Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy
Walk the Walkway
September 11, 2016
On a cloudy but pleasant day with and temperature in the high 80’s, 12 walkers including 3 Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) Board members and some very experienced Walk the Walkway walkers walked(hiked) the Walkway along the northern end of Edgewater. The group gathered at the Trader Vic parking lot between 9:00 and 9:30 am. This walk is different than most other Walk the Walkway walks in that the Walkway in this area is largely incomplete or inaccessible. As a result, much of the walking(hiking) was on River Road to bypass incomplete or inaccessible areas of the Walkway path.
At 9:30, the group gathered on the Walkway and paused for a moment of silence in honor of those lost in the 9/11 tragedy.
The walk started at the Binghamton ferry boat that continues to deteriorate. Recently, the Walkway in this area was patched to eliminate the previous dangerous walking conditions but the Walkway is well below acceptable standards and needs to be rebuilt. There is a plan to demolish the Binghamton and replace it with a new ferry boat restaurant. When that happens, the Walkway will be rebuilt. However, this plan has been around for several years with no action to date. Hopefully, the next time we walk in this area some actions will have taken place.
Leaving the Binghamton, the group passed three areas of the Walkway that desperately need maintenance. The Walkway is overgrown, weeds are growing in the pavers and the Grand Cove section has hedges that block 50% of the walkway area. The Conservancy will contact Grand Cove to have the hedges trimmed. One of these areas adjoins an office building that will be replaced with a new 15 story office building. Hopefully, the Walkway will not be closed during construction.
Next the walkers passed the Whole Foods shopping center and several more condos and arrived at the Edgewater marina. This marina is an excellent example of how the Walkway can be successfully integrated with an active working marina. Other marinas along the waterfront want to totally exclude public access which violates the Public Trust Doctrine.
Adjoining the marina is an older condominium development, Admiral’s Walk, that was constructed before the Walkway legislation was passed. This condominium has a private walkway along the river but public access is prohibited as the condo was grandfathered from complying with the Walkway legislation. Hopefully, someday, an arrangement can be made to give the public access to this “gap” in the Walkway.
Veteran’s Park at Edgewater was next on the walk. This large park has been closed for 5 years due to industrial contamination. The reconstruction is well underway and hopefully the park will be open in 2017. The Walkway construction has been completed but lights, benches and waste receptacles still need to be installed. The Walkway is partially open while the park is under reconstruction. The group stopped to use the restrooms at the Edgewater Community Center and also to observe a memorial fountain and seating area that has been built along the Walkway.
After leaving Veterans Park, the group stopped to observe and discuss a series of four adjacent unfinished Walkway segments. The first, the property at the Le Jardin restaurant, has been in litigation with the DEP for several years as the owner has illegally filled in the river to provide a larger property area. A settlement is under discussion with the DEP and will include immediate construction of the Walkway segment on the Le Jardin property. This would allow access to three additional Walkway segments that are built but not accessible at the Moorings, von Dohln marina and Vela homes. Each of these properties has a completed section of the Walkway but they are inaccessible to the public until the Walkway at Le Jardin is completed.
Finally, the walkers climbed River Road to bypass the inaccessible areas and arrived at the Edgewater Colony. The Colony is a private community where there once were fishing shacks for Manhattan residents. Most of the shacks have been replaced with multi-million dollar mansions overlooking the Hudson. The Walkway in the Colony is marked on the streets and leads past many of these mansions to connect with Palisades Interstate Park(PIP). The residents of the Colony are not pleased that there is a public Walkway through their private community. The group was stopped by some residents and asked why we were there. After a brief and cordial exchange, the group continued, past the previous home of Heraldo Rivera and into Palisades Interstate Park where the walk ended. It was noted that walkers could continue into PIP and continue on a walkway for many miles into New York State.
The Walkway in North Edgewater is still under development and it will be several years before the public will be able to use much of the Walkway for uninterrupted passage. However, each year additional segments are opened to the public and a completed Walkway from Bayonne to Fort Lee comes closer to reality.
The final Walk the Walkway walk will be on Oct 9 in Jersey City where the group will meet at the Liberty Park Light Rail Station and explore the north side of the Morris Canal.