Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Battle of Waterfront Loo

It's nicely designed to echo the historic train station behind it. Its amenities (according to legend, since few have ever seen them) include shower rooms. When it was built more than a decade ago, it cost $250,000. But today, the comfort station at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park is a perennial cause for complaint because it is never open, and its facilities are never available to park visitors.

In October 2015, Alderman Henry Haddad (Third Ward) introduced a resolution in the Common Council to install a security camera at the entrance to the facility to deter vandalism, which is the reason given for why the building is perpetually locked, and to keep the restrooms open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during warm weather months--from April 1 to November 1. Although introduced, that resolution was never voted on. The following is quoted from the Common Council minutes for October 20, 2015:
President [Don] Moore stated Proposed Resolution No. 8 which would approve the opening of bathroom facilities at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park has been discussed at the Finance Committee Meeting earlier in the evening. He stated the proposed resolution would be deferred until there had been a more detailed plan which would be discussed at the next Public Works Committee Meeting.
This screen capture of the minutes from "the next Public Works Committee meeting" provides evidence that the subject was discussed but no information is provided about "a more detailed plan" or what action was agreed to. (The bathrooms are item 8 in the list of "questions [that] were asked of Supt Perry which he answered to the satisfaction of all.")

At the Economic Development Committee meeting this past Thursday, the subject of the bathrooms in riverfront park came up again. Midway through the summer, the building remains regularly locked. Committee chair Rick Rector pointed out that the bathrooms had been locked, providing no access to the facilities, during the fishing derby the previous weekend. Haddad alleged that Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton had decided the bathrooms could not be open on a regular basis until the security camera was installed, and a security camera has not yet been installed.

Meanwhile, I've been taking Joey to the dog park in Germantown almost every day this summer. I've noticed that the restrooms in Palatine Park, where the dog park is located, not only are not locked, but their doors stand open, apparently all the time. These pictures were taken on Friday morning, at about 7:30 a.m.

Of course, Hudson isn't Germantown, and Germantown isn't Hudson. If evidence were needed of the truth of that statement, these scratches which recently appeared defacing the cap stone on the wall outside of the new library provide it.

Jamison Teale|Facebook



  1. It was conceived as a good ol boy boondoggle from the start.

    1. A textbook boondoggle, and the kind of "earmark" that gave earmarks a bad name.

      It was built with Federal money procured by Congressman Sweeney. Good ol' boys indeed.

  2. The 2011-2016 lease agreement between the City and "Hudson Cruises" expired on May 31, 2016, though that lease is now reissued on a "monthly" basis according to City Attorney Ken Dow.

    The lease specifies that "Tenant will receive a key to the bathroom on site and will be responsible to open and close the bathroom as needed."

    "As needed"; there's the rub!

    Anything even remotely voluntary on the part of this tenant is routinely neglected, but far worse is the tenant's blatant breach of clear requirements of the lease, the kind which give the City the right to terminate the lease at any time.

    In October 2015, a new lease - now called a "Licensing Proposal" - was approved by the Common Council, though word has it that it was unacceptable to the lessee.

    What the lease and the license have in common is that both give the tenant "the option to terminate this Lease (/License) annually ... on or before November 1st each year."

    In contrast, the City has the option to evict the lessee at any time, with little more than a week's notice.

    It may end the lease in the event of a "failure to perform [terms]," "improper conduct," "unpaid fees, or "improper assignment" (e.g., does anyone know who owns the Marika, or how and from whom permission was acquired for the extra berth?).

    That the City can end the lease at any time looks good on paper, but this tenant knows that he's free to enjoy the premises whether he respects the terms and conditions of the lease or flagrantly ignores them.

    The tenant's disrespect for the City of Hudson has been nearly continuous since the time of the first lease in 2003, which wasn't authorized by the Common Council, then through the three summers he operated from the waterfront park with no lease at all, and right up to the expiration of the lease a month and a half ago.

    It's almost as if the City has no power at all in this relationship - as if Hudson Cruises owns the waterfront park instead of the City.

    Taking things in their proper order, any discussion about the locked bathrooms at the park must begin with the monthly lease we inexplicably extend to Hudson Cruises, Inc.

  3. I hear the unusable restrooms at North dock will have solid gold toilet seats.

  4. I'm planning to file suit against the City should I suffer undue stress and emotional harm when I have to pee and the door is locked.