July 9, 2012

From E. 34th to Wall Street, via the East River Ferry: A Breezy Lark for a Summer Afternoon

New York's oldest Mexican restaurant. A ferry ride from E. 34th to Wall Street. A refreshment at a hotel patio in the Financial Distinct. These ingredients made for fine two-hour lark on a recent afternoon. 


view of midtown Manhattan from the East River Ferry

The modest adventure began indoors at 1 o'clock in the cool, sedate, and relatively remote El Parador Cafe at 325 E. 34th Street (between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave. near the entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel). Established in 1959, El Parador features continental-like Mexican food in a Spanish colonial setting. A good bargain is the prix fixe lunch. On my recent visit, I enjoyed a spicy shrimp appetizer,  a hefty pork chop, and the best bread pudding I can recall, but mostly I appreciated the slow waltz tempo of a three-course lunch on a hot summer day.


El Parador Cafe, 325 E. 34th St. New York's oldest Mexican restaurant.

After lunch, it was just a two-block walk to the ferry.

East River Ferry sailing between E. 34th Street landing and Long Island City.
The ferry stops at Hunters Point South in Long Island City.

Beginning at the landing on E. 34th Street, the southbound East River Ferry (just like the northbound route) makes several stops - Hunter's Point, Greenpoint, two stops in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and finally Pier 11 Wall Street - so it's possible to take in a great sweep of Midtown Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens, Brooklyn's changing waterfront, three bridges, and Lower Manhattan in one fell swoop.

After sailing away from the E. 34th terminal, look back at the Manhattan shore to see the United Nations complex, with the tall Secretariat building looking nearly finished after renovations, and the new Roosevelt Memorial on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island (opening this fall).

The United Nations complex on the left is under renovation for energy conservation.

Bring along a zoom lens or a pair of good eyes to see the new Roosevelt memorial on Roosevelt Island.
The long-planned memorial, originally designed by Louis Kahn, is near completion.

Designed for commuters, the ferry keeps to a tight weekday schedule. A recent trip on the weekend, however, seemed more casual. No one seemed in a particular rush to get from Point A to Point B.

More sightseeing below:


The landing at Greenpoint with the iconic "Save the Palestine" water tower in the background.

The North Williamsburg ferry landing with Lower Manhattan and 1WTC in the distance.

The old Domino Sugar factory is at the center of a proposed housing development, currently in limbo.

Pier 17, South Street Seaport, Lower Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, promenade.

City Hall and Brooklyn Bridge.
The East River Promenade under the bridge makes for an excellent walk or bike ride.

View of New York Harbor from the East River Ferry.

Leaving the Pier 11 Ferry landing, via the charmingly spelled Gouverneur Lane.

After leaving Pier 11, consider walking to Andaz Wall Street's summer beer garden or to nearby Stone Street for a post-ferry drink.

Walking Off the Big Apple takes off her hat and enjoys a rum-based concoction with grapefruit juice
and other ingredients that she can't remember. At the Andaz Wall Street hotel's summer beer garden.

That may put you in the right mood for a walk on Wall Street.

Oh, my. Trinity Wall Street is under scaffolding.

The steady hand of George Washington. Federal Hall.

Tourists and brokers on Wall Street.
(Event note, summer 2012: This location is featured in the summer's big movie, The Dark Knight Rises.)

The walk ends on Broadway. The 4 and 5 subway stop is nearby.

Directions: Walk from the 6 train stop at 33rd to the East River Ferry terminal, stopping first for lunch. In addition to El Parador, you may also want to consider the 2nd Avenue Deli. At the ferry terminal, buy a one-way ticket to Pier 11 Wall Street ($4). Look at the map here to get a sense of the itinerary.


View E. 34th St. to Wall Street, via foot and ferry in a larger map

Resources:
East River Ferry (website)

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple taken July 5, 2012 between 2:15 and 4:15 p.m. with a Canon Rebel T3. Clicking on images expands them. Additional images on Flickr WOTBA.

Note on summer schedule - Walking Off the Big Apple is now on a light posting schedule for the remainder of the summer. The exhibition schedule and other time-sensitive posts will continue to be updated on a regular basis. In addition, many of the older posts are currently being updated so that this website, now beginning its 6th year, will function less like a blog and more like a fully functional guide to New York City. Check the Walking Off the Big Apple Facebook page for announcements of new posts or other updates. 

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