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Walk the Walkway

June 3, 2018

North Side of LSP to Morris Canal to Exchange Place, Jersey City

On a cool drizzly day, 12 Walkers, including 6 HRWC Board members and walkers from as far away as Flemington, NJ, met at the Liberty State Park Light Rail station in Jersey City at 9:00 AM.  After a brief discussion about the planned route and speculation about getting wet if it rained, the group headed off at 9:30 AM. This walk is different from many previous walks as part of the planned route does not have a completed Walkway. The walkers were able to get a good look at the previous industrial property that will eventually become an important section of the Walkway.

The Walkers entered Liberty State Park from the Light Rail station and stopped to talk about the development of the Park, the recent threats posed by developers to use parts of the park for commercial gain, and the optimism for strong environmental policies from the new administration in Trenton. As the group approached the foot bridge from Liberty State Park into Jersey City, they passed a “marine dump” that has evolved at the north end of Liberty Landing Marina.  Liberty Landing Marina is leased from the NJDEP by Suntex Corp. of California and, since 2010 when Suntex leased the marina, they have allowed the dumping of rusty pieces of equipment, trailers and broken docks on the previously grassy areas of the park.  The group met a person who is campaigning to have the area cleaned up. (A letter from a concerned citizen to the CEO of Suntex is here).  The Conservancy strongly supports this effort.

Next, the group stopped on the foot bridge over Morris Canal and discussed the history of the canal, the new road and bridge that will be built to provide direct vehicle access from Jersey Ave to LSP, and the long term development of the Walkway on the north side of the Morris Canal.  It was also noted that the new steel foot bridge was rebuilt after Super Storm Sandy destroyed the old wooden bridge.  Sometimes there are small benefits from a tragedy like Sandy.

The Walkers continued into a large open property that is part of the massive Liberty Harbor North development which has been under development on the North side of Morris Canal for over 15 years. When completed, this area will include several thousand residential units, as well as commercial and recreational facilities. Most important, a current crumbling blacktop path along the north side of Morris Canal, a remainder from a prior industrial age, will be replaced with a full 16 foot paved Walkway.

The panoramic views from here are special as they overlook Liberty State Park, Liberty Landing Marina with multi-million dollar yachts and the lower New York Harbor.  It is easy envision the views from the high-end residential units that will be built here someday.

Most of this undeveloped area is currently used as a Park and Ride lot for the NY Waterway Ferry which has a dock here.  There also is a working RV park. What a great place to park an RV for a weekend visit to the New York area.

We next passed Surf City, a bar and burger joint right on the Morris Canal with a sand “beach” and continued across a small area where a fully compliant section of the Walkway has been built.  This is the first section of the Walkway to be completed in Liberty Harbor.

Next the walk proceeded around a large working marina that is adjacent to Liberty Harbor North. The Walkway will eventually be constructed in a manner that goes around the entire marina to connect with other sections of completed Walkway to the east.

As the walk progressed, the group stopped to see several “interesting” houseboats docked in the marina.

Passing through a parking lot, the group stopped to examine a historical placard with a map of Morris Canal and a historical description. The group then joined the completed Walkway in front of several high rise apartments or condominiums.  The views of lower New York Harbor were, again, spectacular and many people were sitting, walking, and biking on the Walkway.

This section of Walkway ends at the Hudson County Korean War Memorial.  The walkers stopped for a moment of reflection and then scrambled to put on rain gear as it started to drizzle.

Next the walkers arrived at the Sugar House, an old Domino sugar warehouse that has been converted to high-end condominiums.  The Walkway here is constructed of wood and is cantilevered over the canal.  It has been being completely rebuilt since Sandy.  All properties that border the Walkway are responsible for repair and maintenance of the adjoining section of the Walkway.

Beyond the Sugar House is a newer section of the Walkway that leads to Veterans Park. Most of this land was originally the Colgate factories where they produced tooth paste and toiletries. The Walkway in Veteran’s Park was partially completed several years ago but a small section remains unbuilt.  It seems there is a budget dispute within the State between the DEP and the Veterans Department that is preventing construction.

The next section of the walk was along the part of Veterans Park overlooking Ground Zero, Battery Park City and New York Harbor.  The renovated Colgate Clock is here. It is still maintained by Colgate but it is now controlled electronically from Colgate offices in Chicago.

The walk passed the Goldman Sachs Building, currently the tallest building in NJ, and ended at Exchange Place. Exchange Place is being renovated by Jersey City and a Board member, who lives in Jersey City, told the group about the resolution of a dispute over moving a statue that honours Polish citizens killed in Siberia many years ago.  The statue will be moved one block away.

The group spent a few minutes talking about 9/11 and the massive amount of construction on the waterfront on both sides of the Hudson

It was noted that Jersey City was just nominated by Expedia as one of the country’s 10 Most Walkable Cities along with Honolulu, Miami and other much bigger cities.  The Walkway is the major reason for this distinction.

After farewells, the group used the Light Rail to return to starting point.

The next Walk the Walkway walk will be held on July 8 when we will return to Exchange Place and walk north through the Jersey City waterfront to the Hoboken train station.

We hope everyone will join us!

Photo album of walk.


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