Walk the Walkway
May 15, 2016
Dennis Collins Park, Fishing Village, MOTBY in Bayonne
On a cool, windy, overcast morning, 23 walkers, including 6 HRWC Board members and an employee of Bayonne met at the southern end of Dennis Collins Park in Bayonne. Walkers came from Manhattan and communities along the Walkway. As we gathered, the group marveled at the massive construction project underway to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge.
The group headed north at about 9:45 am. After a short distance, the walkers stopped to talk about the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the park. An employee of Bayonne told the group that there had been 6-8 feet of water over the entire park. The Walkers also observed several memorials and headstones in the grass. We were told that Bayonne will issue a permit to allow Bayonne residents to install Memorial Headstones for their loved ones in the park. We were assured that no bodies were buried in the park.
Proceeding north we passed several skate board parks, little league fields and playgrounds all in good shape. The adjacent restrooms were functional but not spotless. As the walk continued, the group had to detour out to First Street as part of the park including a section of the Walkway is under renovation. The Walkers next stopped at the Bayonne bocce court pavilion. This is the only bocce court along the entire Walkway and was obviously heavily used and well maintained.
Continuing on, we arrived at the end of the park which is a large fishing dock but the fishermen were not in sight. At this point, the group returned to the starting point stopping along the way to note the spot where Uncle Miltie’s amusement park once stood and the location of a defunct ferry service that once connected Bayonne with Staten Island. We returned to our cars at 11:00 am after about 2 miles of walking and took a short drive to the Bayonne fishing village.
The Bayonne fishing village is a row of small houses with boat docks used by Bayonne fishermen. In the parking lot is a single giant windmill which we were told is used to pump water for the water company. The Walkway here is a stone path with solar lights, benches and garbage cans. It was built by IMTT and the city of Bayonne and confirms that there is no danger or security threat between the tanks operated by IMTT and the public access Walkway, contrary to the claims of the Bayonne Golf Club. The field adjacent to the Walkway had recently burned down and there was much charred vegetation in view.
The group returned to their cars and drove to the Marine Ocean Terminal At Bayonne Yard. (MOTBY). This is a massive peninsula jutting into New York Bay that once was a US Military base. It now contains a huge Dry Dock, the Cruise Port for vacation cruises and the Russian Memorial to 9/11 along with many acres of land waiting to be developed. There also are two small sections of Walkway completed, one dedicated for use by fisherman. The group discussed the plans for residential development on MOTBY and noted that the developers will be required to complete the Walkway around the inlet to connect with South Cove shopping center and the Bayonne Golf Club. They also will build a footbridge to provide access to the Light Rail Station that is across Route 440.
The Walk ended at 11:45 at the 9/11 Memorial which is a stunning tribute to Bayonne residents who died in the two World Trade attacks and the sadness of the 9/11 attack. The monument is a massive stainless steel teardrop suspended in a wall that has been split to hold the teardrop. It is aligned directly with the World Trade Center site.
A short rain storm sent the walkers running for their cars before we could announce that the June Walk the Walkway will be held on Sunday June 26 when we will walk in Downtown Jersey City from Exchange Place to the Hoboken border.
Photo album courtesy of Dan Chall