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Hudson River Park’s Pier 25

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Saturday May 19, 2012

Well, here we are in Manhattan, very much enjoying life at a lovely berth at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25. The pier is more pleasure park than working wharf these days: pretty paving slabs all around the edge make a broad, flat promenade for the many nannies wheeling their flocks, people walking dogs and children on leashes; there are benches and seats at the end for couples to sit and hold hands as they look at the skyline of New Jersey across the water; a big square of artificial grass for toddlers’ playtime; another big square of sand populated by young New Yorkers with improbably long legs and short shorts playing beach volleyball. There’s even a mini golf course in the middle. People seem attracted to the water, drawn to the end of the pier. The Captain says that nothing has really changed about the feel of Manhattan since Herman Melville wrote about it in Moby Dick in 1851:

‘There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs – commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the Battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see? – Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles, some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster – tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here? But look! Here come the crowds, pacing straight for the water…’

And so it goes to this day. Well, a lot of them these days mostly do jogging. So many joggers! The park opens at 6am and the early-morning types arrive right away: mostly solitary and plugged into music, they look like they have training schedules to stick to. Then there are the mid-morning and lunch time groups of twos and threes, a bit more chatty and I wonder if they are friends or personal trainers with their clients. There is a bit of a lull after lunch and then the office workers are allowed out for their daily exercise: not as athletic as the early morning ones, but just as much branded lycra sports wear. You can still tie a ship up here too!

Aboard ship we’re busy as always making the ship look pretty, keeping her painted, oiled and rust-free. We furled all sail this morning as they’re nice and dry now – just the South Pacific topsail tarpsail flying on the fore. Provisioning was made a thousand times easier by the help of Marcia who drove Nadja and Donald all around town to find good fresh produce at sensible prices.

We had a gang of young New York students from the Urban Assembly Harbor School, in the charge of Capt Aaron Singh, aboard yesterday for a guided tour of the ship (www.nyharborschool.org). They had a hands-on lesson setting and striking a staysail under the guidance of Second Mate Sam, and they all did a very good job. We’ll be open to the public this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon too, 2-5pm all welcome to come aboard and look around. The crew like showing people around – a chance to meet people and talk about their ship, their voyages, life aboard.

The off watch been having fun off the ship – walking about taking in the landmarks, shopping, visiting museums and galleries, eating lots. Some of us went to a Brazilian dance party in a park last night, it was right down by the water under Brooklyn bridge with a wonderful view across to Manhattan and the tall masts of huge 4-masted German bark Peking from 1911 (she looks just like Picton Castle but on a much bigger scale), and the 1885 British fullrigger Wavertree at the South Street Seaport Museum accross the water. It was fun people watching – they got style here and super friendly, too.

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