Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shad Season on the Hudson in 1959

Yesterday, inspired by Sunday's gathering at the Shacks, Paul Barrett sent Gossips an article that appeared in the Chatham Courier on April 23, 1959, reporting that the first shad of the season had been taken from the Hudson River. The article, which was accompanied by two photographs, is reproduced below.



  1. This inspires memories of preparing shad roe, bought from Everett Nack,"with a rasher of bacon and local asparagus"
    every May and June for Charleston.

  2. Shantytown is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under two criteria:

    1. Associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history;

    2. ... Represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.

    Almost incredibly, this determination was reached almost simultaneously with last year's Council resolution to knock down all the shacks but one!

    In a striking example of bad faith, Council members conducted their vote to flatten the place while all were fully aware that the State Historic Preservation Office had not yet completed its review.

    Now why would they do that?

    Today, when you hear people repeating the phrase "a few of the shacks will be saved," they really have no idea about the number. Nor does anyone else, including the State.

    So why do people keep saying it? "A few of the shacks."

    Of course people are ever eager to repeat anything they've heard yet know nothing about, but in this case they're unwittingly sustaining the momentum of last year's Council vote to raze as many shacks as possible.

    So the next time you catch yourself aping the hearsay that "a few" of the shacks will be saved, know that you're carrying resentful water for a government that's no longer in existence.

    Instead, why not support the three residents who rolled up their sleeves and persuaded the State of the site's value. Three unsung individuals defended Shantytown and won against the single-minded vandalism of the previous mayor and Common Council.

  3. Ronald Williams; Harold Smith; John Stickels(RIP); Pamela Mickel; Michael Dianda; Sandy Skabowski; Jeffrey Kritzman; Ray Coxon; Leo Bernockie; Arthur Martin; Peter Rogers; Steve Brenner(RIP); Victor Gorman; David Wright; Thomas Wright; Cedric Brandow; Robert Steimers; Robert Groll; Robert Torchia; Gary Snyder; Dennis Malloy; Richard Hodges; Ronald Hodges; Christy Tiano; Michael Maresco; Pat Cowell, James Konderwich; Joseph Pertilla, George Meicht, Peter Meicht; Charles Davi; A J Rogers, Anthony Rogers...

    Six long years ago this group of tin boat navigators fought to continue the historic use of North Dock. Now there is no use...

    1. I think I've long since proven my sympathies to the plight of Shantytown, but shouldn't any resentment be saved for the Proprietors who misled everyone?

      All that the State Supreme Court did in 2012 was to catch the centuries-old error (which was not committed through error).

      Whatever arrangement could have been found after the court's judgement HAD to take the changed circumstances into account.

      (The late filing by the groups counsel played no part, because the court chose to study the case anyway.)

      Above all, why aren't you blaming Cotton Gelston? He made every deed for the Proprietors, his own North Bay lot running beneath the front yards of the southernmost shacks.

      Gelston left his deed to his son Samuel, who made a killing selling it to the Hudson River Railroad Co. in October 1851.

      Surprised? Of course you're not. Hudson was always Hudson.

      So why not save some blame for Cotton Gelston himself? He deserves it.

    2. Half of the above were City residents. Two were banished for the rest of their lives. Now our leaders seek outside funding, to pimp out the second ward shore.

      More tax just to remove county fisherfolk?

      Sunday's expression of enmity was unfortunate but to be expected going forward Absence does make the heart grow fonder and we will gather there again.

    3. City residency was never a litmus test. The river, and river access, is always everyone's.

      However, no matter where people come from, that expression of enmity we saw is not easily explained.

      Can you please explain why the promise to restore river access at North Dock - after it was taken away by a previous administration - is grounds for resentment?

      News flash: the NDTBA lost its court challenge fair and square. The shacks, along with the Wastewater Treatment Plant, were all built on land owned by the people of New York State.

      Anyone should grasp the implications of these facts.

      What more needs to be said, other than "thank you Madame Mayor for restoring one of the English-speaking world's oldest rights, which a previous administration was arrogant enough to deny us."

      How about expressing that? Because the enmity you expect "going forward" is totally short-sighted and misplaced.

    4. After thirty years of hostilities between Hudson and the tin boat stewards, finally there is a debate about the future of the city's very limited shore.

      When asked why grant money is needed to do what tin boat stewards did for free, the debate is summarily changed to a diatribe.

      Next, a speaker from Greenport pointed a finger to a second ward ex-volunteer and said "furgary is no more ad yous guys ain't getting back in."

      The Mayor has shown real brass by starting the conversation, yet in the RS she says fishing will be allowed. Madame Mayor the prehistoric use can not be denied to anyone anywhere along a public watercourse.

      To now seek historical preservation funding by eliminating the historical use (citizen stewardship), forces blacklisted taxpayers into a position of supporting the white list.

      It comes down to use, new and old. The existence of fences shouts out loudly, the City will not accommodate the historical use.

      Short-sighted is the nuanced navigator, who thinks they can promote more use by removing the facilities needed to maintain the four slips at North Dock.

      The "new" conversation lags on because the Supreme Court ruled that the shore belongs to everyone, not just newcomers.

      The easy way to eliminate the enmity created by a new use, predicated on eliminating the old, is include the historical use.

      1 Riparian

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Give her a break. She wants to learn. Actually, very few people are as adept as you about what's "allowed," versus what's an unalienable riparian right. Sad, but true.

      You and I know that people would learn so much about our ancient history and our present-day culture if they grasped these issues, but what are we going to do?

      When you and I talk about "what's allowed" or not, we're thinking more philosophically than if we were just talking about this or that limiting law which is adopted for the good of all (ostensibly). Instead, we're thinking about what it is that we allow the government to do, and not vice versa.

      So let me translate the mayor's indelicate phrasing into a form she'll likely have preferred when talking to philosophers: fishing will be encouraged.

      You see, wasn't that an easy fix? History and theory are essential, but they're a much longer route to reach the same end.

      So we'll have our approach to the shore restored to us, after it was wrongfully and brazenly taken away. The cynicism of the lot who carried that off seemed to say, "we dare you to sue us a second time." That was an ugly time.

      But you're mistaken about one important fact, that it "comes down to use."

      That's not true. Ownership trumps use, except where adverse possession can be demonstrated.

      And adverse possession was the very argument brought before the court. Sadly, for all of the camps' former uses, the plaintiffs lost.

      The case cannot be retried. It's over. The old use in all its ornery wildness is utterly lost, except for the potential forbearance of the rightful owner, the City.

      In those conditions, what do you do?

      I think the worst possible way to restore anything more than our rightful access to the water has to be the sewing of enmity. Beyond restored, basic access, what can possibly be gained by insulting our host? And by our host I mean the City and all its residents.

      If there's anything else to be gained - which is clearly what you're proposing - then enmity will surely foreclose it.

    7. Above all, why aren't you blaming Cotton Gelston?

      Because six years ago Gelston didn't try to resell the city shore, Tricky Rick Scalera did.

    8. You've hit the nail squarely.

      From day one I argued to not sue for the property. To wait for the eviction and then sue for use. Only a fool would fight to start paying taxes on public land.

      County fisherfolk are entitled to equal footing on the entrapped eastern shore. According to the NOR, if a NFP sues to restore its natural rights, they never lose or pay court costs.

      If the city wants another lawsuit, one it cannot win, just keep pushing county fisherfolk offshore.

    9. What an insult! Our host's DPW has great difficulty promoting the free flow of sewage downhill, and now the new use of North Dock will be dependent on them, right. The result will be more taxes for less use.

    10. City residency was never a litmus test...

      I do recall city council members (posing as civil servants) using that very criteria to justify ending the historical use of the North Dock.

  4. shad roe, bought from Everett Nack,"with a rasher of bacon and local asparagus"

    Until his last days, a fishermen from Claverack had free and easy access to the bait fish necessary to procure that row.

  5. Back in 95, when HDC was telling undiscovered future half truths, this writer was installing a canoe launch/dog steps between shack number 12 and 14 to promote more use.

    Other, lesser navigators, threw up their hands because they fail to understand, no one "owns" the Lady Faithful.

  6. Four years ago today, with bulldozers revving we laid down roll roofing, ice & water and a drip edge on the "ROE" shack above.

  7. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled that rivers that are physically navigable are legally navigable for purposes of state ownership ("state title"). On such rivers, in any state, the riverbed and banks are state land, held in trust for the public for navigation, fishing, and other non-destructive visits. - See more at: http://www.nationalrivers.org/river-law-and-public-rights.html#sthash.v0rE4o1k.dpuf

    The City doesn't "own" the shore at North Dock, it belongs to the (people of) the State, which will include the removed Tin Boat Navigators, or we will return to the courts and win.