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Walk the Walkway

October 6, 2019

Northern Edgewater

On a cloudy, brisk day with temperatures in the 60’s, 23 walkers including 3 HRWC Board members, walkers from Hackensack, Garfield, Englewood and towns along the Walkway walked the northern half of the waterfront in Edgewater.  The Walkway in this area is only partly developed and the walk included sections of Walkway under construction and properties where plans for construction of the Walkway are yet to be developed. The group gathered at 9:00 AM at the Trader Joe’s parking lot and after a few brief comments about the Conservancy, a description of today’s walk and group photos, the walkers gathered their water and cameras and headed onto the Walkway at 9:30am.

The walkers entered the Walkway at the site of the former Binghamton dinner boat.  The Binghamton was demolished two years ago to make way for a new Ferry Boat Restaurant which has yet to appear. Walking north, the Walkway is composed of poorly maintained riprap and pavers behind the Comfort Inn hotel.  There is no railing and the Walkway can easily be destroyed at the next major storm. Previous commercial buildings on the next section of Walkway were being demolished and a 15-story residential building will be built. This pattern of replacing commercial office space with residential condos and apartments is occurring along the entire length of the Walkway.

The Whole Foods property was next.  The Walkway is quite old and in need of repairs.  Beyond Whole Foods is the Mariner’s Landing apartments where the Walkway is in good shape and has been well designed with proper widths and buffer areas.  The only concern is eroding rip-rap likely to worsen if it is not addressed by maintenance.

The walkers proceeded into Edgewater Marina which is a wonderful example of turning a declining property into a valuable asset for Edgewater citizens.  This marina and park were once a failing private marina.  It was purchased and refurbished by the town of Edgewater and is now a public ferry commuter stop during rush hours for New York Waterways as well as a place for concerts, sports events and boat docking.  This is an excellent example of cooperation among the Township, the DEP and the public to integrate the rights of the public to access the waterfront with the operational safety and security concerns of marina operators.  The Conservancy uses this model as new marinas being planned along the Hudson attempt to restrict public access.

The next property is Admiral’s Walk, an older condominium that was built before the legislation requiring a public walkway on the waterfront was passed.  Admiral’s Walk has a private walk along the waterfront that is closed to the public. This is a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine which gives the public the right to access the waterfront.  Discussions are underway to open the private walkway to the public. This would connect the Walkway segments in Edgewater Marina and the Edgewater Veterans Park on either side of the condo.  This will eliminate the dangerous walk on River Road that is now required for pedestrians and children boarding school buses.

The group walked past Admiral’s Walk and entered the redesigned and rebuilt Edgewater Veterans Field Park.  The park was closed for over 7 years to remediate the land from toxic contamination.  The park is a tribute to the Town of Edgewater.  The group stopped to speculate how the Walkway in the park could be connected to the Admiral’s Walk property. The park also contains several memorials to deceased Edgewater citizens.

Edgewater Park leads to a series of older condominiums where the Walkway is completed but needs repair.  The riprap shoreline is being undermined by the river and collapsing the Walkway.  The condominium association will be asked to provide a repair plan for the Walkway

The group paused to talk about the adjacent property where the old Le Jardin restaurant, now called De Novo, sits on the hill on River Road. The DEP has settled a multi-year lawsuit with the property owner for illegal filling in of the Hudson River. The settlement required the developer to construct the Walkway and it is now under construction. Soon the vital “gap” in the Edgewater Walkway will be completed.

After admiring and photographing the “Edgewater feral parrots”, the group then discussed the Walkway at the Moorings condominiums. The Walkway segment at the Moorings is completed but it is not connected to any adjacent properties so the Walkway is currently only used by the Moorings residents.

Adjacent to the Moorings is the former Von Dohln marina which has been closed since Super Storm Sandy when the docks were destroyed.  The property has been sold and will be developed into condominiums at some time in the future.  To the north of Von Dohln is another condominium development called Vela.  This very high-end condominium has constructed their portion of the Walkway. The connection to the adjacent closed marina is blocked by a fence.  The DEP intends to require this fence be removed when the Walkway connection from the south is completed.

Finally, after a steep climb up a section of River Road past some older developments, the walkers looked at the riverfront from behind the Caribbean condominiums where the North Hudson Marina is located.  The plan is someday the Walkway will be built in the marina and then can be connected across the wetlands to connect with the Colony.

The group continued north and entered the Colony at Annette Ave.  The Colony is a large piece of land that was once the location of “fishing shacks” for New York City residents known as Burdett’s Landing.  It was originally built near the beginning of the 20th century and has vista views of the Hudson and Manhattan that are beautiful.  The Colony is a private co-op community but is part of Edgewater.  Residents of the Colony, as a private community, have concerns about privacy and security and work to minimize transient auto or pedestrian traffic even though the Walkway uses the streets in The Colony as the official Walkway.  Today’s “fishing shacks” are now mostly multi-million dollar “McMansions” built on the cliffs overlooking the river.

The NJDEP and the Colony reached a settlement agreement years ago to delineate certain streets within the Colony as the Walkway.  Some Walkway signs were visible and one of the walkers agreed to provide additional signs to the Colony staff to be posted throughout the Colony.

The group walked down Annette Ave and continued to the south end of the street. After discussions among the walkers about possible construction routes for the southern end of the Walkway within the Colony, viewing some of the unbelievable big waterfront homes and debating which mansion was the previous home of Geraldo Rivera, the group ended the walk at Palisades Interstate Park where the Walkway descends to meet the walking path to the GW bridge.

The walk ended with a good-by among the walkers.

The 2019 Walk the Walkway series ended with this walk and will resume next April.  The Conservancy wishes everyone a joyful Thanksgiving and Holiday season and a healthy winter and hopes to see everyone in April.

Album 1
Album 2 - courtesy of Michael Bates


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