I’m on the Staten Island Ferry, a New York treasure, writing on a napkin, a well-worn copy of Pete Hamill’s, Downtown, nestled in my lap.
It’s one of the books I read once a year, along with Pride and Prejudice and Movable Feast.
It’s what led me to the Battery to grace the ferry that leaves every 15 minutes. And it’s free, a New York boon we can be grateful for. The ride itself takes less than half an hour best enjoyed in nice weather, on a bench on deck.
If you’re going towards Staten Island you sit on the right, to get a glimpse of Lady Liberty waving in the harbor…coming back, the left, to wave back to her. As a kid I was taught this, never forgetting her guaranteed presence.
I love the smell of hotdogs sizzling at the food counter, people lined up as if it were The Hotel Ritz. What brings me back to my childhood the most though, is the wet, salty air invading your nostrils, clinging to your skin.
I watch tourists take pictures, parents holding kids. Seagulls doing wheelies while pigeons perch on the railing. Imagine, all before me, because a guy decides to write the history of downtown Manhattan.
I’m in such awe of this…the power of the penned and written.
Dedicated to Pete Hamill, another New York treasure.