Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dinner Cruise on NYC's Hudson and East Rivers

Our last night in New York City was extraordinary.  We arrived by taxi to Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River, on Manhattan's west side.  Chelsea Piers was built in 1910 as a terminal for passenger ships.  It was supposed to be the docking destination of the ill-fated Titanic. Now it's a dock for Spirit Cruises, Atlantica, and Bateaux New York.

Steve booked our three-hour evening dinner cruise before our arrival in NYC.   Boarding began at 6:15 p.m. and the boat departed at 7:00 p.m.  

The European-inspired Bateaux New York has a curved glass ceiling and walls that allow great views of NYC's iconic skyline.  It's 200 feet long and was built in 1996 by a French company. There is an outdoor deck for guests to enjoy, but our table was next to a window, so we stayed inside throughout the cruise - except when Jerry went out to take a few pictures.

When we pulled out of the pier, New Jersey was visible on one side of the Hudson River and New York City on the other side.  It was still day light when the cruise began, so we got to see the skyline in both day light and later in twilight.
Guys and gals sat side-by-side at the beginning of the cruise, and later we switched to couples.

[Steve and Jerry]

[Sharon and Me]

Being the dish lover that I am, I had to take a picture of the china!

~ We started our meal with shrimp cocktail. ~

The tall building with the spire is the 'One World Trade Center Building'.  

Below are buildings along the Hudson River.  We saw Battery Park that was the site of Dutch fortifications in the 1600's.  Battery refers to the cannons installed by the British during Colonial times.  And the South Street Seaport, that also dates back to the 1600's - once the world's gateway to New York City and America.

When the boat left the Hudson River sailing into the East River we could see the three iconic 'BMW' bridges - Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg. The lights on the Brooklyn bridge at dusk were beautiful.

Then the boat turned around and headed out to New York Harbor where we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I went to Ellis Island in 1999, so it wasn't a part of this trip's itinerary.

Lady Liberty - proudly standing 300 feet about the harbor - was beautifully lit up in the darkness. The boat sat in the harbor for awhile allowing everyone to enjoy her.  So blessed to be an American! She was a gift from France in 1885.

Twelve million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island  between 1892 and 1957.

I love the sonnet, 'The New Colossus' written by American poet, Emma Lazarus in 1883.  It was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the Statue of Liberty pedestal. It reads in part: "...Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

My main dinner entrée was Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, with Sweet Corn, Red Pepper and Thyme Succotash, and a Cajun Cream Sauce.  It was SO good!  I forgot to take a picture of dessert, which was New York Style Cheesecake.

[Jerry and Me]

[Steve and Sharon]

Steve mentioned to our waiter that we were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary, so just before the cruise ended he brought me a bouquet of red roses.

We took a taxi back to the guest house, and packed our suitcases for an early morning flight back to Michigan the next day.  It was a fabulous trip, but all good things must come to an end. We didn't get to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Macy's on Herald Square, Lady Mendl's Tea Salon, or Harney Tea shop in So-Ho, but there's always next time!  I'm grateful for everything we did accomplish, and I hope you've enjoyed traveling along with us.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Walking the 'High Line' in NYC

High Line is a 1.45 mile long linear park in Greenwich Village [a neighborhood on the west side of lower Manhattan] made on an elevated [30 ft.] section of now defunct N.Y. Central Railroad's West Side Line.  The last train to run on the track was in 1980.  

Repurposing of the railway into an urban park was done in three phases beginning in 2006 and concluding in 2014.  The park gets nearly five million visitors a year.  Most of the photos are mine, but two are from Wikimedia Commons and are indicated as Internet photos.  The 14th street entrance was a short distance from Tea and Sympathy tea room.

~ Entrance ~

It may only be 1.45 miles long, but after eating a big meal at Tea and Sympathy it seemed a lot longer.  It was a fun NYC experience.

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo]

As you can see it was breezy up there, and a bit chilly too so Jerry loaned me his jacket.

At the end of the line were historical displays from when the railway functioned until now.

We got a taxi back to the guesthouse, and had a little time to relax before boarding the boat at 6:15 p.m. for our dinner cruise on the Hudson and East Rivers.  Next post...

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Visit to Tea and Sympathy

Mother Nature gave us beautiful weather for our last day in New York City.  I would soon cross another activity off my "bucket list" -  having tea at Tea and Sympathy in Greenwich Village - but before that, a walk to Gray's Papaya on the S.E. corner of 72nd Street and Broadway in the Upper East side was on the agenda for one of their famous hot dogs [our breakfast].  I'm not a hot dog person, but a Gray's Papaya hot dog smothered with chili is an exception, and I must admit it was quite good.

On one of our movie nights before our trip to NYC, Steve brought over the 1997 drama/romance movie, Fools Rush In, with a scene about Gray's Papaya hot dogs. They're also in You've Got Mail.

[Scene from the movie]

From Gray's Papaya, we got on the subway to Greenwich Village, where a visit to Tea and Sympathy tea room was about to happen.  I purchased my Tea and Sympathy cookbook back in 2003, and immediately placed the small, quaint British tea room on my list of places to visit in NYC.  I wish I would have thought to pack my book for Nicky to sign, but how was I to know I'd actually get to meet her.  Next visit!

[Book Cover]

Owner, Nicola [Nicky] Perry is a British expat who opened her shop in 1991 and it's still going strong 25 years later.  British notables - Judi Dench, Kate Moss, and Rupert Everett - have all eaten there when on this side of the pond.

~ Below I'm happily standing in front of the tea room. ~

Nicky and her husband also have a fish and chips shop - A Salt and Battery - where they proudly beat TV chef, Bobby Flay, at a fish and chips cook-off on his show, Throwdown - food network channel. [Note to self: Must eat there next time we're in NYC.]

When we arrived, the small shop - which holds 20 guests, or a max of 23 if they're squeezed in tightly - was filled to capacity, so we gave our name and Steve and Jerry waited outside while Sharon and I went next door to their U.K. food, tea, and tea accessories shop.

Steve sitting on the bench in his Detroit Tiger's jersey, checking his cell phone messages.

~ The eclectic U.K. food store next door ~

It was filled with every kind of British food imaginable, and if I hadn't been flying home, I could have gone wild in there.  British expats living in NYC must absolutely love the store.  

~ Lots of tea accessories ~

I only purchased a postcard, and a tin of their Rosie Lee Blend - a black tea closely akin to English breakfast tea.

These are the three teas I purchased on my  trip.

As we exited the cute shop I couldn't resist taking a photo of the mosaic of Queen Elizabeth II hanging on the wall.

When we went back outside to wait for our name to be called, the owner, Nicky, came out, and I was so happy to be able to get my picture taken with her.  She was very friendly, and said I could post the photo on their Facebook page, but I haven't done it yet.

A table for four was finally available, and our name was called.  It was well-worth the wait! Tea and Sympathy is dubbed, "New York's most popular English tea room" and all those who filled it were proof it's true. The informal interior is like stepping into someone's grandmum's kitchen! I smiled at all the crooked pictures and British memorabilia hanging on the walls. There's not one pretentious thing about the establishment. It's pure quintessential British enjoyment. 

The tea room is open seven days a week, with varying hours, and there is a $12.50 minimum food order per person - which tallies up easily.

~ Jerry and Steve ~

~ Sharon and Me ~

They have a delicious looking Afternoon Tea option [the table next to us ordered it], but we each ordered a different selection from the menu:  Steve got mac and cheese, Sharon got a salad, and Jerry got shepherd's pie [lamb], and I got cottage pie [beef].  Yum!  Yum!  Yum!

Have the photos made you hungry yet?  ;-)  The china was eclectic.  I ordered a pot of their black tea blend.  When Nicky walked by, she glanced at my teacup and said, "No milk in your tea?"  The British always add milk to their black tea, but I almost always drink mine plain, without any sugar or milk.

And for dessert, a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake.  Like everything else, it was delicious.  If you are planning a trip to NYC, put Tea and Sympathy at the top of your list.  It's a wonderful and unique British dining experience.

'High Line' is in Greenwich Village, and wasn't far from Tea and Sympathy, so that was our next activity for the day. We definitely needed an exercise activity to work off all the calories we consumed.  It seemed like we were constantly eating in NYC whether we were hungry or not. Almost everything we wanted to see and do involved food, and had to be squeezed into our four day stay. Amazingly - because we walked five miles everyday, which isn't hard to do in NYC - I only gained two lbs. the entire trip [Boston and NYC].  Not that I'm happy about a weight gain, but it could have been a lot worse.

Next post, High Line... 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Broadway Musical

To complete our third day in NYC, we saw the Broadway musical, Les Misérables, at the Imperial Theatre, located at 249 W. 45th Street [between Broadway and 8th Street].  The musical is based on the French historical novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1862.  We couldn't go to NYC without going to Broadway.

The performance began at 7:30 p.m.

Set in early 19th century France, it is the story of a French peasant, Jean Valjean, who sought redemption after serving 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving son and her family.

Valjean, prisoner number 24601, is released on parole.  As a convict he is shunned and unable to find permanent work or lodging.  A bishop offers him food and shelter, but Valjean desperately steals his silver and flees.  When he is captured the bishop tells the police the silver was a gift. Humbled by the bishop's kindness, he breaks parole in an attempt to start a new life free from the stigma of his criminal past.  The rest of the story you must see or read for yourself.  

It was a great performance which lasted about three hours including intermission.  

Afterwards, we went to nearby Junior's on Broadway, famous for their cheesecake and deli sandwiches. 

I ordered their 'baked onion soup' and a slice of blueberry topped cheesecake.  Divine!

Then we took a taxi back to the guest house, and settled in for a good night's rest.  Only one more day left in NYC, and it was as action packed as all the others.