The Lake Shore Limited - Boart!May 24, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C
Oh, what a beautiful morning! Fresh from being washed, the endless Manhattan avenues shimmered like silver rivers reflecting the glass of their surrounding towers in the morning sunshine. How poetic I feel today!
Thus uplifted, I decided to head uptown and visit Hamilton Grange National Memorial, a National Park Service site in St. Nicholas Park in Manhattan that preserves the relocated home of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. What a delightful place to visit - small scale and friendly (and free). A super Park Ranger Guide gave us a short tour of the former Hamilton home, and showed a video of how the house was actually lifted and moved (for the 2nd time) by two city blocks to its current location - amazing. When Hamilton and his family moved here from downtown it was really in the country. ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ - one of the songs from the musical - now again seems appropriate in this parkland setting. Well worth a visit if you are a Hamilfan (according to the Urban Dictionary: ‘a person who is a large fan of the hip-hop musical Hamilton’.
Soon it was time for the first leg of my great American train journey. I arrived at Penn Station (sadly not Grand Central), in good time to catch the 3.40pm train - the Lake Shore Limited - to Chicago. How come American trains have such glamorous names such as the Silver Meteor and the Empire Builder? The Cathcart Circle does not seem to have the same ring about it. Regrettably the pre boarding was not quite as glamorous and, as the platform (track) number did not come up on the screen until 3 minutes before departure, it was like opening day at the sales with everyone fighting to get on board. The compartment however proved roomy, with comfy recliner seats and free WiFi. We were soon off and, after a grim 10 minutes of underground graffiti-sprayed tunnels, we emerged into the bright sunshine of North Manhattan near the George Washington Bridge. We continued to hug the River Hudson for a few hours, with attractive but very Scottish looking scenery. Passing Yonkers necessitated a brief chorus of ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’ much to the amusement of my fellow passengers as I forgot I was singing lustily with my headphones on! Then we passed West Point Military Academy and memories of James Cagney and the recently departed Doris Day. Whizzed passed Sleepy Hollow and the pretty Cold Spring where Campbell and I enjoyed a visit on our last trip to NYC.
As we stopped at Schenectady, NY, an old couple behind me argued about how that town should be pronounced. They called the train guard over to clarify. I have to say he didn’t look as smart as the train conductor in The Music Man - more like an unkempt Blakey from ‘On the Buses’. ‘What’s that?’ he said, inappropriately touching the lady’s bare arm. ‘That’s my skin’ she replied. ‘And what’s that?’ he continued. ‘That’s my neck’. And finally ‘what’s that?’ ‘That’s my titty!’ yelled the old lady. ‘You got it’ he said ‘Skin-neck-titty’. I think he must be overdue some Customer Service training at the Amtrak Charm School!
I was disappointed to discover that the on board restaurant was reserved for guests with sleeping berths. As I only had a reclining coach seat, my vision of a candlelit dinner à la Orient Express thus quickly disappeared, and I had to make do with a Pot Noodle, a Hot Dog and a cup of lukewarm tea from the Buffet Car. Still it was comfy and cosy and I soon drifted off…Read more