We spent about 12 nights in Port Washington using it as a base to visit New York City. For us, it was a great way to visit the “City” as we took an easy train ride in to Penn Station, ran around as much as we wanted, hopped onto the train and made it back home. After running around in the city, it was nice to come home rather than to a hotel room. And, it was doubly nice to have that home in a quiet bay away from the noise and crowds.
In addition to the pizza tour, we:
Toured USS Intrepid and the submarine USS Growler: Surprisingly, Growler was the highlight of these two as the walk-through gave a good view of the submarine. USS Intrepid was developed as a museum so much that actually very little of the ship is visible. You can walk the flight deck, but it is full of planes and exhibits including a building that houses a space shuttle. It doesn’t feel like the wide-open expansive flight decks of a carrier. The museum filled the hangar deck so full of exhibits that it feels like an industrial building on land rather than a hangar deck on a ship. They even converted one of the elevators into a movie theater.
The South Street Seaport ships “Peking” and the Ambrose Lightship: Peking is the well-known ship featured in the Irving Johnson movie about rounding Cape Horn in the 1920s. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth looking up online. The ship is magnificent in scale and in her lines. Since the 1930s to the 1970s she was a boarding school in England. Can you imagine going to a boarding school on a tall ship?
We were all struck by a picture of the ships crew in the late 20s or early 30s. They were probably mainly German and were overwhelmingly young. We wondered what was on their minds and in their futures. Through the picture, they stared at us from Europe before the second world war and we stared back from 2014 New York. Worlds apart.
Unfortunately, the ship isn’t in good condition. The scale of the refit needed must be massive. Though Peking has been here since 1975, the museum is now trying to transfer her to another museum home, especially one in Hamburg where she was built. It is especially sad as at least one of her sister ships is still actively sailing in Europe. The museum is in financial trouble. Let’s hope Peking doesn’t end up in a scrap yard rotting away.
The US Light Vessel Ambrose was in better condition and had a lot of great signs. It was fun to imagine what it would have been like to have lived at the mouth of New York harbor on a lightship. Apparently it was quite a good gig back in the day.
We walked Wall Street and toured Federal Hall, a mid 19th century building that was on the site of George Washington’s inauguration and is across from the NYSE. Up the street we visited Alexander Hamilton’s grave in the Trinity Church cemetery.
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. We made it to Houston street and ate fabulous gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato. Anna had avocado gelato and loved it. We walked through the southern part of central park. We toured the Egyptian, Greek and Roman exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum and marveled at the hieroglyphs and the scale of the building projects.
Finally, up in Harlem, we toured Hamilton Grange, the only house Alexander Hamilton ever owned. He lived in the house for only two years before the infamous duel. Seeing the Hamilton history in New York was a really nice tie in to touring his birth house and the museum in Nevis. We didn’t even tell the kids that we were doing school on the weekend…