From a river view to 850 feet

To make sure we got to the dock in time, we took a Lyft from the motel to the Circle Line Tours. This was something I had done with the band on that 1979 trip and was really looking forward to sharing it with Karen and Sofia. We thought our boat left at 9. It didn’t leave until 10. So we had a while to kill.

This boat tour circles the entire island of Manhattan. It gets close to the statue of liberty and goes under all of the bridges, except one that spun out of the way. Our tour guide was a former high school teacher and he definitely made the tour interesting. You could tell he was still sore about the Dodgers leaving for Brooklyn. By the way, that happened in 1957. But he gave us some very interesting history and highlights of a city he was obviously extremely proud of.

Story continues after photos from Circle Line Cruise.

Once we got off the boat, we needed to find a place for lunch. When we put our Google maps together before the trip, we found a Shake Shack in the vicinity of the docks. However, it was in a mall and there wasn’t really a place to sit down. So we went walking. After ruling out the Chinese place that ended up being closed, we found a little and very old diner. They had great burgers and gross bathrooms.

We had more walking planned for the day, but we did look over our itinerary the night before and took off a few stops. This way we sort of headed off the teenage whining at the pass.

We walked by the Vessel, which was closed for upkeep, and walked along the High Wire, which is a converted elevated train track section. Sort of like our rails to trails out here. On our way to the New York Public Library, the scene for one of the greatest movies of all time, Ghostbusters, we finally did some souvenir shopping. We stopped at several gift shops along Broadway.

We headed over to see the splendor of Grand Central Station AND St Patrick’s Cathedral. As we were headed to the St. Patrick we saw something you don’t see every day. One person with a white cane holding onto another person using a white cane; literally the blind leading the blind. Only in New York.

We stopped into FAO Schwarz to look at all the toys. Then finished the day with a spectacular sunset from 850 feet at the top of the rock.

Karen and I are big fans of beautiful sunsets, so we wanted to see what it was like from a tall NYC building. We pre-purchased tickets for the Top of the Rock, which is 30 Rockefeller Place’s 67th floor observation deck. We got there early because we wanted to stake out our spot before anybody else got there. It’s a good thing we did. Sunset was scheduled for 8:26. Although because of the cloud cover, the sun would disappear long before that. We found a great spot up against the plexiglass walls, that conveniently had a gap between two of the panes. That’s where I was able to stick my camera lens so I got an unobstructed view of the sunset.

While we were standing there that section continued to get more and more crowded as others were preparing to say so long to sol for the day. We heard a minimum of five languages being spoken around us. We even heard someone flowing back and forth between English and whatever unidentified language he was speaking. He certainly knew all of the English four-letter words.

Even though it was getting late, we still had not had dinner. But hey, we were in Times Square now, there had to be something. The first place where we could sit down was Margaritaville. They said there would be a one hour wait. We were already supposed to have been back at the hotel to pack for the Friday trip home, so we walked out and only two doors down was Red Lobster. There was no wait. We think we know why. All the waiting was done after we sat down.

We waited for him to come back for our drink orders. We waited for him to come get our orders. The place was maybe half full at best. We waited forever to find him to remind him that Karen didn’t get EITHER of the ranch dressings she was supposed to get with her order. And when I asked another waitress to please grab our waiter, she said, “I’ve got tables spread out all over the restaurant, I can’t do that.” Then we waited for our check. Then we waited so long for him to come back to grab the check and my card, I had to finally approach the front desk but she said our server had to take care of it. She finally told another server to take care of the payment a few minutes later.

One of our initial hesitations for him to take the card right away is because we thought the bill was a little high. They automatically added 18% to the bill, but didn’t call your attention to it like other places will. He got 10% after I was done with it.

Then it was time to take our final two subway rides back to the hotel. We quickly found the subway station at 42nd Street, but we were running behind. The PATH train starts a different route at 11PM. One that takes longer to go through to get back to Journal Square. Sure enough we missed the last regular daytime train and settled for a very crowded after 11 run. There were still a ton of people once we got to our final destination, but as everyone had gotten off our train, people noticed one guy sleeping at the end of a bench. Or was he? Several people tried to get him to wake up, but the guy never budged. Not so much as an “oof” when someone poked him. So we’re not sure if we just saw some very drunk guy, somebody drugged out of his mind, or a very dead guy. We’ll never know which.

We walked almost 14 miles on Thursday even with us sitting on a boat for 2 ½ hours.

You can read the experiences of the rest of our trip below.

February to June 12

Planning and the road out We started planning our New York City trip for June in early February. Maybe the cold still had our brains half frozen, because the first mistake was our choice of motels. Not sure how it happened, but when we checked the address, we realized...


Just how far did we walk? It was a beautiful day for a walk. With lots of walking before lunch. And more walking after. My teenage daughter didn’t like it. Oh well. She was warned…in February. One of the few things we bought timed tickets for was to get into the...


Lady Liberty and Family History In my previous trips to NYC, I had never gone out to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This time we did. We had pre-purchased tickets a couple of months before to take the first ferry out from the New Jersey side. But not before we experienced...

Friday and Trip Home

Bridge Walk and the Ride Home We woke up about an hour later than we wanted to, but we didn’t have anything scheduled so we weren’t missing anything. But it did get us going a little later than we wanted to, which would cause issues later. It was mostly cloudy with a...