under budget and President Grover Cleveland vetoed federal funding for the project, things looked grim for the installation of the statue in New York Harbor.  Other states were vying for the prize and promising to come up with the money for it.
But Joseph Pulitzer stepped in to save the day for New York. 
Remember Joe?  The last time he showed up in these pages he was the only Catholic (and the only Democrat) member of the Jekyll Island Club -- admitted only because the other millionaires feared the power of Pulitzer's newspaper to ruin them if they crossed him.  It appears their assessment of the power of Pulitzer's press was justified. 
Pulitzer strongly believed that the Statue of Liberty belonged in New York Harbor, and used his editorial pages to castigate the rich for not doing their part , and the middle class for sitting back and expecting the rich to pay for it.   Upper and middle class, he shamed them both into generosity, and the fundraising goal was finally met, ten years past the original 1886 Revolutionary War Centennial goal.
When Grover Cleveland accepted the statue in a big ceremony in 1886, he made a gracious speech, proclaiming "We shall not forget that liberty here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected."   That's quite a change of heart just a couple years after he vetoed funding for the project.