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North Side of Morris Canal and Southern Jersey City 2013

Walk the Walkway

September 22, 2013

North Side of Morris Canal and Southern Jersey City

On a “top 10 day of the year” with bright sunshine on the first day of autumn, 8 adventuresome Walkers, including 2 HRWC Board members met at the Liberty State Park foot bridge in Jersey City. Congratulations to the hearty walkers who managed to navigate the barricaded streets to join us due to the Jersey City Marathon whose route went right run past our Walk the Walkway meeting point.

After a brief discussion about the HRWC and the planned route, the group headed off at 9:30. This walk was different from many previous walks as most of the planned route did not have a completed Walkway. The walkers were able to get a good look at the decaying industrial property that will eventually become an important section of the Walkway.

The first section of the walk ran through a large open property that is part of the massive Liberty Harbor development which is currently under construction. When completed, this area will include several thousand residential units, as well as commercial facilities. Most important, a current blacktop path along the Morris Canal will be replaced with a full 16 foot paved Walkway. The views of Liberty State Park from here, as well as along the entire walk today, are beyond description as they overlook Liberty State Park, Liberty Landing Marina and the lower New York harbor. It is not hard to envision the high-end residential units that will be built here. Several massive yachts were moored in Liberty Landing Marina. One even had a helicopter on the rear deck.

As we proceeded, there was much evidence of damage from Sandy. We saw a directional sign from Liberty State Park lying in the weeds along the canal. We estimated it was about ½ mile from its original location. Most of this undeveloped area is currently used as a park and ride lot for the NY Waterway Ferry which has a dock there. There also is a working RV park with RV’s from as far away as Washington State. What a great place to park an RV for a visit to the New York area.

We next passed Surf City, a bar and burger joint right on the Morris Canal with a sand “beach” and a marina that is part of Liberty Harbor. This marina poses significant challenges for eventual Walkway construction. Since it extends significantly inland the Walkway will eventually have to be constructed in a manner that goes around the entire marina to connect with other sections of completed Walkway.

The walkers were surprised to see one beautiful, well fed swan and an enormous blue crab swimming in the marina. It looks like the water gets better for sea life each year.

The next section of the walk was on completed Walkway in front of several high rise apartments or condominiums. The views of lower New York harbor were, again, spectacular and many people were sitting, walking, and biking on the Walkway. We stopped to talk to a resident who told us this area was under 12 feet of water during Sandy and the buildings were flooded with 8 feet of water in the first floor. No damage was visible to the Walkway. Since this area of the Walkway was built with sheet piling and concrete, it survived well during Sandy.

This section of Walkway ends at the Hudson County Korean War Memorial. One of our Walkers showed us the name of his brother engraved on the monument. It added a moment of reflection to our walk.

Near this area is a small section of Walkway that has been collapsed for over two years. The holes have been filled with gravel so there is currently limited danger. However, the responsibility to repair this section of Walkway is under dispute among Jersey City, Hudson County, The US Department of Defense and the US Department of the Interior so it remains unrepaired. The Conservancy has also been told that the Walkway needs significant repair in this area to prevent further collapses.

The next section of Walkway is under construction. It runs past several condominiums and is being built by the State of NJ. As we passed, the new Walkway looked complete but additional construction is continuing at the far end of this Walkway segment. We would hope that this segment is open to the public in the spring.

The final section of the Walk was along Veterans Park overlooking Ground Zero, Battery Park City and New York Harbor. This park is closed as the NJ redevelops the park and constructs another segment of the Walkway. This park will house the famous Colgate Clock which is also being refurbished. When the park and the Walkway are completed, it will complete one more significant link in the Hudson River Walkway.

The walk ended at the Goldman Sachs Building. As the group stopped to review the day and use the restroom facilities, we were “invaded” by noise from tourist helicopters that were flying from a small helipad in the river adjacent to a nice park on a pier. It is a shame that residents need to endure devastating noise from helicopters while they try to enjoy the waterfront.

This walk was the last of the 2013 series of Walk the Walkway walks held by the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy. Our thanks to all those who joined us on 6 walks throughout the spring and summer and we look forward to seeing everyone in the 2014 Walk the Walkway series.

Have a good fall and winter.


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