Yesterday's splashy send-off of Cunard's venerable Queen Elizabeth 2
and its ultra-contemporary sibling Queen Mary 2
capped off a weekend's worth of eye-popping festivities in and around the Manhattan skyline. QE2 and QM2 tooted their horns and pulled out of their Hudson River berths (piers 90 and 92) at about 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. respectively en route to their first joint port of call. Well, sort of. The ships were slated to rendezvous at 8:30 p.m. at the Statue of Liberty -- the ultimate photo opportunity -- though news reports clocked QE2 at a tardy 30 minutes late. Once together (again), there was a fireworks display over Lady Liberty.
Almost as amazing a spectacle as the ships themselves (not to mention the fireworks) was the frenzy they stirred among folks in Manhattan and surrounding areas like Staten Island, northern New Jersey, and Brooklyn. Motorists who dared to navigate New York and New Jersey's waterfront roadways caught a glimpse of the ships whether they wanted to or not -- thanks to pretty near-constant gridlock.
After the fireworks gala, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 sailed off for their unique-in-Cunard-history voyage -- the two ships will sail, basically in tandem, across the Atlantic; both arrive at Southampton on May 1.