Thursday, April 7, 2011

More on the Furgary

Jamie Larson has a comprehensive article in today's Register-Star about the decision handed down yesterday in the case of the Furgary Boat Club: "Judge dismisses Furgary lawsuit." Click here for the full text of the original notice of the suit brought by the North Dock Tin Boat Association.
Click here for a slide show of remarkable photographs of Furgary shacks by Tim Heffernan.


  1. Yet another loss of the real Hudson we all joyfully discovered.
    Eminent domain to blandness brought to you by your elected officials.

  2. This development makes me very sad for a myriad of reasons. Many people who don't know the history look at the Furgary as an eyesore. There are others of us, though, to whom that collection of shacks means something much more significant.

    The “shack” with the tin ceiling exterior was built by my grandfather many years ago when he and my grandmother were young. When my sister, cousins and I were little in the late 60s and 70s, we would spend long afternoons at the boathouse waiting to see if the rain would pass so we could make the boat ride out to our cabin on the island. We would listen closely all day to WHUC on an old transistor radio to see if the weather report would change in our favor. The boathouse was our launching point from which we'd embark on extended stays on the island that most kids can only dream of.

    Whenever I tell people about summers on the island, the word I use is “idyllic.” There were a collection of cabins built on the Athens side of the island and a community of people who went there summer after summer. All of the kids grew up together; many of us are still in or have come back to the Hudson area. The island community was very tight-knit and everyone was safe. Kids were allowed to roam free together, the parents and grandparents feeling secure in the knowledge that everyone would be back in time for lunch or dinner. Even with gas appliances available to us in the cabin, we often enjoyed meals cooked over an open fire. We used water brought in giant jugs every few days by boat from Hudson, and bathed ourselves each day in the river with Ivory soap (because it floats). Once every couple of weeks, we’d have a pizza night – someone would take a boat over to Louie’s, dock there and pick up a stack of pizzas. No one fussed or cared about primping. There was no electricity, no television, no phone; but we didn’t want for anything. Every day was a new adventure filled with simple pleasures. At the end of our time on the island, we’d pile back into boats and make our way back to the boathouse in Hudson.

    Writing this, I can smell the river as if I were in a boat coming back into the bay. I remember things like how we’d have to position the boat under a painted mark on the railroad bridge to make sure we were in the deepest water coming in to dock. I remember the curiosity I felt as I’d stand in the room in the boathouse that housed the canoes and hand-carved decoys used during duck hunting season. I remember sitting on the back porch (now closed in) facing the bay with my grandparents and their friends and neighbors. I remember Remy patiently whittling intricate ducks of all sizes, many of which are still around. I remember all of us kids piling into the back of my grandfather’s pickup truck along with the dogs, Caesar and Ralphie, for the short ride back up to the civilization of State Street. More than anything, I remember a sense of calm and well-being that I’ve rarely felt elsewhere.

    So to those who look at Furgary Boat Club and see only dilapidated shacks, please take a closer look and see that this is a place that represents generations of history to so many families…and we’re still there.

  3. This is really sad to me and sad for my family as well as anyone who was every so lucky to be a part of that community.

    Tiffany and I are cousins, as she said her sister and my brother were fortunate enough to appreciate the Boat Club growing up. Tiffany said it amazingly well, but we know you can't put the real meaning for our family and several others into a few paragraphs.

    Everything she said brings back special memories. The "boys" Remy, Pops, & Stash on the porch to us leaving the day after school ended, to go camping for the summer. All our adventures started at the Dock.

    I know all of us as adults have taken our children down there to share a story or two. They did what I'm sure many of you do when you see it, have a look of you played down here, people came actually came here? But once we began to tell our stories you see the appreciation for those shacks and what they have given to each of us.

    So yes, please take another look and see that there are several generations of history to many families with those "shacks".

  4. If you go to the Adirondack Museum (about 1- 2 hours drive) you can see that they spend extraordinary amounts of money recreating vignettes of boating and camp life in the 19th and 20th Century. Cabins, camp sheds, shacks and lean-tos built by craftsmen to look authentic. Here in Hudson we are sitting on the real thing. We have enough waterfront to worry about without tearing down this piece of history-- and leaving another pile of rubble to ponder.