Bucket List Travels: Discovering the Azores Morristown resident Paul Partridge has been building a travel bucket list for years. Now he’s diving in – near and far – and shares his adventures in this column. A working bar that sits in the middle of the Hudson River and offers sunset views of the NYC skyline. . . Who knew?

Here’s your table, here’s your view.

Everyone knows that the best sunsets of Manhattan happen from the Jersey side.

Some claim Hoboken has the best viewing spots. Others say Jersey City. A case can be made for Weehawken or West New York.

Sorry, folks. The winner in my book is The Honorable William Wall– a two-story floating bar that sits in the Hudson River and is also called The Willy Wall.


1.) Location, location, location. Relish the unobstructed view of NYC from midtown to The Battery. Plus, get up-close views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, no extra charge.

2.) Enjoy free, nonstop entertainment, as catamarans, cruise ships, jet skis, yachts, tour boats, and the Staten Island Ferry bustle around the harbor. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a sailboat race.

3.) Getting there is a fun adventure. The “Admiral’s Launch” departs from Dudley Street every half hour and delivers you right to the bar. And you’re allowed to bring a picnic lunch or any other food you’d like.

4.) They serve cocktails.

A Well-Kept Secret

You’d think that a working bar anchored in the middle of the world’s most famous harbor would be well known. But I can tell you, when planning the trip and talking to friends, not one person I spoke to was familiar with it.

Even the attendant in their parking lot has never heard of the William Wall (but for $5, what do you expect?)

Our group of five arrives in time to take the first tender out. This gives us the best shot at a seat at the bar or at a table. (Note: there’s a bar on each floor, but both bars are not always in service.) It’s $100 to sit at a reserved table, but there are unreserved tables available first come, first serve. Once onboard, we grab a table in the covered section with an excellent view.

A Friendly Crew

On the way to the bar, I meet two of the crew. The first is a young Irish sailor from Wexford, near Dublin. He teaches sailing by day and crews on the Willy Wall nights and weekends. “I’ll turn you into a sailor in two days,” he proclaims in his lilting brogue.

The other crew member is Leo, a mathematician working on his PhD. In his spare time, Leo makes YouTube videos explaining complex math problems. The first one I see listed is called, “How to Solve 1st Order Ordinary Differential Equations.” Not sure what’s more impressive: the title or the fact that it has 312,000 views.

It makes me feel good that there are 312,000 smart people in the world. However, at that moment, there’s an energetic birthday celebration on deck and it doesn’t look like any of those smart people are here.

Leo is also trying to find a new prime number. “Did you know that prime numbers are used by spies in writing codes,” he asks. Apparently, if you find one over 100 digits long, you’re supposed to notify the CIA and they buy it off you for $10,000.

“I don’t know about that,” I say, “but do you know the MIT fight song?” He doesn’t, so I sing it for him.

E to the u, du, dx

E to the x, dx

Cosine, secant, tangent, sine

3 point 1 4 1 5 9

Integral, radical, mu, dv

Fight ‘em, fight ‘em, MIT

But I Digress

The afternoon is delightful. Sunny. Lower 80’s. With a nice breeze to keep us cool. About a half hour before sunset, the sun reflects off the skyline and creates a mirror of light on the water. When a sailboat enters the sphere, it creates a stunning silhouette in contrast with the glowing colors radiating off the buildings. Wow – spectacular!

On the water, 15 or so jet skis are in formation, performing various choreographed maneuvers.  To the untrained eye, it looks like a cross between a college marching band and the Weeki Wachee Water Ballet. The formations are quite elaborate and we’re trying to decipher what they’re making. Words? Signs? Hanzi? Perhaps they’re spelling out a new prime number in tribute to Leo.

According to the website, The Honorable William Wall was an entrepreneur who founded the Wall Rope Works in the early 1800’s. He served as Mayor of Williamsburg, headed the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and was a US Congressman during the Civil War. Sitting here relaxing and enjoying the view, I wonder what Mr. Wall would think if he could see this view, right now.

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

On the drive home we stop at the Italian festival in Jersey City. La Festa Italiana is over 100 years old and celebrates the miracle of the Assumption of Mary. We experience our own miracle when I find a parking spot two blocks from the festivities.

We arrive in time to sample delicious meatballs from My Sister’s Balls food truck and catch the Cameos singing, “In the Still of the Night,” “Runaround Sue,” “Sherry,” “I Love You Baby,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”


The Willy Wall operates Tuesday through Saturday from mid-May to mid-October. The tender departs twice per hour from the Manhattan Yacht Club at 140 Dudley Street, down near St. Peter’s Prep.


If you’re looking for a novel idea for a birthday party or anniversary or a girls/guys night out – or you’re entertaining visitors from out of town – it’s definitely worth considering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.