June 25, 2014

Water Beckons and I Go

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So much came rushing into my head as this boat moved on the river.

One day back in 2002, or maybe it was 2003, I was taking a power walk down at the waterfront promenade in Hoboken, N.J. It was a gorgeous day and I stared longingly at the boats going by.

Ah, to be on the water, I thought.

And then it occurred to me there was no reason the ferry had to be a commuting vessel. I could just go for a ride. At this point I was literally walking next to the storied old ferry terminal. Uh, hello. Holy obvious, Batman.

My sneakers led the way and I hopped on. It was like a new discovery.

Well, fast forward to 2014 and a recent sunny day. I hadn’t had the impulse in a while, but it was suddenly strong. Go for a ride.

NY Waterway has service that goes from Hoboken across the Hudson River to the World Financial Center and then around the bottom of Manhattan to Wall Street. The round trip is less than 40 minutes. As a self-employed person, I think of it as a Zen lunch break.

This ride, I instantly felt myself relax into the seat. I was joined on the boat by a few men in suits, a young woman with her mother, and a family with two little ones. We pulled out and I drew a deep breath. Here we go.

I find it stunning to see the Freedom Tower day after day from my ‘backyard’ and never take that for granted, but unquestionably riding toward it brings its grandeur more magnificently into focus. Not just the aesthetic but what it means. The kind of beauty that comes from deep within, with all its personal and global implications.

So much came rushing into my head as this boat moved on the river.

There was a time when I took the ferry regularly for appointments downtown, especially because the PATH was closed for repairs for over a year after 9/11. I did a lot of walking and learning the streets and businesses in that part of the city. One day I ran into my Uncle Dominick and he was so delighted to see me he insisted on buying me lunch. He is no longer with us, but I have a lingering memory of my first Illy coffee that day because he made a point of telling me how good it was and wanted to share it.

Here I am, sitting on a boat years later, thinking of that moment. As we pull into the slip at the Wall Street pier, the fabulous Brooklyn Bridge in front of me, I wonder if the café is still there. I don’t have time to check it out today, but I store the thought away for a future trip. This day I am only taking a short break from my work.

When the boat leaves Wall Street to head back to Hoboken, the feeling is completely different than it was on the first leg of the trip. As we move and gain speed, I feel an overwhelming sense of patriotism as I think about this, the entry to our country. The Statue of Liberty, the Colgate Clock in Jersey City, just the vastness of the water from this vantage point.

I am very fortunate. Oh my gosh. So fortunate.

I can invite this in on any day, maybe even twice.

I live riveted to the idea.

By Nancy Colasurdo

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