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Walk the Walkway

June 29, 2014

Downtown Jersey City

On another magnificent day with bright sunshine and clear skies, 15 walkers including 3 HRWC Board members, and some very experienced HRWC walkers walked the Walkway in downtown Jersey City from Exchange Place to the Hoboken Train Station. The Walkway through Jersey City is completed and is heavily used by the public for entertainment and enjoyment on weekends. It is also an integral part of an intense commercial and financial business community on the waterfront during the week.  Due to the excellent bulkhead foundation of the Walkway through most of Jersey City, there was little damage done by Hurricane Sandy and the small damaged areas have been rebuilt.  The Walkway throughout downtown Jersey City is in very good shape.

After a brief discussion of the Conservancy and its role to monitor the construction and maintenance of the Walkway, the walkers gathered water, maps and sunblock and headed north on the Walkway at the Hyatt hotel at 9:30 AM. The Hyatt hotel is on a pier and the Walkway goes completely around the pier with a park and fishing area at the water’s edge directly across for the World Trade Center.  There were a few fishermen on the pier trying to catch crabs but it seemed to be a slow day.  The pier also has a large sun dial at the end, and after some discussion, one of the walkers pointed out that the sundial had the correct time if you adjusted for daylight savings time.

The group continued north past the Harbourside Financial Center where there are actually two parallel walkways, one wood and the other, pavers and concrete.  One walker pointed out that the Harbourside was specifically designed to look like a large cruise ship. Next we passed “The Pier”, an apartment complex with spectacular views built on a pier in the river. The Walkway extends the length of the Pier allowing public access to the water’s edge.

The Walkway continues past commercial and residential complexes and passes several undeveloped piers that look like they will be turned into high end residential facilities someday. After checking with the security guard, the Walkers entered the Harbourside Marina which had some enormous yachts and sailboats.  It was nice to see a large sign saying “Public Welcome” at the entrance to the marina.  There also is a restaurant at the end of the marina.  It is now called Battello’s but has recently changed names. It was previously called Michael’s. Several walkers had been there for meals and recommended the restaurant. It is a beautiful place. It was crowded for lunch and seems very popular.

A short distance further near Starbucks some damage from Sandy is being repaired.  The outdoor patio for Starbucks was washed away and is being rebuilt.  It did not affect the Walk way but, once again, showed the damage that storms can do when strong bulkheads are omitted in construction.

After a short break at Starbucks, the group headed into a part of the Walkway owned by the Port Authority.  This area is directly over the Holland Tunnel and has gates that can close off the Walkway in the event of an emergency in the tunnel. The area surrounding the gated area was pleasantly landscaped and quite attractive.  This is another example of how important public facilities can safely exist while maintaining attractive public access to the waterfront.

Beyond the Holland Tunnel we entered Newport a large residential complex still under development which dominates the entire northern section of the Jersey City waterfront to the Hoboken border.  Newport has been under development for 35 years by the LeFrak organization and there are still large land areas and piers that remain to be developed. It was noted that, after some negotiations, LeFrak, the developer, agreed to complete the Walkway to the Hoboken Train Station even though a large part of the land in this area has yet to be developed.  This allows the public to enjoy the Walkway immediately without having to wait years until all the buildings are completed.

Along this last section of the Walkway, Newport has posted placards with the history of Jersey City from the late 1800’s.  They tell the story of the rise and decline of shipping, railroads and manufacturing that once dominated the Jersey City waterfront.  The group marveled at the wonderful park and other public facilities that have been built along the waterfront to replace the industrial devastation that was there after the 1960’s.

The walk ended at 11:15 at the Hoboken Light Rail Station where the group wished each other a happy summer.  Some walkers then retraced their steps back to Exchange Place while others boarded the Light Rail to return home or back to Exchange Place.

This walk was the final walk in the spring series of Walk the Walkway walks hosted by the Conservancy.  There will not be walks in July and August due to the heat but the walks will return on September 7 when we will Walk the Walkway through Hoboken.

The Conservancy wishes everyone a happy and safe summer.

Photo Album1 of walk
Photo Album2 of walk

 

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