Day 36, May 30, 2012: We gave Atlantic City three days. Except for the big and—some would say– gaudy casinos Atlantic City isn’t much. Most of the buildings at the right, seen from the pool deck of the Golden Nugget, are other casinos. The town is served by a multi-route jitney system at a small fare with frequent stops. Provisioning can be had at the Acme supermarket in  town but the area is a touch sketchy. We went there at high noon. (The day before, two Canadian tourists were murdered!)

We confined our subsequent exploration to the casinos. One is the same as the next—half light, no cues as to time of day, neither clocks nor windows to the outside, deafening noise, and brilliant flashing lights. The players were  mostly of the retired generation and a few were young players. Some sported the pallor of desperation and the thousand-yard stare of incredulity at not having scored 3 of anything on the spinning drums. The craps tables were usually full with an exuberant crowd. Although many people count well to 21, those grouped around the blackjack tables could be seen in deep concentration. Could it be that they were all  counting cards out of a pile of card decks? By kibitzing over shoulders we could easily separate the skilled blackjack players from the novices. One simple and quite standard rule is that dealer holds at 17 but must draw at 16. Surprising how many players seemed to ignore that fact!

We took in a show at the Golden Nugget entitled The Golden Boys. The show featured Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Lou Christie. One could easily conjure an alternative title or two. The show was nostalgic—tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s mostly. The Boys still had good voices.

We made new friends that night—Pam the high roller and her gentleman friend Joe. Pam and Joe invited us to supper at Vic and Anthony’s in the Golden Nugget the next evening. Both Pam and Joe are retired and, while Pam is an ardent gamer, Joe, like us, had no interest in games of chance. Both had broad interests. When in Atlantic City they often went by boat and stayed aboard with her two dogs, which ate very well from Vic and Anthony’s scraps. We hope to meet them again.

We stayed at the Farley State Marina in front of and operated by the Golden Nugget. We were in a slip about 100 feet from the deck where loud, live music blared from noon until past midnight but opposite the casino owner’s little 164-foot pied-à-mer, Boardwalk, was across the dock from us.

. Our soundproofing could dissipate most of the noise except for the thumping bass beat. For loopers looking for late nights and exhilarating gaming, have at it. If you want to stay there and get a night’s rest opt for a far away slip or the hook. They have a dinghy dock. We got some resistance claiming our MarinaLife discount and some backtalk about being located under the loudspeakers. Kammerman’s Marina is across the creek but lets out on a doubtful area of town. Dock for dock, Farley Sate was better, the noise not withstanding.

We left Atlantic City with the sparrows on Monday, May 28th, intending to stop in Manasquan for the night. We arrived at Manasquan inlet at 10:30 and immediately realized that something was not quite right. No-wake buoys inside the channel are merely decorations. Being a responsible skipper, I dropped down to idle speed in a waterway little more than 100 yards wide. Big boats, little boats, sailboats were going by at full throttle and giving us the evil eye. We pulled up to Hoffman’s inside the inlet on the north side of a curve in the river to the left. Boats were required to slow down there to pass through a narrow drawbridge but that meant slowing down just enough to hog the channel and throw up a bigger wake. The boats tied up at Hoffman’s were doing the big-wake jig. I feared approaching the dock and getting slammed into it. Fortunately Hoffman’s did not answer either phone or VHF and I no longer felt compelled to honor our reservation. We proceeded further upriver to Clark’s Landing to refuel before New York because New York diesel prices were up to $0.50 more per gallon. Refueling was tough; the wakes were not less upriver. Despite a no-wake buoy in front of the fuel dock the challenge was to keep the boat from getting pounded on the pilings by the wakes! At that point we opted to take on lunch at a pleasant little dockside restaurant and go on to New York less than 40 miles distant.

New York harbor presented less challenge than I had anticipated. Off course the shipping traffic was heavy and we found ourselves on the wrong side of the river to enter the Morris Canal on the Jersey side. We were obliged to wait our turn to weave between the moving freighters, barges, naked tugs, and other pleasure boats. The scores of pleasure boats out fishing off the Jersey shore on a pleasant, calm, and sunny Memorial Day were more of a challenge. They wandered in front of us, behind us, straight at us as if we were a hole in the water.

Coming into New York was nothing short of spectacular. The first of two harbor lighthouses is seen at the left. Those of us whose parents came to these shores must have been awestruck by the sight of the Verrazano Narrows, the Statue of Liberty, and finally Ellis Island. Liberty Landing just north of Ellis Island on the Jersey side is marked by an old railway station from which parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents  must have departed for other parts of this great land.

We intended Liberty Landing to be only a waypoint of our visit to New York. We took the ferry from Liberty Landing less than 100 yards from our slip and 15 minutes later were deposited in lower Manhattan next to the World Trade Center memorial. Our first task was to inspect the 79th  Street Boat Basin operated by the City of New York on the  upper west side, which was to be our cityside stopping place. We found no real protection from the wave wall and constant motion from the wakes of tugs, ferries, ships, tugs, and pleasure boats. The docks were rocking so violently that they looked difficult to walk on. We decided that Liberty Landing was worth the high-ish slip rate and the convenience of the ferry at $6.00 per trip for seniors. Above right we see the skyline of lower Manhattan with the new Freedom Towers rising from the dust of 9/11. Anyone who saw the horror of 9/11 on the news cannot fathom the enormity of the tragedy until one stands next to the new construction feeling minimal among the giants. One New York policeman who was there told us that when the towers came down “… everything was reduced to a fine cake of dust, papers, desks, file cabinets, people, and chunks of concrete and melted pieces of I-beams …”

At the right our neighbors in the marina are boats of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet. The fleet is here after completing the leg from San Francisco. In another week they will proceed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then on the England where the race ends. The Australian boat has a commanding lead, not likely to be overtaken.  One can see by the rigging and the deck layout that these boats are racing machines.

And now the time has come for a fresh water shower after 5 days offshore.