I love water, I love swimming in it, sailing upon it or walking along its river banks or shores. Happily, I do live in a city surrounded by water with a bustling harbor and a plethora of ferries. Astoria, has a brand new ferry all its own now, as of this past August, and last Saturday I took an enjoyable relaxing ride up the East River.
I boarded the ferry at the Hallet’s Cove landing off of Vernon Boulevard in good old Astoria. It cost the same as a bus or subway; $2.75 one way. After paying my fare I made a bee line for the top deck of the boat where I had a 360 view of the river, the boroughs of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. There are only four stops: Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, 34th Street and last but, not least Wall Street and it took about forty minutes one way.
The sky was beautiful and the temperatures autumnal as we slowly sailed along while I captured the latest architecture on the Islands of Roosevelt and Manhattan and passed under four of the six bridges that span the East River: The Queensboro Bridge or as we New “Yawkas” call it, the 59th Street Bridge, immortalized in song by Simon and Garfunkle; The Williamsburgh Bridge, or as my brother-in-laws’ late father called it, Da Williamsboig Bridge! And of course the majestic Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
The shiny new Cornell Tech school and campus opened on Roosevelt island and I captured it snuggled right between the two towers of the 59th Street Bridge. My favorite new bit of architectural genius and whimsy, is the two bent apartment buildings co-joined by a sky bridge. Because of the angle of the boat, I was only able to capture one of the buildings but, this one had the most “bend.” You can click here for more info and another view of them.
When we reached Wall Street I disembarked and spent a few hours wandering around taking photos of South Street Seaport; a bitter sweet stroll. The seaport has changed so much and has lost, in my opinion, all of its old harbor charm. It has been afflicted with modern “gentrification” and pimpled with high-rise “luxury” apartment and towering office buildings. Pier 17 is no longer a pier, it is now a mall. Just what we needed (not!) But, the most heart breaking of all, the beloved four-masted barque The Peking is gone. Oh, my heart is broken. As per Wikipedia “Seaport NYC did not see the Peking as part of its long-term operational plans, and was planning to send the Peking to the scrap yard.” Really?! It was only the biggest historic attraction for children and adults at the seaport for years!!!! It was returned to Hamburg Germany where she was built and launched over a hundred years ago. Thankfully, one beautiful masted ship, the Wavertree, built in 1885 in South Hampton England and has been newly renovated (why they couldn’t do this for the Peking, I don’t understand) still remains, which lifted my spirits a bit.
On the return voyage I pointed my lens at Brooklyn’s industrial side and noticed another piece of New York City history has bit the dust and one part has become a glass and chrome square donut of an apartment building, 325 Kent. This was once the old Domino Sugar Refinery, a huge part of Brooklyn’s industrial past history.
I did thoroughly enjoy my day though, despite my grumbling at all the old, new, and annoying changes to my little urban world. And, I managed to get a few wonderful photos which, some day just might be included in a history of “old” New York when, my great nieces and nephews have great nieces and nephews and children of their own.
So, grab a favorite beverage and let the river breezes blow back your hair as you sail along with me.