New York, Day Two: Circle Line

What a wonderful thing it is to wake up in New York City.

Our first outing of the day was the Circle Line cruise. Yes, it’s touristy, but neither of us had ever done it, so I think that makes it OK. The boat goes all the way around Manhattan.

We started at Pier 83 at West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, in Hell’s Kitchen. The neighborhood, formerly a crime-ridden slum, is now a trendy — and expensive area. Ninth Avenue, around 42nd Street, is known for its variety of ethnic food. There will be a return trip to this part of town.

The cruise took about two-and-a-half hours, though you can take a shorter trip. I stood at the bow for the best photo opps, and was hoping the entire time that no one would feel the need to do the Titanic thing. No one did.

One of the first sights we saw was the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. One of these days I want to walk across it and see lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn side.

Brooklyn Bridge

For about 30 minutes, I heard no English. I was surrounded by Spanish, French, German, and what might have been Russian, but I’m not sure. I think it’s apropos that I realized this as we approached Ellis Island, and passed very near the Statue of Liberty. The Statue is closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, so we got as close as anyone else could. It was hard to imagine I was really that close to the Statue of Liberty. I took about 50 pictures of it. That was the first time I’ve seen it except from the window of an airplane, and it took my breath away.


It was windy and a little chilly, but so very worth it, as the view of lower Manhattan was nothing short of spectacular; the photos don’t really capture it.

My crappy attempt at a selfie with lower Manhattan in the background
My crappy attempt at a selfie with lower Manhattan in the background

Moving uptown into Harlem, the only thing to see besides a bunch of nearly-identical apartment buildings was these colorful murals. For all I know, these could be gang signs, but I found them interesting.


I checked out the south Bronx, notorious for being a rough and scary place to be. Indeed I do believe I’ve seen about all I need to see of the south Bronx.


The central-northern part of the Bronx looked a little nicer, with some newer-looking residential development and Yankee Stadium. I liked seeing it, though I’ll never be mistaken for a Yankee fan.


I recommend the Circle Line for anyone who wants to get a good overview of Manhattan from the water, or for anyone who likes to take pictures.

After that we looked for a cab to make a quick stop at the hotel before heading out for lunch. There were none to be found, so we took a pedicab, which is a bicycle that a guy with very well-developed calves rides and pulls you behind him in a cart. It was a much better way to see Hell’s Kitchen than in a speeding cab, but when we got out, he told us it would be $36 … each. For 10 blocks. So no more pedicabs. Sadly, both my iPhone and my camera batteries were dead by the end of the cruise, so I have no photos of Hell’s Kitchen.

This is getting long, so I’ll do a separate post on our lunch at a sidewalk cafe on the Upper West Side, and touching the apartment building where Paul Simon used to live. 

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