Monday, June 2, 2008

Night City

This past weekend I went on a boatride around Manhattan. It was a church activity, billed as a "Singles Cruise" but every New Yorker I've talked to agrees that a boat ride around Manhattan is not a cruise. Well, whatever you call it, it was great. I didn't go because of the dancing or the socializing--I just love riding on boats. Not that I know much about boats. My sister and I were all like, "Look at those big fat ropes laying on the deck--I wonder what they're for?" But I think I was the only person on board who stood for at least five minutes looking into the engine room at the gigantic... engine-things. Joking aside, large machinery always fascinates me.

I did dance a little and socialize too, but mainly I looked at the spectacular view of New York City at night. It was breathtaking. The ride started out ominously, with rain in the forecast. When we boarded, the sky was being quickly blanketed by a huge cloud cover and thunder was rolling in the distance. Suddenly my sister looked at me and shreiked. She said my hair was standing on end, which meant we were about to be struck by lightning. Luckily we weren't, though it did rain for a little while. Eventually it cleared up though, and stars emerged in the darkening sky.

Cruising around the island of Manhattan at night is a treat. The city is beautiful, glittery and looks so clean and crisp; both large and small at once. We set off from a pier on the West side and headed south around the tip of Manhattan, past the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island. Then the boat headed up past Ellis Island, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and then back again. A few sailboats were out and about, and a few really nice yachts, one all lit up for a party. It was chilly and windy out on the water, but I relished the salty air and could not take my eyes off the scenery going by. One of my favorite parts was going under the Brooklyn Bridge. That thing is amazing. And when you learn that it was built using experimental technology under the direction of a recluse who for most of the construction never left his house, you wonder how its even still standing.

E's boyfriend showed up aboard at the last minute, so she was able to spend the ride with him, which was really nice. It would have a been a very romantic evening for couples. Still, I wasn't lonely--I was having too much fun talking to friends and gaping at the passing view. And we had some entertainment when some people started goofing around and taking pictures of each other hanging off the side of the boat. One guy did it and it was funny. But when a second person did it, I rolled my eyes and was about to head to the opposite side of the boat, when all of a sudden out of nowhere a Coast Guard boat sped up to the side of our boat and shadowed us for a good while. The troublemakers scattered, and after a few moments of watching us, the little Coast Guard boat made a breathtakingly hairpin turn, sped around to the other side of us, then zoomed away. And that little thing could go! I guess they need speed to rescue people, right?

So, no romance for me, but I did talk to one eager young man who went on and on about his art history class at BYU and how his teacher told such spellbinding stories like the one about how Monet killed himself shooting crows in a field, but the only reason he died was because his doctor didn't believe in using medicine. And how this Japanese guy bought a painting for a fortune but he didn't want to pay taxes on it so he burnt it up. I had no idea what he was talking about the entire time! I corrected him and said that it was Van Gogh who shot himself in a field, but it had nothing to do with crows, and I don't think the doctor could have saved him, medicine or no. As for the Japanese guy... who knows. The guy couldn't even remember the artist or anything else about the story.

Anyway, the cruise was great, and even though it was four hours long, it seemed like 20 minutes to me. I want to go again! And I want to go for a ride on that Coast Guard boat.


Lis said...

Holly, I am totally with you on the Coast Guard boat. There is something so exciting about the Coast Guard - I loved that part of your fabulous story.

Donnie Barnes said...

One of the biggest geeks in our high school (yes, there were bigger geeks than me) went to the Coast Guard Academy out of school. Apparently it's really tough to get into, though I believe you can get into the Coast Guard without going through the Academy.

You have to have big time intelligence to master all those knots they have to learn!