A little buckaroo came to visit - my eleven-year-old niece - and out of that, I got some different views of New York City's waterways that help inform some of my trip planning.
First of all, we got real high up in the new World Trade Center and the old Empire State Building, and also took a trip out to Liberty and Ellis islands. These various trips afforded views I don't normally get of the upper harbor, and certainly from high up looking down at the East River. From these vantages I was able to more clearly see how sharp a bend it makes around the Lower East Side, and see very clearly the path from the East River through Hell Gate and on out to Long Island Sound. Sometimes a Mk 1 Eyeball if more informative than a chart or map.
I also took advantage of a Circle Line Cruise circumnavigation of Manhattan. This was informative in some different ways.
First of all, observing first hand the operations of the Circle Line. How the boat backed out and then essentially turned in place while drifting in an ebb current. That was a surprise - we'd moved to the next pier in the time it took to turn the boat in the direction of travel.
Second though, was the guiding. We had a very informative guide who kept up a good patter through nearly all of the 2h15m trip. I learned a few things to incorporate into my own guiding. Now, to be sure I was giving my niece the lowdown on certain areas I knew about, sometimes pre-empting our guide, sometimes mentioning things he didn't. At the end of the cruise, the ladies in front of us complimented me and said they learned quite a few things the guide hadn't mentioned. That left me feeling chuffed!
We also saw seaplanes taking off from the East River seaplane terminal. I knew it existed but had never seen an actual takeoff or landing. That was cool! We also saw the Hermione, a French vessel that is a replica of the one that brought the Marquis de Lafayette from France during the American Revolution, offering the support of France in our War of Independence.
Lastly, I saw some effects from the boat that I rarely get to see. There was a major wake wave being created by the boat as we churned up the Harlem River, easily three feet high and breaking at a low angle against the shore.