Friday, June 3, 2011

So That's Where Stapleton Pier Is

Last Memorial Day, Eddie and I went on a wild goose chase. We attempted to look at the ships during Fleet Week in Staten Island and could not find Stapleton Pier. This year, I looked at website after website and finally found a page dedicated to Staten Island Fleet Week. On that page, I found directions to where the ships were docked. I don't know if it's Stapleton Pier, but that's what I'm calling it.

We followed the directions and got there in under an hour. We parked on gravel way down from the entrance. We took some pictures. The plan was to see the ships and leave. I had no need to go onto the ship. I've been on ships before. I know all ships are different, but I've seen enough in my life to be satisfied. Eddie had no interest in it at all other than he liked doing new things and he was happy we found Stapleton Pier (even if it wasn't really Stapleton Pier). However, to get closer to the ships, we had to stand on the line to get on the tour.

The line was not that long. It looked long but it was moving. Basically, we had to go through security like you go through at the airport. We needed ID. I was happy with the safety measures. So we stood on the line and eventually went through.

We got to stand in some shade for a while. It was a line to get to the next line. Okay, that didn't seem so bad. There were a lot of people there. Everyone was patiently waiting.


We were standing on line with the same people in the shade. Everyone was getting impatient because we'd been there over an hour. The people in front of us had two children with them. The younger girl was probably four or five. She wanted to draw. She was bored. They played with hats. I was hot and hungry and thirsty and not in the mood for people to be playing run-in-circle-tag. (Eddie and I decided that everywhere on Earth should have an adults only section and time). Children elsewhere on the line were screaming, crying, and crabbing.

Some people attempted to cut the line. They walked right past it. When the sailors stopped them, they said they wanted to see the ships. Why did they think we were all standing there?

A sailor came over and asked who wanted to see the frigate. If you went to see the frigate, you would get right on line for the USS New York. Some people jumped at that option. Some people jumped the line to jump at that option. People were not happy with that either.

Finally, while some people were on the frigate, we got to go onto the next line. We were in the sun next to the USS New York. The sailor who took us over to it showed us the anchor and where the metal from the World Trade Center had been used in the bow. He said that he drives the ship. He didn't use the word drive, but whatever word you use for what he does that is equivalent to a truck driver driving a truck is what he does with the ship. Then we waited.

The guy behind us was talking to a few people behind him, saying that he saw the ship the other day but was on the last tour and was rushed so he wanted to see it again. Oh, the people responded, how long is the tour? He answered, about an hour and a half--it's a big ship.

Eddie and I looked at each other at the same time. If we waited another 45 minutes outside and then took a tour for an hour and a half, one of us--if not both--was not coming out of this thing alive. So instead, we did what we had come to do in the first place, we took pictures up close to the ships and then headed out of there.

On the way out, we saw that the line was now almost to the street, wayyyyyyy longer than we could ever imagine it becoming. A family stopped us on the way to the car and asked if we were on the ship. I answered, well we saw the ship. Eddie told them they were going to wait on line for at least three hours. The guy was like, For any of the ships? I was like, maybe the other ships are a little shorter, but there's only one line to get up to the ships, and it's a long one. I told them to make sure they had their ID and we wished them well.

When we got to the car, I drank some water which I'd packed. It was near boiling. Then I ate a cereal bar. It was near melted. We both had some nuts. We turned on the A/C. Ahhhh, that's some kind of heaven. And as the day wore on, I found that I'd gotten some kind of sunburn on my arms and chest. Even Eddie was tinged a little pink in his face. So that's what happens at Stapleton Pier. It's mayhem, but in a good way.

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