One thing about not having gainful employment is your schedule is flexible. One thing about ADD is you can be easily distracted. When you combine the two of these, you may as well save your time on making plans.
We took off with a plan to go downtown to Battery Park, go east and walk along the East River up to the Brooklyn Bridge. We even talked about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a constant parade of pedestrians doing just that!
We jumped on the C train and got off at the Fulton Street station. Heading toward the walkway by the shore, we came across a cobblestone street. There was an old lighthouse sitting in Titanic Memorial Park, an area tucked away near the coast of the southern tip of Manhattan. Beside the monument was a plaque telling the story of this lighthouse. This beacon was the channel marker on Governors Island in the late 1700’s, providing safe passage into the New York harbor for the thousands of ships bringing goods into the city. It would have guided the Titanic into port if the Titanic had made it home safely.
Across the street was an old red brick warehouse building that appears to be several hundred years old. Sure enough, it was the Bowne & Co. Stationers, a printing company. It is New York’s oldest operating business and doubles as a museum, part of the Seaport Museum complex.
We were thinking of changing our plans and taking some walking tours and going through the museum complex when Jerry spotted the mast of a large sailing vessel sitting at a dock in the harbor. Instinctively, she just started walking toward the harbor. She’s always been intrigued by the oceans and seas. She must have been sailor in a previous life.
The museum “fleet” is composed of 5 ships. We toured the Wavertree and the Ambrose. These old ships are fascinating.
The Wavertree is almost 300 feet long, the three masts carry over 30,000 sq. feet of sails. It housed a crew of 21 sailors and 3 officers. These guys were at sea for up to 3-4 months at a time. The cargo hulls were huge. You could almost sense the excitement of young sailors hitting a port call in Rio de Janeiro or Cape Horn.
The Ambrose held no romantic dreams. It was strictly a working boat and looks the part. Going to sea in 1908 and working until 1932, she marked the Sandy Hook harbor lines for a quarter century.
The WO Decker, a tugboat, was closed to the public tours at this time. We got a look, up close and personal of a working class boat. Jerry thinks the tugboats are cute and all have a personality. They do, but they also work their butts off. They push these barges and other huge ships up and down the rivers, and guide the large ships into the piers daily. They easily win your heart.
The Lettie G. Howard and the Pioneer were gone. They were out taking tourists on sailing trips around the harbor and the Green Lady. We’ll catch them later.
We couldn’t see the whole area, so we made a plan to come back and re-visit the area. So much to see and things to learn about the early days of our nation and how it grew. We will be back.