AmeriCanada 2015

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. Bob's comments, after Sharon's comments, will be in red.

Day 42. Friday, September 4, 2015. NEW YORK CITY!

Our planned path today is the railway line from Cold Springs Harbor, New York (walking distance from Eric and Cindy's - about 10-12 minutes) to Penn Station in Manhattan.

Sharon said to me "I don't get these numbers." I don't either (1 h 10 min, for example) I'd guess they're something about the subway - time remaining from this point, time to get TO this point - that sort of thing..

I suggest that we pick three targets today, go to only them, then come home. That will be a more-than full day. We agree on 1) the Empire State Building, 2) birding Central Park, and 3) a Staten Island Ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty. Wow, are we really going to get to do this, after giving it up? You betcha. Hope for the best. Then deal with it if you don't get it. {The original plan that got derailed (no pun intended) was to camp in New Jersey and either take the train or subway into New York City but there were so many uncertainties, (which train? How to navigate the subway? Would we be safe?) that we gave it up. Now with Eric and Cindy's reassurance, all those questions got answered and we are back on our original plan.}

Yesterday, Cindy drove us down to show us the route to walk tomorrow morning. Thank you Cindy.

So off we go. But after 100 yards, I realize that it was a mistake to bring my binoculars IN THEIR CASE. I need to lose the case. So I hustle back to the trailer, dump the case, and catch up with Nancy and Sharon before they reached the Cold Spring Harbor station. We have to cross over the double tracks to get to the side that goes into NYC.

Here comes our train.

Photographer Sharon takes thiese photos.

And after an hour, we start seeing things like this.

We get off at Penn Station, and have no idea where to exit to - what street. We fumble around a little, and finally get it straight. And out we come. Stepping out to the edge of the sidewalk, and looking to our right, we can barely see Objective #1 - the Empire State Building. This is pretty exciting. Sharon has never been to New York City before. Nancy has, and we ask her lots of questions during the day. Right across the street is Macy's.

As we walk the few blocks needed, we have to stop on red, wait for green. As we're doing here. The Statue of Liberty, with her hip purse, poses beside Sharon.

After perusing a few more storefronts, we're in the building.

We take the elevator to the 80th floor, then everybody exits to another line, leading to another elevator destined for the 86th floor. This is the highest floor where you can go outside. There's another one to the 120th, but you are restricted to being inside the building.

As we wait in line, there are wonderful old photos of the men working high up on the steel girders, without safety gear. I notice that we can't see out of ANY window, although the upper panes are clear. And that is because there aren't any buildings within view that are high enough to be seen through the upper panes!

It's 11 am, and a worker named Sharee (shuh-RAY) notices Sharon's cane and plucks us out of the back of the line. She leads us to the front of the line, goes with us to floor 86, and leads us to the front of that line. She is awesome. And cute.

A taxi driver asked me, "What do you think was paid for the penthouse of that (lower left) building? I said to rent or buy. He said to buy. I made a guess at 15 million. He said it was 94 million. Below right, you can see the ratio of taxis and buses to regular cars. Note the open-top sightseeing bus.

We can see people on the top of the Comcast building. And who knew Macy's was the world's largest store?

We can see the Freedom Tower, hazy in the distance. And you can see the safety precautions on the observation deck.

We finally get enough of the sights and go down to the street, catching a taxi to the Belvedere Castle in mid-Central Park.

We head into the walkway and immediately hear, then see a Northern Cardinal. Cool.

I like the pointed archways.

That's the Belvedere Castle below left. As we are walking around the lake to get to the castle, an excited lady says, "Have you seen the kingfisher?" Where, I ask, and she points to the bird below right. It turns out to be a Black-crowned Night-Heron, and the cool thing about this particular bird, if you look closely, is that dark thing on his lower belly is a foot. He is resting one foot while carrying all his weight on the other. Sometimes when both my feet are killing me, I'll do that. Lift up one foot, and the relief from that raised foot is ten times the price you pay for the extra weight on the 'down' foot.

WE'RE DOING IT! We are birding Central Park. We see English Sparrows being fed, the male Northern Cardinal you saw above and more. Sharon thinks she hears a Northern Parula. A great starling starting to change to its spotted winter colors.

We roll on. Mourning Dove. Female American Redstart. Sharon and Nancy want to eat hot dogs and sit on benches in Central Park. We do and it's wonderful.

I like the in-your-face attitude of the ball boy.

After hot dogs, we make our way to the castle, and the first thing we notice are all the turtles on a rock below us. A level higher now (below, right)

It's such a great day, and this is clearly the place to go for a picnic or just to lie on the grass and relax.

After climbing to the highest spot, Sharon and I descend a level for these two shots by Nancy.

We finish up at the castle, and catch another taxi {Yikes!! You can't watch them drive or you'd never stay in the vehicle!}to the Battery - where the Staten Island Ferries take off from. Bridges all over the place. {We're going to see the Statue of Liberty!!}

We buy our Staten Island Ferry tickets (HA! Fooled you. We don' need no stinkin' tickets. It's free!)

Below right - two photos, a big green racing boat adds some color to the grey day.

Activity a-plenty on the water. {What a great sight. You can read about it or see it in movies, but nothing is like the real thing.}

Sharon is joined by Habib, a native Egyptian, who, I later learn, is telling Sharon how Egyptians invented everything {An Internist who lives now on Staten Island}. We have to exit on Staten Island. Then we wait about 30 minutes, board the next return boat, and come back to Manhattan's southerly tip, where the Battery is.

When I first see these black dots zipping around the water, I think they are remote controlled toys. But when I zoom in on them, I see that they are ski-doos. I like this smart-looking fireboat.

{We are REALLY There!}

I like this real-life version of a Star Wars Hot Wheels car.

We hire a third taxi to take us from the Battery to Penn Station, to catch a train back to Huntington.

As you can see, we make the train - an express.

And we arrive home. It's dark, and Eric picks us up at the station and whisks us home to enjoy an outdoor dinner in their back yard. Great, great stuff.

Fortune has smiled on us on this day, which got us to NYC, Central Park birding and all the rest. I am grateful.

Began: (Sister Shirley's son) Eric and wife Cindy and son Sam's home, Huntington, NY
Pass Through: Long Island towns and cities on the train line to NYC
End: Back in Eric's Driveway (Left the trailer there all day)
Miles Today: 0 (on our truck)
Miles for Trip: Remains at 8444

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