20 kilometres from Central Park to Battery Park and back

Posted: November 4, 2012 by Ben Weber in English
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Pier A at Battery Park – restoration interrupted

Getting to New York was nice and easy: in spite of having to change flights in Toronto with Air Canada, before going to Newark Liberty Airport, it probably worked out much quicker doing it this way than when I flew directly to JFK the last time, when I had four hours wait in the immigration line. The good thing with Canada for people going to the US is that the immigration queues are there, and it was easily done within the time I had before my connecting flight. A such, the flight to Newark was almost like a domestic trip, with no immigration when I arrived there.

So after that, I had plenty of time to get a lot of my shopping the afternoon I arrived, meaning that today I had the day free as Kirk, the friend from Bolivia with whom I would have been staying, at been in New Hampshire – away from the hurricane. His apartment is in lower Manhattan and as such had been without electricity until Friday night and, with all the traffic problems, fuel shortages and general chaos in the city, it was pretty understandable that he decided come back on Saturday instead. Meant that I wasn’t able to get my gear sorted with REI (which has been occupying a good amount of space in Kirk’s kitchen for the past couple of weeks!), but with the city coming back to normal, it should all be good to do tomorrow.

First thing was first – one more trip to the Mac store to pick a couple of smaller things I had forgotten the preceding day, and then I wanted to investigate the areas of lower Manhattan that had been the worst affected and, if my time held out, get over to Staten Island, before going back to pick up my things from the hotel. I was slightly tired from the flight the day before, but ah well, didn’t want to waste any time. Didn’t make it over to Staten in the end (though I did have a little nap at the ferry terminal – for 15 minutes or so before I was told I shouldn’t stay there napping…) but it was still a good walk.

As if nothing happened…

Midtown Manhattan was an area where it really does seem like nothing has happened. Plenty of tourists, plenty of life, plenty of business and a fun and as enjoyable place as it was last time I was here. Down below 34th Street and things were seemingly quieter, though with the electricity back to normal, it seemed okay enough. A few shops you would expect to be open were still shut, with notices in the window saying that they would stay shut until Sunday or Monday. The parks had reopened and the squirrels were out in force (and were remarkably friendly – it was good that they hadn’t been blown away in the winds!) But as I got further down, things gradually became quieter and quieter, especially below Canal Street. From then on down, the business was generated partly by tourists at the World Trade Center site and at Battery Park itself, though largely from all the engineers around pumping water from the subway tunnels. The flood waters have well and truly receded, but the water being pumped onto the roads everywhere was still considerable.Passed a few trees that had been uprooted in the winds, but nothing massive.

It was down along the walk from Battery Park up along FDR Drive on the East Side where you could see a bit more of the mess left behind by the storm. Plenty of debris washed on to the promenade  and plenty of mess. The road down along and underneath the Brooklyn Bridge was disgusting, and full of rubbish and debris. And the smell wasn’t great, either. In spite of it all, however, joggers (probably still annoyed about the NY Marathon being called off) passed by on a regular basis, and I suspect it will be like it never happened sooner rather than later. As for the rest of the north-eastern coast, unfortunately, I guess this is a much harder question to sort out…

The East Side promenade

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