It’s Thursday, November 16th, 2017 and we’re tied up at Great Kills Yacht Club. John Calascibetta provided us with information and resources to get anywhere in the City with the MTA system, so we plan a trip to the Cloisters in the Bronx. Our transit plan is to walk six minutes to the X1 bus on Fieldway and Hylan, then get off in lower Manhattan at Chambers where we can get the A train right up to 190th Street, then a ten minute walk to the Cloisters.
Once there, we plan to take the scheduled one hour fifteen minute guided tour that starts at three pm. Then we reverse the transit plan and get back to Kailani in time for supper.
The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it’s dedicated to medieval art and architecture, which is very interesting to both Tracy and I. So we’re really looking forward to this trip. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had the Cloisters constructed in the mid 1930’s partially from new at-the-time stonework that combines with medieval stonework that had been dismantled, numbered and shipped to the jobsite for re-construction in exact order. So effectively, the structure becomes a medieval exhibit in itself. This is ingenious and extremely well done to be able to see actual stones and statues cut and shaped by hand from the medieval ages seamlessly incorporated into modern stone construction. The last thing Rockefeller did prior to completion of the Cloisters was to purchase seven hundred acres of New Jersey land directly across the Hudson River and dedicate that land to open space, so there couldn’t possibly be any high rises or other visible structures when looking out from the grounds of the Museum. (Nick raved about the stonework but the carvings were exquisite. Here are a few examples. The last one is a rosary BEAD, that opens and is carved inside and out. -tc)
So to say we had an enjoyable day is an understatement as we were extremely pleased with this trip.
Getting around in New York City is a challenge unto itself, however smartphones and available apps have taken most of the unknowns out of the transit process. Just like directions in Google maps, there are apps where you enter your starting point, your destination and when you are available to depart and the app will map out for you the trains/buses/ferries, etc along with walking directions to recommended stations. Tracy also found an app that provides real time data on when a bus/train is approaching. This is the kind of information smartphones are meant to provide! That’s the good news, the bad news is that for this trip to the Cloisters, we basically stepped off Kailani at twelve o’clock noontime, spent the hour and fifteen minutes at the Cloisters, and got back to Kailani at six thirty pm! Six and a half hours for a one plus hour visit. It takes a different person than me to get used to doing this everyday!
Getting back to Kailani was all good as Tracy went into the galley and came out with delicious penne ala vodka with sausage and garlic bread. A nice hot cup of tea topped it off and we slept well that night.
We decided to stay on board Kailani for Friday doing some chores that we had on our list(s). Tracy did some sanding and staining of the salon woodwork and I replaced the wall sconces in the master stateroom. We had purchased the replacement fixtures prior to our departure, so this was a nice opportunity to get some boxes that had been taking up space off the boat. The staining and electrical both came out to our liking and we were pleased that we spent this time on board. Also, today, Tracy found a way to buy discounted theater tickets, so we made plans to go on Saturday back into the City to see ‘Latin History for Morons’ with Johm Leguizamo at Studio 54 on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday is another day for travel into the City, but now, we are a bit more mentally prepared for the transit ordeal. The Studio 54 is on W 54th St so our commute shouldn’t be as long, but we will want to get into the city early enough to pick up the tickets and get a bite to eat before the two pm show, so our plan today is to depart around ten am. While we are walking through the yard of the yacht club a gentlemen approaches us and introduces himself. He tells us that he heard that we were AGLCA members cruising the loop and tells us of his loop journey in 2015 where he and his wife took there three children ages two, eight and ten and took off for a year on the loop. He was so impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of loopers along the way, he just had to pay it forward and offered us unconditional use of his Mustang Cobra for the entire time we are docked here at GKYC! This place is just overflowing with great people. Harbor Host John also let us know that the club was having their Thanksgiving Dinner Party later on this evening and we were more than welcome to join the members for a huge turkey dinner. Tracy told him of our tickets to the theater and let him know we would try to catch the last part of the dinner upon our return. So off we went to meet our X1 bus into the City. This trip would be mush easier because there were no transfers. The X1 bus would take us right to 6th and W 52nd St where we would have a short walk to 8th and W 54th ST. And if we weren’t lucky enough already, as we headed north up 6th Ave, the bus was diverted at 42nd St over to 8th due to a Greek street festival on 6th Ave that blocked all traffic north of 50th St. So we were let off at 8th and W 52nd St basically two short blocks from the theater. It was just noontime, so we went directly to the theater and picked up the tickets, then walked back to a diner we had passed for a scrumptious, freshly made $20 lunch. After our lunch we still had some time, so we walked up to the southern edge of Central Park and walked around Columbus Circle and into the Park. As we were dodging street merchants trying to get us to sign up for bicycle tours of the Park, we spotted four of New York’s Finest standing at the USS Maine Monument and they graciously agreed to pose with Tracy. Then we had to start heading back towards the theater. (But I din’ do nuffin’ officer! -tc)
Today’s show, ‘Latin History for Morons’ is a two-hour, one-man show written and performed by John Leguizamo. In it, he tells the real life story of explaining the rich history of the Latin Culture to his eighth grade son. He does this in extremely humorous fashion that only John can pull off and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves. If we only knew what the MTA had in store for us we wouldn’t be so relaxed as we walked out at the end!
We only had to walk one block east to 7th Ave and one block south to W 53rd St but we ended up missing the 4:04 pm pickup by only two minutes. It was drizzling out when we exited the theater, but no worries because there were buses every fifteen minutes, or so we thought! As the X1 riders started to pile-up at this stop, we didn’t see an X1 bus come by for at least 45 minutes. When we first got to the stop, there was another couple that had been in the same show and waiting for the same bus, so we started talking with them and the wife had an app that said the next bus was 9 minutes away. Nine minutes later it was 4 minutes away, then 8 minutes away, then 2 minutes away, then 6 minutes away. That bus never came. But finally, we got an X1 bus around 5 pm and we were off to Staten Island. What we didn’t know at first was that the southbound side of the Hugh Carey Tunnel (formerly the Battery Park Tunnel) was closed and there was only one lane north and one lane south in the northbound tunnel. So by losing an hour with the bus wait, coupled with the traffic snarls created by the closed tube of the tunnel, we thought there would be no way to catch up with the hospitality offered by the Great Kills Yacht Club members and their Thanksgiving Dinner. And it turned out to be right, by the time we walked back to the yacht club, there were only a few stragglers remaining in the banquet hall and all the food and desserts were gone. But Harbor Host John and his wife Juliet were still there and I got to spend an hour or so with them while Tracy walked straight back to Kailani to attend to Frankie who had been left alone on the boat today.
Tomorrow, Sunday, still doesn’t look favorable for a departure, so I let John know we’d still be around for a few more days and he said that if we needed more water in our tanks to just go ahead and hook up the hoses and get whatever we needed. I said my goodnights and thank-you and walked back down the dock to Kailani. Overnight and into Sunday morning we should be getting some rain and very heavy winds.
Sunday comes and we’re watching the weather closely, and it looks like it’s possible to safely head south by Wednesday. So for the next couple of days, we’ll do some chores on board, like cleaning, organizing, etc. and continue to watch the marine weather. We also start reaching out to resources farther south. I make contact with Lance Chambeau and Foster Schucker. Lance is the Harbor Host for Toms River, NJ and Foster is the Harbor Host for Chesapeake City. Both respond to us with feedback on strategies, marinas, etc. Also, Tracy calls the Barnegat Bay BoatUS service provider and he gives her some tips on bailouts into the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway in case we need to use that option.
As it turns out there end up being small craft warnings each day thru Wednesday so we look for a Thanksgiving departure to head for Atlantic City.
Staying here this long gives Tracy’s friend Diane Dowling a chance to come visit us on her day off, so on Tuesday, Diane comes down to the Great Kills for the day and we have a great day with her. She brings us some Italian cookies which we all enjoy with coffee after our late lunch. Diane falls in love with Kailani and Frankie. We make plans for her to come back again when we’re in a warmer climate and she can enjoy an extended stay cruising with us.
Wednesday’s data for the marine forecast looks like we’ll be able to plan a Thursday morning departure for Atlantic City, so we enjoy our last day in Staten Island riding back into the city to catch one more broadway show. This time we get tickets for Miss Saigon at The Broadway Theater and again, the production is spectacular. Also in attendance at this matinee performance is actor Richard Kind, sitting second row center. Actors enjoy watching other actors also! While we’re waiting for the show to begin, Tracy takes the opportunity to confirm our arrangements for Farley State Marina on Thursday afternoon and also calls Greenwich Boat Works where we plan to be by Saturday afternoon.
Traffic in the city is especially heavy today as the city prepares for tomorrow’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and everyone else prepares for getting away the day before a holiday. We make it back to Kailani by 7:00 pm and Frankie is waiting by the window for us. Tracy makes a nice macaroni dinner and we plan for an early bedtime so we can start bright and early tomorrow morning.
The members of Great Kills Yacht Club that we’ve met this past week are some of the best boaters we’ve run into. Their hospitality and friendliness have been over the top and we can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done to make us feel at home here. Even to the point where just after the show this afternoon while waiting for the X7 bus, I got a call from Gold Looper John Scarcella who said that he was at the yacht club earlier today and noticed that we were still docked. So if we were still here tomorrow (Thanksgiving), there was no way he was going to let us spend the holiday alone on Kailani and he was insisting that we spend the day at his house with his family. We now have something very special to be grateful for and that is the Great Kills Yacht Club and its members!