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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

June 4, 2017

Weehawken

On a day with sunshine, clear skies and temperature in the 60’s, 28 walkers including 3 Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) Board members, some very experienced Walk the Walkway walkers, some first time walkers and the head of the Hudson River Performing Arts Center(HRPAC), walked the Walkway along the Weehawken waterfront.  The group gathered at the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor parking lot between 9:00 and 9:30 am.  Walkers came from New York, Tenafly, Trenton, and Hunterdon County as well as Weehawken and other 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.

At 9:30, the group gathered water, Walkway maps and sunblock and headed for Weehawken Cove. Weehawken Cove is the southern border between Weehawken and Hoboken and has an interesting history.  It is one of the places Henry Hudson docked his ships when he explored the Hudson River.  It also was where Todd Shipyards was located in the 1960’s. Today it is being developed by Hoboken into a community center for boating and water sports. Here you can also see evidence of the changes occurring all along the waterfront where former industrial/commercial sites are being converted to residential and retail buildings. The former home of Lipton Tea in Hoboken is now very high-end condos while an old smoky tavern with a questionable reputation in Weehawken has been replaced by a high rise rental building with a million dollar view of Manhattan.

Heading north, the walkers moved through Lincoln Harbor which has been developed by Hartz Mountain Industries.  Originally developed to be a large commercial office complex housing the back office of UBS, much of Lincoln Harbor is now being converted to a residential community with several commercial buildings being converted to residential homes.  Hartz Mountain has recognized that waterfront property is more valuable as homes rather than office buildings.  To support the new residences, a Whole Foods 365 store is under construction replacing a commercial parking lot. The group stopped to hear an HRWC Board member talk about how the rental complex at the north end of Lincoln Harbor had to be redesigned when the developer realized that the original design would have caused them to drive piles into the Amtrak railroad tunnel underneath the development.

Leaving Lincoln Harbor, the group proceeded into Weehawken Park.  The first section of the park was filled with children using the stone chess tables to compete in a chess tournament. It was inspiring to see the park being used in such a positive manner. This section of the park is also the site of Summer Concerts on the Hudson. The concerts are free and presented by the HRPAC with UBS as the major sponsor.

The middle section of Weehawken Park is unbuilt but will be completed in the next two years and include a swimming complex for Weehawken residents.  The third and largest section of the park includes tennis courts, soccer fields, a little league field and playgrounds.  These fields are shared with some of the Stevens sports teams in return for allowing Weehawken residents to use the Stevens swimming complex. Can you imagine playing Little League baseball with the NYC skyline in the background?

The Walkway in the remainder of Weehawken to the north and the West new York border demonstrates that excellent municipal planning makes integration of conflicting interests possible.  The entire Walkway through the remainder of Weehawken and all of West New York is built in front of high end condominiums.   Weehawken and West New York required the developers to construct the Walkway with a common standard design and required that it be constructed before the condominiums were built.  As a result, the public has had the Walkway to enjoy for many years while the developments are being built.  Henley on Hudson, the first Condominium, has constructed the Walkway in a manner to visibly separate the Walkway from the residential units and provide privacy to the residential units.  The next condominium, the Brownstones, unfortunately have built the Walkway immediately adjacent to the condominium units increasing the conflict between condo owners who want privacy and the public who enjoy the Walkway.

Next the group detoured to River Road to see the site of the dual in the 1700s between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. While the actual site of the dual is not visible, the group discussed the old protocols for dueling and the dramatic changes that have occurred in the waterfront over the past 350 years.

After the Brownstones, the Walkway proceeds through Pershing Park, a small pocket park where WeeRow, the Weehawken rowing club, launches their “gigs” as described by an HRWC Board member.

The walkers continued to the Weehawken 9/11 Memorial and stopped for a few minutes to pay private respects to those lost in 9/11.

The final section of the walk passed through The Avenue, a series of very high end condominiums being built right across from mid-town Manhattan.  It is rumored that this condo complex is the most expensive condo on a $/sq.ft basis along the entire waterfront.

The walk ended near the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal at 11:30 am.

The Walkway throughout Weehawken is in excellent condition with no significant maintenance issues and is heavily used for all kinds of outdoor activities by people of all ages.

The next Walk the Walkway for 2017 will be Sunday July 2, in North Bergen, Guttenburg and West New York.

Watch your e-mail for details the last week in June.

Photo album courtesy of Dan Chall.  And one more!

 

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