Fri 3 May - New York City, NY

Today we aim for High Line Park and the western Manhattan shoreline along Hudson Rver.

Around 8.30am we are out on the streets again, walking west on Canal Street then with a plan to walk north along the Hudson River's edge to the High Line Park. The weather again is perfect. We have been so lucky.

We quickly get distracted by this little park around the corner where a lot of local Chinese are doing their morning excercise routines. We love this Chinese habit and enjoyed watching some people do Tai Chi, some sword dance, some just shuffling and stretching. We did some stretching with them, in the park, before moving on but vowed to come back some more mornings. We are stiff as boards in our upper bodies.

This park is at the entry point to Canal Street, coming off the Manhattan Bridge. You get a welcome sign announcing Michael Bloomberg as Mayor. Thanks Mike, we feel welcome!

Pretty grand arches for this part of town and all this traffic.

Canal Street roughly forms the border between Little Italy and Chinatown and in places the two neighborhoods get mixed up which is which... Now, where are we...

It does not take long to cross this section of Manhattan and we are soon on the western shoreline, which like the south east has been beautified with nice bits of park, good footpaths and bike tracks. Some old piers don't seem to have survived but new ones have been been built as parklands and ports grounds in their place.

This is looking towards New Jersey, south of Hoboken.

Lackawanna is the main transport ferry pier at Hoboken, with a bus and train hub behind it.

A view directly of Hoboken and we decide to catch a ferry later to explore further.

We walk a few miles north towards the High Line near 12th Street. We grab a coffee at street level and head upstairs to explore.

The High Line is a recent "park" addition to NYC and has been a huge success. It's history is that it was an elevated freight train line which connected to the wharves and rail yards further north. By the 1960's it was disused and nature started to take over the tracks. There was a proposal to rip it down, but in 1999 Friends of the High Line campaigned to save it. With political pressure, including from Bloomberg when he became mayor, worked to its favour. CSX, the freight company owner, donated the track and with design and planting High Line Park was opened to the public in 2009.
Today It runs for about 1 mile and is an incredibly popular tourist attraction. No cost to walk it but donations accepted as they are working on building the last section to the rail yards to lengthen it further, marked in white on the top of the map below.
And yes, it is very very cool...
Some great art and graffiti along the way. It's clear that the old warehouse districts are being gentrified and the High Line is used to promote new apartments on sale here.

At the southern start of the High Line.

Along the way as we are walking north...

There are some great spaces to stop and relax and the area has some interesting new building designs too.

Hans is getting into the New York spirit. If it is there, why not use it?

The views of the streets below are plenty and interesting and we loved this billboard!

You quite often look straight down on streets and see iconic buildings in the background.
At the northern end, the work to extend the High Line seems to have started with the clearing of the old tracks. This is a great innovation in NYC and we hope that the concept may be used for some of the old freight lines in Ultimo and Pyrmont in Sydney.

We head back towards Hudson River and love these seats with attached roof. Very clever and artistic.

The one down side in NYC is the limited availability of public toilets. You realise it is a problem for everyone based on the frequency you small per in stairwells and doorways. Maybe needs a letter to the Mayor?


We wander onto this old pier, which seems to have a bar area, and we are sure we'll find some loos.

What a fun find. The pier turns out to be an old floating rail carriage transport barge and the toilets are downstairs inside the old barge. Looks like a great place to try at some later date.
Tied up alongside the pier is an old fire tug. Looks great for a party.

The bar area.

They certainly like their Coronas (as do we) but at a cost of more than $6 a bottle ($37 for a bucket of 6) we find it a bit expensive. It must be popular though given the amount of buckets stored in the bar.

We think a later lunch in Hoboken is a good idea and decide to catch a ferry so we walk further north and buy tickets. We are surprised at the cost $9 each one way for an 8 minutes or so ride. Our Unlimited Metrocard only covers subway and bus so we pay the $18 and figure its a cheap river cruise.

Landing at North Hoboken (or 14th Street, the pier had two different names) looking back at Manhattan. Lovey day to be near the water.

Only one comment here - how arrogant is this? Really is this necessary? We like ferry travel too but if the Sydney Ferry workers put this sign up at Manly it would soon be graffiti'd and they would be laughed at.

We walk south along the shoreline getting great view of the western side of Manhattan.

No bathing, no kidding! Behind this spot they are stripping out rusty old ships and we don't think the Hudson would be terribly clean anyway. However we do note that this is the first beach we've seen since Atlantic City so they probably do use it from time to time.

This cute old cottage is sitting near the "beach"...

Wow - it's the founding location of the America's Cup. Holy ground for Di's family...

Lots of construction activity is visible from here of the World Trade Centre. They are close to completing the top and we understand hoisted up the spire today.

Along the shoreline looking south to the Hoboken ferry pier.
It's close to 1.30pm and we are hungry. We jokingly say to eachother wouldn't it be good if they had a Chipotle Mexican nearby... And we find one about 10 steps further ahead. Chipotle is a chain which does great bowls of rice and Mexcian meats with salsa etc. Delicious and fresh and good prices.

Its clear Hoboken has upgraded from old waterfront workers.

Hoboken seems quite yuppie and "white". Hardly any African Americans, Hispanic and old a handful of Asians. Restaurants and shops are all a bit upmarket although we can't complain - after a good lunch we also find a great German Bakery and pick up an apple pastry for later.

We follow the main road further south and hit the Hoboken transport hub of buses, trains and ferries. Thinking that $18 is a bit steep for a return trip we opt for using our Unlimited Metrocards on the train to get back to Manhattan...but that did not work. "Unlimited" public transport does not apply to New Jersey! So instead we buy 2 tickets and head on downstairs to await the train. We figure we can change trains to our local line at 14th street.

All works out well and we get off at 14th street at the corner of 6th Avenue, hoping to buy some postcards or wander a bit more but no good. It is quite dull so we hop on our local F line train and instead get off one stop north of home, at Delancy Street, to explore some more.
Good decision. We are in a very trendy part of Little Italy, Orchard Street, and a good coffee shop is obvious with the queue out the door when we arrive. We sit on the bench outside, with good coffees, watching too cool people wander past as we eat our German pastry. Nice way to wrap up the day.

Its easy to get home to Henry Street, just follow the streets south as they become more and more Chinese. Yep, this area suits us better and there is no need to dress to impress with Chinese.

We have decided on eating out locally tomorrow night and the tough bit will be choosing 1 Chinese restaurant! We look through windows but with most things written in Chinese we figure we will just search online first and get a short list. And go to a Chinese restaurant where there preferably are no other white people.

Home for a rest, some tea, blogging then a nice drink with a nice pasta dinner. Good night.


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