The salty air, the cool breezes, the picturesque cityscapes along the East River. Riding the NY Waterway Yankee Clipper ferry from Hoboken sure beats taking the subway to the new Yankee stadium—right across the street from the “House that Ruth Built” in the Bronx. Full disclosure: I’m not a huge Yankees fan or even much of a baseball fan. But the voyage up the East River on a gray Thursday morning was more than just a convenient, $22 round-trip to the park. The fans on board were friendly, and landmarks like the Empire State Building seen through the avenues made for great photo ops. Wagering $35 on the Bombers didn’t hurt either.
After watching boats crisscross the Hudson in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, my friend and I were ready for drinks. The ferry’s brochure encourages riders to “join fellow Yankee fans on our ‘sail-gating party.’” Hot dogs, soft drinks, mixed drinks, and cold beers at $5 a pop turned the scenic trip into a proper pre-game gathering.
Four college kids in the row in front of us made mimosas in small plastic cups and talked shop. Apparently our bullpen was pitching well. Yankee hurler Chien-Ming Wang had returned to the lineup after weeks on the disabled list and suddenly I could taste my $35 doubling.
When we stopped in Manhattan’s financial district, you could see New York’s signature bridges in the distance. Soon we were on the Harlem River, and “Yankee Stadium” appeared in big letters on the horizon. We docked with exactly 30 minutes to spare.
Cheers rose from the stands of this world-renowned sporting Mecca as it was announced that Johnny Damon had just hit a lead-off homerun. Bombers: 1, Texas Rangers: 0. Yankees greats were enshrined on 50-foot-high banners in the Great Hall and for a brief moment everything seemed right with the world.
But by the third inning, the Yanks were down five to one. For all the gambling men and women out there, this was a very depressing time. But by the time the last agonizing pitch was thrown, the Pin Stripes had pulled ahead eight to six.
We fled to a bar at the outskirts of the park and downed a round before heading back; the ferry leaves a prompt half hour after the last out. Once on board fans bee-lined for the head, but waiting in line as the vessel swayed in the strong current was the last thing we wanted to do. Instead we settled into our seats to take in the sights.
Sometimes nothing but a cliché will work. Gazing up at the iconic Brooklyn Bridge from the water that day, I knew that life really is all about the journey. PM