Friday, June 15, 2012

The End of an Era

Tom Casey reports on the outcome of the Furgary Boat Club's lawsuit in today's Register-Star: "Fugary [sic] loses squatter's rights appeal." According to the article, the City of Hudson has given the Furgarians 30 days to vacate the 14.4 acres of land on which their shacks are located. 

Since the days of the boat club appear to be numbered, Gossips provides again the link to a remarkable collection of pictures of the shacks taken by Tim Heffernan.


  1. This historic and harmless site Hudson goes after while the real elephant keeps on trucking.

    bully for you Hudson.

  2. Competition open for which part of Ricks anatomy this one day vacant piece of real estate will be called ... ?

  3. Here are some of my old stories on the Furgary, if anyone wants to see how we got here.

    Regrettably I believe I was the one who started and perpetuated the misspelling of Furgary. I do remember that a Furgarian once sent me an email where he spelled it Fugary throughout.

    I loved reporting on and visiting the Furgary. It's a wonderful and eclectic place, though it's exclusivity and hostility to outsiders makes it difficult to try to save, I think.

    We need to remember that this is a complex issue about legal ownership and insurance liability. I think it's important to remember that this isn't just the city picking on the Furgary. There are a number of other issues at play.

    I'm just thankful I was able to hang out there a few times. For what it's worth, I hope it stays forever. It's a part of our city. The right thing to do is for the city to gift it to them, have them pay the taxes, make them pay to install utilities properly and open up membership.

    I fear the Furgarians wouldn't go for that unfortunately.


  4. To his credit it was Jamie Larson who first asked me to get involved with the Furgarians' case. That was on a day we were kayaking the South Bay and Middle Ground Flats.

    But I beg to differ with Jamie on one point, and that would be to argue that the City of Hudson has shown its predatory side in this.

    (One wonders why the same officials who were also involved with the South Bay saga behaved in such an opposite manner there. In South Bay these same public servants proved to be abundantly appeasing when it came to property issues ranging from boundary matters to appraisals.)

    One's feelings about the Furgarians as a community aside, after quite a long time I did come to realize and accept that they had a true claim under the law, and were not simply to be characterized as squatters.

    If under the law they had standing and could successfully argue their claim (and they might have since the facts were on their side), then it is a slur to dismiss them as "squatters."

    All they or their lawyers had to do was to get their petition in on time, and then to avail themselves of the city's historical maps and deeds. In that event I suppose it was not the court's job to argue their case for them, even if the evidence was obvious (please see my other posts on the mapping of the North Bay).

    What people who read this website ought to do now - now that the Furgarians are beyond all possible hope - is to consider the Furgary shacks and their contents in the historical light they deserve.

    It is finally time to put aside any repugnance one may feel towards a culture which perhaps appears atavistic to many readers of Gossips.

    Furgary is now an historical artifact which will likely soon be lost.

    Everything in Furgary should be documented. I have been telling the Furgarians this for months, but to help emphasize that plea I need the help of the people of Hudson who ostensibly care about history.

    Too often people divorce the history of the waterfront from the history of Hudson. To be frank, our waterfront's history is terribly neglected, which is uncharacteristic compared to most waterfront municipalities throughout the state and the nation. I really can't understand it.

    For a little background on why I think that neglect is a mistake (especially in this case), consider that this fishing community was founded at a time when the Hudson River Shad fishery was a serious industry. Furgary was founded back when sturgeon were so plentiful they were commonly sold as "Albany Beef."

    Now that New York state's Shad fishery is shut down, like Shad fisheries almost everywhere else, is it really the best time to throw away the history associated with it?

    When we look back and shudder at the memory of the Proprietor's harvesting of whales, do we also decide that the history of whaling is best forgotten?

    Of course there is a New Bedford, a Sag Harbor and a Nantucket to remember the culture of whaling, but there is no place in the world like Furgary.

    Calling all lovers of history ....

    And thanks Jamie for your efforts and for your above good arguments.

    Anyone who reads the Columbia Land Conservancy's "Concept Master Plan" for the "Hudson North Bay Recreation and Natural Area" will know that the plan treated the community and its heritage with the utmost respect and even admiration (online version only), and thus designed an ecological plan with Furgary in place.

  5. I salute the people of the Fugary Boat Club.
    Their "Shacks" are the last of Hudson to survive urban renewal, riverfront develoment & planning.
    It will be a beautiful site for a parking lot. .
    But on a serious note. It's time for a Hudson City Museum to be established to house the scattered pics, docs, etc. for its past & future history.

  6. Hudson is a living museum - stop the bulldozers to clonedom - it's here - it's now.