Wanderung 25

Fall Follies

August - September 2011


3 Previous Day
Epilog 4


Monday, September 14th, 2011: New York City, From the Lap of Luxury to the Lack of Luxury!


We were awakened by an outside loudspeaker giving a narrative about the Statue of Liberty and saw the lights of the Verrazano Narrows bridge sliding over the bow of the ship. So we bounded out of bed and went on deck for an hour or so to take pictures both of the bridge and the iconic image of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor in front of Manhattan. Manhattan itself, however, was cloaked in a rose-hued mist, so the skyline was not very distinct although the sky was quite pretty.


We woke up when we heard a commentator over the outside loudspeaker and saw the Verrazano Narrow bridge coming up an sliding over us. We quickly put on clothes and grabbed the camera to get pictures of coming into New York at "O Dark Hundred". Behind us was the bridge, ahead of us the statue of liberty and Manhattan underneath a read sky. Quite impressive.


As the ship turned into the East River to back into its berth at Red Hook, Brooklyn, we had breakfast at the Horizon Buffet, returned to our room to make sure we had all our things, and then proceeded to the Da Vinci dining room to wait for our turn at disembarkation. Fortunately, we met Laurie and Janet down there and could have a nice conversation about motorcycles, cars, and other things dear to my heart, because our disembarkation was delayed about an hour and 45 minutes.


We turned into the East River just as the sun was coming up over Brooklyn. As the ship started to dock at Red Hook, we headed for a last wonderful breakfast, stoking up on protein since we knew it would have to last for a long time.

After that came the sad task of gathering our belongings, making sure we had not left anything and heading to the Da Vinci dining room waiting for our color and number to be called for disembarkation. Luckily we met Laurie and Janet and those had a nice last chat with them.


We had decided to walk over to the nearest subway stop in Brooklyn and then take the subway downtown to the neighborhood of Penn Station where we were scheduled to board the Vamoose bus to Washington, D.C., at 2:00 p.m. Since we were originally scheduled to disembark at 9:00 a.m., I thought we had a generous time cushion for getting to the bus on time. Losing an hour and 45 minutes at the get-go, however, significantly reduced that cushion.

Some parts of the Red Hook neighborhood we walked through were still undergoing gentrification. Some of the side streets were cluttered with litter, devoid of people, and had houses all sporting the anti-burglary bars on the first-floor windows. Those parts of the neighborhood felt a little sketchy. No one bothered us, but I'm not sure I'd want to wander around there at night. I was somewhat relieved when we got to a better kept part of the neighborhood that had all sorts of people strolling along, less litter, and a total lack of those anti-burglary bars.


We said Good Bye to our home for almost three weeks as we docked in Brooklyn and turned toward the city. We had planned to walk to the nearest subway station, take the subway to Penn Station and take the 2:00 Pm Vamoose bus home. Plenty of time...or not.

Disembarkation took a lot longer than expected, so we did not start heading out until after ten. Luckily, during the last 30 years someone had thought of putting wheels on suitcases, so dragging them along was a lot easier than lugging suitcases in the good old days. But our route took us through a park with uneven pavement which was not so much fun.


Fortunately I asked a local if we were on the right track for the subway station, and he informed us that the station was temporarily closed! But he told us about the next station about 5 blocks further up the road and we gamely persevered until we reached that one. There were no elevators or escalators, so we had to negotiate two sets of 10-15 steps to get down to the platform, no small task with our fully-packed luggage.

But the subway itself was clean, safe, and efficient. New York is now using farecards similar to D.C., except that they charge a flat rate, $2.45 in this case, per subway trip. Not knowing the exact fare we just used my credit card to purchase two $10 tickets, thinking we would no doubt return to New York and use the tickets again some time in the future. The ride downtown on the F line took only half an hour, during which we were accosted by one beggar with change clingling in his cup and one trio of Mexican guitarists who serenaded us in Spanish.

Once we surfaced at what we thought was the closest stop to Penn Station, we still had a bit of a hike to where our bus was supposed to pick us up. We had lunch and rested in a Roy Rogers along the way, which turned out to be a good idea as our bus was an express that had no stops between New York and Bethesda, Maryland, a 4-hour stint.


But finally we thought we were getting close and Bob asked a native where the station was. We were told, that the station we were aiming for was closed, but the next one about 6 blocks down the road was open. So there went another unplanned 30 minutes.

We finally found the station, but this being an old subway it has the same inconveniences as other old subway stations in Hamburg or London, namely, no elevators. So we lugged our pieces first down to the platforms and then back up. Some nice New Yorkers, actually helped me with my suitcase, but poor Bob, who had the heavier of the suitcases had to carry his himself.

The New Yorkers in the subway were friendly and confirmed that we were on the correct train and where to get off for Penn Station. By the time we saw the sun again it was past 12PM. Once outside of Penn Station we had to walk a few more blocks to the Vamoose stop at 30th and 7th ave. There actually was a sign there, so we knew we were at the correct spot in plenty of time and I heaved a big sigh of relief.

I spied a Roy Rogers across the street, and we both were ready for some food and a sit down. But then the line started to form at the station and we joined it and watched the New York traffic whiz by.


To minimize hauling our luggage around in the D.C. Metro system, we stayed on our bus until the Arlington stop, which was just one block from an Orange Line station that lead directly our to our area. We disembarked the Metro in Vienna and caught a local CUE bus back to the stop nearest our house, whereupon I installed Monika and our bags at the well-lit entrance to our local bank and hoofed it back a half mile or so to our house.

I was heartily tired of hauling my 48 pound suitcase and 22 pound backpack around by then, so I was extremely glad when the Saturn started on the first try and I could drive it back to pick up Monika and our luggage. We were both too tired to even struggle with getting the luggage inside the house that night, so we let it sit in the car overnight and just went in to check on the house. In our absence our house had endured a 5.8 earthquake and 4.5 aftershock plus the passage of two hurricanes with high winds and as much as 12 inches of rainfall each time, so we were curious how everything had held up. The rain had not affected the house at all; our basement was as dry as a bone, thank goodness.

The earthquakes. however, had caused a patchwork of damage, all of it minor. Two pictures had fallen from the wall, one shelf of books had collapsed, and two lamps had fallen over, one breaking its bulb in the process. In addition, the Teddy Bears that guard the staircase between the ground floor and our bedroom on the top floor had all collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. Several odd items such as shampoo bottles had simply fallen over, but what was astonishing was the number of precariously-balanced items that were still upright. I was amazed that the none of the pictures sitting on the piano or vases of dried flowers that we have throughout the house had toppled over. None of our glasses or mugs had toppled either, but they had all shifted about 2 or 3 inches to the East, which strongly suggested to me that our house had actually shifted 2 or 3 inches to the West during the earthquake. But our water, electricity, sewage, and all other systems were intact, for which I was profoundly grateful! Relieved, Since it was almost 9:00 p.m. by that time, Monika cooked a quick and light dinner of soup plus "potstickers", a kind of meat-filled dumpling, and afterwards we simply collapsed into bed.


Since we were early in line, we got nice seats in front and watched our bus pull away from the stop down the Lincoln Tunnel and onto 95. We waved at New York across the river, and chatted with our driver about some of her more interesting trips, like one in a big snow storm.

We finally reached the Arlington stop and walked another couple of blocks to the Rosslyn Metro station, where they had all the modern conveniences like escalators and elevators. Back in Vienna we took the CUE bus into our neighborhood. By now it was dark, and there had been a lot of construction, so we got out a stop too early. But we had planned for me to stay with the luggage and Bob to get the car. Where we had stopped was a nicely lighted bank with a large parking lot, ideal for waiting.

Bob retrieved our car, picked me up, and we finally got home. Our home did not seem to have suffered any damage during the earthquake or hurricanes, so we just had a bite to eat and were glad to be back in our own bed.

The next morning we took a closer look around, but still everything looked fine. So Bob filled the birdfeeder outside and we settled back in to simply being home.

Copyright 2012 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


3Previous Day
Epilog 4

Prolog Map of Drive in England Map of Transatlantic Cruise Epilog

August 2011
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7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
September 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

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