Port Washington, NY – The Poor Man’s (Cruisers Preferred) Way to Do NYC

What better city to round out our summer in New England than the city – New York City.  I love that city.  She and I developed a bit of a bond this past summer.  With her deepening fall colors in September.  Her shorts and tank top-warm days.  Her unfurling Central Park.  Her bustling streets teeming with bustling people.  And, the food … spending our “food points” was almost depressing because you had to choose one type of food, and then the meal was over, but my God were the choices diverse and stunning: Peruvian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian, Korean.  I just needed more time, and more stomachs!  But, the downside to NYC for cruisers?  There are very few places where you can anchor or dock and just stroll into the city.  But, what we did find, is that Port Washington—itself a quaint, welcoming, convenient port for cruisers—proved to be a fine alternative that offered a safe, affordable, easy harbor for the boat, plus an inexpensive, quick train ride into the city.  Join us for a stay in Port Washington, NY and many mesmerizing strolls through New York City. 

September 2022

Where did we leave you last?  Ahhh … the colorful, eclectic Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard.  What glorious little islands in New England.  

From Martha’s Vineyard, we made our way back to Newport and into the Narragansett Bay to stage Ubiquitous up for a bit while we flew back home to Pensacola to work during August 2022.  Knowing our summer in New England was coming to an end, once we were back aboard Ubi, we began to plan our route back west into the mouth of the Long Island Sound toward New York City with plans of traveling down the Chesapeake headed south for the winter.  

Phillip had the fantastic idea to stop in Sag Harbor for a few nights to explore. It proved to be yet another quaint little coastal New England town with fantastic downtown strolling, shopping, and eating.

And … the best part. By sheer happenstance—we managed to end up there the same time that the infamous Pam Wall and her son, Jamie, had simply decided to check out Sag Harbor for the first time on a Labor Day weekend whim!  Phillip and I couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled into Pam on the dock!  They had rented an amazing little AirBnB right in the heart of downtown overlooking a glorious pool in the backyard.  

That Pam Wall … she knows how to travel!  (As she should, having traveled the world via sailboat … way before it became popular!). We spent a glorious few days in Sag Harbor with Pam before making our way back west, stopping in Essex, CT for a quick freshwater stay (bye bye bottom scum!).

Then it was a day sail down to Port Washington, NY, where we had stayed before when we first entered the Long Island Sound back in June 2022.

Let’s see … what did I say about Port Washington before

Port Washington offered not only beauty but convenience.  A mooring ball that was only $45/night and came with a free water taxi operating most business hours of every day.  Great shopping downtown and a diverse range of excellent restaurants (La P’Tite Framboise (the “little raspberry”) for French, Nikkei for Peruvian, Diwan for Indian).  The dinghy dock located right across from the Stop ‘n Shop for groceries and just a short walk from the laundromat, the wine/liquor store, UPS, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, Target, etc.  Not to mention (I mean … holy cow) Port Washington is just a short, $10, 40-minute train ride on the LIRR then you’re in Penn Station, with a full day in NYC to explore (while only paying $45/night for NY lodging)?!  We rode the wheels off the LIRR.  Why wouldn’t you?  NYC, right there! 

Man, I think I nailed it the first time.  Phillip and I felt right at ease coming back into Port Washington and grabbing a ball again in the mooring field.  It’s a lovely setting with many beautiful boats surrounding you in the harbor and a free and convenient water taxi to take you to/from shore.  We had one weekend to blow it out in Port Wash before Phillip had to fly back home for a jury trial.  And what a day it was … 

To make our hybrid sailors-slash-lawyers life work, we often have to split duties, with me staying on the boat and tending to UbiQ while Phillip flies back home to tend to matters at the office.  Our work-life balance definitely requires some sacrifices and creative ways of getting things done, but damn if it’s not worth it.  Phillip sent me a spectacular photo from his flight out of LaGuardia and he was off.

While Phillip was away, I did get some long overdue projects on the boat done (replacing the joker valves on the heads, replacing the impeller on the generator, cleaning out all the raw water strainers, building a new lifting harness for the new outboard (“Su 2.0”), giving our dinghy “Ducky” his own logo (very important), and accomplishing some super intense deep-Annie-cleaning).

But don’t you worry.  Plenty of fun was had, too.  I mentioned the “balance” right?  What neither Phillip nor I could have predicted when he left me on Ubi that fateful day in September, was my sheer joy in traveling to NYC solo.  

I was a little nervous making the trip alone at first as I am not super talented in the navigation department and often have no idea how we got where and how we got back when Phillip and I venture out together.  As long as I’m with him, I know I’m going the right way, I’m going to have a blast, and I’m going to make it home just fine.  Why should I note the directions we went and the streets we took?  Psshhh!  I pity the fool!  But, for my solo journey, I studied some subway and street maps (it helps a ton that NYC is numbered so easily west to east and south to north) and got brave.  I haled the water taxi to Ubi around 9 am.  Got a huge Starbucks for the train ride (because that felt very New Yorkery).  

Rode the 45 min train into Penn Station.  (Penn Station?!  Whoa.) Then scouted out an excellent takeout lunch place, a little French bistro type place—La Pain Quotidien—and sat my first NYC day with my laptop working in Central Park.  What an office view, huh?  

I even got to watch the trainers feed the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo.  How’s that for lunch entertainment?

Round two I was on the hunt for middle eastern food, specifically Brussels sprouts (I have an unnatural obsession with Brussel sprouts).  I found ILILI and sat at Madison Square Park (on 5th Ave and E. 23rd St).  That day I also had time to check out Times Square, Chelsea Market, the modern Whitney Museum and the quirky, lush Little Island off of Hudson Park.

I saw some strange things …

And even Stranger Things! Actor Gaten Matarazzo from Stranger Things! Don’t worry, I didn’t accost him.

I then discovered La Botaniste (the best vegan in NYC (IMHO)) and sat and ate at Bryant Park (5th Ave and E. 40th St.).  

La Botaniste was so good I did it again another day and sat at Washington Square Park, probably my favorite park—with its occasional live music, rapid-fire chess games, random street performers, and wave after wave of pedestrians, professionals, students, and other commuters.  I could do a NYC takeout/park lunch every day of my life if allowed … and if Phillip and I didn’t want to travel to all the other cool cities in the world.  There is that. 

What was Phillip doing back home you might be wondering? Other than working, he was making the rounds visiting all of our Pensacola posse. Say “Hi!” to John and Jody on s/v Hula Girl!

On Saturday I got even braver and decided to take in a Broadway Show.  My plan was to just wait until close to 2:00 p.m. to buy any last minute unsold tickets at a discount, but then I found a good deal on a single ticket for Funny Girl.   I knew nothing about it, but texted my friend (who is a Broadway addict connoisseur) and she said the lead was played by a gal that was in Glee, Lea Michele (although Lea was out sick, her stand-in, Julie Benko, knocked my socks off).  I also Googled and found Funny Girl was Barbara Streisand’s first breakout role in Broadway.  That all sounded good to me.  

Art is art.  And there’s just something about live art that makes it all the more risky and organic and full of possibility.  I got a heaping bag of popcorn and chardonnay and buckled in.  

And, it was a decision I will never regret.  While I wish Phillip had been there with me, I was secretly also pretty pumped I had decided to just go anyway and take it all in.  Me and NYC … we bonded over the month of September.  I can’t wait to go back!

If you like the bustle and buzz of a big city but don’t want to spend the exorbitant dollars it costs to stay there, or be immersed in it day and night—as cruisers—Port Washington is a lovely way to maintain the tranquility of “home” on your boat in the safe harbor at night.

All while still having the ability to take an affordable quick train ride into the city anytime you want to get your skyscraper/noise-and-bustle/fine-dining fix.  Phillip and I will definitely be spending time there again this summer.  But, up next, you’ll see another way we did NYC this past summer.  If Port Washington is the “poor man’s” way to do NYC, this is the “soon-to-be-poor-man’s” way: by staying a week+ at ONE-15 Brooklyn Marina.  What a treat.  Stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “Port Washington, NY – The Poor Man’s (Cruisers Preferred) Way to Do NYC

  • Hello Captain Annie,
    Thanks for a very great story with such Adventure in NYC.
    I have never been there but all ways find it funny that in some places in. USA that they name they roads with Numbers , I not sure if I understand it but it’s sounds like a very easy way to find your way around.

    How’s your docking going and very i impressed with your ability to fix things.

    On Monday 3/4/2023 I have to set for a test in Melbourne Australia.
    The test is for the Port of Geelong.
    The test is called Local Knowledge.
    The reason I have to do this is because I unfortunately run out of sea time in that area.
    Oh by the way it’s because I am a commercial operator Captain up to say 240 feet.
    You have to know everything about the port,
    Like what is that light mean,
    Where are the dredging operating,shoaling area,fish farms, name of shipping channels, spoil grounds and on and on it goes.
    Oh by the way you only need to know this if there ships are in your waters.
    Ok I just made that sound a lot easier to understand but you get my message.
    And way,looking forward to your next email.
    From one Marter to another, all the very best to you and Phillip on your Journey of discovery.
    Oh hope you are not drinking now on what I am about to ask …… because I remember what happened last time I ask………
    Oh what was it , oh this ,,,, I like the way Phillip parts hair…..

    • Hi Mark! Glad you enjoyed the blog. New England is fabulous cruising grounds. Very easy to get around. Your test in Melbourne sounds incredibly difficult. I’m sure it will be rewarding though. Study hard, and good luck!

      Phillip is a fabulous hair-parter, right?! ; )

      • Hi Annie,
        Sorry for taking a long time to reply but for some reason I never received your reply by email.
        I just thought I better go back and look at what I said and there you are replaying.
        I wonder what happened ?
        Any way I past my local knowledge test and if I just keep up my sea days in that area all will be good.

        So do you remember what happened last time I said something about Phillip hair.?
        I shell remind you….

        I sent a message to you about something and then said this ….
        I like the way Phillip part’s his hair and when you read it ( and yes you where drinking some wine) you spat it out. You said that was so funny.

        Any way looking forward to your next email.
        All the best to Captain Annie and Master Phillip.

        Captain Mark Snowden
        Melbourne Australia.

      • Spit up my wine. That sounds about like me. Congrats on the local knowledge test. That’s impressive, Captain Mark! Kudos!

  • Oh the last email comment I left I could not correct this …
    It should read..
    I like the way Phillip parts his hair.

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