Tuesday, 7/22/08 Day 171
Today was pretty boring. Like a couple of days last week, we stayed on the boat all day. We didn't leave even to take showers. That is unusual. Mom and I worked on the website all day. We're getting pretty caught up. We are going to update it through Titusville, FL and the shuttle launch, then upload. That is really it for today. Boring, ain't it?
Wednesday, 7/23/08 Day 172
Today could have been yesterday, just located in a different place. We did laundry all day, and spent most of the day at the marina Laundromat. I did have a bit of fun, though. I got to play AGEod's American Civil War: The Blue & The Gray for the first time. Once I pretty much figured out how it worked, it was very fun. Another thing we did was work on the website. We're doing well!
This evening was great! Josh, Mom, and I all worked together to create a good dinner. It was mix of spaghetti, chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, and special chicken seasoning, along with stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and onions. It all tasted awesome!
After supper, we watched the Disney film "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland." It wasn't my favorite movie, but I enjoyed it. That all makes today okay. Hooray.
Thursday, 7/24/08 Day 173
Today was somewhat similar to 7/18/08. We met Grandma, Dad came home, and we ate dinner on the Lower East Side. The order of things was different though.
Today, we left to meet Grandma around 9:00am, trying to miss the rain. (There was 6 in. of water in the dinghy from last night's storm.) We met Grandma at the 59th St/Columbus Circle subway station. We took the D train to the Lower East Side. From there, we walked to Houston St. (pronounced house - ton). We stopped into a store called Russ & Daughters. It's been here forever and is famous. Grandma bought Halvah, a Jewish treat that I had never heard of before. It is made of sesame seeds and is a soft, dry block. Grandma bought the marble flavored - vanilla with chocolate swirls. It was okay. I think it is an acquired taste. The store had an entire candy counter with many candies I have never had. The lady let us each try some real licorice. I didn't like the black licorice, but the strawberry was good. We also bought some delicious sugared fruit jellies in assorted flavors.
We went to Katz's Deli for lunch. It is an old, famous deli where you go to the counter and order your food and then take it to your table. The décor made the place look like you were still in the 1940's and 1950's. The sandwiches were huge. The four of us shared a hot corned beef sandwich, a hot pastrami sandwich and a knish. It also came with a plate of deli pickles and tomatoes. I didn't like them, but the sandwiches were delicious!
After lunch, we walked down the street to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It is a museum with tours that take you into a late 1800's/early 1900's tenement building where German, Italian, Romanian, Jewish, and Irish immigrants all lived at one time or another in the building's history. This is where many of the immigrants came to after they cleared through Ellis Island. The apartments themselves were only 3 rooms - 325 sq. ft. Sometimes, a family of 10 would live in one apartment with 2 additional boarders. Sometimes even more people would stay in them. Originally the bathrooms were outside the building, but later they were added down the hall, so that two families would have to share one bathroom.
The first tour we took was called Getting By. It was an overview of the building and how the immigrants lived, but talked about two families specifically - a Jewish/German family and an Italian family. We saw their apartments. The Jewish/German family was a family of four that became three when the father disappeared during the Great Panic depression in NYC, leaving his wife and two girls. They "got by" by sewing dresses until the wife's father-in-law died and she inherited $600. They moved out ASAP! Most immigrants did move out as soon as they could, I guess you'd say, get themselves together.
The Italian family was also 4 people - husband, wife, and 2 boys. The husband lost his job during the Great Panic depression, but they "got by." He earned his U.S. Citizenship and got a job at the WPA. They were the last family to live in that apartment because things started to slow down and close down after anti-immigration laws were passed. There weren't enough immigrants to rent the apartments and the owner boarded up the building, just as it was.
The tour had an extra discussion called Kitchen Conversations attached to it. I liked that. There was iced tea and cookies too. We talked with a guy whose job it is to start interesting conversations. We talked about immigrants, where we lived, what we thought of the tour, etc. It was all ... interesting.
The second tour we took was called the Confino Tour. It is set in 1916 and you and the group have to pretend you are a Jewish family who has just emigrated from Eastern Europe. Our guide pretended to be from the Settlement House that helps immigrants find housing. He took "our family" to meet Victoria Confino while he "went to find the landlord." Victoria Confino is a 14yr. old girl who actually did live in the apartment in 1916. (Well, she was an actress, but she made it seem real.) It was very fun. She showed us all about living in the tenement. She told us what to wear - ridiculing the ladies for wearing trousers, and even saying that Mom was in her underwear when she noticed Mom's short shorts, half-scolding the men for wearing shorts, not trousers, but said that Josh and I (the only kids) were good wearing shorts, making us the only ones wearing "what we should." She told us the price for everything, what we could earn by sewing, doing carpentry, etc., and what we needed to know that was special, like school for us. She explained to us how to get the gas and that you put a quarter in the machine for 5 days of gas. Then she told Josh and I, secretly, how we could cheat the landlord by making quarter shapes out of ice to "fool that stupid machine that doesn't know the difference." She also told us how to get bedding for 15 of us by grabbing the wooden crates left behind by the street carts at the end of the day. For some furniture, she told us to go to the nicer parts of town and picking up what people put in the trash because "they have no idea what they are throwing away." The girl played the part well, with the accent and everything. That was my favorite tour.
By the time we were completed finished with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, evening was coming. We moseyed through Chinatown, stopping to buy some peanuts to feed the squirrels in Central Park later in the week, and ended up in Little Italy. We found Paesano's and stopped for dinner. I got cheese ravioli. They were good and filling! Josh got calamari, Mom got linguini w/ Portobello mushrooms in tomato sauce, and Grandma got baked manicotti. All of it was tasty, very, very tasty.
After dinner we took a cab to Penn Station where we split with Grandma like last time. She took the train back to NJ and we and took the subway home. It was dark when we got back. Around 9:30pm, Dad came home and we picked him up at the dock. We tried some of the sugared fruit jellies we bought at Russ & Daughters. They were some of the best sweets I've ever eaten!
Now that Dad's back, we're going to leave in a couple of days. NYC has been fun. But ... it's not over yet!
Friday, 7/25/08 Day 174
With Dad home, we started right up doing things on our list that he wanted to do. (While he was gone, we only did things he was not really interested in.) Unfortunately, that entailed walking all over the city, not taking the subway or bus or a taxi to go all over the city, but walking all over NYC. To put it simply, when we sate down for dinner, all of our legs and feet ached. Another unfortunate thing is that he wants to leave tomorrow for Port Washington, NY, on Long Island.
The first thing on the list was going to see the United Nation's Headquarters. We did take the subway to Grand Central Station, but then we walked from there, past the Chrysler Building to the UN HQ. Did you know that once you step onto the UN's land, you leave the USA and enter international territory? We took a tour that took us all around the complex. Our guide showed us many of the gifts given to the UN by its member countries. We saw a mural by Norman Rockwell called The Golden Rule, given by the U.S., and ivory carving from China that took 7+ years to make, Thailand's gift - the world's only exact replica of Suphannahog, the Royal Thai Bridge, and more. We also saw 3 of the 4 Council Chambers. We couldn't go to the Security Council Chamber because they were in session. Did you know that meetings fro this council can be called within 3 hours? The Economic & Social Council Chamber was also in session, but we were allowed to silently creep through the back. That was cool. We went into the Trusteeship Council Chamber, but didn't stay long, and ended the tour in the General Assembly hall. Did you know that a lottery is drawn to determine which countries' delegates sit in front? Or, did you know that all delegates must know one of the six official languages of the UN - English, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Spanish - or have an interpreter who can (there are 100+ interpreters)? And that all official documents are translated into those six languages? Don't you think that that's cool? I do.
That's all we saw of the UN. Actually, that's all we were allowed to see. We grabbed lunch at a street-side card and started walking through the city. We eventually grabbed a cab and drove to midtown and Wall St. We walked Wall St., stopping at the famous golden bull and the Federal Hall. The Federal Hall is now a museum, but was the place George Washington was inaugurated as our first US President, when NYC was America's capitol. We stayed there until it closed at 5:00.
When we were kicked out of the Federal Hall at 5:00pm, we started hiking to the Lower East Side. We hiked, seemingly aimlessly at times, to Little Italy. It took over an hour. We ended up eating dinner at Amici II (Amici I is in Naples, Italy). Dad got Frutti di Mare (Fruits of the Sea - seafood) with a whole lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp, pasta and more, which was good. I got rigatoni pasta with shrimp, portabella mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli in a vodka sauce (non-alcoholic). It was delicious! For dessert we shared a piece of tiramisu and a tartufo. Yum, yum! A funny part of supper was the "advertiser" standing by the menu. He sung in Italian to draw people in, then used the saying that "If you don't like it, you don't pay." He also rattled off all of the specials, and asked the people eating outside how they liked their food. It worked multiple times, including with us.
We took the subway home and all fell in our beds. Our legs and feet hurt. Here is what I have to say - "Yawn - I'm tired."
Saturday, 7/26/08 Day 175
Today was pretty uneventful. Though the original plan was to leave the West 79th St. Boat Basin Mooring Field, we stayed. We did some laundry while Dad worked on the hydraulic steering system. By the time we were all through with our tasks, we had missed the tides, making us unable to leave until tomorrow. So ..... we did some more laundry, hung out on board, and worked on the website.
We invited Mr. Bob over for dinner. We ate steak. Josh and I watched "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones." Mom, Josh and I are going to sleep. Who knows how late Dad and Mr. Bob will be up talking. Who cares. J
Sunday, 7/27/08 Day 176
Today we finally left NYC! After some quick grocery shopping and squirrel feeding, we took advantage of the tides we missed yesterday to get gone. We sailed with the outgoing current down the Hudson River to The Battery, and then up the East River. By the time we got to the East River, the incoming tide was helping us there. We were making 9 ½ knots. We zipped through the East River, under a bunch of cool bridges. No two bridges were alike, and all had ornate designs. We went under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queensboro Bridges to name a few. Mom took a lot of pictures. I really liked Hell Gate (it means bright gate or passage in Dutch). There are lots of big eddies which, together with the narrow, variable depth channel, make the current rip through and make Hell Gate virtually impassable if you don't have the current in your favor. We saw two boats going against the current have to turn back. We had the current in our favor and I liked it, but Dad was white knuckled at the helm.
Approx. four hours after we left the West 79th St. Boat Basin Mooring Field, we arrived in Port Washington on Long Island, NY. It was raining. Mom and I picked up one of the free mooring balls provided by the city. Anchorage-wise, Manhasset Bay is paradise compared to the Boat Basin. It is protected and calm. We got ready to meet Evan "Big E" Lieberman (who we saw on 7/1/08) and his family.
When we dinghied to shore, Evan, his wife Alex, and their 7yr. old son Eli met us and took us to dinner in their car. Their 11yr. old daughter wasn't with them because she is at camp all summer. We went out for pizza at Gino's. The antipasto salad and pizza were really good, and the bruschetta too.
After dinner, they came back to the boat with us. I got to drive Mom, Dad and Alex back, but as we unloaded, a fishing boat pulled up with Evan, Eli and Josh. They bummed a ride! We hung out for a while. We took a great picture of the 7 of us!
They left around 9:15pm. Josh and I went to bed. I can't sleep. I think I'm going to read. Whatever. Today was great.
Monday, 7/28/08 Day 177
We moved again today, this time to Northport, Long Island, NY. Daddy has a friend from college who lives here, so we saw him today. It was fun.
The sail to Northport from Port Washington was pretty uneventful. All we did was move two bays over. It took about 5 hours.
When we got to Northport, one of the first things I noticed was the boats. Not just the boats on mooring balls that completely filled the inner harbor, but the little boats that were sailing all around the big outer harbor of Northport Bay. Many of the little boats were full of kids who were sailing at camp. There must have been 100+ little gaff-rigged sailing dinghies. A good ½ of the kids weren't sailing at all, but playing around and swimming around the boats. One group of kids was having an all out war, smacking each other with paddles and knocking people off of their boats. The camp counselors were just anchored in the little motorboats in the center, talking.
Very soon after we got the anchor down, we got a call from Matt Roseman, Dad's friend. He said that we should come over right then. So we dinghied in, found a dock to tie up to, and met Matt right there. First he took us to a soda shop where we got egg creams and talked for a while. Then we drove to his house. It was really big on a huge lot with a swimming pool and two big, big yards. We met Caroline, Matt's 10yr. old daughter, and Maggie, their lab. His wife Libby was away on a business trip, so we did not meet her. They have a Wii that we played on for a while, and then we went to the private beach by their house. We played and I found some horseshoe crab skeletons. That was fun.
Back at the house, we grilled burgers. After dinner, we played in the pool some (we brought our bathing suits), and played baseball. Baseball was very fun. All but Mom and Maggie played. It was awesome. Josh hit a home run and I scored twice. J THE ENTIRE DAY WAS GREAT!!!!
Tuesday, 7/29/08 Day 178
We stayed in Northport today. Last night Matt said that he wanted to come see the boat and this afternoon his wife returned from out of town. But that was planned for the afternoon/evening, so we did our own thing during the day.
In the morning, we went to the Vanderbilt Mansion in Centerport, Long Island, NY, a town opposite from Northport on North port Bay. We tied the dinghy up at the Centerport Yacht Club and walked like half a mile uphill to the mansion.
The Vanderbilt family was very rich. Cornelius Vanderbilt made over 130 million dollars in the late 1800's and early 1900's, more than the federal budget at the time. He gave it all to his eldest son William. William doubled the money and gave it all to William II when he died. William Vanderbilt II built this house and traveled the world. The Spanish style house has a courtyard made of 40,000 cobblestones from the streets of Greenwich Village purchased when the city tore up the streets to put in electricity. Inside, he bought a door, floor and staircase from a Belgian castle to furnish the foyer, and his entertainment room he copied exactly from an English palace. For his bedroom, he wanted to buy Napoleon Bonaparte's furniture from the French Government. When they wouldn't sell it, he persuaded them to let his carpenter come to France and make exact copies.
The house has been converted to a museum as William Vanderbilt II wanted. He owned a 125 ft. motor yacht, Alva that he traveled the world on. His passion was marine biology and he has rooms full of specimens that he collected during his travels. Besides marine life, he collected artifacts such as a 3000 yr. old Egyptian mummy and shrunken heads from Fiji. His son, who died in his 20's in a car accident, went on safari for four years, and there are two rooms of specimens he collected, as well as a part of the house with dioramas of the animals in their natural habitats, much like we saw at the Museum of Natural History in New York. It was all pretty cool.
We went to Northport for lunch and then went back to the boat. At the boat, we dropped Independence and I sailed. I returned around 5:30pm. Matt called and said that he was stuck in traffic and Libby was sick, so they couldn't make it.
We are going to leave tomorrow for Stony Creek, CT and the Thimble Islands. It will be really fun. I'm sure of it. That's all for now folks. This is Christopher A. Gohlke, KE5NXA, Kilo Echo five November X-ray Alpha, signing off.
Wednesday, 7/30/08 Day 179
We did go to Stony Creek, CT today. It took all day to get across Long Island Sound. We did have some good fishing though. Leaving Northport, Long Island, NY, I hooked a little Bluefish on a pink squid. It got away half way in. About halfway through the trip, Josh reeled in a larger Bluefish, but it also got away. Even later, we hooked something. The hook must have gotten caught on something in the Sound, like a lobster pot, and spooled our reel. I did rig another pink "Bluefish killer" squid to replace the one we lost. We had fun, even though we didn't land anything.
Another cool thing we saw leaving Northport was people raking clams off the bottom. They use long poles with wire baskets on the end and bring in lots of clams. I want to rake clams with Josh. Dad & I are going to make a rake out of two 8ft. pieces of PVC pipe that retracts to one 8ft. section with a handle on one end and a wire basket on the other. It will be fun.
At around 5:00pm, we arrived in the Thimble Islands, a group of over 25 private and inhabited granite islands, created by the glacier that formed Connecticut, Long Island Sound, and Long Island. The islands are extremely beautiful and are supposed to look like Maine. We anchored between High Island and Money Island.
Soon after the anchor was down, we dinghied in to the town of Stony Creek, CT. Stony Creek isn't its own town, but a borough of Branford, CT. We walked up the road and found a library where we inquired about wi-fi. The people were really nice and a man named John offered to pick up some groceries from the store two miles away. We met him at the package store (liquor store) down the road. While the adults picked up the groceries, bought wine and beer, and talked for what seemed like forever, Josh and I explored. Behind the package store in the woods is a 30ft. cliff that we climbed down. There is a dried up creek bed, lots of hills, a mud slide site, and lots of cool places to hike. I got pretty scratched up, but it was fun. I hope we go back.
The evening was uneventful after that. We are going to stay here tomorrow and Friday. Friday evening, we will leave for Cape Cod on an overnight passage. That's a ways to come though. Tomorrow should be just as great as today!
Thursday, 7/31/08 Day 180
We spend most of the day in places other than Stony Creek. We met up with two people - Tom Weil (see 7/3/08) and Nate Atwater, a fraternity brother of Dad's. It was a good day for sure.
Tom Weil picked us up in the morning in his car and we drove to Mystic, CT. On the way, we stopped in Noank, CT for an early lunch at Abbott's Lobsters in the Rough. We all got lobster rolls, a big scoop of lobster in butter sauce on a toasted roll. It was yummy!
We continued from there to Mystic Seaport. Tom Weil has the largest collection of rowing and crew (a sport) memorabilia in the world and he has an exhibit in Mystic Seaport. I thought I would be bored, but it was very interesting. Tom was our personal guide and told us stories and facts about many of the items. I think that made it better than just looking around on my own. We also saw the Charlie W. Morgan, a whaling ship, as well as a working cooperage and blacksmith shop. It was all cool.
We stopped at the package store on the way home. Josh and I explored more. Then we went home. We had a great time with Mr. Tom.
Nate Atwater came over soon after we got home. It was after 5:00pm. We ate dinner and the adults talked. Josh wanted to watch Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and Mom made me watch too. Whatever.
We are going to leave tomorrow evening. At least we'll have all day in the Thimbles. Today was great!