Tag Archives: Circle Line Cruise

The Circle Line Tour around Manhattan

Day One Hundred and Forty-Seven Cruising around Manhattan on the Circle Line October 11th, 2019


I am not  usually into the ‘touristy things’ in New York City but this was a special day and I wanted to experience something different. All this walking around the Island of Manhattan to explore what was there lead me to think “what about riding around it?” What does it look like from the rivers and what do the neighborhoods look like that I visited so many months or years ago? What can this modern day Henry Hudson see from the water view? This lead me to take the “Best of NYC Cruise”, the full Circle around the Island of Manhattan. It was a nice afternoon where someone else did the driving.

Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and a little gloomy but still warm with no chance of rain when I got to Pier 83 on West 42nd Street and 12th Street at 12:30pm and bought my ticket. There was a chance of clearing later in the day so I figured ‘let’s go!’ I was surprised that on a early October afternoon in the middle of the week that the boat would be so crowded. There was loads of people from different countries who had the same idea that I had that day.

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The entrance to the Circle Line at Pier 83 in Manhattan

I took the last cruise of the day at 1:30pm hoping it would warm up and it ended up being in the low 70’s that afternoon, nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the sites. The Circle Line is really nice in that you can either sit in the middle of the ship and up above inside and on the top of the outside and no matter where you sit (depending on the number of people taking pictures) you will have a great view of everything. My recommendation is to sit where I sat, on the top deck, outside in the front where the isle is located. Here when you are tall you can stretch your legs especially when you are tall like me.

The tour starts out at Pier 83 on the far West Side and be prepared for a long line that goes very quickly. I have to admit that the tourists that I travelled with were a very orderly and polite bunch until  we got to Liberty Island and toured around the Statue of Liberty. Even on a gloomy day it is an impressive site that I never get tired of looking at. It still to me means America and a promise of better things to come. It still amazes me after all of these years and I have been coming to the island since I was eight. You have to think that my family saw this site when they came here over a hundred years ago.

The Circle Line V

Liberty Island

We did a two time tour around the island so that everyone could take pictures and I swear that I thought the boat would tilt with all of those people taking pictures on that side of the rail. It really was a great site to see.

The views of Lower Manhattan are still breathtaking and even after the Towers fell still and the area rebuilt it still has an air of money and power and the extent of the influence of Wall Street to the rest of the world. I don’t think there is any other city on earth that has this type of powerful image than Manhattan. There were many group shots here as well. To the other side of the boat, I could see the forts and lawns of Governours Island, which I had visited last summer.

Governors Island.jpg

Lower Manhattan and Governors Island

Once we were past those two photo shots, people sat and relaxed for the rest of the trip. Our next stop was South Street Seaport and the view of the Brooklyn Bridge. I think this is just as iconic as the Statue of Liberty and the view of Lower Manhattan but it did not garner that same attention. I thought it was impressive to go under the bridge and see the under workings of the it.

After going under the Brooklyn Bridge, what really impressed me was the view of the Brooklyn side of the East River. I can not believe how much the coast line had changed and the beauty of Brooklyn Bridge Park and all the buildings that have been built around it. I even saw that they have a Domino Sugar sign from the old factory building that used to be located there (Our family’s claim to fame is that it was my Great-Grandfather William Rochibowski,  who used to be the man running the boilers at the factory in the early 1900’s).

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Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an impressive park and shows the extent of reclaimed land on the Brooklyn coastline that is being used for parks. It is impressive between the Brooklyn shoreline and Long Island City in Queens how much construction of office buildings and apartments is changing the way we look the East River. We have reclaimed the land so that everyone can use the parks and we can look at green again instead of manufacturing.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

As we crossed over East 43rd Street, I could see from the boat all the neighborhoods that I had recently visited over the summer including Turtle Bay, Sutton Place, Beekman Place and the recently visited Midtown East. I recognized all the apartment buildings and small parks that line the Manhattan side of the East River. It was interesting to see what they look like from the river side.

We passed by Roosevelt Island and I got to see the new Cornell Tech campus and the old hospital that is falling apart next to the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park that sits impressively on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. It was equally impressive to see Lighthouse Park on the northern part of the island as well.

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Roosevelt Island

We passed the dreaded East River Houses that dominate the low 100’s along First Avenue and the bridge that will take you to Ward-Randall’s Island. Here you can see the walking paths, playing fields and the old stadium on the island. You could even see the people walking their dogs around the island and how busy it was during a work week. On the other side is High Bridge Park that lines the area from about 163rd Street to Dyckman Avenue. This park is rarely on the richter scale with tourists but it does have some of the most interesting rock formations even from the river view. It still reminds us of the Ice Age’s role in the formation of the island.

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Ward-Randall’s Island

As we rounded the top half of Manhattan Island, I could see the commercial side of Inwood and Washington Heights where the Sanitation Department, Verizon and 207 Street Train Yard Facility are located. Visiting this part of the Island can be seen on this blog from Days One-Seven. It is hardly the Manhattan that most people know and you can see this even more from the river view how industrialized the area is from the deck.

When you finally cross under the Broadway Bridge under the tip of Manhattan, we crossed over to the west side of the island. We had to stop at the Amtrak bridge for them to move it for us to pass through and here you can see the giant “C” of Columbia University who has their rowing team facility in this area and their football stadium on top of the hill.

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The Columbia ‘C’

It is a nice place to stop and relax as you can see the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Muscato Marsh (see my review on VisitingaMuseum.com) and the beginnings of Inwood Park with its large hills and virgin forest.  Then you enter the Hudson River Basin and the beautiful extensive views of cliffs of the Palisades Parkway Park side of New Jersey. These areas were protected by the Rockefeller family when the area was bought for the construction of the Palisades Parkway in New Jersey and New York.

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Muscato Marsh

On the Manhattan side, we were treated to the woods and parks of Inwood and Riverside Parks with their wooded paths, barbecue areas and boat basins. It may not be the view Henry Hudson saw when he travelled the river but it close to it with the wooded hills. You could see the Cloisters Museum (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com) from the hill in Fort Tyron Park and travelling down to where West 155th Street is located you can see the Trinity Church Cemetery with its winding hills of tombstones.

Cloisters III

The Cloisters Museum

Going under the busy George Washington Bridge was interesting in that the bridge never slows down. It always seems to have traffic. Under the bridge you can see the historic site of the “Little Red Lighthouse” the inspiration for the children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” (se my review on VisitingaMuseum.com).

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Little Red Lighthouse

Below that is RiverBank Park on top of the Water Treatment plant. This interesting park I talked about visiting when blogging about Hamilton Heights. It has everything from ice skating to track to tennis. A fair trade off to clean our waters.

Below that it was the start of Riverside Park and seeing Grant’s Tomb where President Grant and his wife are interred (See my review on VisitingaMuseum.com) at the top of the park. In the background you can see the tops of the buildings at Columbia University.

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Grant’s Tomb

From there we could see the beginnings of the Upper West Side and the sliver of Riverside Park that hugged the shoreline of this neighborhood.  The one part that stands out is the new construction of Riverside Park South and the new park below it. These shiny towers give the West Side a contemporary modern look and show the optimism of building on this part of the Hudson River.

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Riverside Park

As we headed down the last stretch of the tour of the Hudson River on the way back to Pier 83, we passed the various piers of this part of the island showing its maritime and industrial history of the island.

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Back at Pier 83

The Circle Line cruise to me was revisiting the neighborhoods I had already walked from a different perspective. When you walk the streets and parks of the island, you get to see the detail work of the buildings and the landscaped structure of the parks but from the rivers, you see it from the natural standpoint from the beauty of the parks to the dynamic of the buildings and the statements they make. It is one thing to see Grant’s Tomb or the Cloisters by visiting them and going inside of them but it is another to cruise past them and them becoming part of the landscape.

Sometimes being a tourist in New York City is fun!


My birthday Dinner:

For my birthday dinner that night, I ate at The Juicy Seafood Restaurant (now closed) that I had passed when walking Turtle Bay for this blog. The Juicy Seafood at 1047A Second Avenue (see my review on TripAdvisor) is an interesting little seafood restaurant with a lively bar scene and an interesting music soundtrack playing.

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The Juicy Seafood Restaurant

The food is wonderful. I had the Fried Shrimp basket ($13.00) was delicious. Eight well breaded and fried shrimp sat on top of a bed of French Fries. The shrimp were sweet and fresh and had a nice crunch to them.

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The Fried Shrimp Basket

For dessert, I wanted a small birthday cake and went to Eclair Bakery at 305 East 53rd Street (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) to see what they had that night. I settled on a Lemon Cake ($4.00) that had a nice caramelized color to it and a layer of icing. This sweet dense cake perked me up immediately and was a nice way to complete my birthday evening. The simple things in life are the best!

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It does not take much to please this Libra!


Things to do:


The Circle Line Cruise


Pier 83

West 42nd Street and 12th Street

New York, NY

(212) 563-3200


Tour of  the “Best of New York Cruise” times:

10:00am, 12:00pm and 1:30pm cruises daily

My review on TripAdvisor:



Places to Eat:

The menu on the Circle Line is not that exciting so eat a good breakfast before you go and save lunch or dinner to after you exit the cruise.


The Juicy Seafood (now closed)

1047A Second Avenue

New York, NY  10022

(646) 850-4080


My review on TripAdvisor:



The Eclair Bakery

305 East 53rd Street

New York, NY  10022

(212) 371-3459


My review on TripAdvisor:


My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:







Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2015

Day Twenty-Eight-Thirty One: A New York Thanksgiving November 2015

Thanksgiving was an interesting experience as I celebrated for my second time in New York City. My best friend came in from Michigan to spend time with me while her son’s former high school band performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I don’t know the whole status of global warming but it was an unusually warm Thanksgiving week. It was a four day treat to be in New York City with a place to sleep.

I know I skipped from Upper Manhattan to Lower Manhattan but it was nice to play tourist when given the opportunity. Spending a week in New York City with a bunch of tourists from Michigan is interesting. They traveled as a pack and did not want to leave the group. I had to drag my best friend away from these people so I could really show her the city. We had a great time.

For the record, my best friend, Kris, I have know since my first week as a freshman at Michigan State University and has been one of my best friends since I was 17 years old. Since that time, this was only the second time she came out to visit me. We saw the city through a series of tours and our own travelling around.

Our first night in Manhattan was watching the musical “Aladdin” with a bunch of high school students and their parents. It was bad enough to be on the top tier of the theater but we were also squeezed into seats that were made for people who are about 5.5. We were packed in like sardines. I could see that most of the kids enjoyed the show as well as the parents. Frankly I preferred the movie.


Aladdin the Musical

Our place of residence for the week was the Holiday Inn Express on West 36th Street see review on TripAdvisor) and I highly recommend the hotel when visiting New York. It is centrally located near Macy’s and the 34th Street shopping district and by the subway route that can take you anywhere you want to go in Manhattan.

Holiday Inn Express

The Holiday Inn Express

The rooms are small but well-appointed with a large bathroom and shower area which was relaxing itself and the beds were so soft and firm that I got the best night’s sleep for the whole trip. Their breakfast buffet in the morning was excellent. Some of the best eggs and sweet rolls that I had in a free buffet and there was plenty of food each morning.

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The hotel had the best breakfast buffet

Our day of touring started on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we took a group tour with parents of the high school band group Kris was touring with during that week. Most of these people had never been to New York before and it showed in the way they behaved. You would think some of these people had never been to a city before even though Detroit is not far from their homes. Everyone acted so wide-eyed.

Our first stop was in lower Manhattan on the Circle Line out to Liberty Island. My word of advice when visiting Liberty Island is to climb the statue if you have the time. This is the main reason to visit the island. Walking around and taking pictures and then visiting a gift shop is not getting the whole feel of the island.

Circle Line

Circle Line by Liberty Island

Our next stop was Ellis Island (see review on TripAdvisor). Plan at least three hours plus lunch if you are visiting the island. There is so much to see and do in the main building.

First off, do not miss the Wall of Immigration names outside the main building. I showed Kris many of my family members whose names were on the wall. The Wall was a major fundraising effort by the Ellis Island Foundation and it proved so popular with people wanting to put their ancestors name on the wall that they had to build a second wall.

After a 45 minutes lunch and seeing the orientation movie (which I had seen before on my many visits to the island), we did not have much time for anything else and we took the boat ride back to Manhattan.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Our next stop was the 9/11 Museum and Memorial (see review on TripAdvisor). I had been to the museum before and if you really want to have your emotions tugged at you, visit the 9/11 Museum. It is run by the same woman who had run the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and has the same emotional power. It would be too long to describe how you might feel when visiting the museum but it is something you should not miss.

World Trade Center

World Trade Center site

The pools where the footprint of the old buildings are just as emotional in the 9/11 Memorial garden. Really take time here to reflect on what happened that day and say a prayer for these victims. They have made a very somber event rather cheerful and the park reflects that.

Our last part of the all day tour was going to the top of the of One World Trade to see a view of the city. One World Trade is the tallest building in the Northern Hemisphere and the view from the top proves it. Since we did not get there until 7:30pm, it was dark and the building was quiet. We had the most amazing view of New York and the surrounding area.

When I say it was the most spectacular view is an understatement. You could see all the way into New Jersey and clear out to Coney Island. If the amusements were up and running this time of the year I am sure I could have seen them. It was nice to walk around and see all the views from every angle but avoid the over-priced gift shops. They will really rip you off in this building.

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The view from One World Trade Center

We concluded the evening with a drink at One Mix Bar (see review on TripAdvisor), the bar restaurant at the top of the One World Trade. It has the most breathtaking views, a creative cocktail menu and a very standard dining menu. Have a drink here but don’t bother eating dinner here as the menu is not that creative and very expensive.

We got back to the hotel around nine and just relaxed. It had been a long day of touring and we both wanted to get to bed early to watch the parade the next day.

There is nothing like seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live. It was quite a site. This is the second time I have been in New York City to see the parade in person. This is after seven years of participating in the parade as a Macy’s employee from 1988-1994, first as a balloon handler then as a celebrity escort.


Macy’s Parade

It was a beautiful day for the parade, warm, sunny and clear and I could see perfectly the view from where I was standing to the parade route, which was a half block from the hotel. The hotel was right around the corner from Macy’s Herald Square.

It’s nice to be on the other side of the parade by watching it. The floats have not changed much over the years and the balloons seem like old friends to me especially seeing Ronald McDonald, which I held in 1989.

The one thing I felt bad about is that the Walled Lake Marching Band just walked by us and probably only performed for a few minutes by the store before having to march on by.

The worst part of the parade is that either I am getting old or not with it but did not recognize any of the celebrities on the float with the exception of Pat Benitar and Mariah Carey. Either I am not watching enough TV or these kids are just blending into the social fabric.

After the parade was over, it gave Kris and I a chance to walk around the city and see Central Park. We did get a chance to see the zoo the previous day but also to enjoy the wonderful weather.

That night was a Thanksgiving buffet cruise around the lower part of Manhattan with the most spectacular views of the skyline and a ride around Liberty Island at night with the statue lit up in all its glory. Now that alone was some site. The lower Manhattan skyline is just spectacular at night with its sweeping views. I was impressed that for being on a tourist cruise that the Thanksgiving dinner was that good. The only problem was that the staff did not replenish the food that quickly and the families looked like they were ready to riot. That was a real problem as people wanted seconds.

When we got back from the dinner cruise and before we went to bed, Kris and I made the fatal mistake of going to Macy’s at 11:45pm at night. The place was a mob scene even this late at night. Everything was 60% off and people were buying like merchandise had just been invented. Everyone had bags in their hands and you could not even walk down the aisles it was so mobbed. After seven years with the company and working in the buying offices for four of them, I never thought the Union would allow the store to open on Thanksgiving but here is was and it looked successful. We had to fight the crowds back and this was after midnight.

Macy's Broadway

Macy’s Herald Square

Our last day in the city, we went to Central Park to hear the band play. The impression I got was that the New York Philharmonic had invited the band to play with them in the Band Shell in Central Park. In reality, the band played four songs including their fight song to a crowd of proud parents and groups of New Yorkers passing by who rolled their eyes every time they asked a parent of the band what was going on. The look said it all, “Isn’t that quaint that a Midwestern band is playing in our park”. I have been coming into the city since I was three and could pick up on that.

We spent the rest of the afternoon touring Central Park, seeing the zoo again, visiting the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ statue. seeing Cleopatra’s Needle and then touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the rest of the day. I just wanted to show Kris the best the city has to offer.

Alice in Wonderland Statue

‘Alice in Wonderland’ statue

I had to check out early to help with Christmas Tree sales for the Men’s Association on Saturday morning, so it was a quick breakfast and then the bus ride home. It was nice to experience a Thanksgiving in New York City and will have to visit everything again in more detail but it was a nice overview of the parade and all the tourist attractions in Lower Manhattan.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s the parade from 2015:


Places to Stay:

Holiday Inn Express

60 West 36th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 897-3388

My review on TripAdvisor:



Places to visit:

Liberty State Park/Ellis Island Park

Statue Liberty National Monument

New York, NY  10004



My review on TripAdvisor:



National 9/11 Museum & Memorial

200 Liberty Street

New York, NY  10281

(212) 312-8800


My review on TripAdvisor:



Top of One World Trade

235 Fulton Street

New York, NY  10006

(844) 696-1776


My review on TripAdvisor:


My review on TripAdvisor of the One Mix Bar:



Macy’s Department Store

151 West 34th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 695-4400

Open: Hours vary so please call or check their website



Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Every Thanksgiving Morning


Circle Line Cruise