Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chocobo in Manhattan

We arrived in New-York City on the Island of Manhattan and took a mooring at the 79th street Boat Basin where we can stay for $30/night and be right in the center of Manhattan. We arrived at sunset and went ashore to stretch our legs before dinner. We were quite tired of the ride from Croton-On-Hudson and when we saw this pizza place on Broadway near the 78th street, Danielle looked at me and I said “A slice of Pizza?” she immediately turned toward the Pizza joint and say “Yep!”. That was settled, pizza it was. After a greasy pepperoni and cheese slice we went back to the boat for the night.


This short evening escape in Manhattan didn’t show us anything near of how beautiful the place is. The next day we left early and spent the day walking on Broadway and in Central Park. Manhattan is a world by itself. People look differently, buildings look differently and the general atmosphere is different than anywhere else. Fashion is of all kind and the people are of all possible cultural background where the color of their skin mixes with the tone of this Babel tower of second language English and of all the possible variants of New-York English enriched by generations of immigration.

After being stunned by the architecture of the buildings on North Broadway we entered Central park. If you think you’ve seen Central park in movies, well you haven’t. The place is just unreal. This Island of green in the middle of 19th century buildings is just a piece of heaven that takes you out for a relaxing ride through ponds, oak trees and stone bridges. Walking a few kilometers in this immense park we just had the impression of being on another planet. Hand to hand we walked the paths of Central park with runners passing us from time to time or crossing a women with two kids whom skin colors made it clear that she was the nanny. Actually it was pretty impressive how many nannies we met with someone else’s kid. Like I said, Manhattan is different world.

After a long walk through the park we came back to the West side of the park and realized that we hadn’t covered even half of it. We sat on one of the many benches that populate the paths of the park and relaxed while looking at the map of Manhattan we just bought at the book store on Broadway. We took the time looking at people walking their dogs and, in other cases, at dogs walking their master then we resumed our walk South on Central Park Avenue, the street running along the park of the same name.

After stopping at one of the Starbuck Coffee that you can literally find every 4 blocks we turned on 72nd street toward the Hudson River. We stopped at a sort of hardware store on 72nd because we needed a little electric heater. Our heating system on board that heats the rooms has a little problem and we want to spare it. Space is expensive in Manhattan and we entered the little shop that was about 8 feet wide, including the shelves full of all sorts of hardware parts, but a good 60 feet long. A tall and skinny guy was serving a customer at the cash while another one was just standing there. I asked him if they had electric heaters. The guy said sure and he pointed me at a bunch of boxes in front of him. We looked at them and sure enough they were three kinds of heaters. The guy helped us with the boxes and their characteristics and we chose one of them. While I was at the cash to pay, the guy who served us told the cashier who apparently was the owner “Ok, I’ll catch you later” and left. The guy wasn’t even working at the store at all! Next door was a barber shop and I needed a haircut. An old man greeted me and $19 later I had a good inch of hair gone with the clipper. With my new uncovered ears we walked back to the marina and to the boat. It was our first day in Manhattan but a very nice day. We plan to stay here at least a week.