Thursday 31st March
Last night we left Chicago in darkness and rain which continued until late morning when we reached New York State.
Our train was split at Albany, the State capital with one section going to Boston and ours to New York City. Albany is on the River Hudson and before railways was the place where boats could leave the Hudson, having travelled from New York, and use the Erie Canal to gain access to the Great Lakes. Its other claim to fame was, for a while, its Empire State Plaza was the tallest building in the state outside New York City.
From Albany the railway line followed the east side if the river, sometimes so close to the water, that erosion was having to be repaired. It was easy to see how the Hudson Valley is a rift valley created by earth movements which dropped the valley bottom from the volcanic mountains on each side. We passed through short tunnels through some of these mountains and quarries where road and river are used to transport the rock. This volcanic rock is a geological reason why Manhattan can have so many skyscrapers because their foundations are deeply rooted in solid rock.
Before passing under the George Washington suspension bridge we passed through the small town of Poughkeepsie which is infamous for being the home of a likely drug runner in the film French Connection. Fans of the film will know that ‘Popeye Doyle’ accused his assailant of paying a lot of attention to part of his anatomy!
Having passed the riverside park beneath the George Washington Bridge we spent most of the rest of the journey to Penn Station underground.
An interesting taxi ride took us to our hotel at West 49th and Broadway and our room on the 34th floor.