Friday, July 13, 2018

New York, New York

We are anchored in the Hudson River, near the West 79th Street Boat Basin (map). The Boat Basin is a very familiar stop for us, but this is the first time we are anchored north of the mooring field, across from 97th street. We're between Grant's Tomb and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial.

Macy's fireworks beyond Lower Manhattan skyline.

We very much enjoyed the fireworks show on the 4th. The bigger Macy's show over the East River was barely visible for us -- we saw the tops of a few bursts, but mostly just an eerie glow behind the city skyline, as if it was on fire. That show had finished completely and we even saw some of the faster tour boats coming back from the East River by the time the Jersey City show started just a few hundred yards from us.

Twin fireworks display.

There were two barges staged a short distance from one another, and the show mostly happened in "stereo," with exactly the same shells launched simultaneously from the two barges. It was really quite well done and we were able to enjoy it from the comfort of our aft deck. Not very many private boats came to view these; we had three other boats anchored with us, and a couple of megayachts hovered in the river, including our old friends, Usher. When the show ended, the flotilla of tour boats, ferries, and tows had the river stirred up for over an hour.

We liked the effect of the display reflected in the mirrored buildings of the financial district, right.

We weighed anchor at Ellis Island first thing Thursday morning, the 5th. The tide was close to max ebb, but the morning ferry traffic made the anchorage very unpleasant, and we opted to push upriver against nearly two knots rather than spend even another hour there. We had a pleasant cruise upriver, noting considerable construction on the Manhattan side since our last visit.

Cleanest shot I could get.

We followed our tracks from previous visits to drop the hook in the precise spot we needed for a comfortable stay north of Pier-i, at the very south end of the designated Special Anchorage and south of the Boat Basin's mooring field (map). We really like this spot because it's great people watching, a fairly short tender ride to the marina, and a little more protected from river traffic, wakes, and current.

Our cozy spot. Pier-i is at bottom, and you can see the dolphins we need to avoid just to the right of our alarm circle. To the left is deep water, and towards shore is too shallow for us. The orange and green tracks are from previous visits; red is our current track.

We had carefully left our kayak inflated so that we might be able to use the kayak dock near the pier, a much closer spot than the dinghy dock at the marina. Sadly, that dock was destroyed sometime in the last three years, and only the ramp remains, half submerged in the Hudson. Things ashore were more or less as we had left them, and it felt very familiar and comfortable to be on the Upper West Side.

Passing my alma mater, Stevens Tech, on our way upriver.

Our idyllic New York entrance was short-lived. We went out for a nice dinner, and when we returned home the cat was in crisis. She was crying piteously about trying to eliminate, and had managed to deposit runny fecal matter all over the boat, in addition to a few places where she threw up. Nothing we could do could comfort her or make her stop eliminating. We thought briefly about dosing her with more subcutaneous fluids, which we'd been giving her for the past week, but then decided she needed emergency care.

This is New York, the city that never sleeps, and it is often said that you can get anything you want or need here at any hour of the day or night. That's mostly true, and several vets not far from the dock were open to 9pm. But we had come home from dinner after 8:30, and by the time we decided to take her in, everyone was closed except for the few emergency veterinary hospitals throughout the city.

Another boater, passing by on the Henry Hudson Parkway, snapped this photo of Vector as we made our way upriver, and posted it to a Facebook group. Photo: Ed Hickey

We opted for the closest one, some 30 blocks away. First she had to ride the tender to the dock, which had her screaming the whole way. We marched up the hill from the park to 72nd Street and ordered a Lyft for the short ride to the vet. Things there were very clean, very professional, and very, very expensive. After an examination and evaluation they determined she was not having an end-of-life crisis (an outcome for which we had already prepared ourselves -- she is, after all, 17) and decided to admit her for IV fluids, overnight observation, and further tests.

With the boat a mess and ourselves now exhausted, we were just as happy to have them hold her overnight. We did sign a DNR in the event she coded overnight, and they let us into the treatment area to say goodnight. After the return Lyft and dinghy rides, we still had an hour's worth of cleaning to do to make the boat livable again. In her distress she had apparently wandered all over the house.

Going anywhere ashore usually involves passing through the popular Boat Basin Cafe, in the vaulted area under a traffic circle. New York's own "hole in the road."

Friday they called to share results of blood panels and other tests. IV hydration made quite an improvement, but it appeared she had developed mild infections in several organs. They wanted to keep her another night for continued hydration and to start a course of antibiotics, and we agreed. We went back ashore in the evening to grab some dinner and pick up a couple of things, stopping in the office to pay another few days' worth of dinghy landing fees.

As if having the cat in the hospital was not enough trouble for one day, the harbormaster informed us that we would need to move from our favorite spot to the northern anchorage, north of the sailboat moorings. We tried to negotiate with him but he would not budge. Since the feds have delegated management of this anchorage to the city, and the city ultimately can refuse to sell us dinghy landing, we really had no choice. It was too late to move the boat Friday and so he agreed to let us move on Saturday instead.

Vector in her new digs. GWB in the backgroun; Grant's Tomb to the right. Fort Lee, NJ at left.

Saturday we moved upriver on a partly favorable tide, set the hook, and then immediately had to head down to the animal hospital to pick Angel up. In a less hurried and harried moment, we were able to take the Subway down to the vet. After dropping three boat units to get the cat out of hock, we again took a Lyft back to the marina. This time she had to endure a tender ride of nearly a mile, which is how far we are now from the dinghy dock.

While it's not as good as down by Pier-i, there is still some people-watching up here. In addition to the usual walkers, runners, and cyclists on the river path, the lawn here gets used by sunbathers, and we even caught a bit of a concert on the hilly lawn adjacent to the tennis courts, sponsored by the Riverside Clay Tennis Association. We're also much closer to the George Washington Bridge here, and have a nice view of the bridge lit up at night, with the "little red lighthouse" beneath it.

Spotted this dead fish on the boat deck while I was working on spreader lights. That's a helluva jump, 10' above the water.

Angel is doing much better, although she's unhappy being medicated twice a day, a routine we'll have to continue for the next three weeks. And we've settled back in to life on the Upper West Side. Over the past week we've had dinner at a half dozen places in the area, gotten bagels from our usual kosher bagel joint, shopped at the local markets, and gotten some errands done, including swapping out our navigational iPad with a swollen battery for a replacement at the local Apple store.

We've re-connected with some friends who work in town and live north of here on the same subway line. We've also had our mail delivered, along with a number of Amazon items needed for boat projects. With parts in hand I've been chipping away at the backlog, including replacing the windlass remote, upgrading the spreader lights to LED while replacing a burned out bulb, and replacing the failed video monitor for the camera system.

Yesterday was "Manhattanhenge," and I had hoped to get a nice photo from dinner at the Amsterdam Ale House, but the weather did not cooperate. Of course, the days on either side of Manhattanhenge still have an alignment that makes walking west around sunset brutal.

These fireworks downriver happened last night, not July 4. Manhattanhenge celebration? Who knows.

After swinging at anchor here for nearly a week, it is very well set, and tomorrow we will spend the entire day taking the train down to the New Jersey shore to visit my parents, on the occasion of my dad's 90th birthday. Now that all my Internet devices are again working, we'll be able to keep tabs on everything remotely with the security cameras and AIS transponder. We'll medicate the cat just before we leave in the morning and as soon as we return in the evening.

I expect we'll be right here at least another week. We've ordered some more items to arrive on Monday, and I still have a list of things I'd like to do while we're here, a list that's been deferred due to the cat crisis and the unending boat projects. We're due out at the end of Long Island at the beginning of August, so we'll spend the last week or so of July heading in that direction.


  1. I learned to sail right there in the Hudson River, racing on J-24's every Thursday right after work. Those were some of my best days. Through this post, I got a brief whiff of the Hudson, and it felt like home. ;-)

    1. Thanks for your comment. These are challenging waters in which to learn to sail, between the wicked current, the relatively large tidal swing, the everpresent and busy commercial traffic, and the effects of the city on the wind itself. I remember having great respect for the tiny sailing club at my alma mater, Stevens. Nowadays, sailing schools here seem a bit more organized.

  2. I enjoy your blog Sean. We bought Two By Two from Rod and Pauline. Glad to hear that Angel is doing better.

    I was wondering if you would mind sharing the mfgr., model no., and seller for the monitor you purchased for Vector. I want to install a larger monitor for the camera system on Two By Two.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can share with me.

    Jeff Warren
    M/V Two By Two
    Novascotia 47 PH

    1. Hi Jeff. Thanks for following along. I'm not sure which monitor you are asking about. The one that displays the camera system full-time is very small, 7" diagonal. The security system is a 4:3 aspect ratio, but the little monitor is 16:9, so the image is "squished" (or I could choose to have black stripes down both sides and preserve the source aspect ratio).

      We're on our second one, and the most recent purchase can be found at this link:

      It replaced a unit that looks identical, but in a way that is endemic to Chinese knock-offs of knock-offs, the cable connectors are slightly different and the screen dimensions are just different enough that if I had chosen to flush-mount it, it would not fit. Oddly, the remote for one works with the other. The original item was here:

      The other monitor on the helm, which can display the camera video when needed but mostly serves to display charts from the main helm computer (which drives the boat) is an Insignia model purchased at Best Buy:

      This replaced a Proscan 19" from H.H. Gregg that Rod had recommended and which is identical to the one that might still be on Two by Two. I managed to damage a section of the LCD by getting it wet. It's been relegated to the guest stateroom as a TV set.

      The Proscan had just a single HDMI port, which was connected to the helm computer. Fortunately, my camera system has both HDMI and VGA outputs and I connected the VGA one to the VGA input on the Proscan. By contrast, the Insignia has no VGA but does have two HDMI inputs and so both the computer and the camera system are connected to the monitor via HDMI.

      The small 7" monitor is strictly RCA composite video input. My camera system outputs simultaneously on HDMI, VGA, and composite.


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