Beating the city heat is a breeze

Avoiding the summer heat in New York City is a constant challenge.

When I was growing up, Mother took us to the movies to cool off. As with many Americans, the movies were my introduction to air-conditioning.

This past weekend, I found a new way to beat the city's heat. Invited to dinner in Hoboken, N.J., but not wanting to hassle with a car, bus, or train, I decided to go by ferry.

In midafternoon on the day of the event, I ride my bicycle through Central Park – one of the best places to cool off – to 38th Street and 11th Avenue. Here I board a ferry. On a fiercely hot day, how I welcome the river breeze.

When Henry Hudson sailed up this magnificent river, Indians from Manhattan came in canoes to offer oysters to the new arrivals on his ship, the Half Moon.

Over the centuries, others have come on ships and ocean liners from across the seas: Dutch and British settlers, and immigrants from many lands.

My favorite ocean liner was the Queen Mary with her three smokestacks. I would read the shipping news to learn her departure time and then bicycle to Battery Park to watch her make her graceful way down the Hudson River.

The ferry boat drops me off at Hoboken. For an hour standing on a pier, I watch passing ships, tugs, barges, and sailboats on the river, and gaze at the city's skyscrapers; buildings I have come to know over the years.

After dinner with my friends, I board the 9 p.m. ferry and head back to New York City.

Again, a cool river breeze. To the north, the shimmering lights of the George Washington Bridge. Across the river, the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, both illuminated. The lights of the city contrast with the dark tidal waters of the Hudson.

From the deck of the ferry I gaze in awe at river and city.

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