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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

September 14, 2014

Hoboken

On another magnificent day with bright sunshine, clear skies and temperature in the low 70’s, 28 walkers including 4 Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) Board members, some very experienced Walk the Walkway walkers and a group of first time walkers, walked the Walkway along the Hoboken waterfront.  The group gathered at the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor parking lot between 9:00 and 9:30 am.  Walkers came from Mendham, Trenton, Titusville and Englewood as well as communities along the Hudson River.  It is rewarding to see walkers, who don’t live near the river, walk with the HRWC and learn about the Walkway and the wonderful benefit it provides to the general public.

Before the walk began, Helen Manogue, President of the HRWC, described the history of the Walkway in the Hoboken area and the many industrial proposals, including oil refineries and tank farms, which had to be defeated to save the waterfront for use by the public. Helen noted that the Walkway is an example where strong advocacy by the public can make a difference and defeat proposals that are not in the interest of the general public.

At 9:30, the group gathered water, Walkway maps and sunblock and headed south into Weehawken Cove, the former location of Todd’s Shipyard in the 1960’s.  The Walkway around Weehawken Cove is relatively new, in excellent shape, and connects Weehawken with Hoboken. It is now part of a park jointly constructed and maintained by the two towns.  It was noted that several condos are under construction in this area and more are planned as the Waterfront continues transition to a residential community from previous industrial and commercial sites. Weehawken Cove is also a place where small personal sailboats moor for free.  Henry Hudson moored here as he sailed up the Hudson. Unfortunately, three boats were noted sitting underwater with their masts sticking out of the water which probably happened during Hurricane Sandy. Leaving Weehawken Cove, the walkers passed the original home of Lipton Tea, now called Hudson Tea, which houses multi-million dollar condominiums and the home of Eli Manning, for you NY Giant fans. Next to Hudson Tea, the Walkway passes a small black sand beach known as Hoboken Beach North and a crumbling pier directly on the Hudson River.  This area is where developers are proposing to build two 13 story luxury condos called The Monarch.  The Town of Hoboken and the neighbors at Hudson Tea are fighting the development in the courts.

Moving on, walkers entered The Shipyard and Maxwell Place.  A Board member noted that The Shipyard was the original home of the America Export Lines  cruise lines and the current buildings, the Constitution and the Independence are named for the large cruise ships that docked at The Shipyard years ago.  Maxwell Place is built where the original home of Maxwell House coffee was located.  The waterfront, piers and Walkway were full of people as we passed. They have been developed in this area into a major park with many facilities for all ages.

At the end of Maxwell Place is Hoboken Beach South, a small sandy area where people can lay on the sand and enjoy the sun.  There also is a boat house and kayak launch with a plaque noting that Hoboken was the original home of the America’s Cup sailing competition. Next to Maxwell Place is Union Dry Dock, the last working shipyard in Hoboken. Rumors abound that it will be sold, closed and developed but, until that happens, walkers have to use Sinatra Drive to bypass the dry dock facilities.

Beyond Union Dry Dock, the Walkway continues through sections owned and maintained by Hoboken and Stevens Institute.  It passes Sybil’s Cave, a landmark where early Manhattan residents crossed the Hudson for a summer outing and to drink the cool water from a spring within the cave.

Passing a skateboard park, which the walkers decided not to try, and a fishing pier, the group entered a Walkway section that is built over the river by Stevens Institute. There are many of these “bridge” sections along the entire Walkway.  They are permitted only where there had been a previous bridge or pier sometime in the past.  Otherwise, no new piers or bridges are allowed to be constructed over any section of the river. This section of the Walkway was built with concrete supporting piers rather than using the old wooden beams from years ago as the foundation of the Walkway. Major sections of the Walkway in Hoboken had previously been built on the wooden beams and had collapsed into the river due to wood boring insects that have returned as the river has become less polluted.  Avoiding the wooden support structures and investing in original concrete structures for the Walkway is a good example of the long term planning that the HRWC tries to promote with developers as new sections of the Walkway are built.


The Walkway from Steven’s institute to the Hoboken Train Station is probably the best section of the entire 18.5 miles of Walkway.  This area with its spectacular views of Manhattan has been developed by Hoboken and NJ Transit as one huge park. It includes two large piers that have been converted into park land.  Facilities for children, fishermen, sun bathers, bikers, picnickers and walkers have been integrated in a way that allows each group to enjoy their pastime yet not compete or interfere with others.  For example, there is a completely separate bike path parallel to the Walkway.

After enjoying the parks, taking pictures and a few minutes of sun bathing, the walk ended at the Hoboken Train Station.  The group noted that the Walkway is in excellent condition throughout Hoboken and provides a very special facility for the enjoyment of the public.

The group said goodbye and were encouraged to join the HRWC on Oct 5 for the next Walk the Walkway.  Most of the group chose to retrace their steps back through Hoboken to further enjoy the great weather and the parks and cafes along the Walkway while a few of us took the easy way back to the Sheraton and used the Light Rail.

The HRWC looks forward to the next Walk the Walkway walk on October 5 when we will again meet at the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor parking lot and walk north through Weehawken.  Please plan to join us.

Pictures of walk: album1, album2 (Dan Chall)


 

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