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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

October 12, 2014

Morris Canal, Jersey City

On a wonderful day for a walk with bright sunshine, clear skies and temperature in the 60’s, 9 walkers including 3 Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) Board members walked the Walkway along the northern side of the Morris Canal in Jersey City.  The group gathered at the footbridge entrance to Liberty State Park on Jersey Avenue between 9:00 and 9:30 am.  Walkers came from Trenton, the Bronx and communities along the Hudson River.

At 9:30, the group gathered water and Walkway maps and headed for the footbridge entrance to Liberty State Park.  This footbridge is new as the old wooden one was washed away in Hurricane Sandy.  At least there are a few benefits that result for a major tragedy.  The footbridge crosses the Morris Canal and the group talked about the route of the old canal and some parts of it that exist in other parts of New Jersey.

The western section of the northern shore of the Morris Canal has not yet been developed and no Walkway has been built.  The area near the footbridge is a large equipment yard for GWI drilling.  It was a good reminder of how the entire waterfront looked in the 60’s.  To bypass the equipment yard, the group was required to climb through a hole in a fence.  This was due to the entrance gate being chained.  This was not the case two years ago when the HRWC last walked this area.

Having safely navigated the fence, the walkers proceeded into a very large area of open land which belongs to a developer called Liberty Harbor.  This land was previously industrial, possibly Colgate Palmolive, and there is a narrow blacktop path along the waterfront which some day will be converted to a Walkway.  The Liberty Harbor development is under construction with several rental high rises already completed.  At the east end of Liberty Harbor, the land is being used as a trailer park.  I can’t imagine a more “high-end’ trailer park with gorgeous views of lower New York Harbor. The land is also used as a Park and Ride lot during the week for commuters using the New York Waterways ferries to Manhattan.  At the end of Liberty Harbor is a summer restaurant with a sand beach.  It was closed for the year but looked like a great place to enjoy the waterfront and pretend to be “down the shore”.

As we left Liberty harbor, one of the walkers noticed a small run down building.  It turns out this is an office for a tent camping site that goes with the trailer park.  Who would have known there was a camp site in the middle of Jersey City?

After leaving Liberty Harbor, the group continued around a marina, a small parking lot and a boat storage facility where no Walkway has yet been built and arrived at the completed Walkway in front of several high end condominiums.  Someday, this section of Walkway will connect with Liberty Harbor.  The walkers stopped to take pictures of the resident swan which lives in the marina.  The swan was there greeting us two years ago when we last walked this area of the Walkway.  Across Morris Canal is Liberty State Park and the Liberty Park marina.  Several large yachts were moored in the marina which is the largest marina on the lower Hudson River.

The group continued past the condominiums noting that they had built the Walkway in a manner that protects the privacy of residents from the public walking on the Walkway.  Too bad, condos in other areas of the Walkway did not have the same foresight.

At the end of the condominiums, the Walkway enters the Korean War Memorial.  It was good to note that the caved in area of the Walkway that had been in dispute for so long has been filled in and is no longer a safety hazard.. While is has been filled with gravel, no permanent repair has been done. The War Memorial is built adjacent to a small section of Liberty State Park. After a few minutes at the War Memorial, the group entered a brand new section of the Walkway recently completed by the State of New Jersey.  This area passes several condominiums and is cantilevered over the canal.  The group speculated on how this section was allowed to be built over water when building over water is generally prohibited. It seemed to the group that the Walkway should have been built in the section of Liberty State Park rather than cantilevered along the back of the condominiums.  This would have required a small bridge at the end but would have made a much nicer Walkway in this area.

After the condominiums, the Walkway meets Veterans Park, a small park at that houses the famous Colgate Clock.  The Walkway is under construction here with sections of it fully completed but other sections unbuilt. No construction activity was visible and is seems that this project has been stopped for some reason.  The HRWC will inquire into the status of construction here.

Adjacent to Veteran’s park is the Goldman Sachs office building.  It is the tallest building in New Jersey and is surrounded by scaffolding that has been there for many years.  Why the scaffolding is needed is unknown but it is really ugly.

Passing Goldman Sachs, the group spent some time on two beautiful piers that have been developed as parks.  Many people were enjoying the parks in the good weather.  It is wonderful to see have these public facilities so integrated with the commercial center of Jersey City.  After a brief rest on the benches and a restroom stop, the group proceeded to Exchange Place stopping briefly at the Jersey City 9-11 Memorial.  The walk ended at Exchange Place with the Walkers saying goodbye and returning to the starting point by retracing their steps or taking the Light Rail.

This walk completes the series of six Walk the Walkway walks for 2014. Walks will begin again in the spring and we hope everyone will join us then.  Watch your e-mail for the 2015 schedule of walks.

Pictures of walk: album1, album2 (courtesy of Dan Chall)


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