HUDSON RIVER SOJOURN - New York City morning

August 5, 2019

The Hudson flows by constantly, dirty and brown this early August morning. Old wooden floating docks creak, rusting metal and splintered wood rising and falling with the constant wake from passing boats and ships.  Vessels as small as dinghies and as large as container ships slip by day and night.

Yesterday - a Sunday - a northwest wind bucking the falling tide and its strong river current churned the river. So too did ferries loaded with vacationing passengers crisscrossing the river. Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Manhattan skyline all being photographed hundreds of thousands of times. Confused seas fighting with the Hudson.  Pay attention as we made our way up the river.  Being knocked about in no predictable manner, but still making headway.  

(In the subway I saw a sign for Madison Square Garden.  Muhammed Ali came to mind.  Cassius Clay.  Boxing. Howard Cosell.  Thinking of the great boxer stepping from a limousine, surrounded by one of the world’s great masses of high rise buildings and teeming culture. Strong and confident. Floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee.  Sonny Liston.  Joe Frazier.  He was ready and fearless.  Beat them both for world championships. “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you New York, New York.” Ali did. But, the marina operator tells me, Ali underestimated Michael Spinks.  “He wasn’t ready for Spinks.  Spinks knocked him out in the second round.” Just like the tide. sometimes it’s rising, sometimes it’s falling.) 

We walked the Highline Park in the heat of the afternoon. There, we were part of the tide, part of the flow of people going in both directions.  Too many people to fully appreciate the gardens and art of this unique reuse of a former railroad line that weaves through the lower west side of the island.

But that was yesterday.  

Today, the river is calmer.  The ebbing tide has its surface flat, a slight ripple.  Here in the 79th Street Basin - a municipal marina facility - a widely varied collection of sailboats and power boats bob up and down at the docks. Houseboats, runabouts, cabin cruisers.  White hulls, green hulls, grays and blues.  Red stripes and gray engines. Helicopters buzzing over as everpresent as the tide. 

More wake, more waves, more creaking and the morning’s rising sun.

Breathing the city air and listening to its weekday sounds. Gulls, two young people talking nearby about the chilly morning, the washing machine on this rickety dock going through its cycle - and the silence in between.  

Sounds of Silence.  59th Street Bridge song.  Simon and Garfunkel. New York City. 

Feelin’ groovy.