Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Future of the Half Moon

This topic was introduced in a comment, but it is important enough to have its own post. We are all familiar with the replica Half Moon. It docked here for four days in 2009 as the centerpiece of Hudson's celebration of the Quadricentennial, marking the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the river that bears his name.

Henry Hudson Riverfront Park was dedicated during Hudson's Namesake Celebration, while the Half Moon was moored at the city dock. In his remarks at the dedication, Rick Scalera, then mayor of Hudson, articulated this vision for the waterfront:
While reminding us of the past, this great Quadricentennial can give us glimpses into the future and point to creative new windows of opportunity. For instance, just imagine that instead of being here for only a few days, the Half Moon had good reason to spend more time here--coming and going, as if from a home port. Imagine one of the three slips on the Henry Hudson Park grounds being re-engineered to comfortably accommodate historic vessels like the Half Moon. Imagine the old brick warehouse building there just across Water Street, as the Henry Hudson Maritime Museum, a perfect land-based complement to the floating museum that is the Half Moon. And finally, imagine what something like this could mean for Hudson and its waterfront: a powerful new magnet for tourism, education, recreation, investment, commerce and quality of life. Just an idea, born of the river . . . that always has been, and always will be . . . a key to our future.
This vision for the waterfront was recalled a year later by several speakers at the public hearing on the draft LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) and draft GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement). Since then, though, the hope has been kept alive only in the hearts of a few.

In April, the hope that Hudson might become the home port for the Half Moon seemed dashed when Jennifer Schwartz Berky, the conservation architect and urban planner who was working with Damara Stolfo and Sarah Dibben on the Hudson Praxis project, stated matter-of-factly, in an interview with Ellen Thurston on WGXC's Thursday Afternoon Show, that Troy was going to be the Half Moon's home port. That turned out to be something of an overstatement, but now the news is worse. 

On October 9, the Times Union reported that the Half Moon may leave New York and indeed the New World: "Half Moon replica may have to leave New York." Captain of the Half Moon, William "Chip" Reynolds is quoted in the article as saying, "In spite of many efforts, we haven't had any serious response by any entities to recognize that we need a permanent facility." As a consequence, the Half Moon's home port could end up being in the Netherlands. 

The director of the Westfries Museum, in Hoorn, a city north of Amsterdam, wants to buy the Half Moon and relocate it there. Officials in Hoorn are expected to vote on a proposal to acquire the Half Moon before the year is out. Meanwhile, Reynolds hopes the Half Moon can stay in New York. The Times Union reports: "Though many people have raised the possibility of a full-time home for the ship, nothing has happened, he said. 'The community has a very strong interest and when we traveled, for example, to any of these communities, there's always a very high visibility. . . . It brings people down to the waterfront,' said Reynolds."

What kind of commitment would it take for Hudson to pursue the vision articulated five years ago and put itself forward seriously as the home port for the Half Moon? Or has this ship really sailed?



  1. Part of what it would take to keep the Half Moon here are local leaders with vision enough to help mobilize the community toward goals larger than real estate deals.

  2. With the majority of Hudsons waterfront being 'privatized ' even to the point of dock space availability ... what a disaster for Hudson NY on the Hudson River founded by Henry Hudson.

    Nothing makes any sense here.

  3. "Part of what it would take to keep the Half Moon here are local leaders with vision?"

    A myopic politician/ secret undercover real estate agent (one that sees three imaginary slips at the Henry Hudson Park) might be part of the problem.

    Sad thing is, there is room for three slips, where now there is none, and the Half Moon belongs on the Hudson shore.